Tucked away in the southern interior on a fertile plain at the foothills of the Selkirks, Grand Forks is steeped in sunshine, history and natural beauty.
In 1900 it was the site of the largest copper smelter in BC and was for decades a boom-town that thrived on mining, logging and excellent farming. Today, people reside and visit for the region’s beauty, recreation and alternative economic opportunities.
The downtown still boasts stately old homes, a historic post office and courthouse (now home of the Visitors Centre). The second floor of the courthouse, with its ornate ceilings and stained glass is the centre of the town’s arts community and a venue for visual and performing arts.
Art walks through the town and historic sites begin here.
Of particular interest in Grand Forks is the Doubkhobor history. The Doubkhobors, a sect of the Russian Orthodox Church that broke away on Pacifist grounds, came to Grand Forks in the early 1900’s to escape persecution. They successfully farmed the area’s rich soils for decades, set up a mill and utilized a non-cash barter and trade system with other residents that lasted for decades. Historic sites include Mountainview Doubkhobor Village, the Doukhobor Mill and the Fructova School.
The town is at the confluence of two rivers, the Kettle and Granby. Enjoy these picturesque waters from the city park, or seek out one of many secluded spots and gravel bars.
Whether you are hiking, biking, or cross country skiing, two major trail systems follow old rail grades from the downtown. The Trans Canada Trail follows the Granby River valley into the forested high country; and the Vancouver, Victoria & Eastern take you through farm country and grasslands.
21km east of Grand Forks, Christina Lake, renowned for its warm water, offers some of the best swimming and boating in the province.
For the more adventurous, the area is loaded with mountain bike trails and hiking. Access into the Selkirk Mountains foothills and beyond into the backcountry is provided through Gladstone Provincial Park, at the north end of Christina Lake. There are 63 campsites at this location, a boat launch and beach for swimming. Fish for Kokanee, rainbow trout and small-mouth bass from this park.
Downhill skiing at Phoenix Mountain offers runs graded from green to black and has been called the ‘the best little ski hill in the province’. Further up, miles of cross-country trails begin, as well as access to backcountry skiing. Consistently cool temperatures and precipitation make for great winter recreation.
A day in Grand Forks may start with an art walk through the old town, move to some prospecting at an old mine for colourful fluorite, barite and quartz crystals, and finish with a river swim or some fantastic organic produce from the “Sunshine Valley”. For more information please visit www.city.grandforks.bc.ca