History of Radium Hot Springs

Radium Hot Springs are the perfect place to relax and unwind. But have you ever wondered about how the Hot Springs came to be?

While oral history tells that the Ktunaxa bathed in Radium Hot Springs – perhaps to ease the pain from ailments or heal injuries incurred in battle. It wasn’t until 1841 when Sir George Simpson, the governor of the Hudson’s Bay Company, made the first recorded visit to the springs. He bathed in a gravel pool just big enough for one person. During the late 1800’s the first permanent settlers came to the area and the springs increased in popularity. In 1890 a man by the name of Rolond Stuart saw the economic potential of the springs and paid $1 an acre to receive a crown grant for 160 acres surrounding the pool. In 1911, a British Journal suggested that there might be radium in the water, which is a chemical element that is slightly radioactive, and in 1913 research done by McGill University proved this this to be true and the original concrete bathing pool and bathhouse was financed by multi-millionaire, St. John Harmsworth.

Windermere Valley Historical Society

While Mr. Stuart was able to capitalize on his investment for a number of years, he eventually went back to England at the start of the First World War. In 1920 negotiations between the federal and provincial governments commenced and the formation of the Kootenay Dominion Park was announced. In 1922 the boundaries of the Kootenay Dominion Park was amended, and the Hot Springs and other properties in the vicinity were expropriated by the government. Mr. Stuart was paid out $40,000 for his initial $160 investment and in 1925 Radium Hot Springs Lodge was opened to the public.

Windermere Valley Historical Society

Dip into history at The Radium Hot Springs. It’s the perfect place to relax and unwind. Bighorn Meadows Resort is just minutes from the hot pools and the only place to stay when visiting the Columbia Valley. Book your stay today!