STOKED FOR REVELSTOKE
Cool mountain-valley town offers plenty to see and do
When you drive “through” a place (any place applies), you can never do it justice. Something about it — probably many things, most likely the most important things — will elude you. Its culture, its vibe, its people, its on- and under-the-radar attractions, these things will surely slip you by.
For example, most motorists heading from the Prairie provinces to the West Coast — a common summer pilgrimage for thousands — shoot by the mountain-valley town of Revelstoke without batting an eye. And that’s too bad. It’s a place oozing with character — and supercool things to do.
Established during the 1880s when the railway rambled through, Revelstoke — 410 kilometres west of Calgary and 565 kilometres east of Vancouver on the well-travelled Trans-Canada Highway — is an adventure-lover’s paradise. Encased by the Monashees and Selkirks, Revelstoke is, first and foremost, a mountain town. While still fuelled (economically speaking) by the railway, forestry, and mining, tourism has grown by leaps and bounds here. And that, and all the good stuff that comes along with it, has made “Revy” one of the coolest places to explore on the road most travelled.
And that’s the thing: you have to get off the highway. Whether it’s hiking, snowmobiling, rafting, or just sitting at a cool cafe sipping an Americano, you’re bound to find your happy place in Revelstoke. So go on, I triple dog dare you, next time you’re motoring through, get off the beaten path and get “Revelstuck.”
Here are eight places to look.
Given its compelling railroading history, it’s only fitting Revelstoke boasts one of the best museums of this genre in North America. The many highlights include: a beautifully preserved 1948 steam locomotive; a 1929 business car; a train simulator; vintage rail films; hundreds of exhibits and artifacts; and an outdoor yard with numerous train cars to explore.
The 175-metre high Revelstoke Dam, completed in 1984 as one of four major hydroelectric projects on the Columbia River, is a behemoth to behold. The visitor centre, which is located five kilometres north of Revelstoke and at the base of the soaring structure, is full of interesting interactive exhibits that are kidfriendly. The highlight, however, is the view from the top.
Amazing turn-of-the-century Victorian buildings? Check. Cool cafes, restaurants, and shops? Check. Live music in the Grizzly Plaza every evening in summer? Check. Revelstoke’s downtown is a historic little hot spot loaded with charm. Try the self-guided walking tour of the historical buildings (maps available in the visitor centre) and cap your tour with a trip to the old courthouse. www.seerevelstoke.com.