Are you planning a move to British Columbia but looking for a quieter location away from the big cities? If so, you may be interested in living in Fernie, BC, just one of the many attractive small towns in BC.
Fernie is a great choice for outdoor enthusiasts. It is a beautiful mountain town located in the East Kootenay region of southeastern BC. The town is known for its abundant snowfall and Fernie Alpine Resort, a ski resort just a few kilometres from the town.
We will give you all the key information you need about living in Fernie, BC. In addition, we will provide you with an unbiased view of the pros and cons of living in this town.
Living In Fernie, BC – The Facts
Here are some key facts about this mountain town for anyone interested in living in Fernie, BC.
Where Is Fernie, BC?
Fernie can be found in the heart of the Rocky Mountains, on Highway 3, as it approaches Crowsnest Pass from the west. The closest sizeable city is Cranbrook which lies to the west of Fernie, around an hour away.
Calgary is around a 3-hour drive to the northeast (via the Crowsnest Pass), and it will take around 11 hours to reach Vancouver on the west coast.
Calgary International Airport is the closest major airport to Fernie. The Canadian Rockies International Airport is around an hour’s drive near Cranbrook and offers regular flights to Calgary and Vancouver.
What Is The Population Of Fernie in 2023?
The population of Fernie in 2023 is around 6,000, based on the latest government of BC estimates released at the start of the year.
The town has seen steady growth in recent years. The latest federal census data (released in 2022) showed a population of 6,320, representing a growth in the population of Fernie of 17.1% between 2016 and 2021.
The average age of the population is 39.3, which is a few years below the national average of 41.9. This reflects the popularity of the town, with young people seeking an active outdoor lifestyle.
The population of Fernie is predominantly white and English speaking. According to the latest census data, visible minorities account for around 7% of the population.
The largest minority groups living in Fernie are South Asian and Filipino, and these two groups account for just over half of the visible minority population.
What Is The Weather In Fernie, BC, Like?
Most of Canada experiences cold, harsh winters with pleasant, moderately hot summers. However, BC’s coastal location and mountain ranges mean its climate isn’t typical of Canada.
You will find significant variations in the climate even within the province. Overall the BC weather is milder and wetter than the rest of Canada. The south coast has the mildest winters in Canada and warm, pleasant summers, while the southern interior has very short winters with long, dry, hot summers.
The weather in Fernie is typical of Canada, with cold winters and pleasantly warm summers. The average January low is minus 10 Degrees C, while the average July high is minus 25 Degrees C. The climate is quite wet for Canada, with 1227 mm of precipitation annually. However, 325 mm of this falls as snow.
What Is The Cost of Living In Fernie Like?
Most immigrants find the cost of living high in Canada, and BC is one of the more expensive provinces. House prices in BC are around 50% higher than Canadian averages.
Rural areas are cheaper but still subject to higher provincial taxes. Sales tax is 12% on most goods (5% GST plus 7% PST) compared to 5% in provinces such as Alberta, and the top income tax rate is relatively high.
The cost of living is relatively high in Fernie, partly due to high BC taxes but also due to property prices. The average property price of a home in Fernie is around $940,000. This is fairly typical of BC but around 50% more than the average for Canada.
What Is The Fernie BC Economy Based On?
Fernie townsite grew around the coal mining industry, which started in the area in the early 1900s. Coal is still mined in the area today and remains important to the economy.
The other pillar of Fernie’s economy is tourism which is focused at Fernie Alpine Resort, a large ski resort known for its large annual snowfall.
Is Fernie BC A Safe Place To Live?
Canada is one of the safest countries in the world to live in. Crime rates are low, and the country always features near the top of the annual Global Peace Index rankings.
Canada, Quebec, Ontario and the Maritime provinces have the lowest crime rates, while the highest in the territories. BC crime rates are above average for Canada. However, Fernie is an extremely safe community in Canada with very low crime rates compared to both BC and national averages.
Are You Planning A Move To Canada?
Are you wondering whether to make the move and have endless questions?
We have the answers to these and many more questions.
What Are The Schools In Fernie, BC, Like?
Canada has a strong and publicly-funded education system, which consistently ranks as one of the best in the world. Education is administered at a provincial level, and BC has a reputation for excellent education within Canada.
Fernie has one public elementary school (Isabella Dicken Elementary School) and one secondary school (Fernie Secondary School). Dual-track French immersion programs are also available at these schools.
In addition, École Sophie-Morigeau is a francophone school that provides learning entirely in French, and The Fernie Academy is an independent school covering kindergarten through grade 12.
At the post-secondary level, the Fernie campus of the College of the Rockies provides mainly career-related training programs.
What Is The Healthcare In Fernie, BC Like?
Canada has an excellent publicly-funded healthcare system which covers “medically necessary” care. Generally, hospital and doctor visits are covered, while other types of care, such as dental, optical and prescriptions, are funded for certain groups of people.
In Canada, healthcare is administered at a provincial level, so anyone living in Fernie, BC, would be covered through BC Healthcare.
You should be aware that there is currently a shortage of family doctors in much of Canada, and it can be difficult to find clinics taking on new patients. This is especially true of the smaller towns and cities.
Fernie has its own hospital (Elk Valley Hospital), which offers a range of inpatient and outpatient facilities and 24/7 emergency care.
Pros And Cons Of Living In Fernie BC
The pros and cons of living in Fernie, BC, will vary from person to person, but whatever you are looking for, these are key factors for you to consider.
Pros Of Living In Fernie BC
- Attractive location
- Very low crime rates
- Good schools
- Outdoor activities
Cons Of Living In Fernie BC
- Moderately expensive