Kootenay Lake, Kaslo, Photo Destination BC David Gluns
The village of Kaslo is located on scenic Kootenay Lake surrounded by the Selkirk and Purcell mountain ranges. It is home to the world’s oldest intact passenger sternwheeler, the SS Moyie which is well worth a tour to see it in its original Victorian glory. Beaches, boating, kayaking, golfing and fishing are all popular and with an abundance of trails in the area hiking, biking and mountain biking are near at hand. In the winter there is snowmobiling and cross-country skiing.
The Village of Kaslo is located 70 km (44 mi) north of Nelson via Hwy 3A & Hwy 31 on the western shore of Kootenay Lake and 46 km (28 mi) east of New Denver via Hwy 31. Balfour, where the ferry takes travelers to Kootenay Bay, lies 37 km (23 mi) south of Kaslo on Hwy 31. Ainsworth Hot Springs is 22 km (14 mi) south from Kaslo.
Kaslo is historically a logging town. In 1889 and 1890, George Buchanan and the brothers Kane staked timber claims. As mining activity took off in the surrounding area, part of the timber claim was surveyed as a town site – Kane’s Landing, which later became Kaslo in 1893.
Disaster struck in 1894 as fire, flood and winds came in succession. In February, half of the town’s commercial district was destroyed by fire. June began with rising flood waters, and on June 3, 1894, a storm with hurricane force winds destroyed between 60-70 houses, two hotels, the jail, and several other two-storey buildings.
By 1896, Kaslo turned her fortunes around with the completion of the K&S Railway, built over the pass to Sandon, and within two years Kaslo boasted telephone and electrical service, a brewery, a cigar factory, and a full complement of hotels, bars, and brothels.
Over the next 50 years, metal prices fell and mining costs rose, resulting in a decline in mining activity and in the viability of the town. Kaslo turned to fruit farming. The cherries grown in Kaslo at the time were reputed to be as large as plums. The industry abruptly closed due to “cherry disease.”
Eventually a home-grown economy was created that was varied enough to withstand the changes of time. Lifestyle, tourism, forestry, small and home-based businesses are now the foundation of Kaslo’s prosperity.