Top 10 Heritage Experiences
- Go for the gold — panning the Kettle River near Rock Creek is a long held and affordable family tradition
- Take a self-guided walking tour of Greenwood’s colourful heritage buildings, including what once was the town jail
- Canoe or kayak Christina Lake discovering ancient pictographs along the way
- Play with your kids in an old railway caboose at Midway’s Kettle River Museum
- Wander Greenwood’s museum and learn about the Japanese internment and reconciliation
- Learn about the Doukhobor culture and their lasting legacy at the Boundary Museum at the Fructova School
- Try a bowl of borscht! The traditional dish of the Doukhobors is still featured at many restaurants, or, if it’s open, pop in for a visit at the Pride of the Valley Heritage Flour Mill and learn how our earliest settlers milled grain into flour
- Explore our western roots — join a cattle drive, or live like a rancher if only for a day at PV Ranch in the North Fork Valley
- Do more than just collect crystals, dig your own on a Rock Candy Mine safari, uncovering quartz crystal geodes, and green and purple fluorite
- Explore Phoenix Mountain in the warmer months by by foot or mountain bike, and search for remnants of our copper-mining past
Good to Know Before You Go
- Rock Creek Olsen Park and nearby Kettle River Provincial Park are two of the most popular spots to test your gold panning skills
- Guests at Rock Creek’s Canyon Creek Ranch may rent a pan and shovel, then, wander down the Dewdney Trail to pan in the river
- Maps and printed guide of the Phoenix Mountain Forest Interpretive Drive are available for free at the Greenwood Visitor Centre located in the Greenwood Museum
- The Phoenix Mountain Forest Interpretive Drive is 22 km (14 mi) in length and can be completed in about two hours
- The Greenwood Museum is open daily from May to the end of October and by appointment from November to April
- Rock Candy Mine tours operate Wednesday to Sunday, from June until September
- The Boundary Museum at the Fructova School is open Monday to Saturday during the summer months and Tuesday to Friday in the off-season
- WildWays Adventure Tours offer kayak rentals as well as guided kayaking tours for exploring Christina Lake’s pictographs
Glimpse Into Our Past
In a land rich with natural resources and fertile ranch and farmland it’s little wonder gold and copper-seeking prospectors, Doukhobors, and cattle ranchers were drawn to our region to settle down. Each and every one of them left their imprint on Boundary Country, leaving a legacy of historic, cultural and heritage experiences that shape the stories we tell here today. Uncover our stories, then make them your own on a Boundary Country vacation you’ll always remember; here’s how:
Search for Treasures
Look in any direction to see reminders of the copper mining and smelting wealth that led to the founding of Greenwood, deemed Canada’s smallest city. Whether it’s exploring the ghostly remnants of Phoenix, a once booming mining town, on the Phoenix Mountain Forest Interpretive Drive, or mining Grand Forks’ Rock Candy Mines for your own precious crystals, you’ll be joining the travellers who have long journeyed to Boundary Country in search of treasure.
Rock Creek Gold Rush
Perhaps no treasure caused a greater commotion than the Rock Creek Gold Rush of 1859. More than 5,000 prospectors descended on the Kettle River, hoping to stake their claim and make their fortune. The gold rush only lasted a few years, but gold can still be found in the river. All you’ll need is a gold pan, plenty of sun screen and more than a little patience. Who knows … you may strike it rich!
Greenwood’s Boom, Bust and Hollywood History
Canada’s smallest city, Greenwood may also be its most quaint. It’s whimsical with period architecture dating back to the early 20th century. There’s a kaleidoscope of colour along Greenwood’s main street and surrounding neighbourhoods. Explore the vibrant townscape. Take a self guided tour, one heritage building at a time. Arrange a tour of the old courthouse and the city jail through the Greenwood Museum. These are both must see stops on the tour.
You can trace Greenwood’s boom as a copper mining town and its post WWI bust at the Greenwood Museum. Discover the city’s darkest history when 1,200 Canadians of Japanese descent were interned in here during WWII. Step into the cramped quarters meant to house a family of four. Learn how both communities came to accept each other and thrive. If you make your visit around mid-July you can honour Greenwood’s pioneer past as part of the Founder’s Day celebrations.
You don’t have to dig deep to find abandoned mining ghost towns in Boundary Country. Remnants of our copper mining past can be found from Greenwood to Grand Forks and places in between. One of the most popular is Phoenix Mountain outside of Greenwood. Whether you ride it or drive it, you can explore what remains of our copper mining boom in the Phoenix Mountain Interpretive Forest.
Practice your tricks mountain biking Phoenix Mountain’s 14 km (9 mi) loop. Ride in and out of the woods and past antiquated rock ovens, once used by miners to cook in the wild. Ride the whole loop. You’ll come across a once thriving boomtown, where all that’s left is the cemetery.
If you’d prefer to drive instead of ride, take the Phoenix Mountain Forest Interpretive Drive, a self-guided driving tour that follows the prospector’s footsteps through the Phoenix Interpretive Forest, a 180 sq km (112 sq mi) area containing many significant historic sites.
Tales from the Railways
The story of Boundary Country’s rich natural resources really begins with horse power and ends with the railway. Without the railway the prospectors would never have gotten their goods to market. Explore our railroading past at Mile 0 of the Kettle Valley Railway. The Kettle River Museum is Midway’s original station house. The museum building dates back the early 1900s during the heyday of mineral exploration in Boundary Country. Pop in for a break while cycling the The Great Trail (formerly the Trans Canada Trail) or pack up the little ones to play in an authentic Canadian Pacific caboose. You can’t help but marvel at the ingenuity of our earliest settlers who carved quite a life for themselves here.
Discover Our Russian Roots
Our roots run deep and they taste good too! Try a bowl of borscht from one of our local restaurants. You can also explore our history at the Pride of the Valley Heritage Flour Mill or in the architecture and artifacts of the Fructova School (now the Boundary Museum). You can’t help but notice there’s a hearty dose of Doukhobor influence here. That’s because more than 8,000 of the pacifists settled in Grand Forks between 1908 and 1912. They established farms and orchards, lived communally in Doukhobor villages, and integrated into the community.
Explore Grand Forks’ Boundary Museum, chat up a tour guide who’s happy to share stories of the Doukhobor way of life. Explore the Pride of the Valley Heritage Flour Mill, listening to tales of days-gone-by delivered by local characters who know the stories best.
Long before the Dewdney Trail or the railways carved their way through Boundary Country the Sinixt First Nation migrated the valley. They followed the seasons, harvested food and fished Christina Lake and the Kettle River. Their stories are captured in ancient pictographs along Christina Lake’s eastern shore, north of Texas Point. Muted imagery of life before European settlement tell the story of the Sinixt First Nation. Decipher their meaning on a guided kayaking expedition, or hike Gladstone (Texas Creek) Provincial Park to uncover ancient home sites and a semi-permanent village once occupied by the Arrow Lakes People.
Live the Life of a Rancher
Escape your busy life. Get in touch with our rural roots, saddle up at PV Ranch and create your own legends of life at home on the range. Peacefully nestled in the North Fork Valley, it’s where you can live life as a rancher, if only for a day or two. Haul in the hay, drive cattle up or down to their meadows, chat up other ranchers over huckleberry pie. It’s all part of life on the ranch in Boundary Country!