Discover our History & Heritage
“Those who don’t know history are doomed to repeat it.” That famous quote doesn’t quite hold water here. We’ve managed to capture our history & heritage of prospecting, ranching and First Nations history, creating a legacy for generations to come. It’s easy to imagine the day-to-day life of our earliest explorers and pioneers. Come and see our interpretive exhibits at museums and heritage sites throughout the Similkameen.
Our heritage attractions provide a great setting for some of the valley’s annual events. So, come, celebrate our heritage with us by delving into our past. You never know what you’ll uncover here!
Visit the Princeton Museum and Archives
You’ll be transported back in time to our homesteading past at the Princeton Museum and Archives. Follow in the footsteps of the Allison family, the first to settle in Princeton, and discover how a family of eight lived in a house the size of a modern-day bathroom.
North America’s largest private mineral collection gets a glowing reception with glow-in-the-dark specimens sure to capture your imagination. An informal classroom, kids love to take part in our day camps to learn archeology and gold panning. They love to discover there’s life beyond their handheld screens. You don’t need to keep your hands in your pockets here, our exhibits are meant to be touched and played with. These displays bring history to life in the palm of your hands.
Step into the Past in Hedley
The culture, language, history and heritage of the Similkameen First Nation is tightly linked to our gold mining past. Learn all about it in the historic hamlet of Hedley where you’ll uncover the secrets of the Similkameen Nation at Snaza’ist Discovery Centre. Interpretive exhibits tell the story of turning ochre into gold.
No stop in Hedley would be complete without a visit to the Hedley Museum and Archives where whispers of our gold mining past come alive in photographs and artifacts from its boomtown days.
Discover History & Heritage at the Old Grist Mill and Gardens
Immerse yourself in the full pioneering experience by taking a course in heritage skills at Keremeos’ Grist Mill and Gardens. You can discover a way of life that’s now making a comeback. The oldest surviving pioneer mill in British Columbia offers seasonal workshops in pioneer survival skills such as gardening and preserving, or grinding wheat into flour.
The Grist Mill is home to the annual Apple Days festivals, harvest festivals and summer concerts. The heritage grounds and heirloom gardens are abloom all summer long. It’s the perfect location for weddings and special events. Explore the red fife wheat fields, the oldest wheat grown in Canada. Then watch in wonder as the water-wheel-fueled mill grinds the kernels into flour ready for baking. Watch a video of the early history of the Old Grist Mill.
Red Bridge, Cathedral Lakes and Ashnola
Make sure you stop and take a picture of Keremeos’ Red Bridge. A heritage landmark, you can’t miss it straddling the Similkameen River on the west side of town. It creates the gateway to Cathedral Provincial Park and the Ashnola recreation area. Built by VV&E Railroad in 1909, the Red Bridge is one of the most photographed sites in the Similkameen Valley. It’s also the last remaining covered bridge in Western Canada and remains an important link our mining and railroad heritage.