Riondel is located 9 km (5.5 miles) north of Kootenay Bay on the
eastern shore of Kootenay Lake directly across from Ainsworth Hot
Springs and Woodbury.
Riondel is named after the president of the Canadian Metal Company,
Count Edouard Riondel by S.S. Fowler, a company executive in 1907.
The Paris, France-owned Canadian Metal Company operated the very
prosperous Bluebell Mine which contained a high concentration ore
of lead, silver and zinc. A new concentrator at Riondel was also
built and later a smelter south at Pilot Bay near Kootenay Bay was
used to process the ore.
The Bluebell Mine lasted up until 1929 and then because of lower
prices was forced to close causing Riondel's population to be greatly
reduced. The Bluebell Mine was later re-opened in 1950 and, with
the addition of electrical power from Cominco-owned West Kootenay
Power transmission lines in 1952, upgraded and expanded operations.
The company flourished up until 1972 when the mine finally ceased
and was eventually shut down.
Today Riondel is a small retirement community with a population
of around four hundred full-time residents. The unincorporated village
has beautiful westerly views of Kootenay Lake plus the mountains
and Kokanee Glacier in the background. Much of the community exhibits
a high community spirit and pride shown with the streets and buildings
well looked after and neatly kept.
For local services there is the Riondel Market which has groceries
and a liquor outlet. Riondel also has a community church, the Most
Holy Redeemer Catholic Church, community centre, house builders,
internet and cable television.
Park and Campground
The Riondel Park and Campground is located just north of the general
store along Kootenay Lake. Operated by the Riondel Park Society
the campground is open from May to October 15th and features 50
rustic RV and tent sites with water faucets and flush toilets present.
Unfortunately there is no power available but the campground is
reasonably priced with many of the campsites situated along a beach
on Kootenay Lake. Reservations are available telephone (250) 225-3338.
If you golf there is a 9-hole course available at the Riondel Golf
Club. The facility is situated at 1298 Galena Bay Wharf Road. During
the nicer weather you are recommended to reserve a tee time. Telephone:
(250) 225-3584. For an 18-hole course, there is a beautiful facility,
Kokanee Springs Golf Resort, located to the south at nearby Crawford
For entertaining times, try visiting Riondel during the BC Day August
long-weekend when Riondel Daze is on. Join in and celebrate, starting
with a parade including fun and unusual floats, followed with a
pancake breakfast, lots of children's events, a baseball tournament,
crafts, food kiosks and much more.
Bar and Grill
If you are hungry try going to Bob's Bar and Grill where the selection
of food, especially the pizza, is fresh, hot and really good. There
are also a good selection of other items on the menu along with
a wide variety of beverages in the pub for cooling down a hot thirst
from the Kootenay sun.
The outdoor recreation found in Riondel is excellent, especially
in Kootenay Lake where you can find good fishing, all sorts of water
sports and lots of discovery. If you require a guide there is East
Shore Charters, a business that specializes in taking you to areas
for fishing the big trout found in Kootenay Lake.
District of Central Kootenay (RDCK)
Riondel is represented by the Regional District of Central Kootenay
(RDCK), with Riondel Regional Park a multi-purpose facility, that
has a softball and soccer field. For swimming there is North Beach,
a family friendly area featuring a pebble beach along Kootenay Lake.
There are also a number of recreational trails that start in Riondel
and travel along the east shore of Kootenay Lake. A local favourite
called the Waterfront Trail will take you along the lakeshore for
1.5 km starting at North Bay Beach with a walk to the south end
of the community. Another walk featuring a south-facing beach is
the Pebble Beach Trail which is located about 7 km (4 miles) north
of Riondel off of the Kootenay Lake East Forest Service Road.
Another spiritual facility that is located near Riondel is the yoga
retreat and meditation centre found at Yasodhara Ashram, the Temple
of Divine Light. The peaceful setting is situated on over 50 hectares
(120 acres) of secluded land set in woodland grounds overlooking
Kootenay Lake which access off Riondel Road south of the village.
Bay Provincial Park
If time permits for other exploring try going to Kootenay Bay and
to Pilot Bay Provincial Park. Found here is a network of recreational
trails that take you either along the lakeshore to a wilderness
campground on Pilot Bay or to the historic Pilot Bay Lighthouse
which was first lit in 1904 and operated up until 1993. If you are
boating on Kootenay Lake, you can find perhaps the safest moorage
in Pilot Bay.