Many Canadians hold a romantic ideal of what life in a small town might be like; shorter commutes, fresher air, safer streets and a stronger sense of community. Greenwood is Canada’s smallest city, a historic town, a community with 676 residents, located along Highway #3 nestled in the Kootenay Boundary region of southern British Columbia, and something to be seen.
Greenwood’s history goes back to 1891 with the discovery of gold, silver and copper in this once thriving mining camp. Incorporated as a city on July 12, 1897, the BC Copper Company smelter was built in 1901 and brought prosperity to the city, becoming known as the “hub” of the Boundary. The surrounding mines brought fortune seekers from many parts of the world, but the boom was short lived: after the first World War, copper prices plummeted and Greenwood’s success soon diminished. People left in droves and by 1940 the population had dwindled to a few hundred.
The forced internment of Japanese Canadians off the west coast of British Columbia in 1942 changed the course of Greenwood’s history. A ghost town from its former glory days, Greenwood became BC’s first internment camp. 1,200 people were crammed in to the many empty buildings, hotels and houses; remnants from days long ago. The little city once again began to thrive.
The city has proven its resiliency over the years and now demonstrates a great destination for history buffs. Many adventures await you in this historic little city.
Visit the museum to learn of bygone days and enjoying a self-guided ‘Heritage Walking Tour’ through the downtown core. Explore the BC Copper Co. smelter ruins and take an Interpretative Forest driving tour to Phoenix, once known as the “highest city” in Canada.
Greenwood is proud to be a gateway to the Trans Canada Trail; other well marked hiking trails around the area challenge all levels of skill and endurance.
A guided tour of the court house located at city hall is a must. This beautiful old building is one of the finest wooden structures of its kind in the province and was used as a BC Supreme Court in the County of Yale. Tours can be arranged at the museum.
On the road to Phoenix, about 7km from Greenwood, is the old Phoenix Cemetery. The cemetery is the final resting place for many men killed in mining accidents and the devastating toll an outbreak of influenze in 1918 took on many families.