Located amid the stunning Selkirk Mountains in the West Kootenays, Fruitvale is known as the “Heart of the Beaver Valley”. This narrow valley encompasses the communities of Fruitvale, Montrose and Trail and is traversed by Beaver Creek, famous for its plentiful brook and rainbow trout. Farming, horses and babbling brooks characterise the Fruitvale area. Visitors to the Beaver Valley can enjoy an abundance of outdoor activities including fishing, golfing, hiking and wildlife viewing as well as stunning skiing opportunities at nearby Red Mountain Resort, cross-country skiing at Champion Lakes and snowmobiling. Championship disc golf is also popular and can be found close by.
Fruitvale is 8 hours east of Vancouver in the Kootenay Rockies region and is close to the U.S. Border. From Nelson Fruitvale is 66 km (41 mi) via Hwys 6 and 3B. Castlegar is 45 km (28 mi) from Fruitvale via Hwys 3 and 3B and Cranbrook is 213 km (132 mi) via Hwys 3 and 95.
The first white man to the Fruitvale area came here in 1812, following the Columbia River from the current US/Canadian boundary to the Arrow Lakes. Fur traders soon utilized the river in their long canoes, trading with the Indians who lived in the area.
It was another 50 years or so however, before a permanent settlement known as Fort Shepherd appeared. This was built by the Hudson’s Bay Company. The lure of gold brought miners and prospectors to the area and the community grew.
In 1893 a railway stop was built named Beaver Siding for the Nelson and Fort Sheppard Railway (later the Great Northern Railroad). The railway allowed travel in the winter and lumber camps proliferated at the turn of the 20th century. In 1906, Fruitvale Limited purchased a great deal of land on both sides of this stop and changed the name to Fruitvale. The company subdivided the land and put it up for sale, marketing the area as the best fruit growing area in the West Kootenays. In the summer of 1907 the first settlers arrived, many travelling from Ontario. By 1908, 2,000 acres of land had been sold to 200 different families of settlers. Land was cleared, homes built, fruit trees planted.
The village was incorporated in 1952 and today there is a population of some 2,000 people.
Fruitvale also has a history of producing world-class athletes who have played in the National Hockey League (NHL) and competed in world-cup skiing.