Cool moun­tain-val­ley town of­fers plenty to see and do

Calgary Herald - Calgary Herald New Condos - - Outside - AN­DREW PENNER

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.seerev­el­

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