Invermere, with 3000 residents, is located at the northern end of Lake Windermere. The community is about 15 kilometers south of Radium where Highway 95 south from Golden meets highway 93 west from Lake Louise. It is the commercial centre of the Columbia River valley and grew out of the early mining settlements of Athalmer and Wilmer. The community was founded in 1890 by Edmund Johnston and was first called Copper City. In 1900, it was changed to Canterbury and a few years later to Invermere, from the Scottish words for “out of the mouth of the lake.” In 1912 the Columbia Valley Fruit Lands Ltd began developing land for experimental farming and settlement, but growth did not happen until after the end of World War I. In the early years, the town was dependent on the local Paradise Mine, which extracted lead and zinc, though over time agriculture and forestry become significant.
Today tourism is the town’s major industry. Visitors come for the town’s relaxed pace, and its quaint sops, arts and crafts, and collage of flowers around town.
You can rent craft for windsurfing, water skiing, jet skiing, canoeing, and Zodiac boats at the beach beside the Lakeside Inn. The road to Panorama Resort runs west 18 kilometres from the north side of town.
Invermere/Windermere Annual Events
Summer Jumpstart Festival (May), Volleyball Boogie & Bash (late May), Canada Day Fireworks (July 1), Visitor Appreciation Day & Toby Creek Boat Race (3rd weekend in July), Lakeside Hang-gliding/Water Landing Competition (August), Loop of the Lake Relay (August), Individual & Team Triathlon (late August), Valley Artisans Market (November)
Windermere Valley Museum
250-342-9769 (250-342-2005 in off-season)
Housed in a 1923 log and frame building (one of only 3 in Canada) that was the railway station until 1975. . Showcases the First Nations people of the area an settlement of a century ago. Exhibits include a Shuswap Band dugout canoe, a copy of David Thompson’s journal, arrowheads, and a buffalo hide.
Pynelogs Cultural Centre
Along Kinsmen Beach
This structure was built for Robert Randolph Bruce (the former Lieutenant Governor of BC) and Lady Elizabeth Northcott in 1915. She died before its completion so he donated it to the community, which used it as a hospital until 1956, then as a senior’s home. It was renovated and reopened in 1990 to become the towns cultural centre and town meeting hall. The Columbia Valley Arts Council coordinates performances, workshops, and art gallery, primarily in the summer months.
12th Street east of 7th Avenue
This structure was originally built in the 1920s as a police station, with living quarters, two cells and a courtroom. The barracks were moved in 1962, but it continued to be a courthouse until 1982. It now is a privately run bed & breakfast.
Gordon Cleland Home
Corner of 5th Street and 10th Avenue
This heritage home was built in 1912 for B.G. Hamilton a businessman and local historian. Hamilton discovered David Thompson’s 1807 Kootnae House trading post on the road to Wilmer, now marked with a memorial cairn. This large home has 9 rooms, and was the site of the first irrigated farm in B.C.
Dorothy Lake Park
Near Kinsmen Beach
This small naturally formed lake was once called Canterbury Lake. In the 1980s, the town built walking trails around the park, connecting the tennis courts and ball diamonds. There is an aerating fountain in the centre of the lake, which is home to a number of turtles.
The Kinsmen Public Beach
This sandy swimming beach with change rooms and playground is shaded by large willow trees and has grassy picnic areas and a summer concession stand.
James Chabot Provincial Park and Athalmer Public Beach
Near Lakeside Inn in Athalmer
This beach offers shallow water, picniuc tables, change rooms and a children’s playground.
18 kilometres west of Invermere on Toby Creek Road
250-342-6941 or toll-free 1-800-663-2929
This all-seasons resort has several condo developments and hotel (with over 1000 beds) , 7 restaurants, a day lodge, downhill skiing with snowmaking, cross-country skiing trails, 18 hole golf course, tennis courts. The ski hill has 1,116 metres (4,300 feet) of vertical drop, the second highest in North America.