Cranbrook is a city of approximately 20,000 (2016) (26,000 in the area) that is the primary administrative and commercial center for the Kootenay region in the southeastern corner of British Columbia, Canada. It serves the surrounding area of over 82,000 people.
HistoryThe area was inhabited by Ktunaxa peoples. The land that Cranbrook now occupies was bought by European settlers, notably Colonel James Baker who named his newly acquired land Cranbrook after his home in Cranbrook, Kent, England.
In 1898, Baker had convinced Canadian Pacific Railway to establish its Crowsnest Pass line through Cranbrook rather than nearby gold rush boom town Fort Steele. Cranbrook became the major centre of the region, while Fort Steele declined; however, the latter is today a preserved heritage town.
Cranbrook can be reached from the United States from either Idaho by crossing at the Kingsgate/Eastport crossing on US 95 or from Montana at the Roosville crossing on US-93.
Cranbrook is also served by the Canadian Rockies International Airport which is about 15 km north of the city on Highway 95A. The airport is served by Air Canada Express and Pacific Coastal airlines which provide daily flights from Vancouver and Calgary, Delta Air Lines also has a seasonal 3 day a week service to Salt Lake City.
Most restaurants and hotels are located on Highway 3/95, which is also known as Van Horne Street in the south end of the city and Cranbrook Street in the north end. The whole Hwy 3/95 going through Cranbrook is usually called "The Strip". Downtown is located along Baker Street.
Cranbrook is also served by a nascent transit system consisting of seven routes connecting residential areas of the city to the downtown area as well as shopping centres. The Cranbrook transit system is geared more towards residents and is not of much use to tourists.
Taxi service is readily available as an alternative to car rental and public transit.
Much of Cranbrook is pretty flat so biking around town would also be a reasonable option.
Canadian Museum of Rail TravelNo train buff's trip to Cranbrook would be complete without a trip here. Static exhibits of passenger rail cars built in the 1920s for the CPR and in the 1900s for the Spokane International Railway.
Fort Steele Heritage TownA ten minute drive north of the city, Fort Steele is a collection of heritage buildings set up as a North-West Mounted Police outpost. Staff in period costumes help illustrate how live was during that era.
Cranbrook Golf ClubThey call themselves the "Hidden Gem of the Kootenays". Good golf at a good price.
Kootenay IceThe Kootenay Ice is a WHL (Western Hockey League) hockey team and part of the CHL (Canada Hockey League). Catch a good, fast and exciting game of hockey at the Cranbrook Rec Plex and cheer on the Ice!
- There are a number of hiking and mountain biking trails in the Cranbrook area. A common place for mountain biking is the "community forest". For a map see here.
With its growing collection of big box stores, Cranbrook is a good place to stock up on supplies before you head into the wilderness. Wal-Mart and Home Depot, the Real Canadian Superstore and Canadian Tire are among the stores at the north end of the city.
The Tamarack Centre, along the north end of the strip, has a number of shops and fast food outlets: Winners at the north end, the Columbia Theatre and Staples.
Canadian dollars are the official currency here, but given Cranbrook's proximity to Idaho and Montana, US dollars may be accepted too. Just ask.
Some local favourites include:
Max's Place on Victoriaaddress: 301-535 Victoria Avenue NTrendy coffee shop. A good place for lunch with fresh sandwiches, salads and desserts.
- Pita Wrapbit, with locations on the Strip and at the College of the Rockies, Pita Wrapbit specializes in wraps, pitas, juices, soups and smoothies.
- Rockwater Steakhouse, 300 Cranbrook Street N.,
East Side Mario'saddress: 1201 Cranbrook Street NEast Side Mario's is everything you like about Italian. The warm welcome, the relaxed, fun and friendly atmosphere - this is the essence of Little Italy.
- Frank's Place North end of Cranbrook, near Walmart. Good quality steak and prime rib.
address: 408 Cranbrook Street NIn business for 23 years, Perry makes homemade pizza, burgers, steaks and cold pints of draft. Fully licensed.
address: 590 Van Horne Street S
Sandman Hoteladdress: 405 Cranbrook St N
Super 8 Moteladdress: 2370 Cranbrook St N
Heritage Innaddress: 803 Cranbrook St N
Lazy Bear Lodgeaddress: 621 Cranbrook Street N
address: 209 Van Horne St S
St. Eugene Mission Resortaddress: 7731 Mission Road
Flamingo Moteladdress: 432 Van Horne St S
Heritage Estate Moteladdress: 362 Van Horne St S
Almo Court Moteladdress: 316 2nd Street S
Best Westernaddress: 1019 Cranbrook St N
Days Innaddress: 600 Cranbrook Street N
Mount Baker Heritage Hoteladdress: 1017 Baker Street N
Cranbrook does not have any year round low-budget options other than the Salvation Army homeless shelter. The College of the Rockies provides hosteling services with its dorms with Hosteling International, but only during the school's off-season (summer).
A paved biking trail has been completed, connecting Cranbrook with Marysville, just south of Kimberley. This is a "rails to trails" conversion, running mostly parallel to the highway through pine forests and fields, about 25 km.