A FIRST VISIT TO FORT STEELE | MOUNTOWN JOURNAL
ENTRY BY JEREMY/HI54LOFI | JULY 2016
When my parents came to visit us in Kimberley a few weeks ago, we were faced with two problems. The first issue was that we had just moved to town ourselves, so planning an itinerary of 'things to do' required a bit of guesswork & wishful thinking that the things we tried for the first time didn't result in any boo-urns. The second problem was that my dad had just fractured his ribs and had a bum knee—which kinda took all those outdoor activities that require not having fractured ribs and a bum knee off the table.
A quick google of "what to do when your parents are visiting you in Kimberley and one of them has fractured ribs and a bum knee" didn't bring up any usable results. Although, I am hoping that after I publish this post Google will start directing people who enter that specific query over to 95EH—which I believe people in "The B-I-Z" call "S-E-O". Eventually, I narrowed my googling down to the less specific "things to do around Kimberley / Cranbrook" and as I scrolled through the results, from over my shoulder I heard, "that Fort Steele sounds good".
I admit, I was skeptical about the plan to visit Fort Steele Heritage Town. It's not that I had heard bad things about Fort Steele (in fact, I actually had only heard good things), it's just that I remember feeling my Fort Edmonton experience was 'ok at best' and there’s a jaded internet person in me that sometimes thinks like, “oh great, walk around looking at oldish stuff”.
But you know what? I actually quite enjoyed Fort Steele. And more importantly, my parents really enjoyed it. Especially my dad—who turns out really, REALLY likes old things.
So either Fort Steele is way better than Fort Edmonton, or I have matured since my visit to Ye Olde Edmonton and I now appreciate olde things more (including spelling 'old' with an 'e' on the end). It's probably a combination of the two. Also, one probably needs to factor in the stunning 360˚ mountain back drop advantage that Fort Steele has over Edmonton. In fact, it's not really fair to compare the two given the geographical upper hand, so I will stop giving Fort E-town the shaft (also, go Oilers 🙌) and instead, I will just share a few photos of how lovely Fort Steele is and you can make up your own mind if it’s worth a spot in your future itinerary.
In conclusion: if you ever find yourself looking for a way to spend the day that doesn't involve anything too strenuous OR if you just want to walk around pretending you're a character from Dr. Quinn Medicine Woman, head out to Fort Steele. It's totally worth the 35 minute drive from Kimberley and the price of admission won’t leave you feeling fleeced… especially if you can manage to get in on a Family ticket price even though you don't technically meet the 'family' definition (I don't want to get anyone in trouble, so I'm not saying that we were able to get the Family ticket or that you should attempt any old west haggling… but we totally did).
They've also got plenty of people walking around in character to add some proper pioneer charm and the little restaurant within the gates doesn't leave you wishing you packed a lunch (i.e. it was good food at a good price).
All in all, it's a nice day out… especially if you get as lucky with the weather as we did.