Christina Lake - Grand Forks, BC
Located on the western edge of the South Kootenays in British Columbia’s Kootenay Rockies region, Christina Lake is known for its clean, clear, warm waters and popular with everyone who wants a cool dip away from the summer heat. Sandy beaches invite you to swim, boat, water ski, kayak, go tubing and more. If you are a fisher, Christina Lake offers opportunities for fly fishing, trolling, casting, or ice fishing in the winter. There are two golf courses in the area – 9-hole and 18-hole – take your choice. Horseback riding, hiking and biking on the Kettle Valley Railway Trail which runs alongside the river and a must see and do is the Cascade Gorge section which is unrivaled anywhere on the KVR and must be seen to appreciate the majesty of the Falls.
Christina Lake is on Hwy 3, the Crowsnest Highway, 21 km (13 mi) east of Grand Forks, 73 km (45 mi) west of Castlegar, about halfway between Vancouver, British Columbia and Calgary, Alberta and close to the US border.
Christina Lake was named after Christina McDonald, daughter of the fur trader Angus McDonald, who ran the Hudson’s Bay Company station at Fort Colville from 1852 to 1871. In 1865, the extension of the Dewdney Trail from Rock Creek to Wild Horse Creek provided early pioneers with the first route into the Christina Lake region that didn’t require travelling through American territory. The area didn’t really begin to grow until the late 1880s and early 1890s when prospectors and trappers arrived. In 1896, F.A. Heinze, owner of the Trail smelter, chartered the Columbia & Western Railway. In 1898 the Canadian Pacific Railway bought out the C&W and began construction in Castlegar. The C&W railway was completed as far as Grand Forks by September 1899, and reached Midway the following year. By the turn of the century Christina Lake had multiple townsites, with a total of at least five hotels.
By the late 1890s Cascade City was a bustling community of approximately 1,000 residents, with its own newspaper, The Cascade Record. The Cascade Water Power & Light Co. Ltd. was incorporated in 1898 and started building its dam across the Kettle River. The powerhouse at Cascade would provide electric power to Grand Forks, Phoenix and Greenwood, as well as to various local mines and smelters. Today, the magnificent gorge can be seen from the bridge on Highway 395 or by following trails that lead to closer vantage points.