Revelstoke is a city in southeastern B.C., 641 kilometres east of Vancouver and 415 kilometres west of Calgary.
Situated on the banks of the Columbia River, the city is just south of the Revelstoke Dam. In 1986, to offset the economic effects of the completed hydroelectric project and the temporary closure of the local sawmill, the City of Revelstoke launched a successful downtown revitalization project.
East of Revelstoke are the Selkirk Mountains and Glacier National Park, penetrated by Rogers Pass, which is used by the Trans-Canada Highway and the Canadian Pacific Railway. South of the community are the Arrow Lakes, Mount Begbie, and the Kootenays. West of the city is Eagle Pass through the Monashee Mountains and the route to Shuswap Lake.
Revelstoke was founded in the 1880s with the arrival of the Canadian Pacific Railway (CPR); mining was an important early industry. CPR named the town in appreciation of Lord Revelstoke, the head of a UK investment bank that, in partnership with another company, saved the railway from bankruptcy.
The construction of the Trans-Canada Highway in 1962 further eased access to the region, and since then tourism has been an important feature of the local economy. Skiing has emerged as the most prominent attraction thanks in part to Revelstoke Mountain Resort, a major ski resort just outside town.
Forestry, construction, and retail have also increased over the past decades.
Revelstoke experiences a humid continental climate with summers that are generally warm and rainy with cool nights, while winters are cold, snowy and very cloudy. The city holds the Canadian record for snowiest single winter in 1971–72.
A number of movies have used the city as a location, including 1937’s The Great Barrier, which depicts the building of the railway. Some scenes in the 1999 thriller Double Jeopardy, starring Ashley Judd and Tommy Lee Jones, were filmed there, notably in the historic courthouse.
By 2019, estimates put Revelstoke’s population at over 14,000. That number fluctuates according to seasons.
The average Revelstoke single-family-residence sale price in 2019 was $585,000. According to a Jan 4 2021 story in the Revelstoke Review, since 2017, property values in the area had increased by 53 per cent. Although Revelstoke did not see the largest increase in the Kootenay region, it had the second most valuable properties on average in the region at $546,000 for single-family dwellings, after Fernie.
Revelstoke Mountain Resort, which opened in the winter of 2007/8, boasts North America's greatest vertical at 1,713 metres (5,620 ft).
The resort also offers 3,121 acres of fall line skiing, high alpine bowls, 13 areas of gladed terrain and more groomed terrain.
Revelstoke has produced some notable athletes in winter sports, especially ice hockey. The former local BCJHL team, the Revelstoke Bruins, had a number of future NHLers on its roster in the 1970s and ‘80s.
In the summer, mountain biking, rock climbing and kayaking are popular activities.
Every fall, the three-night Luna Nocturnal Art & Wonder Festival showcases several art installations placed within the downtown core, along with music, food, performances, and business events. Installations may appear in shop windows, empty spaces, alleyways and other unexpected places.
The Revelstoke Railway Museum is a recognition of the town's continued attachment to the Canadian Pacific Railway and continues to be an important tourist attraction.
The Revelstoke Visual Arts Centre showcases local and regional artists.
Revelstoke is home to Mt. Begbie Brewing Co. and Rumpus Beer Company. as well as two craft distilleries, Mr. Jones and Monashee Spirits.
Restaurants include The Old School Eatery, which sits in the refurbished Mountain View School building and features a modern menu and chic cocktail list and offers mountain views from every window. Located inside one of Revelstoke’s most upscale hotels, The Explorer’s Society, Quartermaster offers an entirely organic, BC-based menu that changes seasonally. Downstairs, the Boiler Room serves handcrafted cocktails.
Downtown shops feature the work of local artists, and summer and winter farmers markets are also outlets for local art. For the winter sports enthusiast, there are plenty of outfitting stores.