The City of Cranbrook BC, (pop. close to 19,500), is the largest of all the municipalities in the Columbia Valley/East Kootenay area. With major box-stores, great restaurants and theatres, plus the regional hospital for the East Kootenay, Cranbrook is the go-to place for goods and services not easily accessible in other areas of the valley.
Cranbrook’s major industries include mining, forestry, trades and health care. With many of its properties protected under Heritage Designation and being home to the Canadian Museum of Rail Travel, it is a popular destination for visitors interested in history.
The city boasts more hours of sunshine annually than any other location in all of BC, a dozen schools, one of which is the main Campus of the College of the Rockies, several golf courses plus more just a short drive from the city, the only casino in the region, museums, a thriving arts and culture scene, a professional hockey team and more.
Thousands of years ago, the area that is now Cranbrook was part of a much larger territory that was home to the Ktunaxa people, who traveled from place to place with the seasons, throughout the Kootenay and in Alberta, Montana, Washington and Idaho. They hunted and fished where supply was plentiful and moved on when it was not.
European settlers began to arrive in the 1860s and there was great anticipation of the possibilities for the future of the area. Then, in 1885, one Colonel James Baker arrived in British Columbia from his home in England, settling first in Skookumchuck and then moving to the area which is known today as Cranbrook. He became a politician and was a member of the Legislative Assembly of British Columbia, representing first the Kootenay, then the East Kootenay and after that, the East Kootenay South.
Seeing great opportunities in coal mining and a new railway that was being planned to connect British Columbia with Alberta through the pass, Colonel Baker participated in the development plans and cleverly purchased a very large tract of land. He named it Cranbrook, after his home in Cranbrook, Kent, England. In 1898, the Canadian Pacific Railway was built, bypassing the nearby gold rush boom town of Fort Steele and coming through Cranbrook. History was made and the city is today, a preserved heritage town.
Cranbrook was incorporated on November 1, 1905.
The Cranbrook Visitor Centre is located at 2279 Cranbrook St N. Stop in for maps, brochures, advice about where to stay, play and dine in the Cranbrook area.
Here are some of the many ways to enjoy your visit to Cranbrook BC:
- Swim at the Aquatic Centre in Western Financial Place
- Curl at the Cranbrook Curling Centre
- Take in a live performance at the Key City Theatre or the Stage Door Studio Theatre
- Cheer the Kootenay Ice WHL team in a home game
- Golf at one of the local golf courses
- Try your luck at the casino
- Visit the farmers market
- Take the family to do some mini-golfing at Elizabeth Lake Lodge
- Do some horseback riding
- Take in a movie at the Landmark Cinema
- Enjoy a self-guided Cranbrook Heritage Walking Tour
- In winter, snowmobile and cross-country ski in the backcountry
- Fishing at Idlewild Park for the under-16s and over-65s
- Attend a community festival
- Hike or bike on the 26-km Rails to Trails multi-use path which runs from Cranbrook to Kimberley
Places to Visit
People tend to panic in an emergency and even a simple thing like looking in a phone book can become difficult. If that emergency happens when you are visiting Cranbrook BC, where do you find a doctor and how do you get to the nearest hospital?
For all emergencies – Police, Fire, and Ambulance Services – Call 911
- East Kootenay Regional Hospital – 13 24 Ave. N. – 250-426-5281
- Tamarack Medical Clinic – 191 1500 Cranbrook St. N. – 250-426-7724
- Associate Medical Clinic – 123 10 Ave. S. – 250-426-4231
- People’s Pharmacy – 13 24 Ave. N. – 250-420-4133
- Walmart Supercentre Pharmacy – 2100 Willowbrook Dr. – 250-489-3202
- Shoppers Drug Mart Pharmacy – 60 4th 250-427-4432
- Tanglefoot Veterinary Services – 315 Industrial Rd – 250 -489-1655 – For after hours emergencies, call the office and follow the instructions on the voice mail.
From Calgary, Cranbrook is a pleasant 4-hr drive, with two spectacularly scenic routes to choose from. You may select the northern route through Banff, Yoho and Kootenay National Parks to Radium Hot Springs, then south to Cranbrook. Or you can opt for the southern route through the historic Crowsnest Pass. Both drives offer some of the most spectacular scenery in the country and opportunities for memorable wildlife watching.
You can also get to Cranbrook by plane. The Canadian Rockies International Airport in Cranbrook (YXC) offers regular service to and from Vancouver, Calgary and Kelowna on Air Canada, Integra Air and Pacific Coastal airlines.