Columbia Valley & East Kootenay
CPR Lodge in Invermere
The story of how the Columbia Valley in general and Invermere, in particular, became the world-renowned tourism hub it is today would not be complete without the chapter about the railway and the CPR Lodge.
Originally, the peninsula of land overlooking Lake Windermere which came to be the location of the CPR Lodge, was known as Canterbury Point. In 1911, when Invermere was being developed, its name was changed to Invermere Point. Then in 1923, the area underwent its final name change when the CPR and the Hudson’s Bay Company built a fort there to memorialize the explorer/cartographer/fur trader David Thompson and the area became Fort Point.
The CPR Lodge and cabins were constructed in 1920 by the Canadian Pacific Railway to house its workers while the railway through the Columbia Valley corridor was being built. When the construction of the railway was completed and the workers moved on, the CPR began to advertise the camp to the tourists who were arriving in Invermere on the brand-new Kootenay Central Railway.
The area already boasted a well-established 9-hole golf course and when the CPR promised such additional pleasures as bathing, boating, horseback riding and hiking, with dining and dancing in the Lodge, the history of the Columbia Valley tourism industry took a gigantic step forward.
Over its lifetime, the CPR Lodge and its rustic cabins wore many hats: first, of course, as a work camp then a tourism resort, later as a summer retreat for wealthy young women, followed by a ranch camp for girls. After that, the cabins were offered for sale separately and were bought up by private individuals, becoming summer homes. Through all these many changes, however, the CPR Lodge remained a community social hub, the venue for many musical evenings and parties.
In the 1960s, the CPR Lodge was bought by a local family who lived there for many years. Years later, their descendants offered the land for sale. A handful of private citizens, concerned that this small piece of Invermere’s history would be destroyed, came together to raise the necessary funds to move the CPR Lodge to Kinsmen Park. The completely restored and refurbished building sits there today, a precious link to the story of the spread of tourism in the Columbia Valley.
The building is an ideal venue for small weddings and community gatherings as well as private birthday and retirement celebrations. It is entirely maintained and operated by the District of Invermere.
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