Discovering Trail, British Columbia: A City of History and Natural Beauty

Trail, British Columbia, is a city nestled in the West Kootenay region of the Interior of British Columbia, Canada. The city's name is a nod to the Dewdney Trail, which once passed through the area. Initially known as Trail Creek or Trail Creek Landing, the city adopted its current, succinct name in 1897.

The Geography of Trail, British Columbia

Trail spans an area of 34.78 km2 (13.43 sq mi) and is uniquely situated on both banks of the Columbia River, approximately 10 km (6.2 mi) north of the United States border. The city is nestled between the Monashee Mountains to the west and the Selkirk Mountains to the east. The Columbia River 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.

The climate in Trail is characterized by hot, dry summers with moderately cool nights, and mild to cold winters with moderate snowfall. The city's vegetation, although lush, is noticeably drier than other areas of the West Kootenay, reflecting a more westerly aspect.

Demographics of Trail, British Columbia

According to the 2021 Census of Population conducted by Statistics Canada, Trail had a population of 7,920 living in 3,736 of its 3,973 total private dwellings. This represented a 2.7% increase from its 2016 population of 7,709. With a land area of 34.9 km2 (13.5 sq mi), it had a population density of 226.9/km2 (587.8/sq mi) in 2021.

The Italian Community in Trail, British Columbia

Trail is renowned for its large Italian community. As per the 2016 census, persons of Italian ancestry numbered 1,320, forming 17.8 percent of the total population.

Education and Employment in Trail, British Columbia

Trail is home to the head office of the Kootenay Boundary Regional District, one of the city's employers. The city is part of School District 20 Kootenay-Columbia and hosts several schools, including Glenmerry Elementary School, J. Lloyd Crowe Secondary School, James L Webster Elementary School, St. Michael's Catholic School, and Kootenay-Columbia Learning Centre.

The Economic Situation in Trail, British Columbia

Teck Resources, the region’s largest employer, employs approximately 1,800 people. The City of Trail is also home to the largest hospital in the West Kootenay region.

The Teck Cominco Lead-Zinc Smelter in Trail, British Columbia

Trail is home to one of the world's largest lead and zinc smelters, which provides 1,400 jobs in the town. The Teck Cominco Interpretive Centre in downtown Trail offers a history of Cominco's Trail smelting operations with displays, a mini-science centre, hands-on exhibits, and videos.

The Trail Smelter Arbitration (1938–1942) in Trail, British Columbia

The Trail Smelter dispute, triggered by smoke pollution that devastated the surrounding district, resulted in decades of legal action. This case, known commonly as the "Trail smelter arbitration", is a landmark in environmental law, as it helped to establish the "polluter pays" principle for transnational pollution issues.

Pakootas v. Teck Cominco Metals in Trail, British Columbia

The Trail lead and zinc smelter, located 10 miles (16 km) north of the United States-Canadian border, has discharged approximately 10 million to 20 million tons of smelting byproduct containing lead, arsenic, and mercury into the Columbia River and Franklin D. Roosevelt Lake in Washington.

The Manhattan Project in Trail, British Columbia

As its contribution to the Manhattan Project's P-9 Project, Cominco built and operated a 1000 to 1200 pound per month (design capacity) electrolytic heavy water plant at Trail, which operated from 1943 to 1956.

Attractions in Trail, British Columbia

Trail Memorial Centre & Sports Hall of Memories

The Trail Memorial Centre is a hub of civic activity year-round, hosting the Trail & District Public Library, the Trail Smoke Eaters hockey team, the Trail Museum, and the Sports Hall of Memories.

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

Gyro Park, located at 1090 Charles Lakes Drive in East Trail, is home to Music in the Park during the summer and is a popular spot for river activities.

The Historic Gulch in Trail

The Gulch, a neighborhood known for its distinctive Italian character, is located at the entrance to Trail and is home to shops and the Terra Nova hotel.

Home of Champions in Trail

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 endeavor. The Home of Champions monument project is an ongoing one, managed by the City of Trail.