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David Thompson explored the section of the Columbia River that passes through the present townsite of Golden in 1807. However, significant interest in the area did not come about until the search for a pass through the Rocky Mountains to enable construction of the CP Rail line from coast to coast in the 1850s brought the Palliser expedition to the area. Sir James Hector, a geologist who was part of the expedition, was kicked by a horse on his travels and narrowly escaped death. He named the pass through the mountains and the river that flows through Golden Kicking Horse Pass and Kicking Horse River respectively.

In the 1880's a way through the Selkirk Mountains was discovered by Major A.B. Rogers. The pass that bears his name allowed construction of the final parts of the railway linking east to west to proceed.

The first settlement in Golden, associated with Major Roger's survey party, happened in 1882.

Integral to the history of Golden was the role that the Swiss mountain guides played. Canadian Pacific Railway employed mountaineering guides from Switzerland, starting in 1899, to guide passengers on mountain climbing expeditions. Homes constructed in the early part of the 20th century for the guides remain a testament to this part of the area's heritage.

The Golden and District Museum

The Golden & District Museum is open year round. Exhibits include collections of photos; newspapers and other archival records. Permanent displays on the Swiss Guides, the Sikhs and every day life in Golden can be seen. Displays change, so be sure to check the website to see what exciting additions, events and programs are happening at the Golden & District Museum.

Visit the Golden and District Museum website:

Did You Know?

Kicking Horse River was named by Sir James Hector, a Scottish explorer after he was kicked off his horse during the Palliser Expedition.

For more information about things to see and do in Golden please visit the Golden Tourism website: