MT – Day 36 – Fort Steele, BC

11 photos in this post.

Wanting the children to have experience crossing the border and spending a different currency, earlier this week we headed north into British Columbia, Canada. First stop Fort Steele, just a few miles northeast of Cranbrook, two and a half hours from Kalispell.

We made good time with the drive and arrived about 15 minutes before they even opened. The kids had a chance to say “Hello” to a couple of the stunning Clydesdale horses. They have ten here.

Fort Steele is a heritage town that was formed in the late 1800’s when the gold rush occurred. That didn’t last very long and due to the greediness of landowners in the area, Fort Steele was bypassed when the railroad came and routed through Cranbrook. Our first ride of the day was on the wagon:

We followed this by a trip to the theater. Having been spoilt by the quality at Silver Dollar City, this show was definitely lacking. Whilst the actors and actresses did a good job, it was not enough to entice us back again in the afternoon for a different show. From here we headed up to catch the train. 1077 is a full sized, oil powered steam train. A real beauty.

Richard and Daniel:


The ride takes you through the countryside and up to a view point way above the commercial train line. There the train stops and passengers are allowed out to take photos. Looking one way:

Looking the other where the St. Mary River flows into the Kootenai:

Throughout Fort Steele there are a lot of different shops/stores/homes laid out just like they would have been in the 1880’s. Some are closed but many are open like the bakery, hotel, blacksmith etc. We are SO thankful that we went into the dressmakers shop. As we got talking to the lady working there she asked us why we came up as well as talking about England and where her parents came from. We made mention that we were planning on getting fish and chips later. She asked us where. When we told her that we were going to Cranbrook, she informed us that there were no decent fish and chips in Cranbrook and that all the locals, including herself, always drove to Creston, one and a half hours away. As most of the USA has no clue what real fish and chips are we decided that to Creston we would go, but more on that later. There was still more to see.

We soon became engrossed in gold panning. The gentleman there was SO helpful. There is still gold to be found in the area along the river but it is not commercially viable. What a painful, tedious process gold panning is. Our kids stuck at it for quite a while and it was certainly very educating. They were excited when they found some fool’s gold.

Easy to spend a day here. As we were taking the wagon ride in the morning the gal was telling us about new piglets. We couldn’t believe it when she told us they had Large Blacks. Of course she couldn’t believe it when we told her that at one time we had the most diverse herd in the USA and Richard used to be president of the Large Black Hogs Association! We LOVED our Large Blacks and so it was fun to go see this mama with her week old piglets. Such gentle giants.

Yes, all three kids had been to Canada several times previously but it was several years ago. This time, this experience should stay in their memories. Off to find fish and chips and REAL Cadbury’s chocolate 😉

Take care,


4 Responses to “MT – Day 36 – Fort Steele, BC”

  1. Janet Sisk says:

    Oh my goodness! What a fun adventure. Can’t wait to hear about the REAL Fish & Chips and the Cadbury’s chocolate. I used to love it when my friend from Ireland would go back and bring me back some Crunch Bars. They are my favorites! I can get them now at World Market.

    • liz says:

      LOL! Yes, Michael was longing for Crunchies. The Cadbury’s made here in the USA by Hershey are NOT the same as in Canada and the UK. They use different milk.

  2. Jerry Mcgillivray says:

    On our wild hogs ride they told us of a fish and chips in Creston. Was right along side the highway I think. We had just eaten so missed it but was told people drive aways to eat there. Was it good??

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