Mount Currie

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

Mount Currie, a settlement nestled in the Squamish-Lillooet region of southwestern British Columbia, is a hidden gem waiting to be explored. Located on BC Highway 99, it is approximately 160 kilometres north of Vancouver, 39 kilometres northeast of Whistler, and 92 kilometres southwest of Lillooet. Governed by the Lillooet Tribal Council, Mount Currie is a blend of First Nations reserves and a smaller freehold unincorporated community.

The First Nations of Mount Currie, British Columbia

The First Nations reserves of Mount Currie straddle the Birkenhead River, extending north to the same latitude as the Owl Creek community. The Lil'wat First Nation, who comprise most of the Mount Currie population, are of the Interior Salish people and form part of the Upper Lillooet language group of the St'at'imc Nation. The Lil'wat operate their own gas station and grocery store, and the Stl’atl’imx Tribal Police are based at Mount Currie.

Early Community Life in Mount Currie, British Columbia

The early community of Mount Currie was visited by Alexander Caulfield Anderson in 1846. The government created a 2,000-hectare reserve at Mount Currie in 1881, which was cultivated into fine crops and orchards by the early 1900s. The one-room school, which opened at Mount Currie in the 1930s, was called the Pemberton Indian Day School. In the early 1970s, the school transferred to indigenous control, becoming the Ts̓zil Community School, now known as the Xet̓ólacw Community School.

The Origin of the Name: Mount Currie, British Columbia

The post office and train station were originally called Creekside. In 1956, the names changed to Mount Currie, derived from the mountain which recognizes John Currie of Pemberton. Ts̓zil is the original name for the mountain.

Early General Community of Mount Currie, British Columbia

The meadows north of the settlement were among the first privately held land on the BC mainland. The first Creekside store was built around 1923 by Bill Kiltz. The store sold groceries, hardware, basic clothing, and some pharmaceuticals. By 1937, A. William (Bill) Spetch moved the Owl Creek store/post office to Creekside to serve the indigenous village.

Owl Creek General Community near Mount Currie, British Columbia

In 1905, a water-powered sawmill came to Owl Creek for a short period to produce lumber for the hatchery buildings. Samuel Spetch relocated his store/post office from Birken to Owl Creek in 1908. By 1937, A.William (Bill) Spetch took over his father's store at Owl Creek.

Transportation in Mount Currie, British Columbia

Road and railway access to Mount Currie has been similar to Pemberton. The northward advance of the Pacific Great Eastern Railway (PGE) rail head passed in November 1914. The nearest train stations in 1922 were about 7.6 kilometres northeast at Spetch and 7.9 kilometres west at Pemberton.

Later General Community of Mount Currie, British Columbia

The mainstays of agriculture and forestry have since been supplemented by tourism and service-based industries, where improved internet has enabled professionals to work from home. The annual Lillooet Lake Rodeo continues to be held at Mount Currie in May, attracting visitors from all over the region.

Sources