Grand Forks Top Experiences
- Learn about the Doukhobor culture and their lasting legacy at the Boundary Museum or the Pride of the Valley Heritage Flour Mill. Afterwards, stop by local restaurants for a hearty bowl of Borscht, a traditional Doukhobor dish
- Join in one of the largest fly fishing drifts in BC at the annual Kettle River Fishing Drift, the second weekend of July. Paddle your canoe along the Kettle & Granby Rivers’ gentle rapids from cool forests to open ranges
- From spring to late fall, visit our Farmers’ Market in the heart of downtown at Gyro Park Tuesday and Friday
- Write your own tale of discovery on a rock-hounding safari at Rock Candy Mine
- Ride, hike, snowshoe or cross-country ski sections of the Great Trail (formerly the Trans Canada Trail) through the heart of Grand Forks
- Attend Cannafest in August for the very best of Canadian Classic Rock
- Grand Forks Park in the Park. Lots of other great cars in the mix
- Absorb Grand Forks stories, arts and culture, and heritage as you stroll back in time at the three galleries at Gallery 2: Grand Forks Art & Heritage Centre
- Cheer on your favourite team at the annual Grand Forks Invitational Baseball Tournament (2019)
- Celebrate the best of rural BC at the annual Grand Forks Fall Fair, a mainstay since 1910
Good to Know Before You Go
- Accommodations in Grand Forks include nationally branded hotels, roadside motels, B&Bs, and RV parks
- Fresh-water fishing is regulated in BC and fishing licenses are required.
- Learn more about local regulations and where to locate tackle shops at Boating & Fishing
- Visit Trails for more information about hiking and biking the Great Trail and other Grand Forks area trails
- Rivers & Lakes has a detailed list of tubing routes on the Kettle and Granby Rivers
- When traveling in Grand Forks, look for a comprehensive list of weekly events, activities and festivals posted at the Visitor Centre, tourism businesses, RV parks and campgrounds
- Farms & Orchards provides more information on Grand Forks’ agritourism experiences
- Winter Recreation offers more detailed information on skiing Phoenix Mountain, Mt. Baldy and Marshall Lakes
Grand Forks International
- The Grand Forks International is usually held in July. It will be held again in 2019.
- There is usually 12 teams that play 25 games. The winner takes home $20,000 from a total purse of $54,000.
- Its great baseball and the ballpark atmosphere is second to none. On site are the Hardball Café and Right Field Tavern. The GFI Hall of Fame provides the fans with past history and interesting displays.
- Then there is Free GFI Bingo during every game with great prizes to be won, Kids Run the Bases and much more. Fun for the whole family!
- Check out grandforksbaseball.com and the GFI Facebook page for fascinating sketches of Canadian baseball history as well as team and player updates.
Uniquely Boundary Country
The Great Trail (formerly the Trans Canada Trail) and the Kettle and Granby Rivers all converge in Grand Forks (pop. 3,985). This urban enclave is nestled in a lush, broad valley flanked by the Monashee Mountains and mile after mile of rolling farmlands. In this tranquil landscape you’ll find postcard scenery, abundant outdoor recreation, heritage sites and cultural attractions unique only to this part of BC. Our arts scene is alive and well and we have several must attend festivals and events, including the baseball tournament and Cannafest.
Grand Forks is Boundary Country’s largest city. It’s where the enduring stories of farmers, prospectors, Doukhobors and up-and-coming baseball players reveal themselves. You’ll find them in nearby pastures, the geode rich fields of Rock Candy Mine, at the Boundary Museum, and on the pitcher’s mound at the Grand Forks International Tournament. (next tournament in summer of 2019)
The timeless architecture of our downtown core invites a stroll into the galleries and shops that anchor our vibrant arts scene. The Great Trail and the Kettle and Granby Rivers beckon you outdoors no matter the season.
We may be classified as a city, but settle down for any length of time in Grand Forks and you’ll fall in love with our endearing small-town charm.
Our Culture and History Discover More
Here in Grand Forks we are a mixture of several cultures, built upon layers of First Nations, pioneers, immigrants, prospectors, farmers, teachers, and artists, to name a few.
A Storied Past
The great copper boom of the late 20th century established Grand Forks. The roots of our story really take hold with the arrival of the Doukhobors. Escaping tyranny in Eastern Europe and Russia in the late 20th century, the group first emigrated to Saskatchewan, and then Grand Forks. It was here where their communal way of living flourished on farms surrounding the city.
A treasured part of our heritage, the Doukhobor story is unique to Boundary Country. It is brought to life in Grand Forks. Connect with their stories at the Fructova School, once a schoolhouse for Doukhobor children, now home to the Boundary Museum. You’ll enjoy traditional Russian recipes like Borscht and Pyrahi at several of our local restaurants. Listen to the storytellers at the Pride of the Valley Heritage Flour Mill. They’ll bring to life the Doukhobor agricultural history, kindling the stories you’ll tell of your own Grand Forks visit.
Where Farm Meets City Discover More
There’s nothing like home grown goodness to create some of the best food you’ve tasted in a while. Most of what we eat, is grown or raised right here in Boundary Country.
Fresh Grown Goodness
The lands surrounding Grand Forks has been cultivated by settlers for over 100 years. As miners flocked to the area during the copper boom of the 20th century, farmers took advantage of the influx of people and created more farms. The Doukhobors called this land Fructova, “the fruit of the valley.” Today, this lush farmland still yields a bumper crop of delicious produce. Come and experience where your food comes from. There are plenty of agri-tourism experiences at farms and orchards within a few minutes’ drive of the heart of the city.
Be sure to visit Jerseyland Organics outside of Grand Forks. Call ahead to find out if there is a tour when you are there. Learn how cheese and yogurt are made the organic way. Your mouth is sure to start watering as you step inside the cheese shop. Afterwards, visit the petting zoo and pat with your favourite farm animal or watch the peacock strut his stuff.
Explore the Pride of the Valley Heritage Flour Mill. Watch demonstrations on how grain is transformed into flour. You’ll also get the added bonus of hearing tales of days-gone-by delivered by local characters who know these stories best.
Come Celebrate the Harvest
We celebrate food quite a bit here in Boundary Country. Come and celebrate the harvest with us at the Boundary Museum in late September. Sponsored by the Kettle Valley Food Co-op, this is a one-day festival you do not want to miss. Breathe deep and inhale the scent of tree-ripened fruit, and fresh produce ready for eating!
When you don’t have time to visit the farms and orchards, you can still take home some fresh Grand Forks produce. Come out to the Grand Forks’ Farmers’ Market in Gyro Park. It’s held every Tuesday and Friday morning between May and October. There’s nothing like fresh picked produce to make your meals taste great.
Arts & Entertainment Discover More
We have quite a lively arts culture in Grand Forks. Entertainment ranges from wine tasting to live music and theatre. Come out and meet the locals and see their creations.
Get your art and cultural bearings and step inside the Grand Forks’ Gallery 2. This is the centrepiece of the Grand Forks art scene. Stroll the first floor of the historic, red brick courthouse, dating back to 1911.
The Grand Forks Art Gallery Society has a varied collection of contemporary art exhibitions including selections from its own collection. There is a permanent display in the heritage galleries that will show you an overview of the history of Grand Forks. There are also short term exhibits and travelling exhibits.
This is also where you’ll find some down home Grand Forks entertainment. They have Taps and Tapas fundraisers, artists’ talks and garden tours.
Gallery 2 is also where you’ll find the Grand Forks Visitor Centre! Pick up a guide of Artisan Studios at the Visitor Centre and go explore.
Kick off the holiday season at Gallery 2: Grand Forks Art & Heritage Centre for the annual Wine Tasting Fundraiser in November. Stroll the gallery’s archival photography or pop up to view the current art exhibits. Sample wine made from the Kootenay, Okanagan and Similkameen regions. There’s also BC craft beer and savoury hors d’oeuvres to nibble on while indulging in the arts, raising funds for the gallery.
In the spring, we celebrate the Arts in Learning and in Life from late April to early May. The Boundary and District Arts Council has a performance series each year with tickets available until late September.
The River’s Edge Theatre Society has been entertaining in Boundary Country for over 20 years now. They produce works that are reflective of the area and community, and are highly entertaining. Our Boundary Musical Theatre group puts on classic shows each year like the Wizard of Oz and Mary Poppins. Our local Les Folles Jambettes is a can-can troupe that perform regularly and have a breakoff group called the Rara Avis Dancers that put on an annual burlesque show.
Grand Forks Choral Society puts on a Christmas and Spring Concert annually. We very proud to announce they were invited to Carnegie Hall to perform in a mass choir performance.
We also have numerous Open Mic nights throughout the area and other random live performers that pass through regularly.
Events and Celebrations Discover More
There’s nothing quite like a Boundary Country celebration, and Grand Forks has them throughout the year. Baseball, fall fairs, live music, music festivals, and car shows are just some of what we have to offer.
Grand Forks Invitational Baseball Tournament
A sporting tradition over 40 years, the Grand Forks Invitational (GFI) Baseball Tournament is a must do event for your summer calendar (next event summer of 2019). Experience first-hand the sense of camaraderie that occurs when an entire community pitches together to create the event.
It’s great baseball and the ballpark atmosphere is second to none. The GFI Hall of Fame provides the fans with history and interesting displays. Then there is free GFI Bingo during every game with great prizes to be won. There’s also Kids Run the Bases and much more fun to be had for the whole family!
The pitcher’s mound at Grand Forks’ James Donaldson Park is where the fastest arms from around western Canada and the US compete for the title of GFI champion. Come out for a game or the whole series. You may be watching a future all-star.
The Grand Forks International invitational baseball tournament runs late June to early July each year (except 2018). The winner could take home up to $20,000 from a total purse of around $54,000.
Grand Forks Fall Fair
Well over 100 years ago, the first Grand Forks Fall Fair brought the community together for some much needed time away from work! Today it is a signature Boundary Country experience. This September event brings community and visitors together. It’s a way to enjoy the last moments of summer as you meander alongside the opening day parade. Watch as the cowboys and clowns entertain the crowds.
Take the opportunity to indulge in fair food then check out the main stage for lively performances of some of BC’s most entertaining acts. Centred on family and farms, the Grand Forks Fall Fair celebrates the very best of rural BC.
Music in the Park
Enjoy Music in the Park on Wednesday nights during July and August at Gyro Park. Music starts at 7 p.m. Bring a blanket or lawn chair, pass the hat around, enjoy random local entertainment and some interesting performers who happen to be passing through town.
Park in the Park
This will be Park in the Park’s fifth year of hosting a car show in the Grand Forks City Park. Come and enjoy three days of show related events as well as lots of camping and other fun family activities. There are goody bags and dash plaques for the first 200 entries. Visit Grand Forks Park in the Park for registration and more information or follow them on Facebook.
The second week of August is when Boundary Country’s hottest classic music festival happens. The 2017 line up had great acts including: Darby Mills (formerly of the Head Pins) April Wine, Nick Gilder and Sweeney Todd, Kick Axe, Trooper, Platinum Blonde, Saga, Harlequin, Randy Bachman and Loverboy! Look for more exciting acts in 2018.
Cannafest is a three-day rock ‘n’ roll festival complete with camping, a marketplace, a beer garden and lots of music. Bring your folding chair and your dancing shoes. Camping reservations can be made directly from the website for both tents, camper vans and RV. Note: This is a 19+ event. No pets or children. For a complete line-up of bands and ticket sales visit the Cannafest website.
Outdoor Activities Discover More
The great outdoors beckons you when you come to Grand Forks. Spend time on our trails, in our parks, and our rivers. Swim and fish in our rivers or hike and bike in search of crystals that sparkle and shine. In the winter, head out on your skis, snow shoes or snowmobile for some winter wonderland enjoyment.
Explore the Great Trail
In 2016, the Trans Canada Trail was renamed the Great Trail. No matter what you call it, you can still feel history beneath your feet as you travel our trails.
Imagine the dreams of long-ago travelers as you explore the decommissioned rail beds. The Columbia and Western Railway (C&W) and Vancouver, Victoria and Eastern Railway (VV&E) wind through the heart of Grand Forks. They are part of a 240 km (149 mi) section of the Great Trail (formerly the Trans Canada Trail).
Start from the Heart of Grand Forks
Start at City Park and decide which direction to head. North takes you along the old C&W line on an uphill climb toward Eholt. This 23 km (15 mi) (one-way) journey takes your through cool, dark tunnels and mountainside lookouts over the North Fork Valley and the Granby River. Watch for eagles, deer, marmots and hawks, while contemplating the downhill slope of your return journey.
Trek to Christina Lake
If gentle landscapes are more your liking, point your compass toward Christina Lake. You can hike or cycle through a pastoral landscape that hugs the Kettle River, crossing the Smitten Trestle (at 154 m or 505 ft., the longest on the CP line). Listen for the Cascade Falls at the Cascade Gorge. It’s a spectacular waterfall hidden just off the main trail enroute to Christina Lake. Once you get to the lake, dive in for a well-deserved swim.
Grand Forks Skate Park
There are a whole host of mountain biking options on trails that wind through town and nearby mountainsides. But if you’re just starting out mountain biking, you can come and perfect your skills at Grand Forks Skate Park. There are plenty of bowls, rails and jams for every level of rider.
The slow-running Kettle River winds its way into Canada at Grand Forks where it joins with the Granby River. These two lazy rivers take you on a grand and watery tour of secluded sun-dappled beaches, picturesque parks, local swimming holes, and secret fishing spots.
Both rivers teem with aquatic life, creating a rich food source for larger fish. Bring your kit and spend a warm summer day angling for rainbow and brook trout or Rocky Mountain whitefish. Fish from the shore, or if you’re game, wade into the middle of the river. The owners of the Victoria Motel and RV Park offer fly-tying lessons on Thursday nights. If you’re angling for pure Boundary Country adventure, take part in July’s annual Kettle River Fishing Drift where hundreds of people descend on the river, fishing and drifting the weekend away.
Make the most of Grand Forks’ watery playground. Bring the kids to the Tot Lot and Rotary Spray Park in the heart of the town.
Kayak or canoe the lower reaches of the Granby or in the Kettle River. The water here is as gentle as the breeze. Late June and early July are prime paddling times. The water is warm and you’ll find numerous sandy beaches along the way.
Search for Crystals at Rock Candy Mines
Write your own tale of discovery at Rock Candy Mines and heritage site. Embark on your quest for beautiful “rocks” on a rock-hounding safari. Get your hands dirty and collect sparkling quartz, green and purple fluorite, and beautiful barite, all amidst the beautiful mountain scenery. Your tour guide will be there to teach you about how to collect rocks and crystals. Here’s to finding your own treasure in Boundary Country.
The same trails that lure mountain bikers and hikers in summer are a natural draw come winter for snowshoers and cross-country skiers. Grand Forks’ relatively flat terrain and moderate snowfall combine for a quiet winterlude. Outside the city, work up an appetite, skiing or snowshoeing Marshall Lakes trails or getting some downhill action in at Phoenix Mountain Ski Hill. Drop by the Visitor Centre for maps and info on the best places to go for winter fun.