Of the City of Grand Forks
1647 Central Avenue
Box 1086
Grand Forks, B.C. V0H 1H0

1-866-442-2833 ~ (250)442-2833 ~ Fax: (250)442-5688
email:[email protected]

 

 
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Grand Forks history is closely tied to the mining and railroad boom of the 1890’s and early 1900’s. The original settlers came for the rich farmland and stayed on as the industrial era took over, including railroads, mines, smelters and power plants.

Our beautiful city got its name from the confluence of the two rivers here: the Kettle and the Granby. The CPR built the first railroad into the Boundary in 1899. Now converted into a recreational corridor, it is part of the Trans Canada Trail, and offers an offroad route to explore the area, linking all of our towns.

Following the townsite survey in 1895, a large number of wood frame buildings were constructed. A fire in 1908 and another in 1911 virtually wiped out the original downtown core; however, business was booming and many of the commercial buildings were rebuilt. Dr. Richard Averill built a magnificent show home overlooking the city (now restored as the Golden Heights) to entertain potential American investors.

Many of our historic homes have been restored, although almost all of the approximately three dozen communal villages built by the Doukhobors – pacifist Russian settlers who arrived in 1911 and contributed greatly to our legacy – have been dismantled and destroyed. A few of their red brick buildings remain scattered throughout the farmlands of West Grand Forks.

In the early 1900’s, Grand Forks had the largest copper smelter in the entire British Empire! The slag piles left over from our mining heydays can be seen a short distance from town, and the shiny black material is used by a local companies to make sandblasting materials, roofing granules and rock wool insulation.

 

Our rich agriculture past also contributed substantially to the economy (and still does). At one time we produced nearly one third of B.C’s apple crops, and were recognized for the 19 different potato varieties grown throughout the valley. When the second World War brought hardship, the orchards were ripped out and replaced by fields that produced more profitable seeds. With over 2000 hours of sunshine annually, we have an ideal grow climate, and today many nurseries, greenhouses and garden centers grace the land.

In 1913 there were 2,350 acres set out to orchards, 22 million pounds worth of copper was produced, 20 million feet of logs were forested, the sawmill produced a million fruit boxes to transport our crops, exports were in excess of $3.75 million, and the water supply was big enough for a city ten times its’ size! There were 7 railway lines, 3 sash & door factories, 2 breweries, a brass & iron foundry, cabinet works, marble works, lime kilns, a brick yard, and we hosted the Annual Provincial Poultry Show. In short, Grand Forks was poised to become nothing less than the capital of British Columbia!


Copyright © 2003 Grand Forks Chamber of Commerce


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