The pretty hamlet of Edgewater lies just nine kilometres north of Radium Hot Springs. The village offers Pip’s Country Store, gas station, post office, and the Royal Canadian Legion. There is also a thriving arts community that makes use of the Edgewater Community Hall.
The feature attraction of Edgewater is the wooden water flume, built in 1912 and still in operation. The community also has the old Edgewater United Church, still in use for special occasions. The Edgewater Elementary School offering Kindergarten to Grade 7 is located on a beautiful bluff overlooking the Columbia River.
In recent years Edgewater has become the area of choice for residents who are trying to escape the hustle-bustle of development in the rest of the valley. Although it is growing, the community has maintained its quiet country flavour.
There are two golf courses in the area: Edgewater Hilltop, and Spur Valley. North of Edgewater are Brisco and its neighbouring community Spillimacheen. Brisco and Spillimacheen run along a 25-kilometre stretch, nestled into the heart of the Columbia Valley about half-way between Radium Hot Springs and Golden.
Many residents consider this area to be the most beautiful part of the valley, with snow-covered mountain peaks on both sides and sweeping green pastures below. The total population of the three communities is about 790.
The economy is largely based on farming and ranching but the area is also home to a number of artists and studios.
There are two historic churches in the area. The Galena Church was built of logs in 1898. It is still used occasionally for weddings and funerals, and the cemetery is maintained by volunteers. The Brisco United Church was built in 1954 and is also still used by residents when required.
Brisco has its own community hall and also has a thriving Brisco Riding Club with a riding arena. On the far side of the Columbia River, the Bugaboo Glacier Provincial Park is accessible by road from both Brisco and Spillimacheen. The Bugaboos are famous around the world for outstanding hiking, climbing and heli-skiing opportunities. In 1972 the Alpine Club of Canada erected the Conrad Kain Hut, which has since been maintained by Parks Canada as a base for climbers. Canadian Mountain Holidays operate two lodges in the area.
Spillimacheen is the base for the Columbia Wetlands Society that’s dedicated to the preservation and appreciation of the wetlands. It’s also home to the seasonal Spilli Bean Cafe as well as some popular attractions including sport climbing on Spilli Rock and Beeland, the valley’s apiary specializing in alpine honey; located in the historic Spillimacheen Trading Post(est 1912).
Text and photo provided courtesy of the Columbia Valley Pioneer. Maps provided courtesy of and copyright the Columbia Valley Map Book.