Canal Flats

  • A great spot to take your dogs near the Bridge

Columbia Valley Communities

Canal Flats BC

Incorporated in 2004, Canal Flats is one of the youngest communities in British Columbia. You’ll find it along Highway 93/95, between Invermere and Cranbrook, at the base of the Canadian Rockies. With mountain wilderness opportunities all around the village and with just a short drive to either Invermere, Kimberley or Cranbrook, Canal Flats residents enjoy the best of both worlds.


This small but unique Columbia Valley village has a huge and very rich history and its residents are proud of their story.

Originally named McGillivray’s Portage by explorer and cartographer, David Thompson in 1808, it was later renamed to reflect the vision of an Englishman, William Adolphe Baillie-Grohman to build a canal across Columbia Lake to the Kootenay River. The BC Government finally built the canal and closed it a year later but the name stuck and the remains of what had been a dream are a tourist attraction to this day.


Things to do

There is a wide variety of things to do in Canal Flats, with restaurants, a neighborhood pub, an arena, library, community centre and several stores. A 1.5 km hiking and interpretive trail provides enjoyment for the young and not-so-young. You can play nine holes of golf on a summer’s day or take a short drive to one of several championship golf courses in the area. Swimming, boating, hiking, camping and picnicking in the park are great activities in the summer months. In winter, snowmobiling, cross-country skiing, hockey and more are popular in the village and nearby area.

Columbia Lake

At more than 10.5 sq. mi (2,758 ha), Columbia Lake is the largest warm water lake in the East Kootenay. It is fed by several small tributaries, being the primary lake at the headwaters of the mighty Columbia River, which empties into the Pacific Ocean at Astoria, Oregon in the USA, 2,000 km (1,243 miles) later.

The average temperature of the lake in July is 18 degrees C, its typical depth is 15 ft and its waters are crystal clear, making it ideal for swimmers. windsurfers, paddlers, and motorized water craft.

Fishing is a popular year-round sport on Columbia Lake. There is an abundance of mountain whitefish, burbot (also called lingcod), kokanee, rainbow trout, bull trout and cutthroat trout. Columbia Lake Provincial Park lies along the eastern shores of the lake.

Nearby parks

Tilley Memorial Park, right within the village is at the south end of Columbia Lake. The park features a boat ramp, tables, wheelchair access and washrooms, plus a beautiful beach which is always popular in summer. You can just launch your canoe or kayak into the lake via the boat ramp and explore the wetlands, view the abundant wildlife or do some fishing.

Provincial Parks such as Top of the World, Premier Lake and Whiteswan are close by, as well as both Whitetail and Blue Lake. If you are a hiker, you are in luck because you can shoulder your backpack and hike up the Kootenay River Road into the wilderness where you can hunt, fish, camp or do some whitewater rafting.

A great place to raise a family

Canal Flats people have a passionate commitment to building a lifestyle that supports family, friends and neighbors, with a strong emphasis on the outdoors. People looking to move to the Columbia Valley to raise their families, are increasingly finding the village of Canal Flats a great place to call home.

The Canal Flats BC area is just waiting for you to discover it. Once you do, you’ll want to return.To learn more about Canal Flats, BC, you can visit


Canal Flats is located about 20 minutes south of Fairmont Hot Springs. It’s a lovely drive on a good highway with views of the Dutch Creek hoodoos, the mountains and a breathtaking, camera-perfect vista of Columbia Lake from a roadside viewpoint along the way. You can drive from Calgary to Canal Flats in about 3 1/2 hours, from Kimberley in about 45 minutes.

Canal Flats | Headwaters of the Columbia River