We woke to yet another dark, cloudy day. We took our chances, though, and went to Fort Steele Heritage Town (www.FortSteele.ca).
Fort Steele Heritage Town represents a typical turn-of-the-century town of the East Kootenays. Over 60 buildings and structures have been restored and reconstructed since the site was designated a heritage property in 1961. Public donations helped to furnish the buildings.
The origin of Fort Steele is closely linked to the discovery of gold nearby in the 1860s. John Galbraith started a ferry service over the Kootenay River, which he and his family operated until the first bridge was built in 1888. By 1865 most of the miners had moved on but, when the Canadian Pacific Railway to Golden was completed in 1885, more settlers arrived. This eventually resulted in land ownership disputes between the local Ktunaxa and the newcomers. Ultimately, Superintendent Samual B. Steele and 75 Mounted Police were sent to resolve the problems. They built the Kootenay Post. In 1904 the Provincial government officers were moved to Cranbrook and Fort Steele began to decline.
There were many interesting and entertaining demonstrations. I watched a young man make Christmas tree decorations (“icicles”) out of tin at the Pioneer Tin Shop. I had lunch at the Old City Bakery, where I ate my first Cornish pastie. It was good but not one of my favorite things. I enjoyed the performance of “Rome Is Where the Part Is” at the Coventry Opera House. The highlight of the day for me was the live show at the Wildhorse Theatre, “C J Fox and His Kid Cricket”. At about 2:00 o’clock it started raining, just as I was heading to the Railway Station. The steam train has two cars with open sides, one that is totally open and one that is closed. I headed for the closed car! The 30-minute trip included one overlook stop. I took only one shot of the Kootenay River. It would take all day to see everything here.