Discover our History and Heritage
“Those who don’t know history are doomed to repeat it.” That famous quote doesn’t quite hold water here. The history of the First Nations people from this region is supplemented by our heritage and history of prospecting and ranching. We’ve helped nurture a legacy for generations to come. Vivid pictures are painted of the early days of our pioneers and explorers. 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!
Similkameen’s Top 6 Heritage & Arts Experiences
- Explore the pioneering ways of the Allison family, whose pioneer cabin has been lovingly recreated in the Princeton Museum
- Whether you walk it, drive by it or kayak beneath it, make sure you don’t miss the Keremeos Red Bridge, the last of its kind in Western Canada
- Take in any of the historical presentations, workshops and discussions offered at the Old Grist Mill and Gardens, the oldest surviving pioneer mill in all of BC
- Uncover the secrets of the Similkameen First Nation at the Snaza’ist Discover Centre in Hedley
- Roam through the historic photographs and artifacts of the Hedley Museum for an insight into our boomtown days
- Learn all about gold panning, local archeology and one of the largest private mineral collections in North America at the Princeton Museum
View Heritage & Arts Locations Map
Visit the Princeton Museum and Archives
Step back in time to our homesteading past at the Princeton Museum and Archives. Follow in the footsteps of the Allison family, the first family to settle in Princeton. Discover how a family of eight lived in a house the size of a modern-day bathroom.
We are certain North America’s largest private mineral collection will get a glowing reception from you. These glow-in-the-dark specimens are sure to capture your imagination. 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. These exhibits can 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, the region’s original settlers, 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. 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
If you don’t have time for a float or to drop your fishing line in the water, 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 to our mining and railroad heritage.