Fernie, British Columbia
Founded in 1898, Fernie is a picturesque town nestled in the Elk River Valley surrounded by the dramatic Lizard Range on the lands of the Ktunaxa peoples. From town you can't help be in awe of the jaw dropping views of Mount Hosmer "upside down mountain". This iconic Canadian Rockies town is well known as an adventure destination. Locals and visitors alike enjoy powder skiing, hiking, fly fishing, rafting, mountain biking, culture, arts, and fine cuisine.
Many users of B.C. Highway 3 scoot right through Fernie, British Columbia without seeing it. The alignment of the highway north of Fernie's historic downtown saved its original main street from drive-through development, but caused many visitors to miss its architectural and commercial charms. Wise travelers should turn south at 9th Street, park next to Fernie's beautiful brick library, and explore the downtown on foot.
Not to miss in your walking tour: The current downtown was rebuit in brick after a catastrophic fire in 1908. The C.P.R. station, currently being restored to its original chocolate and cream colour scheme; the slate roofed Courthouse, with its imposing porcelain bathroom fixtures; the Library, repurposed from its original duty as post office and customs house; the City Hall, formerly head office of the Crow's Nest Coal Company.
There is a small and helpful museum and visitor centre at the corner of 9th Street and Victoria Avenue. Fernie's not-so-distant past as a polyglot mountain mining town is recalled in a carefully tended collection of images and artifacts.
If you miss downtown Fernie, you've missed the B.C. Rockies.