Kootenay National Park Centennial

Backgrounder

Parks Canada is proud to celebrate the 100th anniversary of the establishment of Kootenay National Park. On April 21,1920 the Government of Canada agreed to build a road connecting the Bow and Columbia valleys. In exchange, the Province of British Columbia provided eight kilometers on either side of what is now Highway 93 South for a new national park. Driving this scenic corridor remains a highlight for park visitors. Hiking, camping and soaking in the Radium Hot Springs pools are other popular ways to enjoy the park.

Throughout 2020, activities and events will commemorate the park’s establishment and reflect on its history and important role today as part of the UNESCO Canadian Rocky Mountain Parks World Heritage Site. Parks Canada invites people to join us in celebrating the park’s 100th birthday and discover what makes this place special.

Featured Activities
Following are some highlights from our list of planned activities and events throughout 2020.

1. Centennial Launch and Canada Post Stamp Series Unveiling

On January 13, 2020 at the Radium Hot Springs Community Centre Parks Canada kicks off the Centennial celebrations! Canada Post is also unveiling its new stamp series featuring Kootenay National Park to commemorate the anniversary. Canada Post’s From Far and Wide stamp series highlights amazing Canadian places. Residents, park visitors and Indigenous communities are joining together to start the Centennial year off.

2. The 100 Challenge

From April to Thanksgiving, park visitors are invited to complete an activity challenge, such as 100 km hiked, biked or paddled in the park, 100 plant or animal species identified or 100 visits to the Radium Hot Springs pools. Participants present their completed log to the Kootenay National Park visitor centre, the Lake Louise visitor centre or the Radium Hot Springs pools to win a centennial-themed prize. Being 100 years old (or more) also qualifies!

3.  Kootenay Then and Now

Starting in April, historic Kootenay National Park photographs will be showcased via the web and social media. Using the location information provided, park visitors are encouraged to recreate (and share!) the photos and see how much the place has changed – or not – over the past 100 years.

4. The Big Splash Event

Coinciding with the September Columbia Valley Classics Car Show, the Big Splash is the Kootenay centennial’s largest event. This event incorporates the official reopening announcement for the Radium Hot Springs pool renovations and will feature family activities, information booths, interpretation programs and a visit from Parka – the Parks Canada mascot. This day of festivities will take place at the Radium Hot Springs pools.

5. New Interpretive Signs

As a legacy project improving the park for future years, new fire ecology interpretive signs are being developed for the Simpson River trail. New interpretive signs are also being installed in the Sinclair Canyon area. Located along the sidewalk linking the Village of Radium Hot Springs and the Radium Hot Springs pools, these signs will highlight the corridor’s natural and cultural history.

6. Canada’s Coolest School Trip

Kootenay National Park is the grand prize for Canada’s Coolest School Trip – a contest offered jointly by Parks Canada and the Royal Canadian Geographical Society. The winning class of grade 6-9 students from somewhere in Canada will visit the park from June 8-12 and discover the best that Kootenay National Park has to offer.

7. Closing Event – Midnight Snowshoe

As part of the 100 Challenge, Parks Canada aims to bring 100 stakeholders / businesses / visitors into the park throughout the 2020 year and will send the centennial year off in style with an evening snowshoe over the December holiday season.

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