Fernie & Elk Valley Culture Guide Winter 2020-21 Edition - Page 3

The Communities of the Elk Valley

In the heart of the majestic Canadian Rocky Mountains , the Elk Valley is a hidden oasis of verdant landscapes , charming towns and abundant recreation . For over 100 years , pioneers have travelled to the region , first in search of valuable minerals , and now seeking a sanctuary focused on family , community and the beautiful outdoors . Mining still forms the base of a thriving economy that has now diversified and welcomes a variety of artisans , small businesses , and an active year-round recreational and cultural tourism industry .
FERNIE is the largest and oldest of the 3 main communities in the Elk Valley . A town rich in heritage , awardwinning architecture , and spectacular scenery , Fernie charms and delights all ages . Whether strolling centuryold Historic Downtown , exploring the unique geography , visiting artists and artisans or revelling in the packed cultural calendar , there ’ s something for everyone to enjoy .
Pop : 5,449 | Founded 1898 Incorporated 1904
SPARWOOD lies in the middle of the valley and is the first community reached on entering from Alberta . The town ’ s name is derived from the local trees that were used for manufacturing spars for ocean vessels . The town was founded as a new home for the residents of the temporary communities of Michel and Natal . Several art murals can be seen here , depicting the strong connection to coal mining , with some by Michelle Loughery who was born in the area and went on to become a world-renowned muralist .
Pop : 3,784 | Founded 1966
At the head of the valley is ELKFORD , a small town with a passionate arts community . Writing , painting , photography , and pottery are among the popular endeavours , and wellknown glass artist Katherine Russell has a working studio here . Elkford is the gateway to the Elk Lakes Provincial Park , a remote protected area bordering Alberta ’ s Kananaskis Country .
Pop : 2,499 | Founded 1971
Photo Credit : Vince Mo
Credits : Writing , editing & layout by Rebecca Hall . Design by Claris Media . Images by Vince Mo , Raven Eye Photography , Sparwood Chamber , Sparwood Museum , Fernie Museum , Matt Kuhn , Kyle Hamilton , District of Elkford , Fernie Alpine Resort , Nancy Stevenson , Kerstin Maier , Glenn Donald , Nick Nault , Terry Hughes , Destination BC , Blaine Burgoyne , Kevin McIsaac , Kendra Dixson , Gabriela Escobar , Jude Smith , Emma Polit , Joni Laberge , Jessica Paige Photography , Alexander Slobodian .