Cranbrook, BC, incorporated as a city in 1905, population 19 319 (2011c), 18 329 (2006c). The City of Cranbrook lies near the western edge of the ROCKY MOUNTAIN TRENCH, in the Kootenay region, 845 km east of Vancouver.
Cranbrook, BC, incorporated as a city in 1905, population 19 319 (2011c), 18 329 (2006c). The City of Cranbrook lies near the western edge of the Rocky Mountain Trench, in the Kootenay region, 845 km east of Vancouver. Located at the apex of three large valleys, the Elk to the east, the Central and the Valley of Moyie to the west, it is scenically situated between prominent Mount Baker (2208 m) and Cranbrook Mountain (2046 m) on the south and west and the massive Kootenay Ranges to the east. It lies near the prehistoric population centre of the Upper Kootenay (Ktunaxa). The city site was known by the Kootenays and early Europeans as Joseph's Prairie, named for a native chief. James Baker, an early settler, named his lands Cranbrook Farm after his English birthplace.
Railway development in the late 1890s and lumbering at nearby Lumberton were the impetus for Cranbrook's growth. Cattle raising developed also to serve railway construction workers. It later became a Canadian Pacific Railway divisional point as shops, roundhouse and accommodation were centred there. Cranbrook today is East Kootenay's main service and commercial centre. To some extent it is integrated commercially with the city of Kimberley, 31 km to the north. Coal mining to the east and the forest industry (including sawmills and a pulp mill) has increased Cranbrook's role in warehousing and distribution. Manufacturing is based mainly on wood products.
Northeast of Cranbrook is the provincial historic site Fort Steele. Local attractions include the train sets and other railway artifacts of the Canadian Museum of Rail Travel and St Eugene Mission, a former Residential School, which has been converted into a resort. Ktunaxa heritage is also showcased at the resort.