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4-PBC-Trail-Biking
Two bikers overlooking the Columbia River in Trail
(Picture BC photo)

Trail

Culture & History

Trail is culturally and historically a mining town.

From the discovery of gold and copper ore in the late 1800s to the establishment of a smelter in the early 1900s, Trail has depended on its natural resources. However, Trail is equally dependent on its people, who have shaped the city into a proud and ethnically diverse Kootenay Rockies community.

Early Mining Days

In 1890, the discovery of gold and copper ores on the face of Red Mountain triggered a series of events that led to the first settlement in the area. Claims were registered at the Nelson Mine Recorder's Office, giving deputy mining recorder Eugene S. Topping the inside scoop on the potential for the Rossland mining boom. Topping and his friend, Frank Hanna, promptly purchased 139ha/343ac at the outflow of Trail Creek. The pair made a big profit selling town lots and, in 1895, land was made available for the construction of the first smelter. The City of Trail was incorporated in 1901.

Consolidated Mining and Smelting Company

The Consolidated Mining and Smelting Company was founded in 1906, and while there were ups and downs in the industry, Trail continued to grow until the Great Depression of the 1930s. In the midst of years of economic turmoil, the company built a fertilizer plant, created work-sharing plans for its employees, and funded major civic projects. Smelter output increased during World War II to support the war effort, and the company was even to play a significant role in the development of the atom bomb. Postwar, the City of Trail saw a new wave of European immigration, and expanded accordingly.

People of Trail

Many of Trail's first residents were from Scotland, followed by immigrants from Italy and Germany. As the plant grew in size and scope, this company town became self-sufficient in trades and skills. Currently, Teck's Trail Operations employ approximately 1,500. Recently, a number of other employers, including some high-tech companies, have established themselves here.

Trail is a city in which extended family continues to flourish. There's a sense of pride in the community. People care about their gardens. They are proud of their sports heroes, and, in this "Home of Champions," a myriad of sporting events are made possible by the participation of hundreds of committed individuals.