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 Home > Travel BC > BC Cities and Towns > Kootenay Rockies > Canal Flats

Canal Flats
Canal Flats is located 69 km (43 miles) north of Kimberley and 48 km (30 miles) south of Invermere on Hwy 93/95. Canal Flats is situated in the East Kootenay region of BC lying deep in the Rocky Mountain Trench.

Columbia and Kootenay Rivers
Canal Flats gets its name from the area of land that separates the Columbia and Kootenay Rivers. This area between the two watersheds is a narrow flat strip of land situated on the south shore of Columbia Lake.

Steamboats from the United States
In 1889 a plan was put in action where a canal was built between the Columbia and Kootenay Rivers. Using this canal steamboats would be able to complete the trip from the United States to the railroad terminus at Golden. From Golden the trip to the West Coast terminus of Vancouver could easily move goods.

Political Ramifications
The canal which was built by W. A. Ballie-Grohman contained a single lock. Eventually two steamboats - the Gwendoline in 1894 and the North Star in 1902 - were successful in the crossing. Eventually though the canal had to be shut down because of political ramifications caused from flooding.

Canfor Industries
Canal Flats is a small community whose main industry and employer revolves around Canfor and the forest industry. When you drive into town off Hwy 93/95, you'll pass a log sorting and loading area. If you're lucky, you might see some loaders working with the transport trucks.

Columbia Inn
In town you'll find the Canal Flats Foods which has a Liquor Agency plus General Store. Next door is the Canal Flats post office. Across the street is the Columbia Inn which contains a beer parlor. Next door to the Columbia Inn is The Homestead Café where you can enjoy a good homemade meal.

Abundant Wildlife
Canal Flats is a very friendly small town that can offer you excellent recreation, beautiful scenery, dry weather and abundant wildlife especially deer, elk and bighorn sheep. Driving out to Columbia Lake the animals are so plentiful they have been known to show in people's back yards.

Columbia Lake
Columbia Lake, Canal Flats local playground is located just to the north of town by 2 km (1.3 miles). Once at the lake you will come to Tilley Memorial Park once called Canal Flats Provincial Park. This is a great spot if you need a place to go for a water ski, kayak, canoe, swim and especially windsurfing or kiteboarding. From Tilley Memorial Park there is opportunities to explore the greater Columbia Lake Provincial Park. There are no lifeguards present at Tilley memorial Park or Columbia Lake Provincial park so swimming is at your own risk.

Strong Winds
Just remember strong winds can appear on Columbia Lake and the lake can become rough and dangerous. If you do go kayaking or canoeing, keep an eye on the weather and wear your safety vest.

Whiteswan Provincial Park
Located just 4.5 km (3 miles) south of Canal Flats on Hwy 93/95 is the turnoff for Whiteswan Forest Service Road. If you take this gravel road for 22 km (14 miles), you will come to the access for Whiteswan Provincial Park.

Lussier Hot Springs
At Whiteswan you will find a great campground that features two beautiful fishing lakes, Alces and Whiteswan, plus a natural hot spring close by called Lussier Hot Springs. Just remember logging and mining trucks use Whiteswan Forest Service Road, so please turn your lights on and use extreme caution.

Mt. De Smet
Travelling into Canal Flats the Rocky Mountains stand out immensely. One mountain that will really catch your eye is Mt. De Smet located 7 km (4.5 miles) north-east of Canal Flats. Named after a Catholic missionary, Pierre-Jean De Smet, Mt. De Smet is situated at the headwaters of the Kootenay and Columbia Rivers.

Ktunaxa Indian Nation
The lands around the Columbia and Kootenay Rivers near Canal Flats are within the traditional area of the Ktunaxa First Nation. Inhabited for more than 10,000 years, the Ktunaxa have followed the natural vegetation and hunting cycles for their existence throughout the Columbia Valley.

Columbia Valley Wetlands
The 150-km stretch of land between Canal Flats north to Spillimacheen form an enormous wetland called Columbia Valley Wetlands. This area supports a number of wildlife including 265 species of waterfowl. If you enjoy bird watching, just north of Canal Flats at Invermere, you can experience the 'Wings over the Rockies' festival in May.

Dutch Creek Hoodoos
When you're travelling north of Canal Flats at the end of Columbia Lake you will pass some Hoodoos. Located at Dutch Creek the hoodoos are an awesome site as they are formed into the Purcell Mountains.

Columbia Lake Provincial Park
If you continue north on Hwy 93/95, eventually you'll come to Fairmont Resort where you can gain access down the east side of Columbia Lake. The road first comes to Columbia Lake Provincial Park where you can find a 3 km (2 miles) undeveloped beach.

Circle Route
If you want, you can then complete a circle route back over a backcountry road down the east side of Columbia Lake, which eventually leads back to Canal Flats.

Information on Canal Flats



Map of Canal Flats
click map for larger image


Welcome to Canal Flats
Welcome to Canal Flats


Canfor Canal Flats Mill
Canfor Canal Flats Lumber Mill


General Store
General Store


Canal Flats Provincial Park
Tilley Memorial Park


Columbia Lake
Columbia Lake


Canal Flat
Canal Flat


Mt. DeSmet
Mt. De Smet


Tembec Industries
Canfor Industries

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