Originally designated as a sawmill site in 1889, Kaslo grew on the silver boom of the 19th century, and retains much of the history from its mining days. The town today relies mainly on the industries of forestry and tourism
Kaslo was originally incorporated as a city on August 14, 1893, making it the oldest incorporated community in the Kootenays. It was an important center for mining and forestry.
The town’s peaceful cove, one of only a few such natural harbours along the 97 mile long lake, once bustled with activity. Ore barges, rowboats and steamships jostled for a place alongside the busy wharf. The population quickly grew to 3000 people, most of them hoping to make their fortunes in the newly discovered mines. Disaster struck in 1894 as fire, flood and gale force winds came in succession. In February, half of the town’s commercial district was destroyed, as well as 60-70 houses and the town jail.
By 1896, Kaslo had turned her fortunes around with the completion of the K&S Railway, a public telephone system, and electric and waterworks plants. By 1897 Kaslo had all the services of a progressive mining supply centre: a cigar factory, brewery, dry goods stores, several saloons, hotels and brothels and a newspaper – The Kootenaian.
Today, Kaslo is home to 1,000 or few folks. Our downtown core is a hub of activity with several grocery stores, great restaurants, two natural food stores (Cornucopia), a computer store, and LOTS of art. The beach is a mere 2 minute walk, with several options for ice cream of coffee en route.
Our outlying region of North Kootenay Lake is also home to over a 1,000 residents. Travelling North of Kaslo, we find several small communities nestled among the mountains and the head of Kootenay Lake. Lardeau, Cooper Creek, Argenta and Johnsons Landing boast vibrant communities with lots of hikes, beaches, and trails. Following Hwy 31, one will find Duncan Lake and one of several Kootenay dams- Duncan Dam. Meadow Creek has a lovely general store, local restaurant, farmers market, museum and two heli-skiing operations (Stellar, White Grizzly & Selkirk Wilderness).
National Historic Sites
Kaslo is home to two National Historic Sites of Canada:
- The SS Moyie, which worked on Kootenay Lake from 1889 until 1957, found a permanent home on Front Street in Kaslo. Beautifully restored by the Kootenay Lake Historical Society, it is the oldest intact sternwheeler in the world and draws thousands of visitors every year.(http://www.klhs.bc.ca/)
- Village Hall, built in 1898, is one of only two intact wooden municipal buildings that are still in use in Canada.
- The Kaslo Jazz Etc. Festival, held every August long weekend in Kaslo Bay Park, is a popular music event which attracts international performers and draws large audiences.
- The Langham Cultural Society has been a part of the Kaslo and North Kootenay Lake Community for 38 years. It’s first project was the restoration of this unique heritage building (built in 1896) for use as a cultural centre. Throughout the following 38 years, The Langham Cultural Society has continuously provided gallery shows; theatre and musical performances poetry and prose readings and workshops to the community of Kaslo and North Kootenay Lake. The Langham supports emerging artists in Kaslo by providing opportunities to show their work, studios at low rents and workshop opportunites.
- The Kaslo Golf Club is a 9-hole course which plays as 2,824 yard, men’s par 35, women’s par 37 course with well conditioned grass greens and well-manicured fairways. The course is tight with rolling hills which offer nuances of play to both the average and more experienced golfer. Kaslo’s Golf Club dates back to 1923, when locals invested and donated their efforts and created a 4 hole course. This makes it one of the oldest in British Columbia. A new timber frame clubhouse was built in 2007.