gf station pub meal

A brief story of the Columbia & Western Railway and the CPR in the Boundary

the station pub original building grand forks bc the station pub grand forks bc

The colourful story of the Boundary Country is bound up in the railway history of the Columbia & Western Railway company and the CPR.

There was an influx of Americans into the Boundary area after the Rock Creek Gold Rush in the 1860’s and later, to the Kootenays in 1867. The provincial and Federal governments were afraid that Southern British Columbia might be lost to American influence. American railway magnates, Chase Corbin, J.J. Hill and Fritz Heinze chartered the Columbia & Western Railway, under the Vancouver, Victoria & Eastern charter. This new railway would run from Robson (Castlegar) to Midway, but dissension among the partners ended with Columbia & Western, along with Heinze’s smelter at Trail, being sold to the CPR in February 1898.

At this time the mines in the Boundary were producing large quantities of low grade copper ore, which required cheap transportation to market to be profitable. The CPR was anxious to reach this lucrative market first, so they pushed ahead rapidly in the winter of 1898-1899 with the construction of the C&W.

As the C&W could not obtain a suitable right-of-way into the City of Grand Forks, its station was built in the City of Columbia (now West Grand Forks). The station forms the main part of the Grand Forks Station Neighbourhood Pub and Columbia Grill. It is the oldest CPR station in B.C. still in its original location (7654 Donaldson Drive, Grand Forks BC) and is protected by both the federal government and the City of Grand Forks under a Heritage Designation Bylaw.

By Sue Thompson