Flowers in the Thompson Okanagan, Photo Allen Jones
The Village of Midway is in a tranquil valley surrounded by protective mountains in Boundary Country between the Thompson Okanagan and Kootenay Rockies regions of British Columbia. It is located in the breathtaking Kettle Valley on the scenic Crowsnest Highway (Hwy 3) where the Kettle River meanders through the Canada – US border. Midway has a rich history which is displayed in the Kettle River Museum located at “Mile O” of the Kettle Valley Railway. Today, the Kettle Valley Railway is a popular hiking and biking trail that traverses much of British Columbia offering stunning views from its many trestles along the route.
In the 1800s, fur traders, prospectors, and white settlers began moving through this sun-drenched valley. Until then, it had been a traditional hunting ground and place for gathering the medicinal rock rose roots.
The U.S. claimed this area and all of B.C. north to 54 degrees until the treaty of 1846 set the 49th parallel as the border. But traffic and trade followed the river valleys north and south. When gold was discovered at Rock Creek in 1859, and U.S. miners came swarming into the region, Governor Douglas saw that an east-west route through the interior was vital for maintaining British control. He dispatched an energetic young engineer named Edgar Dewdney who hacked out a four-foot-wide road from Hope to Rock Creek in 1860; then with the discovery of gold at Wild Horse Creek in the Kootenays, Dewdney again tackled the task and pushed the Dewdney Trail on through the Midway valley in the spring of 1865.
By 1884, Midway had its first resident and by1894 the town became Midway. In 1900, Midway became the western terminus of the Columbia and Western Railway, (a subsidiary of the CPR).
The following decade saw feuding railroad companies, litigation, a series of railroad plans, short lived railroad ventures, and violence all centered in Midway. Expropriation was granted the V.V. & E., and in 1905 Midway had its second railroad. Then on July 5, 1910, the sod was turned on yet another railroad venture – the Kettle Valley Line – to link Midway to the west coast. The first eastbound passenger train left Midway on May 31, 1915; the last passenger train on the Kettle Valley Line passed through Midway on January 17, 1964.
Today, although the tracks have been removed, you can still catch a glimpse of a bygone era. Stand on the original platform and imagine the hustle and bustle of the old train station, now converted into the Kettle Valley Museum.