History & Heritage

Greenwood boasts some of the best preserved heritage buildings in British Columbia. Step back in time and spend an hour or a day on the self-guided "Heritage Walk" through Greenwood's colorful downtown and nearby historic residences.

Enjoy the early 20th century architecture while browsing in the quaint shops or stopping at a cafe.

Suddenly, the fame and fortune of Greenwood went into a tailspin. In 1918 a downturn in the copper market forced the closure of the BC Copper Company smelter. People left in droves, businesses were boarded up, and by 1940 only 200 people remained. It looked like the City of Greenwood was to become a ghost town, the fate of so many communities of the era. During World War II a new group of citizens changed Greenwood's fate. A traumatic experience it was, the forced internment of Japanese-Canadians. In 1942 they were required to abandon their coastal lifestyles and were displaced to this isolated little mountain town. Greenwood became the first internment camp for 1200 people of Japanese descent arriving by train over a course of several months.

The many empty hotels and businesses became one-room compartments for families. Communal kitchens, shared bathing and toilet facilities and the bitter cold winters were the harsh realities unheard of on the Pacific West Coast.

With the same undaunted spirit of the miners before them, Greenwood's new citizens transformed the town into a once-again bustling community, where culture, education, and sports became an important part of everyday life. Thus, when the war ended in 1945 and many city councils endorsed the deportation of Japanese Canadians, Greenwood stood fast in supporting its much appreciated community members.

Throughout the years, Greenwood citizens have always exhibited a strong will for survival. Today, Greenwood is once again going through a period of change. Drawing on the strength of past years, the city is evolving into a historic tourism destination. Opening us to the world's spotlight was the filming of Universal Studio's Oscar-nominated movie, "Snow Falling on Cedars" based on David Gutersen's novel, directed by Scott Hicks, starring Ethan Hawke, Youki Kudoh, and Max Von Sydow.

O'Hairi Park
Located in the centre of town, this Park is dedicated to the Japanese-Canadian Citizens of Greenwood.

Mining Equipment Display
The Granby "Phoenix Bird" rises over the display of various mining equipment across from the Museum.

Lotzkar Memorial Park
This unique industrial smelter ruin is one of the best preserved sites of its kind. The massive ridge of slag and the towering 36m brick smoke stack, stands as a memorial to past prosperity. Named after past owner Leon Lotzkar, the park features walking paths in and around building remnants and the unique "Hell's Bell's" (black slag cones). Explore at your own risk and please leave all artifacts on site.

Outdoor Recreation
There is no shortage of exciting hiking/cycling trails for all ages and fitness levels. Many travel near abandoned mines sites or beautiful mountain lakes and streams. The Trans Canada Trail is easily accessible from town. A leisurely hike up Jubilee Mountain provides a great view of Greenwood and the Valley. On the south edge of town are the beautiful Boundary Falls, remnants of the Dewdney Trail and the Boundary Falls smelter slag.

Fishing, boating, hiking and camping are favourites at Jewel Lake, just 9 km north of Greenwood. East of town take the scenic, educational Phoenix Interpretive Forest drive. Maps are available at the Greenwood Museum.

Accommodations & Businesses
Along with friendly and inviting motels, there are several private and public campgrounds nearby. Please see our active business directory for those listings.

Greenwood Post Office
Constructed in 1913

Phoenix Bird in memory of
Phoenix, BC and its citizens

One of the many beautiful
heritage homes

Beehive Burner still standing
at abandoned mill site.

© Copyright 2017 The City of Greenwood. All Rights Reserved.
Photo Credits Courtesy of: Rob Erickson, Don Mann, Denise Herdman, Wayne Dieb, Nipper Kettle

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