New Denver is a village of about 500 people (2011) in the West Kootenays of British Columbia on the east shore of Slocan Lake. It hosted an internment camp for people with ancestry in enemy nations during World War II; some attractions in the town relate to that time.
New Denver was founded as a mining town in 1892, and briefly known as Eldorado City before being renamed after Denver, Colorado.
During World War II, New Denver became a Japanese Canadian internment camp. Not long after the outbreak of hostilities and Japan's attack on Canadian troops in Hong Kong in December 1941, men of Japanese descent between the ages of 18 to 45 were sent to labour camps in the Interior of British Columbia or farther into Eastern Canada. Also, approximately 1,500 women, children, and elderly men were sent to the "Orchard", a small section of New Denver set up to house them. New Denver's Nikkei Internment Memorial Centre is dedicated to the history of the 27,000 Japanese Canadians who were interned by the Canadian government and is a National Historic Site.
In the 1950s, children of Freedomites, a Doukhobor extremist group, were removed from their parents and sent to residential school in New Denver. The Freedomites refused to send their children to school because of their religious beliefs.
The only really practical way of getting to New Denver (and most other places in the West Kootenays) is by private vehicle of some kind. There is very limited public transit in the region and only one major airport, which is in Castlegar.
It's about a 2-hour drive south of Revelstoke which includes a free ferry ride across Arrow Lake (Columbia River) between Shelter Bay on the north shore and Galena Bay on the south. Take Hwy 23 south to the ferry and on to Nakusp where it's Hwy 6 to New Denver.
- BC Transit (West Kootenay Transit System), toll-free: +1-855-993-3100. On Wednesdays there is a bus that travels between Nakusp and Slocan City with a stop in New Denver. From Slocan City, there are several trips a day from Monday to Saturday that travel to Nelson. Also offers Health Connections trips on Tuesdays and Thursdays between Nakusp and Nelson with stops in New Denver and Slocan City. Health Connections trips are open to everyone to ride, but must be reserved in advance and trips to medical appointments receive priority.
Since New Denver is a small village, there is no need to drive anywhere. Park your vehicle somewhere and wander around. The village is divided by Carpenter Creek with most of the business district on the north side and some of the parks and gardens on the south. Other than adding to your pleasant walk, this shouldn't be a problem.
- 1 Kohan Reflection Garden, 1st Ave, ☏ +1 250-358-7765. Commemorates the many Canadians of Japanese descent who were interned in the area during World War II. Free.
- 2 Nikkei Internment Memorial Centre, 306 Josephine St, ☏ +1 250-358-7288, email@example.com. May to September: Daily 10AM-5PM. A National Historic Site dedicated to telling the story of over 22,000 Japanese Canadians who were forcibly relocated during World War II on the site of “The Orchard” internment camp. The centre contains original buildings, period artifacts, interpretive displays, and the Heiwa Teien Peace Garden, designed by the renowned Japanese Canadian gardener, Tomomichi (Roy) Sumi. $9/adult, $7/student or senior, $20/family.
- 3 Silvery Slocan Museum, 202 6th Ave. Located in a former bank building. Has exhibits about the area, including its mining, logging and agricultural history. The museum building also houses the village's visitor centre. By donation.
- 4 Sandon (15 km E of New Denver on Hwy 31A), ☏ +1 250-358-2247, firstname.lastname@example.org. Ghost town that was once a silver rush mining town. Also features about 20 heritage Brill trolleybuses once used in Vancouver and Calgary.
- Hills Garlic Festival. Held the first Sunday after the Labour Day Weekend. It features live music, lots of garlic-related stuff to buy as well as food. You could probably spend most of the day wandering around. Several thousand people converge on the Festival each year. $5, children under 12 free.
- 1 Galena Trail. Follows Carpenter Creek from New Denver to Three Forks (where Hwy 31A passes the road to Sandon). The trail is mostly on an old railbed and can be hiked or biked. One interesting option is to leave your bikes locked up at Three Forks, start hiking from New Denver and ride the bikes back to town on the highway. The ride will be mostly downhill and the 10 km will go by very quickly.
- 2 Idaho Peak. Accessed from Sandon, is the site of an old fire lookout with great views out over Slocan Lake and the Valhallas. The Forest Service Road to the peak starts in Sandon. The road is steep and a bit rough in places, but it seems most people can drive there in regular 2wd cars. In the right season, alpine flowers are well worth the visit.
Eat and drink
- 1 Nuru Coffee Bar, 513 6 Ave. M-F 8AM-5PM, Sa 8AM-4PM, Su 10AM-4PM.
- 1 Valhalla Inn, 509 Slocan Avenue, ☏ +1 250-358-2228, email@example.com. On-site restaurant and bar. Free Wi-Fi, a coffee maker and a work desk is in each guest room. Non-smoking rooms are available. Free parking
- 2 Glacier View Cabins, Corner of 8th Ave and Hwy 6, ☏ +1 250-551-6940. All of the cabins are equipped with a full kitchen including all pots, pans and cutlery.
- 3 Adventure Domes, 620 6th Ave, ☏ +1 250-439-7174, firstname.lastname@example.org. Eco-friendly cottages in the village of New Denver a short walk from Slocan Lake. Dome cottage from $115 per night (1 or 2 persons), dome cottage with loft: from $135 per night (1 or 2 persons; extra adult $20; extra child $15).
- 4 Centennial Park and Campground, ☏ +1 250-358-2361, email@example.com. All reservations must be for a minimum of 3 nights. Open May 1st to September 30th. Reservations must be made online. $25-40 per site per night.
- 5 Rosebery Provincial Park (5 km north of New Denver along Highway 6). .
|Routes through New Denver|
|Vernon / Revelstoke via ← Nakusp ←||N S||→ Castlegar via → Nelson|
|END ←||W E||→ Kaslo → Ainsworth Hot Springs-Balfour via|