Christina Lake Living in Paradise
Prior to European settlement, Christina Lake was part of the region inhabited by the Sinixt First Nations group. Also known as the Arrow Lakes People, the Sinixt were an Interior Salish people whose territory stretched roughly from the Monashees to Kootenay Lake, from Revelstoke to north-east Washington. Christina Lake was an important fishing ground, as was the Kettle River around Cascade. Pictographs located at various points along the north-east lakeshore are evidence of these first inhabitants and offer a tantalizing glimpse into a past that remains largely unspoken.
In 1865, the extension of the Dewdney Trail from Rock Creek to Wild Horse Creek provided early pioneers with the first route into the Christina Lake region that didn’t require traveling through American territory. However, settlement of the Boundary didn’t really begin until the late 1880s and early 1890s.
In the early 1960s the highway connecting Castlegar to Christina Lake was completed, saving vacationers from the Kootenays and Alberta hours of travel time as they no longer had to follow the old Cascade-Rossland highway to reach the lake.
Christina Lake was named after Christina McDonald, the daughter of Angus McDonald, the fur trader who ran the Hudson’s Bay Company trading post in Ft. Colville from 1852 to 1871. The area surrounding the village is imbued with history from the booming mining era and the time the Dewdney Trail was under construction in 1865.
The lake is heated by a substantial fault measuring 180m deep in some sections and runs through the centre of the lake keeping the average temperature in summer at about 72ºF, the result of continuing geothermal heat being released. It’s no mystery why travelers from the turn of the century to modern times now, yearn for a dip in the refreshing clear water.
One of Christina Lakes biggest points of interest that has unique history is Cascade Falls. If you follow the C&W rail trail from Grand Forks to Christina Lake, you will find yourself crossing the Kettle River at Cascade Gorge Trestle, the former site of a Nicola Tesla power project, which produced some of the first AC current in the world. Cascade Falls and the gorge are easily accessed by foot from the rail grade, and the view from Rainbow Rock is a must see among other sights of wonder.
Since the early part of the 1900’s Christina Lake has steadily grown as a paradise for vacationers. There is plenty to see and do in all four seasons, but the population grows exponentially in summer, as the lake is the warmest tree-lined lake in Canada, and with clear, clean water and sandy beaches, it’s great for every member of the family.
There are many campgrounds, including several marina campsites at the north end of the lake, hiking trails that are easy to access, restaurants that offer delicious meals or snacks, marina and no charge boat launch and a host of other amenities including hotels, laundromat, grocery stores, quaint coffee shops and a wealth of unique and talented artisans.
If the idea of moving to the Lake crosses your mind, it will probably not let you rest until you decide to do so. Christina Lake offers so much to the year-round resident with Christina Lake Elementary School, which provides instruction to students from kindergarten to Grade 7. It’s small class sizes and dedicated staff, CLES offers an excellent academic curriculum rounded out with art, drama and athletics programs.
Each year, Christina Lake plays host to a variety of community events. The Christina Lake Homecoming Summer Festival invites everyone from far and wide, and that means you too, to come and enjoy the regional talent, showcase of businesses and “unify in our love for The Lake” by sharing old memories and making new ones
Arts & Culture have long been alive here in Christina Lake and it’s not hard to see why. Living in Christina Lake surrounded by awe inspiring scenery and a laid back lifestyle really brings out the creative juices and the artist in one. From the historic pictographs on the shorelines rock faces to music and entertainment in the old dance Pavilion to Homecoming Summer Festival & Winterfest Celebrations to the many talented artists and musicians who create, display and perform in our community. Volunteer driven, this community has come together to create an Arts and Culture Complex, “The Christina Lake Welcome Centre”. This high-performance “Green” building is the first of it’s kind in this region, adding to the already rich and colorful tapestry of arts and culture in Christina Lake.
The “Lake” has a strong community spirit and has many groups, committees and associations to get involved in such as Christina Lake Arts and Artisans Society (CLAAS), Christina Lake Community Association or the Christina Lake Tourism Society and many more.
The Christina Lake Stewardship Society is a non-profit charitable organization that was established in January of 2001 (Committee Est. 1994). The mandate of the Society is to maintain the quality and health of the Christina Lake Watershed. Over the years the Society has been involved in several programs and projects which includes lake monitoring, fish enumerations and public education.
The CLSS is located in the The Christina Lake Welcome Centre. There is an interpretive gallery as well as the public resource library that has all relevant reports, maps and data for the Christina lake Watershed to date.For minor medical situations, Christina Lake Medical Clinic is a unique facility that has three doctors, a registered nurse, a physical therapist and a social worker on staff. The clinic is located just off Highway 3 on the Bakery Frontage Road. The lake also boasts a Pharmacy on the opposite side of the highway on Sandner Frontage Road. Grand Forks’ Boundary Hospital is 20 minutes away for more serious problems.
Pets are well loved in Christina Lake. But we all know they have to share nature with people. Please keep your pets on leash and pick up after them. There are a few places where dogs are invited to get into the water. In particular, turn south onto Swanson Road and go past the Esso on the left and the Fire Station on the right. In 2km you come to the river and a great place for dogs to swim. The Nature Park around the Christina Lake Welcome Centre is posted and doggie do bags are provided there.
Wilderness is on our doorstep so we are Wild Safe. WildSafeBC is a program that is designed to reduce human-wildlife conflicts throughout BC. Our motto of “keeping wildlife wild and communities safe” underscores our belief that if we can keep wildlife living in the wild we can, in turn, make our communities safer for us and at the same time keep wildlife from coming to harm.
Christina Lake truly is a place you can have it all, especially peace of mind. For peace of mind come home to the lake.