Rossland, Photo Destination BC, Ryan Flett
Rossland is located high in the Monashee Mountains and is popular as a 4-season adventure playground. With stunning views and access to hundreds of kilometers of trails, those with an affinity to the outdoors have a never-ending choice of activities. Mountain biking, road biking, horse riding, hiking can all be found in Rossland. The surrounding lakes and rivers offer excellent fishing, and other water sports such as whitewater rafting, kayaking and paddleboarding are easy to find. Golf, zip lining and much more means you are spoiled for choice in this area of natural beauty in the mountain ranges of the West Kootenay area of British Columbia.
Rossland is located in south-eastern British Columbia just north of the US/Canada border on BC Hwy 22. It is 36.6 km (23 mi) south of Castlegar on Hwy 22; 77 km (48 mi) south of Nelson via Hwy 22 and Hwy 3A; 9 km (5.5 mi) west of Trail on Hwy 22 and Hwy 3B; 96 km (60 mi) east of Grand Forks via Hwy 3B and Hwy 3.
Rossland found itself on the map in the late 19th century when an abundance of gold was discovered on the slopes of Red Mountain. Of the five claims that were staked, Le Roi became the most famous producing some thirty million dollars in its lifetime. The railway arrived, the town grew and by the early 1900s Rossland was one of the largest cities in Western Canada boasting saloons, banks and even law firms.
Unfortunately, in 1901, everything started to change, initially with the Miners’ Union Strike. The long strike was eventually settled however the owner of Le Roi mine, Whittaker Wright, fell into financial ruin. The ensuing scandal shook investors’ faith in Le Roi and other Rossland mining stocks such that they never fully recovered. In 1902 the high quality ore was starting to wane and lower grades were being found at deeper levels. The same year, the City of Rossland suffered the first of several fires and in December 1905 the Centre Star powder house exploded.
Some of the mines began to amalgamate in 1905 and formed the Consolidated Mining and Smelting Company. This company eventually grew into the giant Cominco operation, now called Teck, that supports the area today. Eventually, all the mines were joined underground and operated as one large mine. Production slowly declined and in 1922 the Great Northern Railway removed the rails of the Red Mountain Railway. Two more great fires, in 1927 and 1929, destroyed the commercial area and Red Mountain was closed.
Whilst the population had significantly decreased, and residents were suffering from the Great Depression of the 1930s, the highway was being built and with the continued success of the Cominco plant at Trail, Rossland became a residential community for the workers. By the early 1940s the Second World War was in place and the last of the mine leases were closed permanently.
Today, the mountains have created a playground for the adventurous and tourism is growing significantly.