Wasa, British Columbia Canada

Discover Wasa, British Columbia: A Historical and Tourism Perspective

Wasa, an unincorporated community in the East Kootenay region of southeastern British Columbia, is a hidden gem nestled on the east shore of the Kootenay River. This locality, situated on the merged section of highways 93 and 95, is approximately 36 kilometres north of Cranbrook and 211 kilometres southeast of Golden.

The Origin of Wasa, British Columbia

The name Wasa was chosen by Nils Hanson, who arrived in the district in 1885. He purchased land from the Kootenay Valley Lands Co and made pre-emptions, amassing 490 hectares. The name Wasa was chosen to honour his homeland, possibly after a Swedish king of the House of Vasa, the Swedish battleship Vasa, or a Scandinavian place such as Vaasa or Väsa. The body of water was initially called Hanson's Lake, which later became Hanson (or sometimes Hansen) Lake. The name was officially adopted in 1954 and changed to Wasa Lake in 1964.

The Early Days of Wasa, British Columbia

Hanson undertook ranching and lumber activities in Wasa. He established the first sawmill in 1887 and by 1901, he had two mills on the west side of the river. By 1896, he ran a general store and built a fine residence to entertain his guests. He also built a hotel that year, which proved popular on opening early the next year. These properties were at the southern end of the lake. By 1901, about 20 further buildings made up the surrounding community.

The Evolution of Wasa, British Columbia

Over the years, Wasa has seen many changes. The arrival of the railway diminished Hanson's freighting business. He had sold his Wasa holdings to the Unionist Investment Co, which failed during World War I, reverting the assets to the Hanson estate. The BC Prohibition era of 1916–1920 destroyed business. The main sawmill closed in 1927 after easily available timber for logging had run out. When combined with the shuttering of the Estella Mine, Wasa entered a period of decline.

Infrastructure and Amenities in Wasa, British Columbia

Today, Wasa boasts a church, community hall, general store/post office/gas station, country pub, and motel. The lake is among the warmer in Canada. At the south end is the Wasa Slough Wildlife Sanctuary. A wheelchair and bike accessible trail surrounds the lake. At the north end is the Wasa Lake Provincial Park, which has been a popular family vacation destination since the 1950s.

Nearby Communities: Ta Ta Creek and Tracy Town

Ta Ta Creek lies across the river to the northwest. The community was named after Norman (Red) McLeod, a horse thief who arrived in the East Kootenays in the early 1890s. Tracy Town, about 9 kilometres northeast of Wasa on Lewis Creek, was first settled in 1898. By 1901, the thriving community comprised residences, stores, a community hall, churches, a school, and hotels.

The Climate of Wasa, British Columbia

Wasa enjoys a temperate climate, making it an ideal destination for outdoor activities and nature exploration. Whether you're a history enthusiast or a nature lover, Wasa, British Columbia has something to offer everyone.