Fernie, British Columbia Canada

Discover Fernie, British Columbia: A Blend of History and Natural Beauty

Fernie, British Columbia, is a city nestled in the Elk Valley area of the East Kootenay region. This southeastern Canadian city, founded in 1898 and incorporated in July 1904, is home to over 5,000 residents, with an additional 2,000 living in nearby communities under the jurisdiction of the Regional District of East Kootenay. Fernie's population swells during the winter months, thanks to a substantial seasonal influx.

The Unique Geography of Fernie, British Columbia

Fernie is the only city-class municipality in Canada fully encircled by the Rocky Mountains. The city lies on the Elk River, along Canada's southernmost east-west transportation corridor through the Rockies. The townsite is laid out in a doglegged glacial valley drained by the Elk River, with three tributaries—Coal, Lizard, and Fairy Creeks—joining the Elk within or near the townsite.

Mount Fernie, Mount Klauer, The Three Sisters, and Mount Proctor lie to the north of the city, while Mount Hosmer, Fernie Ridge, Morrissey Ridge, and the Lizard Range surround the city on other sides. The Lizard Range is home to Fernie Alpine Resort, one of Canada's largest ski resorts, and Island Lake Catskiing, a resort.

The Rich History of Fernie, British Columbia

Fernie owes its origins to nineteenth-century prospector William Fernie, who established the coal industry that still exists today. The Canadian Pacific Railway arrived in the valley in 1898, and a townsite emerged parallel to the railway line. On May 23, 1902, a coal mine explosion killed 109 miners at the Crow's Nest Coal Mining Company, one of the worst mining accidents in Canadian history.

During World War One, an internment camp for prisoners of war was set up in Fernie. Underground coal mines were dug 10 kilometres away from the townsite in the narrow Coal Creek valley. No mining was ever carried out in Fernie proper; the town developed into an administrative and commercial centre for the burgeoning industry.

The Tragic Flathead Valley Avalanches in Fernie, British Columbia

The Flathead Valley avalanches were two avalanches that buried 11 snowmobilers near Fernie on December 28, 2008. The avalanches claimed the lives of eight of the riders.

The Architectural Heritage of Fernie, British Columbia

After a fire levelled much of the downtown core in 1904, the municipal government required all buildings to be built of 'fireproof' materials like brick and stone. A second, larger fire swept through the city in 1908, but the city rebuilt once again. Today, these historic buildings are a treasured and distinctive feature of the community.

The Demographics of Fernie, British Columbia

In the 2021 Census of Population conducted by Statistics Canada, Fernie had a population of 6,320 living in 2,597 of its 3,256 total private dwellings, a change of 17.1% from its 2016 population of 5,396. With a land area of 15.11 km2, it had a population density of 418.3/km2 in 2021.

The Climate of Fernie, British Columbia

Fernie has a cool and wet humid continental climate with warm summer days, cool summer nights, and cold, snowy winters. Influenced by chinook winds and being to the west of the continent, Fernie's winters are mild for its latitude in North America, although the climate is more continental than coastal British Columbia.