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Smelter slag souvenir

Below is one of the strangest souvenirs ever made of our area, courtesy of the Greenwood Centennial Committee.


The committee was first struck in 1958 to mark the 100th anniversary of the founding of the Colony of British Columbia, and revived in 1965 ahead of the 100th anniversary of the amalgamation of the colonies of British Columbia and Vancouver Island, and of Canada’s 100th birthday.


The committee decided to issue a commemorative card of Greenwood’s smelter, which operated from 1901-18 and left behind the smokestack, other ruins, and a giant slag pile. Funds raised from the card (minimum donation of 25 cents) would go toward the main centennial project, finishing the community centre.


Someone had the idea that each card should come with a sample of the smelter’s slag, so that’s what they did.

On Nov. 28, 1966, centennial committee chair Neal Zahnd presented Frank Maletta with the first souvenir card. Maletta, who arrived in Greenwood in 1908, was the only remaining resident who worked on the last shift when the smelter closed.

Grand Forks Gazette, Nov. 30, 1966


The card was noteworthy for another reason: I believe it was the first instance of Greenwood recognizing itself as the smallest city in Canada, a title it had actually held since 1959 when Kaslo reincorporated as a village.


I’m not sure how many cards were printed, nor how much they raised, nor how they affixed the slag. The one I have doesn’t have the sample, but you can buy one on eBay that does (seen below) for $25 US.

Greenwood’s brick smokestack is a civic icon and the smelter ruins, now known as Lotzkar Park, are fascinating. However, last month the city posted signs warning people to stay away from the area for safety and liability reasons.


The Boundary Creek Times of July 18 reported the area is being tested for soil contamination before a restoration project continues. The city has already spent about $100,000 to restore the stack and old office building.

Dumping slag at BC Copper Co.’s smelter, Greenwood, ca. 1905. (Greg Nesteroff collection)

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