Kimberley BC is a delightfully quaint city with a population of roughly 6,600. Sitting astride Highway 95A between the Kootenay Rockies and the Purcells, it is only a short drive from the Canadian Rockies International Airport in Cranbrook.
Named in 1896 after the historic mine in South Africa, Kimberley is also popularly known as the ‘Bavarian City of the Rockies’ and the ‘City of Festivals’. It has rightfully earned fame as a 4-season resort destination, attracting thousands annually to its incredible variety of things to do and places to see.
Historically, Kimberley is a mining community with a distinctly European alpine theme that can be immediately recognized in the downtown Platzl. The Platzl is a peaceful, brick-paved pedestrian-only area which is bordered by unique boutiques, restaurants serving authentic European cuisine and, if it can be imagined, Canada’s largest free-standing cuckoo clock! When you put a coin into the clock, the town’s mascot, Happy Hans, pops out, dressed in his alpine finery, to serenade you with a yodel.
Kimberley, with its surrounding area, is a haven for artists and artisans in all the creative endeavors. Painting, music, fibre arts, dance, drama, comedy, writing – whatever you can imagine, there are artists creating new and innovative ways to celebrate the unique cultural history of the area.
At the forefront of Kimberley arts and culture, is the Kimberley Arts Council (KAC), whose hub of activity is the wonderful Centre 64. The centre houses an art gallery for a continuing series of fine art exhibitions, a 1,650 sq ft, 128-seat theatre, a dance studio, fibre arts room, ceramics studio and more. Throughout the year, KAC organizes and hosts workshops, live performances, programs and camps for kids and cultural festivals such as Julyfest, Kimberley Kaleidoscope, First Saturdays, the Fall Concert Series and many more.
Kimberley abounds with summer-time things to do for everyone of every age. Golfers can enjoy some exceptional golfing in 3 championship courses within the city limits:
- Bootleg Gap has 2 courses to choose from – an 18-hole, Les Furber-designed course and a 9-hole course
- Trickle Creek, also designed by Les Furber, is at the base of the North Star Mountain, offering plenty of challenges as you golf through the alpine forest
- Kimberley Golf Club in Marysville, built in 1924, is a classic among golf courses and has hosted many provincial and regional tournaments.
Visitors can also:
- Hike or bike to explore the Kimberley Nature Park and Lois Creek Trails
- Fly-fish for rainbow, cutthroat and bull trout in one of the lakes and rivers
- Take a horseback adventure and spend a night in a teepee
- Attend one of the many community festivals
- Swim at the indoor Aquatic Centre
- Skateboard at the skateboard and bike park
- Lawn bowl
- Play a game of tennis, indoors or out
- White-water raft, canoe or kayak on the St. Mary’s River
- Take an eco-friendly guided hiking adventure
- Do some wildlife viewing. There’s elk, deer, moose, wolverines, bears, sheep and bird-life to get the photographer in you excited.
- Soak in one of the popular natural mineral springs at Lussier Creek or Buhl Creek
- Take the kids to one of the many playgrounds in one of the city parks
- Walk, run, skateboard, rollerblade or bike the 25 km non-motorized ‘Rails to Trails’, linking Kimberley with Cranbrook and built on a converted railway bed.
- Take a trip on the Kimberley Underground Railway
- Lots more
Places to visit in the summer:
- The beautiful Marysville Falls
- Kimberley Nature Park, the largest municipal park in Canada
- Eco Park
- Provincial parks nearby (Premier Lake, Whiteswan Lake, Wasa Lake and St. Mary’s Alpine Provincial Park)
- The Cominco Gardens with more than 25,000 blooms on display
- The Sullivan mine with its Kimberley Underground Mining Railway
- Fort Steele Heritage Town, a restored 1890s pioneer town with dozens of heritage buildings, steam train rides, live theatre, demos, etc.
- The Kootenay Trout Hatchery which stocks up to 150 lakes in the east and west Kootenay Rockies regions, with 2.5 million trout fingerlings and salmon.
- Orpheum Theatre, a nostalgic representation of the original 1000-seat theatre which was built in 1940 and was the most modern in the East Kootenay at the time.
- Centre 64’s art gallery exhibitions, theatre, live concerts, workshops and annual craft fair, run by the Kimberley Arts Council
- A local heritage site
With hours and hours of sunshine and legendary amounts of powder on the slopes, Kimberley is a great place to be in the wintertime. Enjoy:
- World-class downhill skiing on the slopes at Kimberley Alpine Resort with 80 runs covering 729ha (1,800ac ) of ski-able terrain.
- Snowboarding on those same slopes
- Ice skating
- Snowshoeing and cross-country skiing on the extensive trail system in Kimberley Nature Park, the Rails to Trails, Lois Creek Trails or in one of the provincial parks.
- Cheering the Kimberley Dynamiters Junior B Ice Hockey team at a home game
- Nordic skiing on the more than 33 km of groomed, double-track trails at the Kimberley Nordic Club, with a 3.3 km illuminated trail for night skiing.
- Snowmobiling in the back-country near Lost Dog Creek or Perry Creek
- Taking a horse-drawn sleigh ride
- Having dinner in an igloo
- More, more, more