Sicamous was first used by members of the Shuswap Nation as a gathering place for semi-nomadic hunters crossing the Rocky Mountains in search of prairie buffalo.
Since then Sicamous has been shaped by its contribution to the Columbia gold rush, and the completion of the Canadian Pacific Railway (CPR).
Gold Rush Paddlewheelers
Sicamous has long been a transportation centre due to its waterway accessibility. During the 1864 Gold Rush, paddlewheelers began shuttling supplies to the Seymour Arm of Shuswap Lake bound for gold rush boomtowns. This paddlewheeler service continued well into the 1920s, with regular stops at Sicamous and other towns.
Canadian Pacific Railway
The completion of the Canadian Pacific Railway on November 7, 1885 (with the "last spike" driven at Craigellachie, 22km/14mi east of Sicamous), simultaneously ended an old era and rang in a new one. The CPR eventually rendered paddlewheelers obsolete, but initiated the permanent settlement of Sicamous, as evidenced in the quick construction of a post office, school, stores, homes, and hotels. The Sicamous Hotel, built by the Canadian Pacific Railway, was a town landmark for decades.
Eagle Valley Museum
History buffs can learn about the culture and history of Sicamous, the Shuswap First Nation, early settlement by Finnish immigrants, gold rush days, logging, steamships, and the CPR at the Eagle Valley Museum located at the Civic Centre. Artifacts include pioneer kitchen utensils, items from the Finlayson General Store, blacksmith tools, and memorabilia from the Sicamous Hotel. Sicamous' history is also preserved 72km/45mi east on the Trans-Canada Highway, where the Hotel Belleview has been moved from its original location in Sicamous to 3 Valley Gap Heritage Ghost Town.
Sicamous has a small but proud population of citizens deeply invested in the cultural preservation of the village, with many active in the Eagle Valley Museum and Heritage Society. In summer, the population of Sicamous swells as visitors flock to the area's lakes, waterways, and mountains for houseboating, fishing, hiking, and mountain biking. Winter sees a relatively smaller but equally enthusiastic influx of visitors revved up for snowmobiling. A growing population of artists and artisans, lured by aesthetically pleasing surroundings and the natural lifestyle it affords, have established a vibrant creative community in Sicamous. Discover local artwork at the annual art show in the Red Barn Arts Centre, hosted by the Eagle Valley Arts Council.