Fernie (British Columbia)

Fernie is a small town in southeastern British Columbia, Canada. The city is located about 97 kilometers east of Cranbrook and is part of the Regional District of East Kootenay. Fernie is the largest city between Cranbrook and the Alberta border. At the same time it is also one of the oldest settlements in the region.

The small town is located on the Elk River and is surrounded by high mountains. To the west of the municipality lies on the edge of Mount Fernie Provincial Park, the 2,390 -meter ( 7,841 -foot) Mount Fernie and north of the 2,788 meter ( 9,147 -foot) mountain group Three Sisters. There are high mountains on the opposite side of the valley, Fernie is completely surrounded by the mountains of the Border Ranges.


Originally the land was inhabited by the First Nation. In the area around the present Fernie lived and live the Kutenai. In their language is called the present town ¢ aqawuʔk ǂ uʔnam. This means as much as the city in close terrain.

Received its current name of the city in the context of discovery and colonization by Europeans end of the 19th century. The region remained until the exploration of the Crowsnest Pass in 1873 by Michael Phillips, of the Hudson's Bay Company, relatively untouched. However, this changed with the discovery of coal in the area. The discovery of coal brought William Fernie, who later became patron and principal of a local story, the Elk River Valley. Already in 1897 the coal mining began in the region and in 1898 reached the Canadian Pacific Railway the settlement. And on 1 August 1989 opened in Fernie also a post office.

However, the development of the city received in 1904 and 1908, a significant setback when in two very large fire burned down many of the buildings. The fire in 1908 were only 35 houses. The structure of the city was then no longer made ​​of wood, but many of the buildings have now been built of brick.

Over the following years, the population should rise to about 6,000 inhabitants, before then the depression, the coal production in the 1930's brought almost to a standstill. Only with substantial government support was a complete closure of the coal mines be prevented. The coal then recovered, although again, partly because of rising steel production in the 2nd World War, but was still dependent on subsidies for long.


The census in 2011 showed a population of 4,448 inhabitants for the city. The population of the city has increased it from 2006 by 5.5 % compared to the census, which is below the average for the entire province of British Columbia, where the population grew by 7.0 % at the same time. With an average age of 39.9 years, the population is younger here than in the rest of the province, with 41.9 years.


Fernie is one of School District # 5 - Southeast Kootenay. In the small town there are different schools; an elementary school, a secondary school and a branch of the College of the Rockies.


The granting of local autonomy for the city took place on July 28, 1904 (incorporated as the Town). The status of a ( City ) was awarded Fernie on December 12, 1939.

Mayor of the municipality is Mary Giuliano. Together with six other citizens to form the Council of the Town ( council).


One of the most important industries in Fernie is still the extraction of mineral resources (coal mining). Here and in the corresponding associated industries, such as repair, is also a large part of the workforce his work. Another major area of ​​employment is the accommodation and food industry.

The average income of employees of Fernie in 2005 was at C $ 25,560, while at the same time only 24 867 C $ was the average for the entire province of British Columbia. The difference in earnings between men ( 38.859 C $ ) and women ( 16.148 C $) is relatively large in Fernie, which is also characterized by the difference in pay in the main areas of employment ( men = Minnig and repair; women = accommodation and food industry) explains.


In the east-west direction of the Crowsnest Highway (Highway 3) runs through the city and divides the town into two parts. Also in an east -west direction happens on the southwestern outskirts a railway line of the Canadian Pacific Railway Fernie. This route is very important for the transport of coal to the west coast, primarily for Roberts Bank Super port.

The city has to achieve not have its own airport, but is just about the airports in the surrounding communities.