There are 94 National Historic Sites…
In the vast province of British Columbia and only ﬁve in all of the West Kootenay. There are two National Historic Sites in Kaslo – the Village Hall on 4th Street and the SS Moyie, the oldest intact passenger sternwheeler in the world.
Langham Cultural Centre
447 A Avenue, Kaslo BC
The Kaslo Village Hall (Kaslo’s “City” days are long gone!) at the corner of 4th Street and B Avenue was built in 1898 – the same year the SS Moyie made her maiden voyage on Kootenay Lake. It is the oldest wooden municipal hall still standing in mainland BC, and except for a short few years when the restoration work required council and staff to re-locate, it has remained true to its purpose as the local seat of government.
Come inside and take a self-guided tour! The interior spaces, especially the top floor or the old courthouse, have a grace to them few modern buildings possess. The view of the village through the 19th century glass alone is worth the climbing of the stairs. On the walls there are many interesting photos, and in the vestibule there is a computer which you are welcome to use.
The final grace note to the restoration has been the addition of a pocket park on the north side. By the end of summer 2019, the Legacy Park will be complete with interpretive signage, places to sit, and a corner stage for entertainers.
Read more about The Langham...
In 1942, Kaslo’s heyday was a distant memory. This influx of new residents made a big impression and animated the half empty town. After the war was over, all but three of the interned families the village. On 6 August 1988 a ceremony to formally apologize to the Japanese Canadians interned in the Langham and elsewhere in Kaslo took place.
The Village of Kaslo became the first municipality to offer redress. Until the early seventies, the building did not see much love and demolition of the raw, derelict building seemed inevitable. An energetic local group, organized by Michael Guthrie, saw its potential for a cultural centre and purchased the building. The Langham Cultural Society was formed in 1974 and for four decades has been a hub of arts, culture and heritage in Kaslo and the surrounding region. It currently houses galleries, studios, a small intimate theatre, and the Japanese Canadian Museum.
During the year, the public can view a variety of exhibitions in the galleries, attend plays, music events and international films in the theatre, and participate in a wide variety of workshops and classes. In 2014, the Architecture Foundation of British Columbia named 12 of the best buildings in BC. The Langham was recognized as one of that elite dozen. The self-guided tour of the Japanese Canadian Museum features a series of photographs and writings on the walls and stairways of the building. There are sound stations where one can hear the authentic voices of internees. On the third floor there is also a recreation of the living quarters of a family of Nisei (Canadian citizens of Japanese descent); a snap shot of what it must have been like to live in internal exile in one’s own country.
Langham Gallery hours are Thursday through Sunday, 1 – 4 pm. The Japanese Canadian museum is open weekdays from 10 am to 4 pm, seven days a week. For more information call 250-353-2661 or email firstname.lastname@example.org, or you can go to their website www.thelangham.ca
Kaslo Village Hall
312 4th St, Kaslo BC
The Kaslo Village Hall (Kaslo’s “City” days are long gone!) was built in 1898 – the same year the SS Moyie made her maiden voyage on Kootenay Lake. It is the oldest municipal hall still standing in mainland BC. For the past decade this graceful wooden building hasundergone extensive restoration, both outside and inside. While the library remained open on the ground floor despite the ongoing works, Kaslo Village staff and council moved their offices to the Kemball Memorial Centre. After almost a decade they will be moving back to the Village Hall this year.
324 Front St, Kaslo BC
Come down to the ship at the bottom of Front Street for a journey into the not-so-distant past that feels like a world away. The sternwheeler SS Moyie belongs to the era when only steamships could have brought so many settlers and prospectors to this difficult landscape. Kootenay Lake was the only highway.
For nearly sixty years, sternwheelers provided a transportation lifeline to the many isolated communities on Kootenay Lake. The staterooms and decks of the SS Moyie and her sister ships welcomed the miners, entrepreneurs, farmers and pioneer families who wanted to settle (or make a fortune) in the rough territory. When she was launched on October 22, 1898, there were no roads, no trains, and of course no air travel into these hidden mountain valleys. The ships were the only means of mass transportation, freight and mail service. And so they came – the rich, the poor, the prospectors and settlers all mingled together on the decks, in the salons, and at table… The sternwheelers were the bearers of our destiny.
Read more about the SS Moyie...
Once on board, you will be immersed in the old days when ladies’ dresses swept around their ankles and men wore woolen suits and always a hat.
You can tour her decks and her state rooms, including the elegant Ladies Salon, or go down below and look at all the cargo and the great coal red engine in her belly. Storyboards at street level describe the scope and scale of the restorations that are still ongoing today. If you hear her whistle blow, someone has succumbed to the message on the little sign “Blow the whistle, $5.” Show me a kid of any age, anywhere, who could resist that whistle cord!
The sternwheeler is open daily for self-guided tours from Mother’s Day through to Thanksgiving weekend. She is also home to the Kaslo Visitors Centre. The Moyie is located at 324 Front Street, Kaslo. For more information see www.klhs.bc.ca or phone/fax 250-353-2525.
Kootenay Star Mining Museum
402 Front St, Kaslo BC (beneath Teresa’s Coffee Shop)
Kootenay Star Mining Museum is little museum, right in the middle of Front Street, celebrates an era when hard, hard work, and unimaginable risk, was the norm for most people. At its founding, Kaslo was the gateway to the “mining metropolis of the world”; a time when fortunes were made and lost in a day.
Hundreds of old tools from the boomtown years are on display – also mining machines, assaying paraphernalia and mineral samples, and miners’ gear. At the back, there is one room devoted to the early days of forestry. Axes of different shapes and sizes, and crosscut saws cover the walls. A stump in the middle of the room bristles with some of the first power saws ever used for falling trees and bucking timber. Imagine hefting any one of these monstrous old chainsaws in the saw room.
Photos and ephemera and even personal items from Kaslo’s early years are displayed on the walls and in cabinets – medicine bottles, spectacles, a restaurant menu, a photo of horses wearing snowshoes… After your visit, enjoy the warm atmosphere at Teresa’s, a unique coffee shop above the museum, which serves homemade delectables, sandwiches, espresso coffees and ice cream.