Fairmont Hot Springs, Photo Destination BC Kari Medig
Fairmont Hot Springs is located in the Columbia Valley in the Canadian Rockies between the Purcell and Rocky Mountains. The Columbia River is an outdoor adventurer’s dream with spectacular views, an abundance of year-round sports and activities including; golfing, kayaking, hiking, horseback riding and winter sports. The highlight however is the choice of amazing hot mineral pools where you can relax and say goodbye to the daily stresses. Opt for a scenic tour – see the mountains and glaciers in their natural, pristine beauty as you fly over the Bugaboos and Purcell Mountains and follow the stunning scenic Columbia River valley. Windsurfing is popular at nearby Columbia Lake Provincial Park as are canoeing, cycling, mountain biking, swimming and other outdoor activities. If you like some quiet fishing time, cast a line for mountain whitefish, burbot, kokanee, rainbow trout, bull trout and cutthroat trout.
Fairmont Hot Springs is located in the Kootenay Rockies area of British Columbia. It is situated on Hwy 93/95, 108 km (67 mi) north of Cranbrook, and 141 km (88 mi) south of Golden. Calgary, Alberta is 299 km (185 mi) to the east via Hwys 1 and 93. Other nearby communities include: Radium Hot Springs and Skookumchuk.
The recorded history of Fairmont Hot Springs begins in the early 1800s, when explorers discovered the ‘land of smoking waters’, where the warm springs were soothing, and where there was a lack of sulphur and its distinctive smell (common to many hot springs).
The first homesteader in the Fairmont Hot Springs area was George Geary, an Englishman, who came here in 1887 and homesteaded a vast tract of land that included the hot springs. In 1888 he turned his holdings over to Sam Brewer, an American, who operated a stopping place for stagecoaches running through the valley. Both Geary’s home and Brewer’s home are still standing with the latter still being lived in.
In the early 1900s, W. Heap Holland, a manufacturer from Manchester, England, came to the area. Intrigued by the flowing hot waters, he purchased the property from Sam Brewer and operated it as a ranch and resort. In 1957, brothers Earl and Lloyd Wilder, moved from Saskatchewan, and purchased the Fairmont Hot Springs property with a group of investors and in 1965, Lloyd purchased Earl’s share to become the sole owner.
The transformation of this world-renowned resort took over 40 years to develop and has been achieved with the loyalty and dedication of a very committed group of employees.