Things to do near Cranbrook: Ktunaxa Interpretive Centre
If you’re looking for things to do near Cranbrook, the Ktunaxa Interpretive Centre should be at the top of your list. Dedicated to preserving the heritage of the Ktunaxa and Kinbasket people, the first inhabitants of the Kootenay region. Ktunaxa (pronounced ‘k-too-nah-ha’) people have occupied the lands adjacent to the Kootenay and Columbia Rivers and the Arrow Lakes of British Columbia, Canada for more than 10,000 years.
The Interpretive Centre itself is located on the lower level of the St. Eugene Golf Resort Casino, and features displays of traditional stone, bead, hide works, as well as wood and cloth crafts, and is dedicated to preserving and restoring Ktunaxa and Kinbasket traditional cultural knowledge through the study of ethnographic objects, photographs, and historic records.
In many ways, the Ktunaxa Interpretive Centre realizes the vision of Mary Paul, a Ktunaxa Elder who said in 1984:
Since it was within that building that the culture of the Kootenay Indian was taken away, that it should be within that building that it is returned.
The building in question is the St. Eugene Mission, a former residential school that was, for most of the past century, essentially dedicated to wiping out Ktunaxa language and culture, and replacing both with English and Roman Catholicism.
The mission has been converted into a dazzling destination resort located just five minutes from Cranbrook’s international airport, and features a beautiful hotel, a casino, and a prize-winning golf course.
But the Ktunaxa Interpretive Centre, opened this past spring, is the true heart of St. Eugene Mission, and is open year-round Monday to Friday from 9-5pm, and is closed at noon for lunch.
TimeTravelBC frequently posts on things to do near Cranbrook and other BC locations.
Things to do in BC – Kimberley mining train rides
If you’re looking for Kootenay Rockies attractions, come to Kimberley and ride an authentic small-gauge underground mining train through Mark Creek Valley and into the Sullivan Mine. It’s a chance to enjoy fantastic Rocky Mountain scenery and understand more about British Columbia’s mining heritage.
Trips occur daily from daily from July 1 until the Labour Day Weekend. The train will depart the station at 11:00 a.m., 1:00 p.m. and 3:00 p.m.
There are also Express Train Ride on Sunday mornings at 10:00 a.m. for those who “just like to ride the train”.
The Kimberley Underground Mining Railway is owned and operated by the Sullivan Mine and Railway Historical Society.
‘Golden ticket’ to Rossland heritage
The Rossland Museum, Gold Fever Follies, and Rossland historic inn and saloon the Flying Steamshovel have teamed up to offer a golden opportunity to experience the Kootenay mining town’s rich heritage.
For $30, residents and visitors alike can purchase a Golden Ticket and enjoy admission to the Follies and admission to the museum, followed by a meal and a (non-alcoholic) beverage at the Steamshovel.
The Gold Fever Follies is a a musical review based on Rossland history, and has been running since 1987; the ensemble is celebrating its 25th anniversary.
The show was embellished with local lore, old time tunes and real Can-Can dancers from the Boomtown Garter Girls. Two decades later, the Rossland Gold Fever Follies, headed by local resident and current Follies President Ray Furlotte, are still going strong with original stories from Rossland’s rich gold mining history. While artistic license is often used, many of the characters are based on real people from Rossland’s past. Such characters have included Judge Begbie, Father Pat, The Hunter Brothers, Olas Jeldness, Big John Kirkup and a whole host of others.
The Flying Steamshovel is named after a contraption that an enterprising dreamer named Lou Gagnon built, flew, and crashed right next to the current site of the hotel in Rossland. Lou Gagnon’s dream was to ferry the gold ore off the steep slopes of Red Mountain by air, and on a February afternoon in 1902, his mysterious machine was skidded into the nearby yard for its maiden flight.
Purchasers need not do all three things the same day, but can use them as they please.
Tickets are available at the Follies and also at the Rossland Museum and Rossland Hardware.