Have you ever dreamed of a place drenched in sunshine, where flowering trees cover the land as far as your eye can see, and birds soar gracefully overhead? A place where towering cliffs stand sentry over a serene and beautiful valley, where a vast, deep lake glitters in daytime and a vast, deep sky sparkles at night?
We’ve dreamed of that place too. And each day we open our eyes and discover that it’s all around us – right here in the Creston Valley.
Until not long ago, this valley was a well-kept secret. Before the Dewdney Trail opened access to the area, only the Ktunaxa nation – a people whose history here extends back over 10,000 years – knew the waterways and sloughs that drained into what’s now known as Kootenay Lake.
The first European settlers arrived in the late 1800s to a place quite different from the Creston Valley we know today. The annual freshet flooded the entire valley, and the water receded over the course of the summer. Settlers used canoes, rowboats, and later sternwheelers to navigate the boundless wetland. In 1883, William Baillie-Grohman began investigating ways of reclaiming the Creston flats from the flooding, an idea that was taken up a decade later by the Alberta-BC Exploration Company, which wanted to make the area suitable for agriculture. Creston’s first major industry was forestry, and early in the twentieth century the Canadian Pacific Railway dominated the transportation industry, replacing the steamships that crossed Kootenay Lake. Although the first apple orchards were planted in 1901, it was not until the diking of the Kootenay River in 1935 that the valley’s rich alluvial soil was widely accessible for farming. Large-scale cultivation of the flats began immediately thereafter.
The Creston Valley has since become legendary for its exceptional growing conditions, and the agricultural industry here has thrived. But we’re not just about agriculture – what really makes this valley exceptional is the quality of the people that call it home. The valley is full of friendly, hard-working, down-to-earth folks who still love to dream, no matter what age they are. From farmers to artists to entrepreneurs to families, it’s a place where you’ll find not only fresh food, but fresh ideas and fresh opportunities.
Our community is growing at a rate well above the national average, and we can understand why – we’ve got the things that dreams are made of. This is small-town life at its very best, where young families and elders grow together, where appreciation for life’s bounty runs as deep as our beautiful lake and even deeper. We have so very much to share. Come share it with us.