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Architectural Heritage: Fernie's City Hall

Friday • November 25, 2016

The Crow’s Nest Pass Coal Company chose Fernie as its headquarters because of its location central to their mining activities in Coal Creek, Michel, and Carbonado (Morrissey).

The original wooden company office buildings had burned twice, and this was enough incentive for general manager G.G.S. Lindsey to promise that an elegant new office building would be built following incorporation of the city.

By May 1905, cement blocks were on the site ready for the start of building, and the date for laying the cornerstone was set for June 20th. In celebration, this date was declared a general holiday for Crow’s Nest Pass Coal Co. employees, and Mrs. Lindsey laid the cornerstone marked ‘1905’ using a silver trowel. There was some disappointment that William Fernie was unable to attend and officiate, as he had been instrumental in laying the foundation for the company. As part of the ceremonies, the Engineer H.B. Wright deposited a time capsule under the cornerstone containing period currency coins, company records, the first and current issues of the Free Press, the 1902 souvenir issue and the current copy of the Fernie Ledge.

‘Fire-proof’ masonry structures had become the trend in building, and not only did this building survive the Great Fire of 1908, it also served the community as a place of refuge during and after the fire. It remained occupied solely by the Crow’s Nest Pass Coal Company until 1984, when the building became Fernie’s City Hall. 

In 2011, along with other iconic locations in Fernie, City Hall was the setting for the filming of Santa Paws 2: The Santa Pups. The Christmas decorations that adorn City Hall each year were a gift from the filmmakers in thanks for the town’s hospitality.

City Hall is the home of the Miner’s Walk, a tribute to Fernie’s mining legacy featuring municipal gardens, local sculpture, and interpretive panels.

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