Surrounded by the Selkirk Mountains in British Columbia’s Kootenay Region is Salmo, a little village rich in Gold Rush and logging history. Originally known as Salmon Siding, the village was founded as a mining town in 1896. A quiet community, Salmo offers numerous outdoor activities to take part in, including fishing, hiking, golfing and skiing.
Land Area, km2
Agriculture, Forestry, Fishing and Hunting, Manufacturing, Construction
Nelson, Castlegar, Fruitvale
Salmo’s housing market is affordable and the area has seen an increase in young families over the past several years. The village is also one of the communities supported by the Columbia Basin Trust – created to support efforts by the people of the Basin to create a legacy of social, economic and environmental well-being for present and future generations. There are many volunteers in the community and the youth centre offers many good programs and activities. Supportive housing for the village’s many seniors was also recently built.
Yet, despite the community’s positive attributes, Salmo, like many small, rural and remote communities across Canada, is facing numerous challenges. There is a lack of businesses in the area, and therefore, a lack of employment opportunities – particularly for women. The downtown core contains the library, the local pub and a few shops. The village’s schools have low enrolment numbers, so many classes are mixed grades.
Most people work in the nearby communities of Nelson, Trail and Castlegar, giving Salmo the reputation of being more of a ‘sleeper’ community. The village does not have public transportation, making it difficult for those who live in the community to get around; also internet connections can be slow, making it hard for the community to connect and drive businesses forward.
Salmo is a community at a crossroads, needing to decide what it is and what it can become. There is potential for the community to grow, but this is tempered by anxiety about change. Salmo also has the opportunity to capitalize and expand on its tourism industry. With a plethora of trails, the area is great for hiking, hunting, walking and biking. There are also many activities for youth to take part in, including a swimming pool, youth centre and BMX bike track. But before Salmo can begin to transition, a more unified front for a community vision is needed.