Invermere may be one of Canada’s best kept secrets. It’s a small community in the province of British Columbia, near the border of Alberta. It sits in the Rocky Mountain Trench on the northwest shore of Lake Windermere. It has a population of approximately 4,000 permanent residents, which increases ten-fold in the summer months with tourists and many Calgarians who own a second home in Invermere. You can get to Invermere by driving 3 hours from Calgary or 1-1/2 hours from Cranbrook (to the south) and it has become one of British Columbia’s top destinations.
As a vacation destination, Invermere and the surrounding area have much to offer. Located in one of the most beautiful parts of Canada with its natural beauty amongst the mountains, along the shores of Lake Windermere, Invermere has a cold temperate climate. It has fairly significant precipitation: snowy winters and long hot summers making it perfect for year round visits.
Summer activities include golfing, swimming, kayaking, boating, water sports, fishing and hiking. Winter activities include skiing, skating and snowmobiling. At any time of year there are spa treatments, hot springs and various festivals and shopping in local arts & craft shops. Spring comes early to the valley, by late March. With snow in the mountains until July, you could go skiing in the morning and then play golf in the afternoon! Fall is warm and sunny allowing the lake to stay warm, extending any summer activities.
Invermere has two public beaches on Windermere Lake: Kinsmen Beach (near downtown) and James Chabot Provincial Park (at the north end of the lake). The entrance to the downtown is marked with a bronze statue of explorer David Thompson and his wife. In the summer, the quaint main street is lined with flowers. You’ll find various shops, pubs and restaurants and even a historic movie theatre.
The Columbia Valley has amazing geothermal hot springs, which are popular at any time of year. They might be the most fun in winter when the steam coming off the hot springs makes the experience more mysterious.
Many festivals take place in the summer, from a birding festival each May, Canada Day parade July 1st, many sports events including triathlons and paragliding. Every Saturday in summer there is a thriving farmer’s market. Winter festivals include the Snowflake festival and Taste of the Valley.
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