One of the most popular news aggregate sites in North America, MSN, has included Castlegar in a recent article that listed “20 Canadian towns with a low cost of living and high paying jobs.” The Real Estate section of the site hand-picked Castlegar because “the monthly rent for a one-bedroom apartment in the town centre is $850 on average, with an extra $175 for basic utilities. The average monthly pay in this town – where the economy is based on forestry, mining and tourism — is $4,830.”
This is only one of many reasons why more and more families are making the move to Castlegar. In the past few years there has been an influx from BC’s lower mainland, Alberta and the Pacific Northwest of the United States largely because of the lifestyle and, as the MSN article mentioned, there are high-paying jobs here.
Below are 10 more reasons why you should consider moving to Castlegar right now.
Why You Should Move To Castlegar Right Now
The Outdoor Recreation
There are very few cities where an outdoor playground ends right at your doorstep. In most places you have to drive to find a bit of greenery that isn’t a manicured park, but not Castlegar. The entire city is surrounded by mountains, rivers and lakes that offer all kinds of outdoor recreation from mountain biking and cross-country skiing to fishing and hiking to paddling and rock climbing. There are also tennis courts, soccer and football fields, ball diamonds, natural beaches and a skateboarding park. And that’s just what you can do within city limits! Take a 10-minute drive and you have your choice of backcountry ski areas, mountain hikes, snowmobiling zones, dirt bike tracks and so much more.
The Indoor Recreation
There’s no shortage of things to do indoors in Castlegar. The Recreation and Aquatic Centre is a great place to start: it houses an arena, a six-lane, 25-meter pool and leisure pool, whirlpool, weight room, fitness studio, meeting rooms, banquet facility, kitchen and senior centre. There’s also a bowling alley, two movie theatre venues, museums, yoga studios and the first escape room in the West Kootenay region: it’s a pirate-themed adventure in which players have to solve riddles to unlock doors and find the prize.
Castlegar is located at the confluence of the Columbia and Kootenay Rivers as well as at the terminus of the Arrow Lakes system. There are also innumerable small lakes, streams and ponds in the mountains surrounding the city. In other words, there’s a lot of water around for you to play in. Whether you prefer fishing or sailing or you just like floating and lounging at the water’s edge on a hot day, Castlegar will deliver.
It’s no surprise food is an integral part of the culture in Castlegar given that the Doukhobors moved here a century ago because the soil was so perfect for farming. To this day we defy you to have a better bowl of borscht anywhere in the world! The city also boasts a plethora of delicious restaurants, pubs and cafés to satiate the hungriest local. Four different restaurants that we particularly enjoy include:
- Lions Head Smoke and Brew Pub – A great neighbourhood pub with dozens of beers on tap and tasty barbecue.
- The Grand Buddha Bistro – A quaint eatery with delicious asian food and the best peanut sauce in the city.
- The Wandering Greek Oven Restaurant – An intimate spot with authentic greek cuisine.
- Cuisine of India – A family-owned Indian food restaurant that serves the best butter chicken in the West Kootenay.
The Art Scene
Castlegar is the Sculpture Capital of Canada, which means there’s no shortage of artwork to see while strolling the streets downtown. And the best part is it changes every year. Residents and visitors are invited to vote on their favourite pieces that are submitted every year by local and international artists and the one with the most votes will enjoy a prominent outdoor location in Castlegar for years to come. And that’s just the Sculpture Walk! There’s also the Art Gallery, the artisan markets and a thriving music scene as well.
Castlegar has always been an important resource town and mid-point in the West Kootenay region. But we also have a rich history of farming thanks to the Russian Doukhobors who settled here in the early 1900s because of the fertile valley soil. Today, there are museums and heritage sites throughout the city dedicated to the railroad, the Doukhobors and the Lakes Salish Peoples who fished these waters for hundreds of years before Europeans showed up.
There are multiple parks and playgrounds located around the downtown core and the city but the most impressive Millenium Park which is located a mere six blocks from the downtown core. It’s home to the largest bike park in the Kootenays that features dirt jumps, a flow track, and a pump track. Plus there are beaches located right on the river where families can swim, build sand castles, enjoying picnic and play beach volleyball. And there are gardens, soccer fields, tennis courts, and so much more. In short, Millenium Park puts New York’s Central Park to shame.
Many young families are moving to Castlegar, not just because it’s affordable, but because there’s so much for kids and parents to do. And we’re a tight-knit community that celebrates with festivals, fairs, parades, sporting events, and more. It’s impossible not to know your neighbour in Castlegar.
Other cities in Canada are known for their hustle and bustle. Castlegar prefers to be laid back. Lounge on the beach in the sunshine and listen to the river water for awhile. Visit one of the many waterfalls near the city. Immerse yourself in a ‘Float Cabin’ at Rest Assured Kootenay Floats, where you’ll enjoy effortlessly floating in super-saturated salt water. Take a hike, enjoy the views of the rivers and breathe the fresh mountain air. There’s no rush. You’re at the centre of it all.