Some 50 million years ago, geologists tell us, the ancient rocks of what is now North America lay quiet and placid. Then through some mysterious geological process, the rocks began to lift and heave. Over the next 20 million years, it is conjectured, they continued their slow process and restless motion until the range of mountains that we know as the Rockies was uplifted.
The process that raised the mountains left deep faults in the rock. Water collected high in the mountains, entered the rocks through these faults, and ran deep into the mountains. After long travel, it bubbled back to the surface. Warmed by the heat of the rocks, it emerged much hotter than it entered, to form hot springs at the rock surface. Every year the process was repeated as snow high in the mountains melted and the water disappeared into the fissures in the rocks. One of the places where it bubbled back to the surface was in southeastern British Columbia — a place now called Fairmont Hot Springs Resort.
John Hankey, having bought the Fairmont Hot Springs Ranch from Sam Brewer, re-named it the “Fairmont Hotel Springs” and offered accommodation for $2 per day, including use of the hot springs. With the construction of the bathhouse (or “palatial sanitarium” as it was described), the resort staked its claim as a hub of health, wellness and hospitality — a tradition very much alive today.