10 years ago (2003): Weeks had passed and there had been virtually no rainfall in the Columbia Valley, prompting the Southeast Fire Centre to issue an extreme fire warning for the valley. Nobody within the jurisdiction was allowed fires for cooking, warmth, or ceremonial purposed. Fireworks were also banned. However, there were some legal exceptions. One campsite resort owner told The Echo that “Under the resort zoning laws, we are exempt from fire bans and it’s at our discretion, but we are liable if the fire gets out of hand.”
15 years ago (1998): Work began on an addition on David Thompson Secondary School, intended to eliminate the need for portable classrooms. The construction created three new administrative offices, three new classrooms for high school use, and four new classrooms for the College of the Rockies. “We benefit by having a joint use with the school district that opens up to adult use in the evening,” said the then-manager of College of the Rockies.
20 years ago (1993): Beach closures were in effect at Kinsmen Beach between 10:30 p.m. and 6:30 a.m. each night. Those found trespassing on the property were to be charged up to $2,000. Vehicles were to be towed and impounded. “I’m sure hoping that this is a discretionary tool,” said acting mayor Buzz Harmsworth, speaking to those concerned about losing night swimming.
30 years ago (1983): “If you want to find out about a person, no need to talk, just read their bumper stickers,” advised an Echo columnist. “You can find out what a person would rather be doing,” she said. The columnist admired drivers whose stickers bragged about stopping at all bars and garage sales. Expressing a cold-war sentiment, she quoted one that read, “In case of nuclear war — kiss your children.” One car, she wrote, that she saw bore a remarkably sexist sticker, reading: ” Help put a woman back where she belongs, barefoot and pregnant.”
40 years ago (1973): The Invermere Hotel burned to the ground on a Sunday night. The building had been a landmark on Invermere’s main street since the early 1900s, according to The Echo. Firefighters battled what they called the worst blaze in the history of the village for more than three hours despite having no realistic hope of extinguishing it. The hotel was originally known as the Hotel Canterbury. It was third of three well-known hotels in the area to burn down after long-standing inns in Windermere and Athalmer succumbed to fire in 1952 and 1970, respectively.
50 years ago (1963): Twelve-year-old Don Mathison’s set a new record for the fastest swim across Lake Windermere. He completed the 12-mile swim in five hours and 24 minutes after beginning at 7:06 am. The water was 64 degrees Fahrenheit and the air was 38 degrees F. Don, who was a stocky build for 5’2, said the cold did not bother him. The young swimmer was doubting his performance, but was encouraged to continue by his spotter, who followed the young swimmer in a row boat. The swim had only been completed twice before — in 1956 by a German immigrant housewife and in 1961 by a Nova Scotia man lifeguarding at Fairmont Hot Springs.