Heritage & History
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.
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.
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.
Prospector in the Boundary: John Marion Jarrett was born January 8, 1833, in Nelson County, Kentucky, USA. His wife, Mary Josephine (Josie) Younger, was a sister of Coleman (Cole) Younger, member of the Jesse James Gang. John was a carpenter by trade and a Missouri State Guard during the American Civil War. In October of 1861, John joined up with William Quantrill and then the Jesse James/Cole Younger Gang: John Jarrett along with members of the James/Younger Gang were suspects in bank, train and stagecoach robberies.
John arrived in Canada in 1891. As an early prospector in the Boundary area, he staked claims like the General Lee in Bridesville. In the spring of 1906, he was brought to the Sacred Heart Hospital in Greenwood, BC, where he died on April 20th. John Marion Jarrett is buried in the Greenwood Cemetery.