Located in southeast B.C. in the Rockies, Kimberley is a former mining town turned tourist destination. At 1,120 metres, it is the highest city in Canada.
The city was named in 1896 after the Kimberley mine in South Africa. From 1917 to 2001 it was home to the world’s largest lead-zinc mine, the Sullivan Mine. Kimberley incorporated as a city on March 29, 1944 and amalgamated with the former Village of Marysville in 1968.
Following the routing of Highway 95 away from the city in 1972, Kimberley took a page from Leavenworth, Washington, and transformed itself into a Bavarian-style village. Today, the town is a tourist destination thanks in part to the Bavarian theme and Kimberley Alpine Resort, a ski area.
Notably, the city is home to the largest freestanding cuckoo clock in Canada.
In 2016, the average sold price for single family homes in Kimberley was $302k, and for an apartment was $195k. According to a 2020 story in the Kimberley Bulletin, the Kootenay Association of Realtors reports that demand for single-detached homes was on the increase. The average price in the area, the East and West Kootenay region (Kimberley is in the East) was $401,969, up 15.2 per cent from the previous year.
Kimberley’s population peaked at 7,840 in the 1970s, although the city has seen rapid growth since the 2006 census, counting an 11.6 percent increase in population between 2011 and 2016. High-speed internet and the city’s scenic location enabled growth in tech and tourism following the closure of the Sullivan Mine.
Kimberley offers outstanding hiking and mountain biking trails. With almost 2,000 acres of hiking and mountain biking trails, Tthe Nature Park is one of Canada’s largest municipal parks. The former railway between Kimberley and Cranbrook has been converted into a paved 25 km (15 mi) multi-use trail. The Northstar Rails to Trails is now a part of the TransCanada Trail and very popular with mountain bikers.
Overnighting choices include on-mountain condos and vacation homes to downtown hotels and the Riverside Campground.
There are several major nearby golf courses, including Trickle Creek, Bootleg Gap, Kimberley Golf Club, and the St Eugene Golf Resort and Shadow Mountain Golf Course.
Kimberley Alpine Resort is known as the sunniest resort in the province. An annual ultra marathon takes place at the resort, the Black Spur Ultra. Runners choose between 54 km and 108 km distances.
The Kimberley Dynamiters Junior B Ice Hockey team play in the Kootenay International Junior Hockey League (KIJHL). The Dynamiters have produced pro hockey players such as Jason Wiemer, who last played with the New Jersey Devils of the National Hockey League (NHL).
There are also several hot springs nearby.
Kimberley Summer Theatre produces a yearly musical. Productions are housed at the 125-seat Centre 64.
An underground railway that takes visitors into the Sullivan Mine. Kimberley's Underground Mining Railway features a 750-foot-long (230 m) underground mining interpretive centre complete with operational 3 ft (914 mm) narrow-gauge railway equipment.
Canada’s largest free-standing Cuckoo Clock is set in the Platzl. A forest-trimmed path leads from the Platzl to Cominco Gardens, which features pathways, seating area and acres of gardens filled with thousands of colourful blossoms and giant larch trees.
Downtown dining options include Japanese and German restaurants, a wood-fired pizzeria, and craft beer pubs. Every Thursday evening during the summer, a farmers market offers fresh food from area farms and food producers, as well as crafts and creations from local artisans.
The Bavaria theme is most prevalent in the downtown shopping area. A collection of Bavarian- style buildings, cafes and shops surround the pedestrian mall known as the Platzl, the downtown centre’s focal point.