Fernie

Feature Type:City - A populated place with legally defined boundaries, incorporated as a city municipality under the provincial Municipal Act.
Status:
Name Authority: BC Geographical Names Office
Relative Location: E side of Elk River, E of Cranbrook, Kootenay Land District
Latitude-Longitude: 49°30'15''N, 115°03'46''W at the approximate location of the Municipal Hall.
Datum: NAD83
NTS Map: 82G/11
Related Maps: 82G/11
82G/6

Origin Notes and History:

Incorporated as a Town municipality 28 July 1904. Fernie (Town) confirmed in the 15th Report of the Geographic Board of Canada, 31 March 1917, as labelled on BC map 1EM, 1915. Since re-incorporated as a City municipality. Fernie (City) confirmed 12 December 1939 on 82/SE.

Source: BC place name cards, or correspondence to/from BC's Chief Geographer or BC Geographical Names Office

Fernie Post Office was opened 1 August 1898. Incorporated 1904, first mayor Fred Stork. See also the municipality's own website

Source: BC place name cards, or correspondence to/from BC's Chief Geographer or BC Geographical Names Office

After William Fernie (1837-1921), miner and capitalist, who promoted coal mining here and founded the city c1897.

Source: Provincial Archives' Place Names File (the "Harvey File") compiled 1945-1950 by A.G. Harvey from various sources, with subsequent additions

"After Peter and William Fernie, early settlers. William discovered coal in the Crowsnest coal field. Peter died in Victoria in October 1915, age 84."

Source: 15th Report of the Geographic Board of Canada, 31 March 1917 (supplement to the Annual Report of the Dept of the Interior, 1917, Ottawa)

William Fernie, now a resident of Victoria, describes his experiences thus: "I went into the pass per pack trail in the spring of 1887 to prospect for coal on one of the tributaries of Michel creek, which is one of the tributaries of Elk river and I found several seams of coal there and took up some thousands of acres there and applied to the British Columbia government to purchase same, but failed to finish the survey of them until the following year. In the spring of 1889 I went back to the valley of the Elk river and prospected for coal on Coal creek and adjacent lands in the Elk River valley and found many seams of coal and applied to purchase 10,000 acres of same. I was engaged from that time steadily in prospecting and developing the property of the company until 1900 when I retired from the service of the company. In 1898 the townsite of Fernie was cleared and the site surveyed into streets and lots. The town was named after me as being the discoverer of the coal, a director of the company and having had control of all the field work until the work got too big for one man to handle." (BC Geographic Division transcript, as contributed for publication in the 17th Report of the Geographic Board of Canada, 31 March 1921).

Source: BC place name cards, or correspondence to/from BC's Chief Geographer or BC Geographical Names Office

"Named after William Fernie (1837?-1921). An Englishman by birth, Fernie travelled in Australia, New Zealand and South America before arriving in BC. In 1861 he prospected for gold near Revelstoke, later moved on to the Cariboo and in 1864 arrived at the Wild Horse Creek gold camp.The next year he was a foreman on the extension of the Dewdney Trail to Wild Horse Creek. Fernie was government agent and mining recorder for the Kootenay district 1876-82."

Source: Akrigg, Helen B. and Akrigg, G.P.V; British Columbia Place Names; Sono Nis Press, Victoria 1986 /or University of British Columbia Press 1997

Originally Coal Creek.

Source: Canadian Geographical Names Database, Ottawa

The traditional name for this site is C/aqanak, pronounced tsa-qa-nak. [meaning/significance not provided] (April 2006 advice from Janice Alpine, Ktunaxa Language Program)

Source: included with note