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.
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
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.
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.
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
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.
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, 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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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
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.
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.
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.
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.
on Canal Flats