BC’s Best Lit­tle Se­cret

Green­wood, BC

Snowbirds & RV Travelers - - Contents - Pho­tos courtesy of Green­wood Mu­seum

Lo­cated along High­way 3, in the Koote­nay Bound­ary re­gion of South­ern Bri­tish Columbia, you will find Green­wood – the “small­est city in Canada”. Although the in­cor­po­rated city is small, with only 676 res­i­dents, it has be­come a cen­tre for both the his­tory buff, who wants to ex­plore the Old West, and the na­ture lover, who wants to en­joy Green­wood’s year-round ac­tiv­i­ties. The city is just a two-hour drive east of the ma­jor cen­tre of Kelowna and 20 min­utes north of the US bor­der, and with its turn of the cen­tury ar­chi­tec­ture and pris­tine en­vi­ron­ment, Green­wood has be­come one of BC’s best kept se­crets.

Green­wood’s rich his­tory goes back to 1891 when gold, sil­ver and cop­per were all dis­cov­ered, bring­ing great pros­per­ity to the city. For­tune seek­ers came from all over the world to the boom­ing city, which had quickly be­come the epi­cen­ter of the min­ing and smelt­ing in­dus­try in Bound­ary coun­try with a bois­ter­ous pop­u­la­tion of 3500 souls. The city rose in stature to be­come the seat of govern­ment in the re­gion with more than 100 com­pa­nies in the busi­ness dis­trict. Sadly, the suc­cess was short-lived and by 1931 the gold boom had passed and there was no mar­ket for cop­per so the smelters shut and the pop­u­la­tion dwin­dled to just 171.

Then a tragic event that no one could have fore­seen oc­curred to re­vi­tal­ize the city anew – Green­wood be­came BC’s first in­tern­ment camp. Af­ter the bomb­ing of Pearl Har­bour on Dec 7, 1941, thou­sands of Ja­panese Cana­di­ans had their homes and as­sets seized and 1200 were forcibly re­lo­cated to many of the empty build­ings in Green­wood. Many stayed af­ter the war and the pop­u­la­tion be­gan to re­bound to the roughly 700 res­i­dents that re­main to­day. O’Hairi Park, lo­cated in the cen­tre of town, is ded­i­cated to the Ja­panese Cana­dian cit­i­zens of Green­wood.

The city has proven its re­siliency over the years and now is a des­ti­na­tion rich with his­tory. In his renowned Gold Trails and Ghost Towns se­ries, Bill Bar­lee stated “Green­wood is one of the only two min­ing towns still in ex­is­tence.” You can see the Vic­to­rian past in many of the

well-pre­served build­ings and homes. Be sure to stop at the Mu­seum and Vis­i­tor Cen­tre. They can ar­range a tour of the court house at City Hall. This beau­ti­ful old build­ing is one of the finest wooden struc­tures in BC and was used as a BC Supreme Court in the County of Yale.

If you wanted to im­merse your­self com­pletely in his­tory, you could stay at Fort Green­wood RV Park, dubbed “the Old West’s finest gated com­mu­nity”, which was built to re­flect those good old-fash­ioned western val­ues. The own­ers have al­ways been fas­ci­nated with the Old West, and over the years amassed a col­lec­tion of au­then­tic Old West an­tiques. They be­lieved the ar­ti­facts were an in­te­gral part of Canada’s her­itage and built the Green­wood RV re­sort in true Old West style, com­plete with the Pi­o­neer Vil­lage where their col­lec­tion has fi­nally found a home. Their Pi­o­neer Vil­lage in­cludes a dance hall, wash house, pool hall, en­ter­tain­ment room, ex­er­cise room and WiFi. Visit www.fort­green­wood.ca or call 1-866-650-6444 to learn more.

From here you can visit and ex­plore all the old mine sites and ghost towns you want. There are hun­dreds of them —ev­ery­thing from the City of Paris ghost town site to the Tramway Bore tun­nel.

Stroll down Main Street – with its great se­lec­tion of shops and cof­fee houses. Be sure to stop at the Yel­low Door Bou­tique, Cop­per Ea­gle Cap­puc­cino and Bak­ery Ltd and Dead­wood Junc­tion Cof­fee and Bak­ery. There is even a sad­dle shop. The Pa­cific Grill was voted the best restau­rant in Bound­ary coun­try- it’s a great place for great food, don’t miss it.

For the out­door en­thu­si­ast, there are many great ad­ven­tures for all ages and fit­ness lev­els. Green­wood is proud that the Trans Canada Trail is so eas­ily ac­ces­si­ble to town. You can hike, bike or ride an ATV or horse up the old min­ing and log­ging roads, climb to the top of Ju­bilee Moun­tain, or hike to Bound­ary Falls. Fish­ing, boat­ing and camp­ing are favourites at Jewel Lake, just nine kilo­me­tres north.

Take a step back in time and en­joy life in Canada’s small­est city.

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