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Trail, British Columbia

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Trail, British Columbia

City of Trail
Welcome to Trail BC
Welcome to Trail BC
Coat of arms of Trail
Coat of arms
Motto: Explore Your Trail
Location of Trail in British Columbia
Location of Trail in British Columbia
Country  Canada
Province  British Columbia
Region Kootenays
Regional district Kootenay Boundary
 • Mayor Mike Martin[1]
 • City 34.93 km2 (13.49 sq mi)
Elevation 440 m (1,440 ft)
Population (2011)[2]
 • City 7,681
 • Density 219.9/km2 (570/sq mi)
 • Urban 9,276[3]
Time zone PST (UTC-8)
Postal code V1R
Area code(s) 250
Highways 3B
Waterways Columbia River
Website City of Trail

Trail is a city in the West Kootenay region of the Interior of British Columbia, Canada. It was named after the Dewdney Trail, which passed through the area.[4]


Trail has an area of 34.78 square kilometres (13.43 sq mi). The city is located on both banks of the Columbia River, approximately 10 km north of the United States border. This section of the Columbia River valley is located between the Monashee Mountains to the west and the Selkirk Mountains to the east. The Columbia flows directly north-south from Castlegar, turns east near downtown Trail, and then meets the Canada–United States border at Waneta and the Pend d'Oreille River.

Trail Bridge crosses Columbia River in Trail BC

Summer climate in Trail is generally hot and dry with moderately cool nights. Temperatures often exceed 35 °C during summer afternoons, average 29 °C. Thunderstorms are common during the late-Spring and Summer season, often moving into the valley from the south. The fall months brings dense river fog, especially during the overnight and morning hours, as a cold air inversion lingers above the relatively warm river surface. Winters are mild to cold with periods of moderate snowfall. Nearby villages such as Warfield and Fruitvale often receive greater amounts of snow due to higher elevation.

The Monashee Mountains are the first major mountain range east the Coastal Mountains to intercept moisture laden westerly flow from the Pacific Ocean. As a result, areas west of Trail, including the Christina Range, Rossland Range, the city of Rossland, and the Blueberry-Paulson section of the Crowsnest Highway (Highway 3) receive greater amounts of winter precipitation, mostly in the form of heavy snow. Vegetation in the Trail area, although fairly lush, is noticeably drier than other areas with a more westerly aspect.


According to Statistics Canada, Trail's population was 7,320 during the Canada 2001 Census.[2]

The city is also noted for its large Italian community. There are 1,385 people in Trail with Italian ancestry (18.9%).[5]

Education and employment

The entrance of J. Lloyd Crowe Secondary School

Trail is the location of the head office of the Kootenay Boundary Regional District, which is one of the city's employers.

Trail is part of School District 20 Kootenay-Columbia and schools in the town include:

School district

The school district in the Greater Trail area is focused on improving the district and schools and has a focused, well organized improvement plans in place. The strategies selected to achieve the goals are a blend of research, best practice, and innovative thinking. The district has implemented numerous strategies to support schools in improving student learning. Most schools have comprehensive, innovative and research-based strategies to meet the goals.

In 2007, the J. Lloyd Crowe Secondary School Replacement program started the construction of a new facility in Trail to replace the existing school that was built in the late 1950s. The new facility opened in September 2009.


Trail’s statistics differ sharply from that of the province in the percentage of the population aged 45–64 with a trades certificate or diploma: Trail—26%, compared to BC—14%. This is directly attributable to Teck Cominco and the diversified mining and metals company's presence in the area. The percentage of this age group with a university level education is also very different: Trail—12%, compared to BC—22%. The general picture is a working population heavily geared to the trades and historically very reliant on Teck Cominco for employment.

Economic situation

Employing approximately 1,800 people, Teck Resources is the region’s largest employer. The average age of an employee at Teck Resources' Trail operation is 47. It is anticipated that within 15 years Teck Resources' Trail operation will have a completely new and different labour force. A younger and perhaps more technical labour force will most likely replace those that are retiring. The big picture for the area is one of an aging population which brings about ongoing employment opportunities in the area. This is evidence based on the improved housing sales in the years between 2005 to 2007, making the Greater Trail area a target destination for people looking for better quality of life in a smaller community setting.

The City of Trail is also home to the largest hospital in the West Kootenay region.


Trail Memorial Centre & Sports Hall of Memories

The Trail Memorial Centre currently plays host to the Trail & District Public Library, the Trail Smoke Eaters hockey team, the Trail Museum, and the Sports Hall of Memories, in addition to many local sports facilities. This historic landmark, located at 1051 Victoria Street, was home to two world championship Smoke Eaters teams.

The Trail Memorial Centre is a hub of civic activity year-round, and has been a focal point of the community since its inception.

River Activities and Music in the Park at Gyro Park in Trail

Located at 1090 Charles Lakes Drive in East Trail on the route to Sunningdale, Gyro Park is the home to Music in the Park during the summer. Listen to the melodic tunes under the gazebo in Gyro Park, where visitors enjoy live music Thursdays in July and August. During long hot summer days, Gyro Park is extremely popular with locals and visitors to the area who enjoy a day at the beach.

"The Onions" and other popular river currents that wind between the rocks on the East banks of the Columbia River, are a popular summer magnet for river activity. Often, throughout the summer, an abundance of avid swimmers and rapid paddlers with a deep respect of the Columbia River dare to navigate the frosty swift waters to ride the waves, such as the local favorite "Onions" river current at Gyro Park beach.

Teck Cominco Interpretive Centre

Trail is home to the largest non-ferrous lead and zinc smelter in the world and visitors can learn more about the areas largest employer by taking the 2.5 hour industrial tour of the Cominco smelter which can be arranged in the Teck Cominco interpretive centre through the Trail & District Chamber of Commerce office located above the Toronto-Dominion Bank, in the heart of downtown Trail. This centre is the starting point for the free tours beginning at 10 am, Monday to Friday during the summer; by appointment from September to May. Learn about the plants' operations in the mini-science centre featuring hands-on exhibits for the whole family.

View video presentations and displays which exhibit sophisticated environmental monitoring systems installed in the Trail area by Teck Cominco. Other presentations illustrate the history of Cominco's Trail smelting operations and provide information on career opportunities in the industry.

The Historic Gulch

In the early 1900s a large influx of Italian immigrants lent a distinctive character to "The Gulch" which is located at the entrance to Trail accessed by the Schofield Highway which drops down the long grade down from the city of Rossland and the village of Warfield and sub-division of Annabel onto Rossland Avenue.

The Historic Gulch in Trail BC

This neighbourhood which runs the length of Rossland Avenue is known as "the Gulch." Originally called the "Dublin Gulch" in the very early days, it eventually became known as "The Gulch" as it filled up with Italians who chose not to live on the original Trail townsite. The Gulch starts as throat of Trail Creek narrows between the high, sandy slope of Smelter Hill on its left bank and the West Trail bank where early pioneer houses were built by immigrants as the purchased properties along the west bank steep terrain.

In the early pioneer days, industrious Chinese launderers and cooks spent time gardening in the defile of the Gulch. Few of these immigrants ever acquired rights to own land in the Gulch and their gardens were gradually displaced by Italians and other European working families who terraced their properties into level plots. Despite the steep terrain, these immigrant families planted vegetable gardens reminiscent of the old country, fed by plenty of water from Trail Creek and the hot summer sun.

The Gulch is home to shops and the Terra Nova hotel, located at the entrance to Trail’s central business district at the foot of Rossland Avenue.

Famous natives and Home of Champions

The Greater Trail Area is known as the Home of Champions, in recognition of those who reside in the area, or are from the area, and have excelled in their chosen field of endeavour.

In 1995, Kootenay Savings Credit Union was seeking a project that would represent their commitment and appreciation to the Greater Trail community. The Credit Union decided to sponsor the construction of a monument which was constructed in the summer of 1996 outside their offices in Trail's downtown that would honour the "Champions" of the Greater Trail area in Sports, Industry and Lifestyle.

A society was formed to establish criteria for selection of the persons to be honoured on the monument. The monument was constructed in the summer of 1996 and forty-three champions were selected to be honoured at the inaugural dedication ceremony which took place on September 28, 1996. To date, eighty-nine individuals and organizations have been honoured with a place on the Home of Champions monument.[6]

The Home of Champions monument project is an ongoing one, managed by the City of Trail. Additional persons will be honoured regularly for their special contribution to the social, cultural, economic and educational fabric of the community.

Notable people from the Greater Trail area

Trail smelter arbitration

Trail Smelter in 1929

In 1927, a smelter in Trail was polluting, via smoke deposition, farmlands south of the border in the United States. The US initially agreed to bring the issue before the International Joint Commission. A 1931 report the IJC recommended Canada compensate the United States for a sum of $350,000 to the farmers, the US rejected the offer. In 1935 the two countries agreed to arbitration, in which Canada again offered to compensate the US $350,000 for all damages caused before 1932. In April 1938, after extensive expert assessments, the tribunal acknowledged that the smelter had caused damage after 1932. Then in 1941, it held that "no State has the right to use or permit the use of its territory in such a manner as to cause injury by fumes in or to the territory of another or the properties or persons therein, when the case is of serious consequence and the injury is establish by clear and convincing evidence." [7] This case, known commonly as the "Trail smelter arbitration", is a landmark in environmental law,[8] as it helped to establish the "polluter pays" principle for transnational pollution issues.[9]

Manhattan Project

As part of its contribution to the Manhattan Project, Canada built and operated a 6 T/a electrolytic heavy water plant at Trail, which started operation in 1943.[10][11]

See also


  1. ^
  2. ^ a b Statistics Canada (2001 Census). Trail Community Profile
  3. ^ Population and dwelling counts, for Canada, provinces and territories, and population centres, 2,011 and 2,006 censuses: British Columbia. Statistics Canada. Retrieved April 13, 2,013
  4. ^ Barman, Jean The West Beyond the West, University of Toronto Press, 2007, p. 130.
  5. ^ Selected Ethnic Origins1, for Census Subdivisions (Municipalities) With 5,000-plus Population - 20% Sample Data
  6. ^ Trail Historical Society
  7. ^ Bratspies, Rebbecca M., Russell A. Miller. Transboundary Harm in International Law. Cambridge University Press, 2010.
  8. ^ A. Parrish, 'Trail Smelter Deja Vu: Extraterritoriality, International Environmental Law, and the Search for Solutions to Canada-U.S. Transboundary Water Pollution Disputes,' (2005) 85 B.U. L. Rev. 363
  9. ^ [1].
  10. ^ Chris Waltham (20 June 2002). "An Early History of Heavy Water". arXiv:physics/0206076 [physics.hist-ph].
  11. ^ "Project '9' - Heavy-Water (Deuterium) Production". The Manhattan Project Heritage Preservation Association. Retrieved 2007-12-06. 

External links

Media related to at Wikimedia Commons

  • City of Trail Official Site
  • Trail Chamber Of Commerce
  • Trail Transit
  • Trail Daily Times
  • Trail Rossland News
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