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Fort Steele Heritage Town

Fort Steele Heritage Town
Fort Steele Heritage Town

Fort Steel, British Columbia

The origin of Fort Steele is closely linked to the discovery of gold on nearby Wild Horse Creek in the 1860s.  The gold rush peaked in 1865 when an estimated 5,000 prospectors flooded into Fisherville combing the hills in search of their fortune.  The gold strike was rich, as many men reportedly earned from $40,000 to $60,000 that summer.

One would-be miner named John Galbraith recognized the need for providing a crossing over the Kootenay River and started a ferry service.  A small cluster of buildings grew up around his ferry office and became known as Galbraith’s Ferry. 

As more people arrived, it was inevitable that disputes over land ownership between the local Ktunaxa First Nation population and the newcomers would arise. Superintendent Samuel B. Steele and 75 members of the North West Mounted Police were sent to resolve these problems. The residents of the area petitioned the Dominion Government to change the settlement’s name from Galbraith’s Ferry to Fort Steele in honor of the Superintendent of ‘D’ Division.

Fort Steele became the region’s commercial, social, and administrative center and quickly grew to more than 1,000 people.  In 1898, the local “Prospector” newspaper listed the town’s thriving businesses, including 11 hotels, four restaurants, four general stores, a hardware store, a brewery, and a wide assortment of other establishments ranging from a Chinese drug store to tailor shops and barristers. Entrepreneurs installed telephone and telegraph services in 1897.  In the spring of 1898, a waterworks system was installed along Riverside Avenue, reducing some of the townsfolk’s dependence on barrels of muddy water hauled up from the Kootenay River.

Today, Fort Steele Heritage Town is one of the most important attractions of its kind in British Columbia with more than 80,000 people visiting each year.

Pre-booked groups of 15 or more receive:
• Discounted admission
• Free visitor map upon entry
• Free admission for bus driver and guide
• Free bus parking
• Free special greeting by a costumed staff member
• Full service restaurant available during summer season -
vegetarian, gluten free options available upon request.

Group sales contact is Kathy Allison.
(250) 417-6000
(250) 489-2624
  • Fort Steele Heritage Town
  • Fort Steele Heritage Town
  • Fort Steele Heritage Town
  • Fort Steele Heritage Town

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Fort Steele Heritage Town

Contact Information

Bus Tours Magazine
9698 W. Judson Road
Polo, IL 61064
Phone: (815) 946-2341
Fax: (815) 946-2347