Cranbrook's founding father, Colonel James Baker arrived from England in 1884. Cranbrook's beginnings are fraught with interesting situations; few would dispute the fact that it was the arrival of the Canadian Pacific Railway in 1898 that made the city. Colonel Baker's home is Cranbrook's oldest building located on the edge of Baker Park. The home today is utilized as a public building named the Colonel Baker Health Centre. Visitors are welcome to view the historical pictures in the home's foyer during the Centre's hours of operation; generally Mon to Fri, 9-5 pm; open occasionally evenings and closed occasionally during lunchtime. The city of Cranbrook today is a major commercial and administrative centre for the region with a population of approximately 20,000 people. The city has a rustic red brick downtown with many shops and restaurants.
The quiet streets of Baker Hill are lined with elegant Victorian homes that were constructed for the railroad elite. Brochures are available describing the self-guided walking tour. Cranbrook also boasts the Cranbrook History Centre, Clock Tower on Baker Street, Key City Theatre, RecPlex and nearby Fort Steele Heritage Town and Elizabeth Lake.