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The Elk Valley « Elk Valley Economic Initiative

The Elk Valley

The Elk Valley



The Elk Valley is a great location for business and investment.

The mountain culture is home to an abundance of outdoor recreation opportunities and numerous amenities.  Fernie, Sparwood, Elkford and the entire Elk Valley are well connected to the business world with a high quality optic fiber network as well as Highway 3 and rail connections to the coast and Canadian Rockies International Airport in Cranbrook.  A well-established logistics and freight industry provides transportation of goods in and out of the valley.

Income levels are 29% higher than the Provincial average providing large levels of disposable income to spend on goods and services.

The principal highly concentrated business sectors include coal mining, forestry, industrial machinery, automotive parts and accessories and both architectural and structural metal manufacture.  The robust number of traveller accommodations, gas stations, beer and liquor stores highlight that tourism is a well-developed sector.

Tax incentives for development are present in the form of no development cost charges (DCCs) in Elkford and Sparwood as well as a revitalization tax exemption in Sparwood.

A healthy and diverse mix of residents across the communities has led to an equally rich spread of businesses and success stories.  The Elk Valley is home to artisan chocolate makers, coffee roasters, internationally renowned restaurants, a world class ski resort, fly fish guiding companies, multi-national engineering firms, a global resource extraction business, film-makers, a micro-brewery, an ice cream maker; the list goes on and on…



The communities of Elkford, Sparwood, Fernie and Tobacco Plains, together, make up the Elk Valley.  Although these communities have a number of things in common, it is the cultural life in each that inspires their individual community identity and pride.

The annual festivals and events, the creative talent, and the stories and customs unique to each community not only build its personality but also contribute to the quality of life for its residents.  The cultural life of the Elk Valley communities ignites creative thinking and expression, facilitates lifelong learning opportunities and provides occasions for all age groups to connect.

One can learn how to make beautiful, beaded moccasins from Tobacco Plains community members or experience a round dance honoring their veterans and elders.  An abundance of artists’ work can be found in galleries and shops throughout Fernie where celebrations of its heritage can also be found when visiting the museum or strolling along the Miners Walk.  Sparwood celebrates its mining heritage during its annual spring festival and by proudly displaying the Terex Titan which, for 25 years, was the largest and highest capacity haul truck in the world.  In Elkford, the wealth of wildlife in and around the community contributes to its wild-at-heart identity as does its annual summer festival that celebrates one of the first pioneers in the Elkford area, Wildcat Charlie Weigert.

Together, the unique cultural identity of the individual Elk Valley communities, offer something of interest for almost everyone and bring people of the Elk Valley together to strengthen their communities and build their social capital.



The Elk Valley is located in the South Eastern corner of the Kootenay Rocky Mountains in British Columbia.  Within the Valley and sitting alongside the Elk River are the communities of Elkford, Sparwood, Fernie and Tobacco Plains.

The valley and surrounding mountains are rich in heritage and environmental diversity, and provide a home to an incredible array of flora and fauna.

There are three main communities in the valley.  Elkford is the northernmost and has a population of almost 3,000 people connected to the rest of the valley via Highway 43.  Sparwood occupies a central location alongside Highway 3, 35km to the south and is home to a population of circa 4,200.  Fernie lies 30km to the west of Sparwood on Highway 3 with a population of almost 5,000 residents.

All of the communities provide residents with unparalleled leisure and recreational opportunities in the form of municipal services and outdoor activities.  These include mountain biking, hiking, alpine and xc skiing, hunting, fishing, snowmobiling and wildlife watching, to name but a few.

Clean air, clean water and healthy living are central to life in the Valley and have attracted residents and business investments from quite literally all over the world.