A plethora of summer and winter activities attract locals and visitors alike. People come to Smithers for fishing, boating, camping, hiking, skiing, shopping or to listen to the local musical talent.
Rolling hills and farmland, rivers, creeks, lakes, mountain ranges, green forests, and wildlife such as bears and moose enclose the town. Smithers’ backdrop is snow-peaked Hudson Bay Mountain, which towers above at 1,650m/5,413ft.
Smithers and the Bulkley Valley have often been described by non-residents as the somewhat culturally unique to the rest of Northern British Columbia. Many factors contribute to the composition of society in Smithers, including the arts, industry smoke stacks outside of town from mills and mining.
Smithers has adopted an alpine theme, which is drawn from the geography of the area. A town bylaw requires businesses in the downtown area centred on Main Street to construct their buildings in an alpine style. A fibreglass statue of a man blowing an alpine horn, commonly referred to as The Alpenman or Alpine Al, is located at the entrance to the main street and has become the town symbol. Similarly, the Smithers chamber of commerce displays an Alpine Al costume at community events and in television advertisements for the town’s businesses.
Residents of Smithers are called Smithereens which remains a more popularly accepted demonym than the sometimes used ‘Smitherite’.
Smithereens have a particularly strong environmental ethic. In 2006, over 600 Smithereens took to the streets to voice their opposition to a proposed coalbed methane gas field near Telkwa, which they claimed would threaten local water quality, landscape integrity and wild salmon populations.
Likewise a proposal by Thompson Creek Metals to develop a molybdenum mine to extract the Davidson deposit on Hudson Bay Mountain near the town was vigorously opposed over a period of years before TCM abandoned the project.
Smithers and the Bulkley Valley are home to many musicians, including Juno-Award-winning Alexis Puentes. The biggest assembly of musical talent happens during the annual Mid-Summer Music Festival in late June. Over the years, the Mid-Summer Music Festival has seen some famous acts like Spirit of the West and the Barenaked Ladies and has drawn audiences and participants from all across North America.
The Della Herman Theatre, named after a longtime resident and former school board official, is the primary venue for shows and performances, though several pubs and even open fields serve as secondary performance venues. Numerous organizations including the Bulkley Valley Community Arts Council operate to keep music and other artistic activities vibrant.
Smithers is known for its world class skiing and fishing (in particular for steelhead). Other popular activities include soccer, volleyball, hockey, baseball, downhill mountain biking, cross-country skiing, hiking, quadding and snowmobiling. Smithers offers a variety of extreme sports, for example quadding in the back country, snowmobiling in the surrounding mountains, paragliding, or mountain biking down Hudson Bay Mountain. Smithers is known for its variety of recreation.