Arts & Heritage
Photo by Arlene Ostoforoff
The local Doukhobor community built the Brilliant Suspension Bridge in 1913 and it was used until 1966, when a new bridge was constructed. Public outcry saved the historic bridge from demolition in the 1970s and in 1991 a working group was formed to explore restoring the bridge. After years of perseverance, the bridge was declared a National Historic Site in 1995, and reopened as a pedestrian bridge in 2010.
Verigin Memorial Park
This Doukhobor burial site and flower garden is located on a hillside approximately 2.5 km off Highway 3A outside of Castlegar. It’s a tranquil place with spectacular scenic views of the Kootenay and Columbia River valleys. The meticulously manicured flower gardens and grounds are funded and maintained by the Union of Spiritual Communities of Christ with support from other Doukhobor societies and friends. The Verigin tomb contains the remains of leader Peter V. Verigin and his son, Peter P. Verigin, as well as their wives.
Doukhobor Discovery Centre
The Doukhobors are a religious group of Russian origin who fled the Czarist government in the late 1800s and with the help of the Canadian government settled in Western Canada. Many found themselves in the West Kootenay in the early 20th century and they have since farmed and flourished. The Discovery Centre is off Highway 3A, across from the airport, at 112 Heritage Way. The 10-acre site features 10 historic buildings including a blacksmith shop, communal dwelling, and village market. There are also orchards, gardens, a textiles display, workshop, bistro, and gift shop. (While on the property be sure to check out the Kootenay Gallery of Art next door, the many walking trails, and fruit trees.)
The CPR Station Museum
The CPR Station Museum, or Railway Museum, is housed in a century-old train station, one of the best-preserved in the province. Visitors can easily envision what the hustle and bustle must have been like when passengers boarded trains during the 1900s. There is a station agent’s residence on the upper floor and one of the most popular onsite attractions is the perfectly-preserved caboose — a relic of a time when crew members lounged in the last car awaiting their next duties.
Named for Alexander Zuckerberg, a teacher and civil engineer who settled on the island in the Columbia River in the 1930s. He was greatly admired by those he taught and to this day he’s celebrated, particularly by the Doukhobors. During his time on the island, the Estonian-born artist built a Chapel House in the style of Russian Orthodox country architecture and it’s perfectly preserved today. There are eight hectares of woods and a variety of paths to explore on the island as well as picnic tables, benches, and a suspension bridge.
Communities in Bloom
Communities in Bloom is all about greening through environmental, natural heritage conservation, and horticultural actions that involve citizens, businesses, institutions, and municipalities. Castlegar in Bloom is a volunteer committee working under the guidance of the national program. For 15 years Castlegar has been working with a variety of community groups to support education on greening initiatives, with a focus tourism readiness.
The Kootenay Gallery is a public art gallery featuring a rotating series of exhibitions by professional artists from the region, the province and beyond. There is also a gift shop with a wide variety of arts and crafts items made by artisans in the Kootenay region. The gallery hosts events, workshops and youth programs.
Dream now, travel later. To plan for future adventures here and throughout the West Coast, visit westcoasttraveller.com