Elkford reflects on town’s history

Canada 150 grant given to showcase young town’s past

In its beginnings, Elkford was a little mining camp. It was a series of trailers set up by the river that flowed through, near Teck’s Fording River operations.

In the 1970s, during the early days of the municipalities incorporation, Elkford was a multicultural community, heavily connected to its wilderness surroundings.

It was the days before internet, and for fun, people would drive over to the dump to watch the bears.

Dump bears aren’t a source of entertainment in Elkford anymore, but many things stayed the same.

“Elkford has been quite a multicultural town from the beginning,” said Heather Potter, a staff member in the District of Elkford’s Planning department, who is heading up a project to capture the oral history of the community.

The District of Elkford received a $20,000 Canada 150 grant to record and preserve stories about the development of the young mining town, and what life was like in its early days.

Elkford was incorporated as a town in 1971, as a settlement directly supported by the nearby mining operations.

A decade later, the town began moving from predominantly mobile homes by the river, to building established houses up on the side of the mountain.

“Elkford is not super rich in physical historical objects, but there’s a lot of intangible historic value,” said Potter, who has just finished the first round of video interviews with longtime residents of the town.

She says that the men and women who came to Elkford in its early days are beginning to retire, move away and age.

“It’s a great time to collect their stories before we lose them,” said Potter, adding that it’s a unique approach to history, “because we can still capture the voices of people who were here at the very beginning of the town.”

So far, she has interviewed 16 people, including Mayor McKerracher’s family, which is four generations who have lived in Elkford.

“We’re hoping to get a few more of those,” said Potter.

“A lot of people said they’d stay here for a year or two,” said Potter, recalling some of the main themes she heard over the course of interviewing residents. “But stayed for life.”

She says that the passion people have for nature and wilderness is unparalleled, and is why people fall in love with the area.

“Everyone really, really loves nature…I think it’s probably the reason why they stayed,” she said.

Along with that, being a mining community, residents always remembered what it was like to be new to town. Potter says that as a result, Elkford has grown to be a welcoming place, set on establishing a tight-knit community.

She is putting out a call for nominations—anyone who knows a long-standing member of the community, who has stories to share, is welcome to nominate them for the project.

The project will be unveiled and showcased at the Community Conference Centre in the spring.

“It’s going be an ongoing project,” said Potter. “We’re hoping that it’s the seed for a long-term heritage preservation project with the town.”

Just Posted

Teens youngest members in Fernie SAR history

Desire to help drives Ben Nixon and Josh Goodison to volunteer

Bear sightings prompt call for community action

Elk Valley and South Country residents have been urged to take responsibility… Continue reading

Decision opens door to short-term rentals

The City of Fernie has opened the door to the short-term rental… Continue reading

Fernie businesses go green

Instead of asking if customers need a bag, cashiers will ask if they’re okay without one.

Failing to stop at watercraft inspection station will result in $345 fine

CO Service reminding boaters it is mandatory to stop at watercraft inspection stations

Police release video on how to ‘run, hide, fight’ if there’s an active shooter

Vancouver police offer video with input from E-Comm, BC EHS, Vancouver Fire and Rescue

Study recommends jurors receive more financial and psychological support

Federal justice committee calls for 11 policy changes to mitigate juror stress

Research needed on impact of microplastics on B.C. shellfish industry: study

SFU’s department of biological sciences recommends deeper look into shellfish ingesting microbeads

B.C. dad pens letter urging overhaul of youth health laws after son’s fatal overdose

The Infants Act currently states children under 19 years old may consent to medical treatment on own

Singh sides with B.C. in hornet’s nest of pipeline politics for the NDP

Singh had called for a more thorough environmental review process on the proposal

VIDEO: Campers leave big mess at rural Vancouver Island campsite

Vehicle parts, garbage, a mattress, lawn chairs, beer cans, and even fecal matter left in the area

VIDEO: B.C. woman gets up-close view of Royal wedding

Kelly Samra won a trip back to her home country to see Prince Harry and Meghan Markle say ‘I do’

30 C in B.C., 30 cm of snow expected for eastern Canada

It might be hot in B.C., but the rest of Canada still dealing with cold

Horgan defends fight to both retain and restrict Alberta oil imports

Alberta says pipeline bottlenecks are kneecapping the industry, costing millions of dollars a day

Most Read