Part of the traditional territory of the Ktunaxa Aboriginal people, Invermere's European history begins with the great Canadian explorer David Thompson.
In 1807, travelling with his wife and children, Thompson was the first European to explore the upper Columbia River. After paddling upstream from a tributary just below present day Golden, Thompson established a trading post known as Kutenae House.
The first real settlement, known as Copper City, was established in 1890. Ten years later, the name was changed to Canterbury, and changed yet again in 1909 to Invermere. By the time Invermere's identity crisis was resolved, Columbia Valley Fruit Lands Ltd owned large tracts of the valley – and the promise of agriculture was attracting optimistic immigrants.
The prospect of new markets spurred the effort to build the first motor road across the Continental Divide. The Banff/Windermere Highway was completed in 1922, but it is unlikely that this rough road across the Rockies was a viable option for shipping delicate fruit. As the 20th century progressed, logging took the lead as the most important industry in the Columbia Valley, but today, tourism drives the local economy, with mining and forestry playing a supporting role.
Invermere Culture & Influences
Invermere is the commercial hub of the Columbia Valley, the place where both locals and visitors find most of the goods and services they need. Inveremere is a thriving community of boutique retail stores, two stunning beaches and a vibrant arts community.
Christmas and summer are the busiest times for visitors, but some type of activity or function is happening most weekends throughout the year, which is why the valley is popular with second-home owners from Alberta.
Things to Do in Invermere
Invermere is surrounded by water and mountains, and both provide a foundation for year-round activities. For outdoor enthusiasts there is always something to do in and around Invermere, whether it is skating on the world-record-holding Whiteway on Lake Windermere, or boating on the same lake during the summer. Fishing is popular in the area’s many creeks, rivers and lakes, as is skiing, snowboarding and snowmobiling in the spectacular mountains. Or enjoy a hike to take in some of the most spectacular scenery that BC has to offer.
And if the outdoors are not your thing, visit some of the many local art galleries, enjoy the fabulous culinary scene, partake in a local craft beer, or sip a locally roasted coffee. Invermere and the Columbia Valley have something for everyone.