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Main streets of West Kootenay/Boundary

Updated: Aug 22, 2021

Most West Kootenay/Boundary towns have an obvious primary commercial thoroughfare. However, it’s not always the one the surveyor or townsite promoter intended. In several cases, the main street has shifted to another location, either as the result of real estate speculation or rerouting of a highway. At least one city has two main streets (plus other contenders). Three places have a Main Street that is not actually the main street, and two others used to have a Main Street but renamed it. Below I’ve enumerated some of those main streets and explained their origins.


Main street: Baker Street

Baker Street (here described generically as main street), ca. 1940s. (Greg Nesteroff collection)

It’s arguably the most famous main street in West Kootenay/Boundary, and it’s certainly the busiest, but Baker Street wasn’t originally intended as Nelson’s main drag. When the first few blocks were surveyed in 1888, that honour was supposed to go to Vernon Street, which is 100 feet wide. Baker, by contrast, is only 75 feet wide.

However, many townsite lots on Vernon were snapped up at auction by speculators. As a result, businesses began to establish themselves one street up on Baker, where real estate was less pricey. Although Vernon Street does have businesses on it, it remains primarily institutional, home to things like the post office, Touchstones museum, Civic Centre, Nelson and District Credit Union, and Community Futures. Vernon Street’s width also allowed it to be separated by a boulevard, unlike Nelson’s other streets.

Front Street, though closer to the lake, was never contemplated as Nelson’s main street, instead becoming a warehouse district that benefited from its proximity to the railway tracks. The waterfront was given over to industry.

The original plan for Fairview (laid out as a rival townsite originally known as Nelson City or Salisbury) made Kokanee Avenue (formerly Kootenay Avenue) and Nelson Avenue wider than the rest, presumably indicating one or the other was meant to be the main street, and the intersection of Nelson and Kokanee was to be the middle of town. Nelson Avenue did end up as a key thoroughfare, used as the streetcar route and later as part of Highway 3A, but Kokanee Avenue is mostly residential.

Key intersections: Baker and Ward is definitely the heart of the city, and the focal point for pedestrian traffic, but Vernon and Ward is also a key crossroads, with significant buildings on three corners, namely Touchstones, the Hume Hotel, and the courthouse. Highway 3A is routed through this intersection, making it among the busiest for vehicle traffic downtown.


Main streets: Cedar Avenue and Bay Avenue

Bay Avenue, ca. 1940s. (Greg Nesteroff collection)

Trail has the area’s most complicated and curious main street history, with competing business districts and five or six chief thoroughfares over its existence.

The commercial core grew up in the 1890s along Bay Avenue and an alley between Bay and the Columbia River originally called the Bowery, and today known as Dewdney Avenue. Bay boasted the leading hotels in the Arlington and Crown Point.

Nearby Cedar Avenue was prone to flooding at the mouth of Trail Creek, but eventually this gully was filled in with slag from the smelter, allowing Cedar to become a new business area. Cedar solidified its grasp as the commercial centre when all the major retailers eventually set up there: Woolworth’s, Sears, Kresge’s, Eaton’s, and the Hudson’s Bay Co. (formerly the CM&S Company Store).

But Bay Avenue was still in the mix by virtue of being part of the Southern Trans-Provincial Highway; prior to 1965, it was the main artery through town.

The Nelson Daily News of Jan. 27, 1940 noted: “Opinion is not altogether settled as to which is Trail’s main street … Of late years there has been considerable development along Cedar Avenue, but Bay Avenue claims seniority. Stores are divided between the two. Pedestrian and auto traffic usually uses both streets, the heaviest traffic being Bay Avenue-Spokane Street-Cedar Avenue — or the other way about.” 

Cominco Magazine observed in November 1960: “Ask a Trailite to name the city’s main street and he’ll probably say ‘Bay Avenue … well, maybe Cedar Avenue.’”

Today the above-mentioned retailers have all disappeared, and Cedar and Bay retain about equal status, despite the fact that Bay is no longer part of the highway system (Highway 3B now runs through Victoria Street, crosses the bridge, and continues on Bailey Street).

Cedar Avenue, ca. 1940s, showing the Strand Theatre, which burned down in 1956. (Greg Nesteroff collection)

Outside downtown, a few other streets vied for prominence. Rossland Avenue, through the Gulch, was a self-contained neighbourhood for much of its existence, and the heart of the city’s Italian community. Densely lined with stores and homes, you could probably find most of what you needed without ever venturing downtown. Until the early 1960s, trains ran down Rossland Avenue, rattling all the buildings.

Rossland Avenue lost some of its vibrancy in later decades, thanks to fire (which destroyed the Kootenay and Montana hotels), demolition (an entire block of houses on Byers Lane was lost to make way for a chain-up area) and the general population decline in Trail that began in the 1970s, although many original buildings remain. The Rex Hotel and Star Grocery are the longest surviving businesses.

Buildings in the Gulch, 2009. From left, the Colombo Lodge, the former Kootenay Breweries, C&S Contractors, and the former Tonelli grocery store.

Across the river, East Trail was also practically a separate community at one time, despite the bridge that linked it to downtown. Businesses like the Bank of Montreal, Safeway, and much later on, 7-Eleven, had branches on both sides.

Oddly, East Trail actually has a street named Main, but it was never a commercial area. Aside from the aquatic centre (whose address is actually Columbia Avenue), it’s entirely residential. Instead, Columbia and Second avenues vied for the distinction of being East Trail’s main street.

Second was already ahead as of 1953, when it boasted about a dozen businesses compared to seven on Columbia, but it sealed the deal when Safeway built its new store there in 1959. In the ensuing decades, Second also became a popular choice for medical professionals who turned homes into clinics and offices. But a three-block industrial/institutional section still remains on Columbia between Main and Stewart.

Key intersections: While downtown Trail isn’t as busy as it once was, Cedar and Eldorado is still the most prominent intersection, anchored on three corners by the Knights of Pythias building (Shoppers Drug Mart), former post office, and Pharmasave (formerly Movie Gallery, formerly Zellers, formerly The Bay, which had the audacity to be on Cedar instead of Bay). In East Trail, Second Avenue and Bailey Street (Highway 3B) is the busiest intersection for vehicle traffic, but the commercial centre is Second Avenue and McQuarrie Street.


Main street: Originally Sourdough Alley, now Columbia Avenue

Sourdough Alley, looking east, 1895. City of Vancouver Archives P1188

Rossland’s business district got started on a very haphazard street, memorably known as Sourdough Alley, or Sour Dough Alley. Various theories exist about the name; it may or may not have had something to do with the number of bakeries it boasted. But sourdough was a staple of a prospector’s diet and would soon become a byword for an experienced prospector.

The alley, which was not part of the original townsite survey, ran approximately north of and parallel to Columbia Avenue, beginning (or ending) at what is now Esling Park, crossing Washington Street and continuing a little further east. Sourdough Alley’s more official but much less colourful name was Reserve Street. A narrow passageway crossed it, known as Independent Street.

When the city incorporated in 1897, newly-elected mayor Robert Scott made it one of his first acts to do away with Sourdough Alley, which he described as a “small, dirty and crooked lane.” Shops on both sides were turned around to face either First Avenue or a new, straighter alley north of Columbia. Other shacks were relocated entirely.

Columbia Avenue, ca. 1910s. (Image MSC 130-5588-01 courtesy of the British Columbia Postcards Collection, a digital initiative of Simon Fraser University)

Columbia Avenue, meanwhile, was intended as Rossland’s actual main street, laid out 100 feet wide compared to 66 feet wide for the parallel avenues. The cross streets were either 66 or 70 feet wide. Consequently, Rossland does have a wider-than-normal main street.

According to the Rossland Centennial Album, townsite founder Ross Thompson insisted that Columbia Avenue be made 100 feet wide “in order to accommodate carnivals and street celebrations.”

Key intersections: Columbia and Washington is unquestionably the centre of town, anchored by the Francis Rattenbury-designed Bank of Montreal. Washington is also a key access to the rest of town above Columbia. The corner of Columbia and St. Paul merits attention as the entrance to the city from the east, but lacks the same foot traffic.


Main street: Reco Avenue, then Main Street

Reco Avenue, ca. 1895. (Edwards Bros. photo/City of Vancouver Archives CVA 256-02.48

Sandon took the prize for both the narrowest and most unusual main street. Owing to the gulch the city was in and the railways and creek that ran through it, building space was at a premium. Sandon’s streets were originally only 30 feet wide, including Reco Avenue.

What it lacked in space, it made up for in bustle. Photos of Reco Avenue jam-packed with people are iconic in West Kootenay settler history, and newspapers were routinely agog at the arrangement.

“Sandon is a busy town and in Reco avenue has, for its size, the busiest thoroughfare in the country,” wrote the Winnipeg Daily Nor’Wester of March 27, 1897.

The Nelson Daily Miner of Sept. 23, 1898 noted: “The main street of the town is so narrow that when the space for the sidewalks is taken off the sides there is scarcely room for vehicles to pass each other. Along this street however, are well built business houses and several first class hotels.”

The Seattle Post-Intelligencer (quoted in the Victoria Colonist of July 14, 1897), was less impressed: “For a townsite, Sandon is simply ridiculous … Reco avenue is a trifle wider than the late Sour Dough alley of Rossland, but is almost as irregular and has the disadvantage of a very heavy grade, so that the narrow sidewalks on either side of this one-wagon-width avenue are a succession of steps and hen-ladders. And the buildings, the stores and saloons, push their fronts importunately forward or retire modestly a few feet just at the sweet will of the builder ...”

Walter Scott of the Regina Leader (quoted in the Sandon Mining Review, Oct. 7, 1899) called Sandon “one of the most unique towns that ever existed,” with “the correct characteristics of the mining gulch town often heard of but rarely seen.”

“At the bottom of the gulch there is scarce room for a single narrow street, and the back streets are vastly higher than the roots of the buildings on main street, or Reco Avenue, as it is named,” he wrote. “Sandon’s growth is necessarily an upward one. In Sandon it is not unusual for a building with a three or four storey front to have a back door leading out of the upper storey.”

Harry L. Walker in the Enderby Press and Walker’s Weekly of Feb. 19, 1914 was only exaggerating a little when he claimed: “Sandon’s single street was so narrow one could spit from one sidewalk to the other.”

Another newsman, Fred Smyth, saw a relationship between the narrowness of Reco Avenue and Sandon’s often exaggerated population figures. He wrote in his book, Tales of the Kootenays: “Sandon had one narrow street, and you met the same person so often going and coming that the population appeared to be larger than it really was.”

Main Street, Sandon, ca. 1940s. The Virginia Block is at centre. The building to its left was originally the Hunter-Kendrick store and is now the Sandon Museum. (Alma Harris collection/Sandon Historical Society)

After Sandon was destroyed by fire in 1900, the town was redesigned with an 80-foot main street (known as Main Street) directly overtop the Carpenter Creek flume, built a couple of years earlier. This flume proved disastrous in several ways. Its construction ultimately bankrupted the city, leaving it in receivership from 1913-19. On several occasions the flume became clogged during spring freshet. The last time it happened, in 1955, the washout that followed undermined many buildings and spelled the end of Sandon as a viable community. Bits of the flume can still be seen along the creek today.


Main street: Originally Main Street, now Harold Street

Main Street, Slocan, ca. 1920s. (Greg Nesteroff collection)

Slocan’s main street used to be Main Street, which runs parallel to the Slocan River. A series of false-fronted buildings went up on either side of it during the 1890s mining rush. However, when first surveyed, there seemed to be some ambivalence about this, for while Main Street was 75 feet wide, Harold Street, two blocks east, was 100 feet wide. (Arthur Street, in between them, was also 75 feet wide, while all the rest were 66 feet wide.)

The Slocan City News of Jan. 23, 1897 reported: “The third street running parallel with Main Street is 100 feet wide and is destined to become one of the principal streets of the city.” They were right, but it took a while.

When the Silverton-Slocan highway opened in 1928, it ran through Harold, instead of Main. On today’s map it would make more sense to run through Slocan Street, which is directly south of the old highway, but Slocan Street was not yet a throughway. Instead, traffic off the highway turned west onto Delaney and then south onto Harold.

By the early 1950s, Slocan’s main business district shifted from Main to Harold, and city council thought it would be a good idea to tear down the remaining old buildings on Main Street. Because, you know, they were eyesores, and no one wants to see that stuff. It was the worst decision the city ever made — soon eclipsed by allowing a sawmill to set up shop on the beachfront.

Harold Street remained part of Highway 6 until the 1970s, when a new road was built, bypassing the town.

Key intersections: Harold and Delany has on three corners the Silvery Slocan Social Centre, a home built in 1897, and the Slocan City Trading Co. Harold and Giffin and Slocan and Giffin are both community gateways, anchored by the Expo ball field and W.E. Graham Community School.


Main street: Sixth Avenue

Sixth Avenue, 2011.

Slocan Avenue was laid out 100 feet wide, evidently intended as the main street. However, businesses instead built on Sixth Avenue, one street north, which was 70 feet wide. (Slocan Avenue doesn’t seem that wide today until you notice the grass boulevards in front of the sidewalks on either side.) Either way, New Denver is the only local lakefront community with a main street perpendicular to the water instead of parallel to it (although at one time this was also the case in Ainsworth).

The use of Sixth as the main street was likely because it was nearer to the wharf, where sternwheeler passengers embarked and disembarked. Early on, the heart of the business district was closer to the waterfront, whereas now it’s closer to the highway. In addition to the wharf, several hotels existed between Bellevue and Eldorado avenues, including the Windsor, Newmarket, and Grand Central. Fires destroyed them all.

Key intersections: While Sixth Avenue is unrivaled as New Denver’s main street, it’s a toss up which intersection is its most important. The busiest is Sixth and Union (Highway 6) but Sixth and Bellevue, Sixth and Josephine, and Sixth and Kildare all merit consideration as well.


Main street: Railway Avenue or Fourth Street

Looking down Fourth Street, ca. 1960s. (Ellis Anderson photo)

Something similar happened here as in Nelson and New Denver: a 100-foot wide main street (called Main Street) was designated on the original townsite survey, yet the centre of commerce grew up somewhere else. In this case, Railway Avenue, home to businesses such as the Salmo and Northern hotels, the Salmo Trading Co. and the Bank of Commerce.

Later businesses concentrated on Fourth Street, despite the fact it is only 66 feet wide. Second, Third, Main, and Seventh are all 100 feet wide. Only First, Fourth, and Sixth are 66 feet. Fourth Street, did, however, connect to a huge bridge across the Salmo River slough, built in 1910, making it an entrance way into town. Railway Avenue is now part of Highway 6 and remains an important business strip.

Among the avenues, Sayward was 100 feet wide while the rest were 80 feet. So the centre of town was supposed to be Sayward and Main, judging from surveyor John Maclure’s plan of 1897. Instead, it’s either Fourth and Railway or Fourth and Davies. Salmo’s Main Street does have some key institutions on it, including the post office, police station, and Salmo Village Grocery, but it wouldn’t be mistaken for Salmo’s main street.


Main street: Main Street

Main Street, ca. 1960s. (Ellis Anderson photo)

Fruitvale is the only place in West Kootenay/Boundary where Main Street is actually the main street. In this case it’s also part of Highway 3B. Also interesting is that commercial development initially only happened on the south side; for decades the north side was exclusively a pole yard. Commercial buildings have since gone up on that side as well.

Key intersections: The centre of town is either Main and Kootenay, Main and Columbia Gardens Road, or somewhere between the two.


Main street: Front Street

Front Street, ca. 1905. (Greg Nesteroff collection)

The now-drowned town of Arrowhead was unique in that its main street faced Upper Arrow Lake (so did Nakusp’s originally, but that changed in the 1920s).

As Milton Parent wrote in Silent Shores & Sunken Ships, “Although not much could be said for the breadth of Arrowhead’s main street — in some cases a step off the sidewalk meant a tumble of 30 feet towards the [railway] track below — it undoubtedly assured the businesses, all located on the north side, a superb view of the lake and surrounding glacial mountains.”

Arrowhead was on a narrow piece of land beneath a sheer cliff on the north and a river mouth on the south, so the east end of town tapered to a rock bluff. The sawmills, rail yard, and long one-sided main street all “gave the impression of a town much larger that it actually was,” Parent wrote.

Or as resident Minnie Irvin put it in the book Echoes of British Columbia, “[T]he town was just like one big long street. And when you got off that, it was just go straight up the hill or straight down. Because it was built right on the side of a mountain.” 

Arrowhead did in fact have one other street parallel to Front, known as Lonsdale, as well as cross streets Kilpatrick, Ford, Beatty, Cook, and Foley.

Arrowhead was among the communities drowned in the late 1960s by the construction of the Hugh Keenleyside dam. But at low water, you can still see broken pavement where Front Street once stood (pictured above in 2005). The pavement was still relatively new when the town was lost, having only been laid down in 1955.


Main street: Originally Bay Street, now Broadway Street

Nakusp is another town whose main street shifted. Originally Bay Street was the business quarter, despite having to compete with industrial use of the waterfront. In the early 1920s, businesses started to move one block north to Broadway, whose name and width both suggest it was always intended as the main street. The townsite survey of 1893 made Broadway 75 feet wide, compared to 66 feet for all other streets and avenues.

Construction of the Masonic Lodge at Broadway and Slocan (now Fourth Avenue) in 1922 helped spur an exodus from Bay to Broadway. The post office and Bank of Commerce both moved to this building. Another catalyst was a fire in November 1922 that destroyed several Bay Street businesses. Work began the same month on a new building on Broadway for Ernie Somers’ hardware store and Ralph Islip’s grocery store.

Broadway and Slocan (now Broadway and Fourth), ca. 1940s. The cenotaph in the middle of the intersection has since been relocated to the park. (Greg Nesteroff collection)

George W. Jordan also moved his men’s wear store from Bay to Broadway at that time, albeit reluctantly. The Arrow Lakes News reported “he would give $500 not to have to move from his present beautiful lake view property to up town, but philosophically decided that he’s got to ‘follow the crowd.’”

Lewis Edwards’ new block, another key building that still stands at Broadway and Slocan, was completed in May 1923. Milton Parent wrote in Port of Nakusp: “Edwards’ move to Broadway sealed the fate of Bay Street. Within a few years, all the main needs of the public would be served by the street designed to deliver this service so long ago. It had taken 30 years to settle the question.”

That left the waterfront to industry until the 1960s, when all remaining structures on Bay Street were removed ahead of construction of the Hugh Keenleyside Dam and a soil/cement barrier was built above the waterfront.

Nakusp’s original main street is now a mud flat.

Key intersections: From the 1920s onward, the middle of town was Broadway and Slocan (now Fourth Avenue), anchored on the east corners by the Masonic Lodge and Edwards Block. Slocan was also the main north-south corridor.

This is still an important and busy commercial intersection, with CIBC, Homegrown Market, Three Lions Pub, Leland Hotel, the Arrow Lakes Theatre, and the Legion hall all nearby, but some of the action shifted to Broadway and Sixth Avenue after Highway 23 was routed through the village in 1973. It’s here that Save-On-Foods and the post office are situated, with the library, museum, archives, and visitor centre all a short distance away.

A bypass around Nakusp completed in 2000 eliminated large truck traffic through downtown, but Broadway and Sixth remains the busiest corner in town for vehicles. Broadway and Nelson is also a busy spot for vehicles entering from the east and south on Highway 6, but it doesn’t have the same pedestrian traffic.


Main street: Front Street

Corner of Front and Fourth in Kaslo, ca. early 1900s. The A.T. Garland dry goods store is still standing, as is the The Kootenaian block a little further up the street on the same side. (Greg Nesteroff collection)

Kaslo’s downtown blocks are unusually long. With some exceptions, each west-east block is 600 feet (183 m). By comparison, each block of Baker Street in Nelson is about 340 feet (104 m) long. I don’t know why surveyor Samuel P. Tuck chose to do this, but it resulted in fewer cross streets.

Initially, Front Street’s business section continued further east, whereas now it becomes residential on the southwest side before Third Street and it’s vacant on the northeast side past the SS Moyie. According to the booklet Historical Kaslo, after the great fire of 1894, “for some unknown reason, business moved further up the street, and the lower part was never built up solidly again.”

Key intersections: Two crossroads contend for the title of Kaslo’s centre: Fourth and Front, and, one block south, Fourth and A Avenue. Front, as noted, is the main street, but A Avenue is part of Highway 31. The latter intersection also has the Kemball Centre and historic city hall within view. So I’d call it a tie.


Main streets: Market Avenue (formerly Bridge Street), Central Avenue (Highway 3, formerly Winnipeg Avenue)

Bridge Street, since renamed Market Avenue, ca. late 1950s. (Greg Nesteroff collection)

The original Grand Forks townsite included both a Main Street and a Bridge Street. The latter was set at an angle from the rest of the streets to line up with a bridge across the north fork of the Kettle River. By virtue of its location, Bridge Street seems to have busier than Main Street from the get-go.

Bridge Street became a misnomer after the present Yale bridge opened a block north in 1957. I’m not sure when its name was changed to Market Avenue, but it was later than 1970. Winnipeg Avenue was renamed Central Avenue in 1961. The latter is now part of Highway 3, which probably coincided with construction of the new bridge.

Sadly, many travelers today probably zip through Grand Forks without realizing Market Avenue (or frankly, the rest of downtown) exists.

Main Street became 72nd Avenue sometime after 1970. While it has many businesses, it isn’t as busy as Market Avenue or even cross streets Second, Third, and Fourth.

Key intersections: The middle of downtown is either Market and Third Avenue (with the Davis Block dominating the southeast corner), or Market and Second, or somewhere in between. But a case for the commercial centre could also be made for the intersection of Central Avenue with any of Second, Third, Fourth, or Fifth streets.


Main street: Columbia Avenue

Downtown Castlegar streets have changed names several times. Part of the 1897 townsite plan is seen here. (Courtesy Regional District of Central Kootenay)

The original Castlegar townsite survey of 1897 included a Main Street, which is now Second Street downtown. (An extension of Main Street to the west later became Crescent Street.)

While most of the original streets were 66 feet wide, Main was 80 feet wide, as was Broadway. The latter is now Ninth Avenue. So the intended town centre was today’s Second and Ninth. The northeast corner of this intersection is now Kinsmen Park, which would have pleased townsite founder Edward Mahon.

He would not have been thrilled, however, with the way the town developed in general. He sold a half-interest to Trail smelter owner Augustus Heinze, who in turn sold his smelter, railway charter, and other interests to the CPR, who proved a less than willing partner in developing Mahon’s vision of Castlegar.

Columbia Avenue, now Castlegar’s main thoroughfare, was just west of the original townsite. Its earliest appearance is on Plan 1484, surveyed in April 1921 and deposited with the land registry on May 8, 1922, showing the Columbia and Western Railway right-of-way. Portions of Columbia appear to coincide with what was once Copper Street downtown. Columbia Avenue extends from downtown through Kinnaird (it becomes Highway 22 at the 3-22 interchange). The Kinnaird portion was formerly known as Seventh Avenue.

Key intersections: Castlegar is very spread out but, downtown at least, the key crossroads are Columbia and Third Avenue and Columbia and Fourth Avenue.


Main streets: Vancouver Street, Kellie Street

Townsite plan, 1893. (Courtesy Regional District of Central Kootenay)

Trout Lake had a hard time deciding which of its streets should be its business centre. The 1893 townsite survey suggested it ought to be Broad Street, laid out 100 feet wide, befitting its name. All other streets were 70 feet wide, except High Street, at the extreme south end, which was also 100 feet wide.

But if Broad Street was ever cleared, it has long since returned to the wilderness; along with a few other streets it reverted to the Crown by order-in-council in 1943. It was well west of the surviving townsite. High Street doesn’t appear to have ever existed either; it too reverted to the Crown.

Instead, the two primary business streets were Vancouver and Kellie, parallel to each other and closer to the lake. On the latter street stands the Windsor Hotel, the last original building from the 1890s.

A quick overview of some other places:

Cascade has a Main Street, which really was a main street at the turn of the 20th century, but today you’d never guess. It’s all residential.

• Highway 3 is probably the closest thing Christina Lake has to a main street, since it connects several disparate areas around the lake. There are several important intersections with the highway, including Kingsley Road, Bakery Frontage Road, Kimura Road/Santa Rosa Road, and West Lake Drive/Swanson Road.

• South Copper Street (part of Highway 3) has always has been Greenwood’s primary commercial district. South Copper and Greenwood Street is the key intersection, but South Copper and Centre Street and South Copper and Veterans Lane aren’t far behind.

• I’d say Fifth Avenue and Florence Street is the heart of Midway, but would be willing to entertain arguments to the contrary.

• Early Rock Creek grew up along Jubilee Street, only portions of which survive. Today, Highway 3 is really Rock Creek’s main street.

• Beaverdell’s main street is Highway 33, passing through what was originally Fourth Street.

Downtown Warfield, 2002

Warfield’s main street is adjacent to the Schofield Highway (Highway 22), between Shutek Drive and Lytton Street.

• Montrose’s small business area is on Highway 3B, between Fourth and Sixth streets.

• Lake Street (Highway 6) has always been Silverton’s main drag, with Lake and Fourth Street the most prominent intersection, although the business district is more concentrated around Lake and Third.

• Highway 31 is Ainsworth Hot Springs’ main street, passing through the former Wright Street. But Sutton Street, perpendicular to Kootenay Lake, was originally the leading thoroughfare; the 1891 townsite plan seems to indicate the intersection of Sutton with North and South streets was meant to be the town centre. However, Sutton and Wright is the key spot today (the J.B. Fletcher museum is at that corner).

• Victoria Avenue was the only street of importance in Ferguson. All the early buildings are gone, but in their place new cabins and chalets have popped up. Victoria Avenue is now part of Ferguson Road.

• Did you know Kuskanook still has a Main Street? Doesn’t show up on Google Maps, but it does on BC Assessment’s map. It was on the townsite survey in 1911 (although the town itself was founded in 1898).

• Eastman Avenue is Riondel’s chief business and institutional street, followed by Fowler Street. Noteworthy intersections include Riondel Road and Fowler Street, where you first enter town; plus Fowler and Eastman, and Eastman and Davis.

• Lakeshore Avenue is Edgewood’s main street, by virtue of being home to the store and post office. But it has a secondary centre at the corner of Granby Drive and Monashee Avenue, home to the community hall, health centre, fire hall/ambulance station, and elementary school/learning centre. Kilarney Crescent is also important. It’s the longest street in Edgewood and connects different parts of the village.

• Burton Main Road is Burton’s main street, with the intersection of Burton Main, Burton Cross, and Burton School roads probably qualifying as the town centre.

• Oak Street, between Willow and Willow, is Fauquier’s business strip. (Willow Street loops around the community.)

• Kootenay Lake’s East Shore communities have long referred to Highway 3A as their one long main street, resulting in the name of the Mainstreet, a monthly newspaper founded in 1990.

With thanks to Walter Volovsek, Jamie Forbes, Henning von Krogh, and Kyle Kusch

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4 comentarios

06 may 2021

An exceptional collection of old photos and some old memories. Thanks again, Greg.

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06 may 2021

It's always a pleasure reading your history of the towns we grew up with, and sometimes knew so little about. Love the photos of Rossland, especially! Thank you Greg! :)

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Mickey Nazarov
Mickey Nazarov
06 may 2021

Very informative and detailed Greg. Seems that you must have spent many hours compiling all this material. Truck Loads of Thank Greg.

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Greg Nesteroff
Greg Nesteroff
06 may 2021
Contestando a

Took a while, yes!

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