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Fort Steele, British Columbia

Fort Steele, British Columbia

Ride a Steam Train & Experience the Gold Rush

  • Author: Angie, Head Prairie Traveler
  • Date Posted: Jul 26, 2013
  • Category:
  • Address: Fort Steele, British Columbia

Fort Steele, British Columbia

With a history of bribery, backstabbing, murder and debauchery, you just know a visit to the heritage town of Fort Steele, British Columbia is going to be an interesting one. While the town no longer has any permanent residents, there are still a ton of things to see and do there. It’s close to Cranbrook, BC, the famous Crowsnest Pass, Fernie, BC and Pincher Creek, Alberta, too.

History of Fort Steele, BC

Originally named “Galbraith’s Ferry” in 1864 after the town’s founder, Fort Steele was renamed after the famous North-West Mounted Police Superintendent Sam Steele. Steele was best known for diffusing situations that arose between the settlers and the area’s First Nations, which was a common occurrence in the gold rush settlement.

Sam Steele Fort Steele, British Columbia

Statue of Superintendent Sam Steele

Photo Credit : Jodie Wilson

With the NWMP keeping the peace, the town began to grow and this growth was expected to continue thanks to the arrival of the Canadian Pacific Railway. Colonel James Baker, a powerful provincial politician, decided otherwise. Because he owned a small logging camp called Joseph’s Prairie, he decided to do what he had to in order to bring the railroad through there instead. After much bribery and sneaky dealings, he got his way. He renamed his camp Cranbrook and sold land in his settlement to the people of Fort Steele. In fact, he was so successful Fort Steele was abandoned a few years later and it soon fell into disrepair.

Interesting Facts About Fort Steele

  • The movie Snow Queen starring Bridget Fonda was filmed here.
  • Fort Steele was revitalized as part of a provincial historic site preservation program in the late 1960s.
  • Fort Steele is cared for by more than 1,000 Friends of Fort Steele Society Members, 300 volunteers and 100 friendly and knowledgeable staff.
  • More than 80,000 people visit the town annually.

Fort Steele Amenities


  • Farming Days
  • Kootenay Country Fair
  • Halloween Spooktacular
  • Field Days
  • Great Easter Egg Hunt

Attractions & Activities

  • Fort Steele Railway Co
  • Heritage Gardens
  • Wild Horse Theatre
  • Art at the Fort
  • Museum & Heritage Buildings
  • Heritage Livestock & Trades

Accommodations & Restaurants