Fernie is a small mountain town located in the spectacular Elk Valley, which winds through the world-famous Canadian Rocky Mountains of southeastern British Columbia. Fernie is located on the traditional territory of the Ktunaxa Nation whose history in this special part of the world stretches back over 10,000 years. The town itself was established in 1898 to support nearby mining operations after the discovery of rich coal deposits in the valley. Today Fernie enjoys a diverse and vibrant local economy, powered by the twin economic engines of tourism and natural resources.
But people stay here because of the lifestyle. Now more than ever we are all craving some more space, some fresh air, and the great outdoors. Fernie is perfect for folks looking to escape the big cities for a more balanced life. A lot people are drawn to our region for the world-class skiing and snowboarding. But we’ll let you in on a secret: summer is even better! We truly are a year-round mountain playground. And with an array of careers on offer and a strong entrepreneurial spirit, the Elk Valley really is a cool place to work and live.
Whether you’re staying for a season, or looking to make Fernie your home – we have some great places for you to get started. Check out the resources below to learn more about making the move to beautiful Fernie, BC.
WorkBC is the provincial government’s access point to the world of work in British Columbia. It was created with one key goal – to help all British Columbians to successfully navigate BC’s labour market.
Established in 1979, go2HR is BC’s tourism human resource association, responsible for playing a lead role in executing the BC Tourism Human Resources Strategy.
The Fernie Chamber of Commerce was established in 1902, and has a proud history of strengthening business and commerce in the Fernie area. Member businesses and organizations enjoy a wide array of resources, programming, education, advocacy and networking opportunities. #FernieSuccess
Tourism Fernie was established as a non-profit society in November 2007, with the purpose of executing effective tourism marketing, programs and projects that increase local tourism revenue, visitation and economic benefits for Fernie and surrounding area. #FernieStoke
The City of Fernie was incorporated in 1904 and is home to a population of 5, 249 according to the 2016 Canadian census. The local municipal government works out of the historic City Hall building located at 501 3rd Avenue, Fernie, BC.
Established in the mid-1960’s, regional districts were created to meet service needs for the rural areas and to partner with municipalities within their boundaries on the provision of services that are more regional in nature. The Regional District of East Kootenay Area A surrounds the municipal boundary of the City of Fernie.
Ktunaxa (pronounced ‘k-too-nah-ha’) people have occupied the lands adjacent to the Kootenay and Columbia Rivers and the Arrow Lakes of British Columbia, Canada for more than 10,000 years. The Traditional Territory of the Ktunaxa Nation covers approximately 70,000 square kilometres (27,000 square miles) within the Kootenay region of south-eastern British Columbia (including Fernie) and historically included parts of Alberta, Montana, Washington and Idaho.
Fernie Alpine Resort is home to 142 ski runs in 5 alpine bowls set across 2,500 acres in the dramatic Lizard Range – less than a 10 minute drive from downtown Fernie. The resort offers world-class skiing and snowboarding in the winter, and hiking and mountain biking in the summer.
Set across 7,000 acres of pristine wilderness on the outskirts of Fernie, Island Lake Lodge is a special place deeply rooted in the local history of the Elk Valley and home to 800-year-old Cedar, Spruce & Douglas Fir Trees. Island Lake Lodge offers outstanding accommodations, dining, a day spa, cat skiing in the winter, and hiking in the summer.
Interior Health is a regional health authority in British Columbia. It is one of the five publicly-funded regional health authorities, serving the southern interior region of BC – including the Elk Valley Hospital in Fernie.
School District 5 is the Southeast Kootenay School District covering the southeast corner of the province of British Columbia. They run local public schools Isabella Dicken Elementary School, Fernie Secondary School and the Kootenay Learning Campus. There are also privately operated education institutions in Fernie.
The Fernie Arts Station operates out of the original site of the Canadian Pacific Rail train station at 601 1st Avenue, Fernie that was built in 1908. The facility is operated by the Fernie & District Arts Council who aim to provide a variety of opportunities for residents and visitors to participate in, and appreciate the value of, arts and cultural activities.
The Fernie Museum promotes the living landscapes and cultures of Fernie and the Elk Valley-Crowsnest Pass region through the museum and archives’ feature exhibitions, permanent collections, public programming and community engagement. It is governed by the Fernie and District Historical Society; the Society was founded in 1964, was incorporated in 1976 and has Canadian charitable status. Located at 491 2nd Avenue in downtown Fernie, BC.
The Fernie Heritage Library is Fernie’s hub for literary and literacy activities. The library is housed in the magnificently restored historic post office building, originally built in 1909 – located at 492 3rd Avenue, Fernie, BC.
Looking to purchase a home in Fernie? Or looking to rent a place to live with a qualified local property manager? Check out this list of realtors, developers and property managers from the Fernie Chamber’s Member Business Directory. The nearby town of Sparwood is a 20 minute drive from Fernie, and their Chamber also has a local Member Business Directory that includes realtors in that area.
Offering a wide range of seasonal and long-term rental properties in Fernie and area, Renting in Fernie is a licensed property manager.
There are several Facebook groups and pages where locals list properties for rent or for purchase. These include Fernie BC Renters, Moving to Fernie BC and Fernie & Area Places for Sale, Rent or Lease.
The Fernie Chamber of Commerce is the Elk Valley’s largest business industry organization. Representing approximately 300 member businesses and community groups, the Fernie Chamber provides an array of resources, programming, education, advocacy and networking opportunities.
Running a business in Fernie requires a valid business licence from the City of Fernie. Check out their website to review the Business Licencing and Regulation Bylaw and complete the Business License Application. There are also inter-municipal business licenses available to operate in neighbouring communities Sparwood and Elkford.
Led by a volunteer Board of Directors and a dedicated staff, Community Futures East Kootenay (CFEK) helps to foster strong, resilient local economies. CFEK promotes economic development and the creation of jobs and wealth in our region by providing small-business loans for start-up, expansion or the purchase of existing businesses. In addition to financial support, CFEK offers a variety of business-related services, including knowledgeable, professional business consultation and access to training for entrepreneurs and their employees.
The Basin Business Advisors Program (BBA) supports and inspires entrepreneurship and builds economic capacity in Columbia Basin communities (like Fernie) by strengthening and supporting existing businesses and agriculture producers. They provide free, one-to-one, confidential business advisement and assessment services to commercialized businesses assisting in creating and sustaining jobs and/or bringing wealth into the Columbia Basin region.
Small Business BC helps British Columbia’s entrepreneurs grow successful and sustainable businesses through expert business advisors, educational services, easy-to-use free resources and engaging community events. They also provide practical business seminars and online education to develop your business skills and strategy to run a successful business.
The Women’s Enterprise Centre is a non-profit organization devoted to helping BC women start, lead and grow their own business. We provide business loans up to $150K, with access to an additional $100K through a partnership with the Business Development Bank of Canada (BDC).