Kootenay’s 100th anniversary stamped
Parks Canada and Canada Post celebrate the 100th anniversary of Kootenay National Park’s establishment
Parks Canada celebrated the start of Kootenay National Park’s 100th anniversary today (Jan. 13) in the Village of Radium Hot Springs. In the presence of members of the Ktunaxa and Secwepemc Nations, members of the Village of Radium Hot Springs council, representatives from Canada Post and Columbia Valley residents, a new stamp was unveiled commemorating 100 years since the park’s establishment.
Kootenay National Park is a land of contrasts, stretching from the glaciers of the Great Divide to the semi-arid grasslands of the Columbia Valley. The park offers world-class hiking, stunning scenery and a lively and diverse history. Canada’s national parks, national historic sites and national marine conservation areas represent the very best that Canada has to offer and these special places tell the stories of Canada, including the histories, cultures, and contributions of Indigenous peoples.
Canada Post’s stamp series From Far and Wide features an image of Floe Lake from Kootenay National Park’s iconic Rockwall trail to commemorate the celebration year. Stamps are available at all Canada Post locations and for purchase online.
Throughout 2020, Parks Canada will be hosting activities and events in Kootenay National Park to celebrate the anniversary.
“The Government of Canada is pleased to celebrate Kootenay National Park’s 100th anniversary in 2020. The story of what is now Kootenay National Park also extends well beyond the past century and includes the relationship indigenous people have with this land. In 2020, we invite visitors to enjoy the many special activities and events events that will commemorate the park’s establishment and reflect on the special nature and history of the area,” started Jonathan Wilkinson, Minister of Environment and Climate Change Canada and Minister responsible for Parks Canada.
Kootenay National Park was established with the signing of an agreement to build the Banff-Windermere Highway (Highway 93 South) connecting British Columbia and Alberta on April 21, 1920.
At the time the Government of Canada agreed to build a road connecting the Bow and Columbia valleys. In exchange, the Province of British Columbia provided eight kilometres 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.
When the road opened in 1923, more than 4,500 vehicles travelled the highway that year. Today, more than 500,000 people visit Kootenay National Park every year.
Kootenay National Park is part of UNESCO’s Canadian Rocky Mountain Parks World Heritage Site.
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.
Following are some highlights from our list of planned activities and events throughout 2020.
- Centennial Launch and Canada Post Stamp Series Unveiling
On January 13, 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.
- 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!
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
Lead image: Floe Lake – focus of Kootenay National Park Centennial and Canada Post stamp featuring an iconic Kootenay National Park landscape. Roger Hostin Photo courtesy Parks Canada
Parks Canada Lake Louise, Yoho & Kootenay Field Unit