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Nakusp Waterfront Walkway

Waterfront Walkway, Nakusp, British Columbia, Canada

Formally Recognized: 2010/02/23

Nakusp Waterfront; Village of Nakusp, 2011
paved walkway, 2009
Nakusp Waterfront; Village of Nakusp, 2011
view from south of Nakusp waterfront with log boom, 1950s
Nakusp Waterfront; Village of Nakusp, 2011
view of shipyard, 1909-10

Other Name(s)


Links and documents

Construction Date(s)

Listed on the Canadian Register: 2012/02/17

Statement of Significance

Description of Historic Place

The Nakusp Waterfront Walkway is a paved pathway extending one kilometre (3280 ft) along the top of a steep embankment above Arrow Lake in Nakusp, British Columbia. This historic place includes the walkway, memorial benches, trees and gardens and an engineered soil/cement wall extending from the walkway to the lake.

Heritage Value

The Nakusp Waterfront Walkway is valued for its association with the process of human settlement in the West Kootenays. Native peoples had enjoyed the peaceful bay and level camping ground for thousands of years. With the start of silver, lead and zinc mining in the Kootenays in the late 1880s, this site was well suited for a port to take ore by water to American smelters. By the early 1890s steamboats were plying the Arrow Lakes, and the Summit Lake trail was built in 1892. That same year the Canadian Pacific Railway (CPR) and the Columbia and Kootenay Steamship Navigation Company began clearing land for a town site. The CPR owned most of the waterfront, establishing a station at lake level. Genelle's mill was started on the waterfront. During the next decade, hotels were established at the top of the hill and extensive shipbuilding facilities were established below. Bay Street, at the foot of the hill, became the first commercial street in Nakusp. By the 1920s, Broadway had replaced Bay Street as the main commercial area, but the industrial waterfront remained active until the mid-1950s, as the local economy evolved from one based on mining and the railway to one associated with logging.

The Nakusp Waterfront Walkway is also valued for its association with the transformation of the Arrow Lakes through dam construction after the signing of the Columbia River Treaty in 1964. Between 1965 and 1968 BC Hydro removed all structures from the Nakusp waterfront. The slope above the waterfront was graded and packed with sand and the soil/cement barrier was constructed in 1967. In 1969 the lakes were dammed to the 445 metre (1460 foot) level. The historic waterfront of Nakusp was flooded, including the industrial area, Bay Street, and productive farmland.

The Nakusp Waterfront Walkway is also an expression of the determination of Nakusp's citizens to develop public access to their waterfront and to commemorate its historical significance. This determination was first expressed during the era of CPR ownership of the waterfront, when village residents argued for greater public access and a swimming beach. During the period of the Columbia River Treaty there were further calls for compensation for the physical and economic losses of flooding. The Nakusp Waterfront Walkway was part of a plan by civic leaders to establish public access and amenities, to encourage healthy lifestyles, and to enhance tourism. Walkway planning began in the late 1980s and construction continued through the 1990s. Funding came from BC Hydro, the Province, and local service clubs. The rose garden arbour below the Leland Hotel was planted and maintained for years by Chris and Jean Spicer, and was dedicated to them in 1996. Ray Nikkel installed the remaining extensive gardens along the walkway. The Nakusp Waterfront Walkway includes numerous memorial benches and trees, creating a link to the human history of the Village of Nakusp.

Source: Village of Nakusp Municipal Office, 91-1st Street NW, Nakusp, B.C. V0G 1R0

Character-Defining Elements

Key elements that define the heritage character of the Nakusp Waterfront Walkway include its:
- asphalt walkway
- stairways connecting the walkway to the roads
- soil/cement embankment below the walkway
- extensive gardens
- memorial trees and benches



British Columbia

Recognition Authority

Local Governments (BC)

Recognition Statute

Local Government Act, s.954

Recognition Type

Community Heritage Register

Recognition Date


Historical Information

Significant Date(s)

1892/01/01 to 1892/01/01
1967/01/01 to 1967/01/01
1969/01/01 to 1969/01/01
1965/01/01 to 1968/01/01
1996/01/01 to 1996/01/01

Theme - Category and Type

Developing Economies
Technology and Engineering
Peopling the Land
People and the Environment
Developing Economies
Extraction and Production
Developing Economies
Communications and Transportation
Peopling the Land
Expressing Intellectual and Cultural Life
Sports and Leisure

Function - Category and Type




Natural Resource Extraction Facility or Site
Station or Other Rail Facility
Harbour Facility

Architect / Designer



BC Hydro

Additional Information

Location of Supporting Documentation

Village of Nakusp Municipal Office, 91-1st Street NW, Nakusp, B.C. V0G 1R0

Cross-Reference to Collection

Fed/Prov/Terr Identifier




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