Fernie & Elk Valley Culture Guide Issue 4 - Spring 2017 - Page 22
The Arts Station
From 1898 to 1964 , the Canadian Pacific Railway station was the economic and social hub of the community , bringing in merchandise , mail , and passengers into and out of Fernie at a time when the railway was the only connection between the valley and the outside world . Today , it is home to the Fernie and District Arts Council , operating as the Fernie Arts Station and celebrating over 25 years as a thriving hub for the arts .
The Fernie CPR station was completed in the spring of 1909 after an earlier incarnation burned down in the Great Fire of 1908 . The station served as a thriving centre for commerce and travel until passenger service to Fernie was discontinued in 1964 .
The CPR donated the building to the City of Fernie in 1979 , and in 1987 the Fernie Arts Council began restoration . This involved moving the building onto a new foundation , followed by careful renovation , painting , and landscaping . It took four years , but with hard work
22 and the continued contributions of dedicated staff and volunteers , this dignified local landmark was transformed . It re-opened in 1990 in its new incarnation : an indispensable base of operations for artists in the Elk Valley .
Today , the Arts Station facility is as multi-faceted as the community it serves . The former waiting room hosts an elegant gallery , the basement a fully-equipped pottery studio , and the old ticket office a bustling restaurant . The train platform serves as a patio and outdoor performance space in the summer months ; upper rooms are used by a wide variety of community arts groups and guilds . Baggage and freight storage has been converted into a 100-seat theatre , which features homegrown talent as well as outstanding performers from all over Canada and around the world .