Revelstoke, BC
Demographic Factsheet:

Population (2011): 7,139
Population change since 2006: -1.3%
Pop density / sq. km: 175.1 / km^2
Land area: 40.76 km^2
Average family income (all census families):
Visible minority: 3%
Employment rate: 62%
Participation rate: 68.6%
Average price for SDH: $356,000
Housing starts (2011):
Average rental rate:
Homeownership rate:
Number of households: 3,076
Taking a trip to Revelstoke, one can quickly develop a feeling of isolation in the wilderness. The closest town, Sicamous, lies some 72 km’s west on the famous Trans-Canada Highway, with the nearest cities being Vancouver at 641 km’s west, and Calgary, a meager 415 km’s east. Despite the town’s distance from other metropolitan centres, Revelstoke no doubt takes solace in their scenic landscape, and rests close to not one, but two National Parks: Revelstoke and Glacier. It is because of this geographic isolation that Revelstoke is lucky to rest on a transportation hub of not only a major highway, but also Canadian Pacific railway (CPR). While Revelstoke is able to draw visitors for its tourism aspects, it relies heavily on outside economies for goods and services.
Revelstoke is a regional centre developed on the back of natural resources. Just north of the townsite, a gold rush occurred on the Columbia River in the 1860s which saw an estimated $3,000,000 in gold mined from the area. However, Revelstoke itself truly began as a supply centre for the mining industry and as a transportation hub in the 1880s. The CPR had come close to bankruptcy in the late twentieth century as their attempts to fight through various mountain ranges to lay track, especially while trudging through the Kicking Horse Pass, required more expertise, and therefore dollars, than expected. Once the tracks were firmly finished just 30 km’s west of town in Craigellachie,, however, Revelstoke experienced a slow growth rate, and in 1962, the Trans-Canada Highway effectively made the community an easily accessible tourist destination. In 2006, the tourism and hospitality industry accounted for 9% of the town’s employment, and an estimated 1.1 million visitors came to the Revelstoke city region during the summer season.
One of the reasons Revelstoke relies so heavily on imported goods is because in the 1960s, a plan was enacted that helped forge the path of their economy, In 1965, three hydraulic dams were constructed which helped drown not only local agriculture, but also created a reduction in the amount of land primed for logging purposes. Eventually these damming projects wound down, and in turn so did the Revelstoke economy. In turn, this economic slowdown would yield several more diverse projects, including a downtown revitalization program, as well as a return to a traditional logging enterprise which still thrives to this day as forestry related opportunities account for 21% of the town’s employment. It is because of this reliance on forestry that the town saw reason to create the Revelstoke Community Forest Corporation (RCFC) in 1992. This cooperation of community members owns and operates a 120,000 hectare tree farm which serves not only to repopulate the regions tree reserves, but to also regain some degree of control over the logging industry from private investors.
While forestry, tourism and arts are the primary economic industries in Revelstoke. there are a wide variety of additional, smaller activities. Revelstoke has 17 hotels, 24 campgrounds (in the area), and 37 restaurants, which account for much of the town's economic base. The development of the Revelstoke Mountain Resort in 2007 began to transform the town into a all-season tourism destination. When the park is finished its development and construction stage, it is expected to be the largest park in North America, with over 10,000 acres of terrain. Although Revelstoke is a slow-decline city, losing 1.3% of its population from 2006 to 2011, the community is rallying around its colourful landscape and natural resources in hopes of reversing this trend. The community if focused on urban planning, and in 2007, expanded its planning goals to encompass not only the economic needs of the town, but also the cultural and social aspects as well, which are reviewed by the public on an annual basis.

Dr. Leith Deacon PhD