Founded in 1892 by silver miners, New Denver reached its economic peak in the early 20th century. By 1920, the mining boom was over, and logging became the main industry. Today, tourism and other businesses have diversified the economy. New Denver is a progressive village that values its history and future.
During World War II after the bombing of Pearl Harbor, the Canadian government sent thousdands of Japanese-Canadians to internment camps in the BC Interior. New Denver had a number of abandoned houses from the boom times, and many more smaller dwellings were built to house the 2,000 men, women and children of Japanese origins. Some of these tiny houses still exist today.
New Denver is located on the eastern shore of Slocan Lake at the junction of Highway 6 and Highway 31A, 8 km (5 mi) north of Silverton and 46 km (29 mi) southeast of Nakusp.
This public Japanese-style garden was established to honour the many Canadian citizens of Japanese heritage who were forcibly resettled to the BC Interior in 1942. It is a serene lakeside place for contemplation and for enjoyment of the natural and complementary landscapes. The Kohan Garden is located at the end of lst Avenue, south of Centennial Park.
The Nikkei Internment Memorial Centre (NIMC) in New Denver is the only interpretive centre in Canada dedicated to the history of the uprooting and internment of over 22,000 Canadians of Japanese heritage. The centre is situated on one of ten Canadian internment campsites which were located in the interior of BC during the Second World War. The NIMC is a project of the Kyowakai (translated - "working together peacefully") Society, and consists of five buildings, three of which are original huts or shacks from 1942. Inside two of the huts you will see the furnishings and stoves that were actually used by occupants. At times two families occupied one hut, one family on either side of a common kitchen. Toilet facilities (rows of outhouses) are also preserved. The large central hall displays pictures, texts, equipment for tents, desks, boxes, and other luggage used in the journey to the various campsites from the coast. Although sixty years have passed, there are a few citizens still living in New Denver who were originally resettled here in 1942.
The garden was designed by Mr. Roy Sumi at the age of 87. He had already designed many other Japanese gardens in Canada, and for many years, supervised the Nitobe Garden at the University of British Columbia in Vancouver. He contributed rare plants from his own garden to the Centre that are carefully tended by volunteers today. Bring your camera and record the attractive garden design and the plants. Unfortunately, Mr. Sumi died in 1997.
Come to the Silvery Slocan Historical Museum on 6th Avenue to learn more about mining, transportation, logging, commerce, and early village life. Included in the many exhibits are collections of records, artifacts, and photographs of the Slocan Lake Area, as well as instruments from the early Slocan Community Hospital, artifacts from the old Knox Church, and a room dedicated to New Denver Japanese-Canadians.
Go swimming at Centennial Park or Bigelow Beach. Rent a boat and go sailing, fishing, or canoeing in Slocan Lake.
You will find many, many hiking trails, some easy, some difficult. Never treat them lightly. Local stores have lots of good books and you MUST be well prepared. Try the Galena Trail, which is an old railway bed that extends from Rosebery to Three Forks. This is a very gentle eight kilometer walk and has the added attraction of a small trolley across the creek at the old Alamo mine site.
The area around New Denver has roads that are challenging to both cyclists and motorcyclists, with plenty of twists and beautiful scenery.
The Hidden Garden Gallery is a small community-run gallery with new art shows every week from June to October. Concerts on the stage in the enclosed garden happen frequently.
The garlic festival is held annually in September.
Slocan District Chamber of Commerce