On the 28th of July, 1904 the southeastern town of Fernie was incorporated into the province of British Columbia. Continuing on with this blog’s tradition for incorporation birthdays; here are 10, predominantly, historical facts about the city:
- It is the only city in British Columbia that is completely surrounded by the Canadian Rockies.
- Prior to its development as a mining camp, the area was inhabited seasonally by First Nations groups.
- While the city was incorporated in 1904, it was founded six years earlier in 1898.
- Fernie is the largest and longest-established community between Cranbrook and Lethbridge.
- The city’s history is centered around coal mining which began with the founding of the Crows Nest Pass Coal Company in 1897.
- The following year, the year of Fernie’s founding, the CPR arrived in the area which allowed the town to begin emerging from the temporary camps that had been existing in the area.
- A fire swept through the town in 1904 destroying much of the downtown area.
- The most noticeable result of this fire was that, in the aftermath, it was ordered by the municipal government that all buildings be constructed out of fire-proof materials such as brick and stone which produced a city with a far more refined appearance then that which is seen in most mining towns.
- The city has some really cool legends such as the Legend of the Griz (about a baby born in a grizzly bear cave) or the Legend of the Ghostrider (claims that every evening a shadow of a horse and rider appears on the side of Mt. Hosmer). Learn more about those here.
- Today the city, while still majorly dependent on the mining industry, is also prospering in the tourism industry due to the numerous ski hills in the area.