Arts, Heritage & Culture > Heritage & Culture
The Colourful History and Culture of Boundary Country
Top Heritage Experiences
- Find out about the Doukhobor culture and their lasting legacy at the Boundary Museum at the Fructova School
- Visit the Christina Lake Welcome Centre and see the amazing 3D mural showcasing our region’s past and present as well as an Art Gallery.
- Play with your kids in an old railway caboose at Midway’s Kettle River Museum. They even have a bunkhouse for overnight stays.
- Go for the gold — pan the Kettle River near Rock Creek. It’s 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 and discover ancient pictographs along the way
- Wander Greenwood’s museum and learn about the Japanese internment and reconciliation
- Try a bowl of borscht! The traditional dish of the Doukhobors is still featured at many restaurants
- Pop in for a visit at the Pride of the Valley Heritage Flour Mill and learn how our earliest settlers milled grain into flour
- Stay at the PV Ranch in the North Fork Valley and help out around the ranch tossing hay bales and feeding cattle
- Do more than 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 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
- When you stay at Rock Creek’s Canyon Creek Ranch you can rent a pan and shovel. Then, wander down the Dewdney Trail to pan in the river
- Maps and a printed guide of the Phoenix Mountain Forest Interpretive Drive are available for free. Get them 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
This is a land rich with natural resources and fertile ranch and farmland. Farmers, ranchers, prospectors and pioneers made their way here, some drawn by the land itself and others by stories of gold and copper. Every one of them left their imprint on Boundary Country. They left a legacy of historical, 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.
Tales from the Railways
The story of Boundary Country’s rich, natural resources begins with horsepower 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 to the early 1900s during the heyday of mineral exploration in Boundary Country. Pop in for a break while cycling the Great Trail (formerly the Trans Canada Trail) or pack up the little ones to play in an authentic Canadian Pacific caboose.
Stay at Mile Zero
The new Bunkhouse at the Kettle River Museum at Mile Zero of the KVR has six rooms with a bunk-bed, locker and desk and shared bathrooms with showers (one wheelchair accessible). There’s also a full kitchen and a large common area for mingling and relaxing. Contact the Kettle River Museum for more information, or email to book.
Enjoy a Ranch Stay
Escape your busy life and stay at one of our ranches. The Old Cowboy ranch offers trail rides and riding lessons. At PV Ranch in the North Fork Valley, you can help out around the ranch, haul hay and feed the cattle. Stay in your own RV or tent, or one of their cozy cabins. In the evening, chat with other guests and the ranchers. It’s all part of relaxing in Boundary Country!
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.
Stories of the past are captured in ancient pictographs along Christina Lake’s eastern shore, north of Texas Point. Decipher their meaning on a guided kayaking expedition, or hike Gladstone (Texas Creek) Provincial Park to uncover ancient homesites and a semi-permanent village once occupied by the Arrow Lakes People.
Take your time exploring, there are a variety of accommodations available in the Christina Lake area.
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. Listen to tales of days-gone-by delivered by local characters who know the stories best.
For a fully immersive B&B experience, stay at Natasha’s Russian Guest House in Grand Forks.
Search for Treasures
Look in any direction to see reminders of the copper mining and smelting wealth that led to Greenwood’s founding, Canada’s smallest city. Explore Phoenix’s ghostly remnants, a once booming mining town, on the Phoenix Mountain Forest Interpretive Drive. Go mining at 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 more tremendous 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 need is a gold pan, plenty of sunscreen and lots of patience. Who knows… you may strike it rich!
Stay the night and explore the area and discover more tales of Rock Creek, past and present.
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. You can 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 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 seen 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.