Retail

Retail Hub of The Kootenays

Bike shops, outdoor gear, clothing, books, ladies wear, jewellery, a chocolate shop, gifts and many independent stores line Baker Street in downtown Cranbrook.

Browse local shops nestled between historic monuments and quaint restaurants.

Other shopping areas include Cranbrook Street, the Tamarack Mall and several big box stores.

Logistics and Transport

Freight is big business in our region. Our infrastructure, market accessibility, and land inventory create an ideal business climate for truck depots and warehousing.

  • 15 trucking firms
  • 5 major transportation terminals
  • 330,000+ freight trucks pass through Cranbrook annually

Situated along a key transportation corridor both internationally and interprovincially, Cranbrook is a popular stop for long-haul truckers. With a cluster of major trucking firms located within a convenient industrial area and just under 1,000 trucks passing through Cranbrook daily, it has established itself as a regional logistics hub.

Established as a railway and resource town, Cranbrook has a long history with the Canadian Pacific Railway. Trains travel to and through Cranbrook daily from the Lower Mainland, the Okanagan, and other key BC locations. Cranbrook is also one the few locations in the province with an international railway port. This means that US bound cargo spends significantly less time in transit than it would leaving from elsewhere and that Cranbrook can deliver its business to the world.

As the economic hub of southeastern B.C., our region serves a total immediate market of 100,000, with an additional 4.5 million in our neighbouring province. We also serve as a key connection between Canada and its largest trading partner, which is just an hour away.

Doing business here means you will have access to inexpensive property already zoned for manufacturing as well as some of the lowest operating costs in B.C.

We are in an excellent position to meet the growing needs of B.C. and Canada. The logistical fabric of our region is interwoven with opportunities for your new or expanding warehouse, trucking terminal, or depot to thrive.

Life Sciences

Anchored by the East Kootenay Regional Hospital, our city’s health care sector is diversifying to include pharmaceutical companies in emerging markets.

The East Kootenay Regional Hospital is the district’s primary hospital and is responsible for providing services to patients throughout the East Kootenay. As one of the four regional hospitals belonging to the Interior Health Authority, the East Kootenay Regional Hospital offers services including core physician specialties, 24 emergency and trauma services, Level 3 laboratory, acute and obstetrical care. Interior Health also operates over 20 clinics and care centres throughout the region. In addition to the benefit of easily accessible healthcare, the East Kootenay Regional Hospital has and continues to create opportunities for research investors, medical developers, and healthcare workers in Cranbrook.

As the largest service centre in southeastern BC, and with a steadily rising population, the health care sector is crucial and in demand now more than ever.

The health care sector in our region is supported by societies like the East Kootenay Foundation for Health and an award-winning educational facility. The College of the Rockies, based in Cranbrook, provides our workforce with a range of industry certifications, university programs, and specialized online training in the fields of health care, nursing, medicine, dental care, and biology. Along with the location, demand, and support, you’ll also find tons of affordable property in our region to locate your business—whether it’s a clinic, laboratory or research facility.

The life sciences industry is one of the largest and fastest growing in B.C., with over 210,000 people working in this sector. Our province enjoys international partnerships, which open the doors for exports. Canada’s largest trading partner is only an hour from the Cranbrook-Kimberley Development Zone. Our region is also home to an international airport, providing links to worldwide health and life sciences markets.

Interior Health Unit

  • Serves 801,000+ population of the southern interior
  • $2.6 billion annual budget
  • Covers more than 215,000 km² (83,011 m²)
  • $8.8 million invested into EKRH in 2019 and 2020

Tourism & Ecotourism

Situated in the heart of the Canadian Rockies, Cranbrook has become a major tourism hot spot. With endless access to outdoor activities like hiking, biking, fishing, skiing, and golf, our regional tourism thrives year-round.

  • Popular Activities and AttractionsHiking
  • Mountain biking
  • Fly-fishing
  • Golfing
  • Whitewater rafting and kayaking
  • Wildlife viewing
  • Horseback riding
  • Cross-country skiing
  • Downhill skiing and snowboarding
  • ATVing and snowmobiling

.

With our very own airport and close proximity to Alberta and the US, visitors from all over the globe travel to Cranbrook to adventure in one of the most beautiful mountain valleys in the world. Some even love it here so much they never leave!

Working in the tourism industry means sharing your passion with people from all around the world. Luckily for you, we have got the talent to help you do it. The College of the Rockies, based in Cranbrook, provides our workforce with industry certification in the fields of tourism management, adventure tourism business operations, mountain skills, and recreation management. Most of your employees will have grown up here, meaning that you will have access to priceless firsthand knowledge of the area and a love for the region that can’t be taught.

“Known for its big mountain views and seemingly endless hours of sunshine, 2229 hours annually to be exact, Cranbrook is a tourism destination on the rise. With access to world class golf, cycling, fishing, skiing, and more, its no wonder this is a place where people come to visit, live and invest. The Canadian Rockies International airport is the only international airport in the Rocky Mountains and provides access to the wider Kootenay Region and a breadth of experiences including national parks, hot springs, car touring and the infamous Powder Highway. Apart from its natural splendor, the area is also steeped in history specifically that of the Indigenous people, the Ktunaxa, railways and gold mining. Cranbrook is the basecamp of the Kootenay Experience.”

Kristy Jahn Smith, Executive Director, Cranbrook Tourism

Ecotourism

As an environmentally friendly city we are also a prime location for those interested in ecotourism. With our deep rooted ties to the natural world, our region is big on sustainable practices. You’ll find a number of local businesses and farmers, as well as our ʔaq̓am First Nations Community, that are striving to raise cultural awareness and look after the beautiful place we live in.

The pristine provincial parks, mountains, and endless public land that make up our backyard is home to abundant wildlife, including moose, elk, deer, bears, wolves, and eagles. Venture into our backwoods and you never know who you’ll be lucky enough to see. The best part is, half of the work is already done for you as the infrastructure in nearby provincial parks and nature conservancies already in place make it easy to share this pristine part of the world with eco-conscious visitors.

For more information, see Cranbrook Tourism.

Urban Attractions

While the outdoors are what we’re most well known for, we also have a number of local tourist attractions including…

Aerospace

Our region’s aviation industry is rapidly growing, with the Canadian Rockies International Airport (YXC) serving as a key driver. If your business specializes in aircraft maintenance, repair, and overhauls (MRO), avionics repairs, or aviation components manufacturing, you’ll find our area to be the perfect location. The Canadian Rockies International Airport (YXC) is Cranbrook’s connection to the world.

Over 20 flights from three major airlines depart from YXC daily and because of our fair weather, our on time performance is one of the best in the province. With direct flights to key Canadian business centres, including Vancouver, Calgary as well as international hubs, YXC has further opened Cranbrook to commerce, trade, and tourism opportunities and brings in a reliable, steady flow of business year-round.

Choosing to base your business at the Canadian Rockies International Airport offers unique advantages – Build a low-carbon business powered by renewable energy with favorable, competitive rates and incentives making Cranbrook among the lowest cost jurisdictions in North America. With fifty-two acres of land located directly beside the airport zoned for commercial airport development, and our access to key emerging technologies, Cranbrook is the ideal location for aerospace manufacturing and developments.

YXC is unofficially and rightfully known as the world’s most beautiful runway.

  • 20+ takeoff’s per day
  • Very low cancelation index
  • Over 140,000 passenger

Airport Expansion

Over the last decade, the Canadian Rockies International Airport has received over $20 million in investments for expansion, rehabilitation, and capital projects. These investments include a runway extension and terminal expansion, designed to accommodate larger aircraft from more distant locations. With ongoing updates, improvements, and expansion opportunities, the potential of the airport is limitless.

Technology

Technological development, distribution, and research are becoming some of Cranbrook’s most successful industries.

As a fibre optic community with high speed internet and reliable mobile coverage, Cranbrook has branded itself an emerging tech hub perfect for digital nomads and established tech companies alike. Our enviable outdoor-oriented lifestyle has brought us a younger demographic and with it, access to a talented workforce with bright new ideas and a strong interest in technological advancement.

Our forward-thinking community leaders strongly encourage the pursuits of those challenging the limits of today to achieve an even brighter tomorrow. In addition to general business incentive programs, B.C. also offers several programs specifically for the technology sector.

By choosing to locate your business here, you will find ample options for affordable property, with commercial rental space averaging between $5.00 – $10.00 per square foot. Not the office type? No problem! With our region’s fast and reliable mobile data coverage from Rogers, Bell, Telus, and Virgin, you will be able to run your business from anywhere anytime.

Our city is also benefiting from an expanded regional commitment to investing in the development of a strong innovation ecosystem:

  • Kootenay Association for Science and Technology (KAST): The largest technology-focused economic development association in the Kootenay region has demonstrated continued commitment to the importance of advanced innovation that supports creative technology clusters.
  • Columbia Basin Trust: Ongoing investments into regional businesses to benefit local economics and infrastructure, such as regional high-speed internet connectivity, that supports digital clusters.

Clean Energy

Cranbrook is home to an emerging cleantech industry with various sub-sectors, including solar power, waste-to-energy conversion, cogeneration, and alternative fuels.

Our forward-thinking community leaders are helping to propel an increasingly supportive ecosystem for businesses finding environmentally friendly ways of doing things. Located in the heart of the world-famous Canadian Rockies, you will be reminded of the environment you’re working hard to protect every day.

As a region with shipping and infrastructure in place and our very own international airport, your cleantech business will have direct access to key international markets such as Europe and Asia. We are also only an hour away from the world’s largest cleantech export market.

British Columbia is considered a leader in the cleantech sector with one of the highest ratios of cleantech companies to GDP in Canada. The B.C. government offers several business incentives programs specifically for emerging technology in this sector.

As the sunniest city in B.C. with over 2,191 hours of annual sunshine, there is no better place to be for those interested in harnessing the power of the sun or developing products and services for solar applications.

With an annual worth of $3 trillion worldwide, the cleantech industry is thriving and if you’re ready to thrive with it now’s the time to consider locating your business in our region.

Mining and Exploration

Mining and Exploration

Mining plays an essential role in Cranbrook’s economy. We are in close proximity to four of the world’s top metallurgical coal mines, which employ over 4,000 people locally.

Among the highest producing coalfields in all British Columbia, these mines produce millions of tons of coal that is shipped around the world. They are also the site of world-class innovation, such as autonomous haul trucks and artificial equipment tracking technology. This has created an anchor and favourable conditions for companies in Cranbrook’s emerging technology cluster.

With strict, world leading regulations, Canada is recognized as a global leader in mining. Environmental sustainability remains a priority focus for the industry.

Metallurgical Coal

One of the top minerals produced in Canada, coal is used for thermal and metallurgical applications. The key difference between the two is that thermal coal is used for electricity generation while metallurgical coal is used primary for steelmaking (building infrastructure, such as bridges, hospitals, and schools).

Metallurgical coal is also required for wind, solar and other clean energy projects, as well as hybrid vehicles and other transportation alternatives. Canada is the fourth largest exporter of metallurgical coal, with 85% of supply and production coming from here in B.C. and Alberta.

Most B.C. coal is exported internationally via coal ports on the west coast. A smaller percentage is sent by rail to steel mills in eastern Canada. Connected in both directions by rail, Cranbrook provides a significant advantage to our region’s mining industry.

With the world’s population expected to keep growing and demands for clean and efficient energy projects on the rise, Cranbrook is in a highly attractive position for companies in the coal mining sector.

Additionally, there are numerous mineral mines, rock quarries and artisanal gold operations in the resource rich mountains that surrounding the region, providing further opportunity for those involved in mining and exploration.

Along with five of the world’s top steelmaking mines, Cranbrook is home to vested interest in mineral mines, rock quarries and artisanal gold operations.

Access to an experienced and motivated workforce, combined with tons of available land inventory, means you’ll have no problem finding good employees and an affordable place to base your business – whether it’s a warehouse, design and engineering plant, or head office. Our region’s award-winning College of the Rockies boasts a robust heavy mechanic program and a burgeoning heavy equipment operator program putting Cranbrook in a strong position to meet the ongoing demands of industry with a steady talent pipeline.

Logistics wise, doing business here makes sense. Our two major highways, including the Crowsnest Highway, form direct links to local mines and further connect our region to Canada’s transcontinental highway. The nearby Canadian Pacific Railway and the Canadian Rockies International Airport (YXC), which offers daily flights to Calgary, Vancouver, and Kelowna, make shipping and receiving a breeze. We are also only an hour away from Canada’s largest trading partner, and just a few hours from Alberta.

Forestry

Forestry has long influenced Cranbrook’s economy and today there exists a significant opportunity for growth in this sector.

The wood industry directly employs workers in a diverse range of occupations – from foresters, environmental scientists, engineers, administrators and software developers to maintenance supervisors, mechanics, and trade specialists. Currently, 10% of jobs in the Kootenay region are created and supported by the forestry industry with eight post and pole mills (more than any other region in BC).

The Rocky Mountain Forest District is surrounded by 2.6 million hectares of montane forest and offers an annual harvest of over 1.6 million cubic metres. It’s no wonder that one of the world’s largest producers of sustainable lumber, pulp, and paper as well as several small to medium scale sawmills, supplying lumber to industry-leading companies and local builders, choose to do business here.

In addition to our skilled and highly motivated workforce, you will also have access to tons of available land that’s already zoned for manufacturing and a shipping and transport infrastructure, including air, rail, and intermodal facilities.

The lush forests of larch, pine, and fir provide a beautiful backdrop to those living in our region, but unfortunately, they also pose a threat. Wildfire mitigation is a top priority for elected community leaders and our residents. With that comes unique opportunities for entrepreneurs interested in seizing unmerchantable wood.

Industry generates and supports:

8

Post & Poll Mills

6,872

Total Jobs

10%

of Jobs in The Kootenay Region

$442 Million

of Labour Income

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