Explore Boundary Country’s History through its Quaint Museums
TAKE A STEP BACK IN TIME
Embarking on a tour of historical sites and museums is always like unravelling a mystery. You may have preconceived notions of what you will see or learn, but you will always be surprised and learn something new from the gems of history in Boundary.
That’s what it’s like wandering the little historical gems of Boundary Country.
On a road trip along the Crowsnest scenic Highway 3 this summer, my partner Sean, and I decided to stop in at a few places we’d passed before, to see what stories we would uncover from the past.
The City of Greenwood – A Storied Past
Greenwood itself is like a page out of a history book, with its main South Copper Street (which sits on Hwy 3) dotted with buildings from the late 1800s, when it became incorporated as a city and still holds that status, making it “Canada’s smallest city”. Some buildings sit empty now, with opportunity awaiting, and some have already been purchased to be restored and relaunched with new businesses (we will have to wait to see what emerges!).
Along here you will find the quaint Greenwood Museum. The museum will celebrate Greenwood’s 125th birthday in 2022, alongside the 80th anniversary of the Japanese internment. This devastating part of Greenwood’s past will be honoured with a Japanese drumming ceremony in July 2022 and offers an opportunity for locals and visitors alike to learn more about what happened here. The museum is filled with articles and artifacts from the original Japanese residents interned in Greenwood, and several of their descendants not only make Greenwood home today but volunteer their time working at the museum and visitor centre. It’s a fascinating little museum and an important part of Boundary Country’s history that warrants stopping in and supporting the work being done to recover, restore, and honour the lives of those that came before us.
Kettle River Museum – The Steam Railway Era
Further west along the Crowsnest Hwy 3 you come to Midway, the Mile 0 point of the Kettle Valley Railway. The Kettle River Museum pays homage to the railway’s past and is a must-see on your way through Boundary Country. The museum includes an original Station House you can explore, built in 1901; a restored Canadian Pacific Railway caboose that you can climb aboard, and all sorts of artifacts from a gramophone to original telephones to coal-fired irons and toasters, farming equipment, clothing, tools, photographs, letters, and many, many more items over 100 years old, frozen in time. It’s truly a spectacle and surprising what you can find in all the spaces indoors and outdoors on the 2-acre property.
The bunkhouse is even available for overnight stays, making for a great stop while cycling the Kettle Valley Rail Trail.
These are just two pieces of Boundary Country’s historical side to be rediscovered. The Boundary Museum is another one with a great overview of all the towns that make up the Boundary from the ghost town of Phoenix to Christina Lake. Museums are supported by donations and visits and passionate volunteers. There are lots more heritage activities to be found throughout Boundary Country – check out more ideas at Boundarybc.com.