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Kimberley has the most restaurants per capita in Canada.

Cranbrook: What you can’t see from the highway

Sam Steele Days is one of many community events that celebrates Cranbrook’s hidden charm

At first glance, Cranbrook is all business. But looks are deceiving.

The community gathers for Sam Steele Days 2018.

As the largest urban centre in southeastern B.C., Cranbrook is a service hub for approximately 100,000 people. This would explain the big-box stores, chain restaurants and fuel stations that define its main commercial strip.

Beyond the utilitarianism of this highway and the industrial lands to the northwest, however, is a vibrant community alive with arts, culture and events.

One of the community’s signature events is Sam Steele Days. Held annually in mid-June, this four-day community festival features a wide array of free activities. There is something for everyone, from baseball and bocce tournaments to a culinary expo, wiener dog races, logger sports and a farmer’s market at the central fairgrounds.

One of the centerpiece events of Sam Steele Days is the Strongman Classic. This year, it was bigger and better than ever, having garnered attention from Canada’s No. 1 Specialty Network, Sportsnet (watch video). Emceed by Canada’s Strongest Woman, Allison Lockhart, the competition drew contestants from B.C., Alberta and Australia.

rotary park cranbrook
Located in the heart of downtown Cranbrook, Rotary Park is a beautiful green space where farmer’s markets, live music, weddings and other events take place.

Sam Steele Days also features a grand parade, which takes place in and spotlights Cranbrook’s very walkable and economically healthy downtown core. Though it’s only a stone’s throw from the main strip, the downtown area often gets overlooked by casual passersby. It is well worth your time to check it out.

Here, the streets are lined with book stores, cafes, restaurants and boutique shops. They merge into heritage homes and a verdant city park that plays host to a farmers market, along with live music and dancing, every Saturday.

Cranbrook is actually home to several city parks and green spaces as well as a creek that winds its way through the entire city. Golf courses are prolific in the greater area. As are hiking and biking trails and recreational lakes.

With average daily highs in July of 25.9 C, Cranbrook offers a temperate climate that is perfect for a wide range of activities.

Besides Sam Steele Days, the community also enjoys the following annual events:

A community that is truly outdoor oriented, Cranbrook balances its role as a service centre with a hidden charm that saves itself for those willing to get off the beaten path.