Integration & Inclusion in Boundary Country – Part 1 – Rock Creek to Grand Forks

Accessibility – Rock Creek to Christina Lake

 

Accessibility and inclusion are so much more than what we build into our physical environment.  It is a collective positive energy and attitude that can be felt upon entering any environment.  It transcends directly from the heart and creates a feeling of belonging and freedom.  This powerful and open mindset towards full integration inspires meaningful and authentic connections with one another, enriching the lives of EVERYONE along its path.

This is the energy and atmosphere that you will feel on a journey through Boundary Country, as the tourism stakeholders throughout this region strive to make their experiences and adventures accessible and inclusive for all.

Listen to the stories of the past, visit the museums and art galleries, gear up for a KVR cycling adventure, or relax and enjoy a boat tour on the lake.  Whatever your level of adventure is, there are inclusive experiences waiting to be discovered.

History & Culture 

Rich history and culture are everywhere throughout Boundary Country, especially if you are lucky enough to meet Pat Pownell at your first stop in Rock Creek at the new Riverside Visitor Information Centre!  Pat is not only the Visitor Centre Manager, but she is also the local Rock Creek historian with a wealth of knowledge and a passion to take you back in time with stories about the history and culture of the Rock Creek and Bridesville region.  She can also give you suggestions about the sites and stops you won’t want to miss along your route towards Midway.  Here at the Visitor Centre, you will find accessible washroom facilities and across the street at the deli bar in the Petro Canada station, be sure to pick up a delicious sandwich, snacks, and “fuel” up for the road trip ahead. 

At the museums in Midway and Greenwood, learn about the mining, fur trade, and railroads that shaped this area’s past.  Listen to the stories about the first Japanese internment camp in Greenwood, the smallest city in Canada, and the “We Lived Together” Nikkei Legacy that they are so very proud of.  Both of these museums offer a seamless accessible experience from start to finish, including wheelchair accessible washroom facilities. 

If a coffee break is in order at this point of your journey, check out Deadwood Junction where you will also find an antique store and local artisan work for sale, or experience the in-house bakery at the  Copper Eagle Cappuccino & Bakery in the historic 1899 downtown building.  Both coffee shops have ramp access.  Some assistance may be required as both of these ramps have a steep slope.

If you’re planning an overnight stay in this area, the Bunkhouse at the Kettle River Museum in Midway is a great accessible option!  The bunkhouse has six rooms and two shared bathrooms with showers, one which is wheelchair accessible with a wheel-in shower. Amenities include a full kitchen and a large common living area for mingling and relaxing. 

Art culture is alive and thriving in Grand Forks at Gallery 2 where you will be sure to enjoy an accessible and inclusive gallery experience.  Accessible parking is available on the street in front of the gallery or in the parking lot behind the building.  Wide, easy sloped ramp access to the inside is located at the back of the building, which is accessed along a concrete and level route from both accessible parking areas.  

The Grand Forks Visitor Centre occupies the same building as Gallery 2 and here you will find accessible washroom facilities.  Be sure to pick up a guide of the artisan studios and a map to a self-guided tour of the incredibly artistic murals throughout the flat, level, and barrier-free downtown area.  

When mealtime happens to be on the itinerary, you will want to check out The Wooden Spoon or The Board Room Cafe.  Both restaurants are open and spacious inside with accessible-height dining tables, several inclusive food options to choose from, and spacious wheelchair accessible washroom facilities.  Stay a while longer at The Board Room Cafe and choose a board game to enjoy that you haven’t played for years!

Your visit to Grand Forks wouldn’t be complete without stopping in at the Son Ranch Lumber Co., a small-scale family run forestry operation.  Watch an antique circular saw-mill turn logs into timbers and lumber, and take a tour through the Chain-saw Museum that chronicles the history of forestry in the Boundary and Kootenay region.  I was able to make my way through most of the museum aisles in my wheelchair, and Ross the owner was more than happy to help me navigate the site when needed.

If you’re planning an overnight stay in Grand Forks,  both The Western Traveller Motel and Johnnys Motel have accessible rooms.  Calling ahead to confirm that they have the accessible features that you specifically require is always recommended.

Off to Christina Lake for Part 2 of this adventure!