Elkford | The Canadian Encyclopedia



Elkford, British Columbia, incorporated as a district municipality in 1981, population 2,499 (2016 census), 2,523 (2011 census). The District of Elkford is situated on the west side of the Elk River. The Elk River is a tributary to the Kootenay River, in the East Kootenay district of southeastern British Columbia. The district is 35 km north of Sparwood. It’s located among the Rocky Mountains, near the old coal-mining communities of Crowsnest Pass, and on the traditional territory of the Ktunaxa people. At 1,300 m elevation, Elkford is the highest community in British Columbia.

Settlement and Development

Elkford is an example of a resource town. It was built to house mine employees and their families. In 1971, the village of Elkford was incorporated. Fording Coal Ltd. (now Elk Valley Coal Corporation) opened its open-pit coal mine nearby. At the time, the population was 605. The district’s name comes from combining the names of the river the townsite lies beside and the coal company’s. The development of various coal mines in the region created an economic and population boom for Elkford. This boom reached it peak in the 1980s. Besides mining, the community is the gateway to a large wilderness area, particularly Elk Lakes Provincial Park, located 70 km north. In spite of its elevation, Elkford has a relatively sheltered climate. The district is subject to numerous warming Chinook winds in the winter.