Trail, BC, self-proclaimed “Home of Champions” for the many world-class athletes that have trained and competed in a variety of national and international sporting events, enjoys a vibrant and community minded population of over 7,000 residents and sits along the scenic banks of the Columbia River.
The mighty and beautiful Columbia, in fact, flows right through the heart of Trail and has been integral to shaping the village’s history. From mining to sternwheelers, power supply to recreation, the beauty and mystery of this majestic river brings life to this tight-knit and ethnically diverse West Kootenay community.
Trail welcomes you, whether you nurture a passion for recreation or history, active or academic, the City of Trail offers something for everyone. You’ll notice right away the small town friendliness, lifestyle, rich history, favourable climate and access to four-season and first-class recreational facilities make it pretty easy to consider creating a life in this affordable small BC city.
Trail, in the heart of the West Kootenay region of the Interior of the province, was named after the Dewdney Trail, which passes through the area. The discovery of gold and copper ore on the face of Red Mountain in 1890 by Joe Moris and Joe Bourgeois was the single most important event in the history of Trail and the Greater Trail area.
In 1895 the deputy mining recorder, Eugene Sayre Topping supplied land to one E.A. Heinze of Butte Montana to build a smelter to treat the Rossland ores. The smelter was purchased by the CPR in 1898 and expanded its production to include lead ores. Despite the economic challenges of the time, the smelter succeeded.
With the success of the smelter, the small town of Trail grew and on June 14th, 1901 the City of Trail was incorporated with the Teck Smelter having grown to become the largest lead and zinc smelter in the world. When in Trail, and if you’d like to learn more, be sure to explore the interesting hands-on interactive exhibits at the Teck Interpretive Centre.
And, while the smelter is still an instrumental player in the regional economy, Trail is not simply a heavy industry town. The small city is the financial and service centre hub for the Greater Trail area and the West Kootenay region. The economy in the Greater Trail area is prosperous and has a very promising future. The communities in the Greater Trail area work together to ensure a competitive business environment – an environment that is attractive for new investment, for established businesses to operate and invest, and for people to live, work and play.
An active and engaged citizenry, committed to fostering civic pride, the Communities in Bloom Committee demonstrates residents’ can-do attitude with achievements ranging from heritage conservation to environmental awareness presented with a burst of colour.
Getting out ahead in Technology & Innovation
Today, technology and innovation goes hand-in-hand with the rich economic history of the region. The launch of the MIDAS (Metallurgical Industrial Development Acceleration and Studies) program ushers in a new era of economic development and prosperity for the Greater Trail area and the West Kootenay.
MIDAS is an applied research, commercialization and digital fabrication training facility in Trail, B.C., focused on the metallurgical sector that exists in the region surrounding the Teck Trail Operations smelter. MIDAS makes recent advances in manufacturing technology (including 3D Printing) accessible to West Kootenay companies, entrepreneurs and students.
The program is part of Metal Tech Alley, a cluster of industry and technology companies leading the fourth industrial revolution within the Trail region. There are also private companies businesses in Metal Tech Alley including: Teck Metals, the world’s largest integrated lead-zinc smelte; Fenix Advanced Materials, a private company experienced in the commercialization of metallurgical industry by-products; and I4C Innovation, an international Industrial Internet of Things hub and a production / testing facility.
With existing expertise and an extensive urbanized supply chain to support the region, Metal Tech Alley is a very attractive option to start, grow and expand your business. The Trail region has assembled a cluster of resources that can help businesses start, grow and innovate with global capacity in an environment that is affordable, and with access to support like space, equipment and capital.
Abundant outdoors and recreation
Located smack-dab in the centre of four major mountain ranges: The Purcells, the Selkirks, the Rockies and the Monashees; the unique geographic orientation, combined with being constructed alongside the Columbia River, enjoys a multitude of outdoor recreation opportunities for any outdoors enthusiast. Offering a diverse lifestyle, rich sports history, favourable climate and easy access to four-season and first-class recreational facilities for the entire family, the City of Trail prides itself in providing a wide variety of first-rate community recreation programs.
Acting as a recreational launchpad, Trail gives its community access to all the beauty that mother nature has to offer in the form of sport, adventure, or simply just sightseeing. The mountains leave plenty of room for off-road expeditions, or maybe you would like to stay on the beaten path with some of our gorgeous hiking trails. Along the Columbia River you can find the magnificent Gyro Park, where you can enjoy the day on the beach, walking on the riverside sidewalk, or even playing in the spray park and playground. Fishing is also ripe along the Columbia River, where you can catch some of the biggest rainbow trout around.
Whether you choose to soak in the sun at Gyro Park, hike the trails in Miral Heights, or shop at our Trail Market on the Esplanade, the friendly small-town culture is sure to make you feel right at home. The City recently opened the brand new walking bridge that spans the Columbia River. This new suspension bridge is one of the largest walking suspension bridges in North America, and a real sight to behold.
If you are looking for your sports fix, baseball is huge and you might be forced to pick a team: The Trail Blue Jays and the Trail Orioles. There’s the Trail Aquatic and Leisure Centre, that has an indoor pool, hot-tub, waterslide, and also a weight room. If hockey is your game, the Trail Smoke Eaters are the local team, where they play regularly at the Cominco Arena, also where you’ll find a curling team if you’re more comfortable with a broom than a hockey stick!
If golf is your game, perched on the bank of the Columbia River, is the spectacular Birchbank Golf Course offering the best in links the Kootenays has to offer for over 50 years. It is one of the first courses to open early in spring and one of the latest to close deep into the autumn.
Hiking And Biking Trails
The Trail and West Kootenay region provide some of the best mountain biking single-track trails in the province. The Kootenay Columbia Trails Society website identifies over 170 km (106 miles) of trails. A skilled and committed volunteer team works with property owners, industry and others to establish, map and maintain this fabulous web of trails.
Skiing and Nordic Sports
Red Mountain Resort is a world renowned Ski Resort located just beyond the Alpine city of Rossland, boasting 110 different runs over the terrain of three stunning mountains. It has a wide variety of difficulties accommodating all levels, beginner to expert. With an abundance of snow, friendly staff, short lift lines, and a beautiful location, you will be sure to fall in love with this amazing Resort.
Blackjack Nordic Sports is a non-profit club with more than 600 members run out of Rossland. Its goal is to provide excellent opportunities and services for everyone interested while building an amazing community. They provide information on trail & facilities, skiing programs, and events in the region.
Whitewater Ski Resort is a legendary mountain with excellent snow conditions and diverse terrain. Located near the fascinating city of Nelson, you will be sure to satisfy your cultural tastes while pursuing the epic winter sports offered at Whitewater Ski Resort.
For equine and outdoor enthusiasts, Trail is home to the beautiful Harding Heights Ranch. The owners provide unique and detailed care for their horses, using rope halters instead of bits in the mouth, while also avoiding shoes on the hooves.
Harding Heights offers year-round trail rides, as well as lessons however, pre-booking is required for these services. They also provide farm-tours and have a petting zoo available.
The Columbia River, as well as the many surrounding lakes and ponds in the region, offer great opportunities for fishing.
Recreational fisher and local celeb Don Freschi, is one of the original masterminds behind the Sport Fishing on The Fly , a nationally broadcasted fly-fishing series.
History buffs welcome!
In addition to the recreation and the sports, the heritage and history contributes to making Trail truly an outstanding city. These lands are included the traditional hunting and gathering territory of the Sinixt (SIN-EYE-IXT), also know as “Lakes” peoples, who are believed to inhabit the Kootenay region for thousands of years. Bordering nations, such as the Ktunaxa (TUN-AH-HAH), or Kootenai, peoples are also believed to have travelled to the Trail area and utilized the abundance of natural resources that our beautiful region has to offer.
The old Italian culture that first founded the city of Trail is still very visible today. The rock walls and covered stairways that many built with their bare hands still stand resolute; the residents of Trail with Italian heritage are determined to protect the past and remind all of the power of hard work and community.