Located on the banks of the mighty Columbia River, the city of Trail is a land of legends, enduring traditions,exquisite attractions, a rich sports legacy and awesome scenery. Although the Lakes Tribe (Interior Salish) once settled here, the history of the city itself is truly the story of settlers who followed the lure of precious metals. The Dewdney Trail, which ran parallel to Trail Creek, was the access to the area. During the early and mid-1880’s white explorers traveled through the area, but it was not until gold was discovered at Rossland that settlement occurred.
In 1882 Colonel Eugene Syre Topping pre-empted 343 acres of land in nearby Trail Creek Landing to service the community of Rossland. In 1896 a smelter was built on the banks of the Columbia to process this ore. Today that smelter has grown to become Teck Cominco, the world’s largest zinc and lead smelter producing 700,000 tones of concentrates each year. If you have the time visit the Teck Cominco Interpretive Centre and take the free 2 hour guided tour, at 10 am Monday thru Friday.
Known as “BC’s Little Italy” for its rich Italian heritage, the steeply terraced homes and bright gardens tucked along the winding streets have been delighting visitors from all over the world. The false front heritage buildings in the gulch and the array of Italian Restaurants are evidence of the rich traditions of the immigrants who arrived here to build the railways in the 1900’s. Among the steeply terraced homes are long, interesting covered stairways. Originally built uncovered prior to the 1920’s, they we’re provided for the miners to “walk” to work in the winter months, and are now part of a downtown heritage walking tour.
There are numerous athletic tournaments that have garnered the city a fine array of sports achievements and recognition over the years. Trail has often been called the “Home of Champions” for the amount of athletes who grew up and trained in the West Kootenay and then went on to make history in the world of professional sports. Pay a visit to the Sports Hall of Memories, a tribute to these champions, from Olympic skiers to professional hockey players. Take a break while downtown and visit the Aquatic Centre with its indoor pool, water slides, and tennis and racquetball courts.
Trail is also a hub of commerce, industry and industrial services, with a rich history that keeps tourists coming back for more. A walk down Rossland Avenue showcases the largest collection of false-front buildings in Western Canada. Come bask in the silver city with the silver lining.
Follow Hwy 3B east of Trail to the villages of Montrose andFruitvale where you can stock up on fishing and camping supplies and head to Champion Lakes Provincial Park. This 1408 hectare park is home to three lakes and can be accessed by a paved road north of Fruitvale. There is camping at the third Champion Lake, popular for its sandy beaches, warm water and nature walk around the lake.