Kaslo is a small, picturesque mountain village located on the shores of beautiful Kootenay Lake, in the southwest corner of British Columbia known as the West Kootenay region. The largest community on the main (north-south) body of Kootenay Lake, Kaslo had a population of 1,026 as of 2011. Nestled between the Selkirk Mountain Range to the west and the Purcell Mountain Range to the east, perched on the shore of Kootenay Lake and the banks of the Kaslo River, Kaslo is picture postcard pretty from all angles.

Across the lake, Mt. Loki soars dramatically above neighbouring Purcell mountain peaks reaching heights of 2,779 m/9,117 ft. and guarding the tiny village below from on high. The mountain is named for Loki, the trickster god from Norse mythology.

History is Alive in Kaslo

From humble beginnings as a sawmill site back in 1889, Kaslo’s growth exploded right along with the silver boom of the 19th century. Founded in 1893, Kaslo boasted a population of some 5000 people in its heyday, along with the support structures necessary to keep such a populace happy (mostly hotels and brothels, apparently). Although the silver boom was but a blip in the history of British Columbia, much remains of that era in the Kaslo of today.

In fact, Kaslo is home to two National Historic Sites of Canada:

  • The SS Moyie is the oldest intact sternwheeler in the world, a reminder of the days before roads when she was the only transportation in the area, sailing up and down Kootenay Lake from 1898 until 1957. Saved from a fiery demise by the local populace, the SS Moyie has been lovingly restored and maintained over the years by the Kootenay Lake Historical Society and now operates as a museum and the Kaslo Visitor Information Centre right on Front Street, drawing thousands of visitors every year. A replica of the SS Moyie resides in Heritage Park, Calgary Alberta where it is seen by many more thousands of visitors each year.
  • Village Hall, built in 1898, is one of only two intact wooden municipal buildings in Canada that are still in use today.


The historic storefronts that line Front Street hearken back to the early 1900s and the unique designs of that period give the village’s main street a big part of its charm. Even new structures are being built in the style of the day — and you won’t find a string of chain stores or big box stores here! Unique mom and pop shops abound and you can enjoy the thrill of discovering a one-of-a-kind item in every shop, whether gifts, apparel, trinkets, jewellery, housewares or books.

The village is also home to a credit union, insurance brokerage, liquor store, grocery store, two health food stores, meat shop, realtors, accountants, lawyers, government agent, laundromat, two gas stations, galleries, a school, campus of Selkirk College, health centre/hospital, seniors centre and much more. A recent addition is an Adventure Centre, where locals and visitors alike can stop in and book adventures including kayaking, standup paddleboarding, mountain biking tours and river rafting excursions.

In addition to many interesting shops, the village boasts up to 10 restaurants in peak tourist season, with the number tapering off later in the year to give mom and pop owners a seasonal rest.

A highlight of the village is the scenic Kaslo Golf Club, which offers a beautiful course with nuances of play for both the average and more experienced golfer and welcome everyone. The course dates back to 1923, making it one of the oldest golf courses in BC. As with many local initiatives, it began when a group of locals invested in and donated their efforts to create what was then a 4-hole course. It has since grown to a 9-hole course, which plays as 2,824 yard, men’s par 35, women’s par 37 course with well-conditioned grass greens and well-manicured fairways — still with the efforts and donations of both the Village and the members of the golf club. The latest of which includes the timberframe clubhouse built by Hamill Creek Timber Homes in 2007.


Kaslo is home to many small business entrepreneurs, artists and artisans — not unlike BC businesses in general, which counts 98 per cent of businesses as small businesses  and 79 per cent as micro businesses. A recent research report by Columbia Basin Trust found that 23 per cent of respondents in Kaslo had been attracted to the area by a business opportunity.

In addition, with the advent of high-speed internet technology, many people who can work place-independently choose to live in the area for its beauty, charm, safety, affordability and lifestyle.

Tourism plays a large and growing part in the local economy, having displaced the traditional mining and forestry resource sectors as the primary industry.


Kaslo welcomes the world by hosting a number of festivals including the famous Kaslo Jazz Etc. Summer Music Festival, named by USA Today as one of the “10 great places to get in tune, be outdoors!” Held every August long weekend in Kaslo Bay Park, the jazz festival is a popular music event that attracts international performers and draws large audiences.

Kaslo May Days is a three-day event held over the May long weekend every year and offering a wide variety of activities from the popular Logger Sports and vintage car display at the Show ‘N’ Shine to a wide range of children’s activities, musical performances, craft and food vendors, and diverse activities from helicopter rides to the Citizen of the Year presentation to a maypole dance that has been danced every year since 1923.

The Kaslo Canada Day Folk Music Festival is newer on the scene but growing in popularity as a way to celebrate the Canada Day long weekend in June with a lineup of great folk music.