During the past three years in the Rockies I have managed to discover some gems. The kind of places that you wouldn’t hesitate to recommend to a friend or family member.
The St. Eugene Mission is that kind of a place.
Located in the outskirts of Cranbrook, British Columbia (and convenient to both the Montana and Idaho borders) the Mission is unique because of its somewhat tragic history.
What today functions as a golf course, resort, interpretive centre, and casino was originally built in 1910 for decidedly less pleasant purposes.
The current building was once the centrepiece of a residential school; a shameful time in Canadian history that saw the Federal Government rip Aboriginal children from their parents and place them in residential schools designed to rid them of their traditional ways. Those policies largely came to an end in the 1970s but the effects of a lack of connection to their culture, as well as, an absence of nurturing parental role models has resulted in long lasting issues within Aboriginal communities.
After the residential school closed, the building and its grounds lay empty for twenty years; until the Ktunaxa people, along with some investors, decided to turn the former residential school into an economic engine for the local people.
The first part of the resort opened in the year 2000; at the opening ceremony the Ktunaxa Elders spoke of how the place where they lost their culture would be where they would regain it.
I love to support the Mission – not only because of what it stands for but also because it is genuinely a fantastic place to enjoy a casual meal.
The Mission is home to an elegant formal restaurant as well as a more casual pub; it is the latter that I love for it’s wood fittings, delicious food, and pool tables.
Decidedly more elegant than your average pub it is gifted with a chef that knows how to work with fresh local ingredients and turn them into brilliant dishes.
For a long time my favourite meal was the lamb burger (pictured here) and although it is long gone from the menu it has been replaced by a bison burger I would not hesitate to recommend.
If you ever find yourself in the Southern Rockies during meal time, don’t hesitate to stop by the St. Eugene Mission for a wonderful bite in historic surroundings.
Question: Are you a burger person? What is your favourite kind of burger? I have to admit I love a good lamb burger but a well made veggie burger is also a personal favourite!