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Tuesday, August 27, 2019

The New Old-World of Greenwood City in Boundary Country, British Columbia

Old Stuff

When one visits old-world destinations like Venice, Paris or Amsterdam, you become aware of the stark contrasts between the day-to-day hustle and the much, much longer and older timelines that birthed their character, their people’s cultures and unique personalities. 

In our migratory New World, like Canada or New Zealand, we don’t have a similar appreciation for omnipresent antiquity and the uniquely localized identities of the people. Sometimes, it is even hard to distinguish Calgary from Denver or Regina from Edmonton. If we did, we would discover and appreciate that here too is an “old world” charm, woven into the fabric of what, and who we are. Examples like Montreal and Quebec City come to mind. 

However, further West, we easily forget. Too quickly we lose the charm of our heritage as we hastily pave over it, strip mall, tear down, franchise, and progress it to oblivion. If we look around, we will realize that there are gems to be discovered. Dare I say it, places to be protected and cultures to be preserved and celebrated.



New World Gems

Talk about the City of Greenwood with any modern-day Canadian, and most will shrug with just one comment, “Where is that?”. When you visit Greenwood, something grabs your attention about British Columbia’s smallest city, a one-time candidate for the Provincial Capital, and the previous seat of the Provincial High Court. Everyone in the West knew about Greenwood in 1897.

Walk the streets (yes, not speed through it on Highway 3, at 100km/hour) and you become acutely aware of its rich history, thanks to the ongoing efforts of the few remaining residents. They are desperately trying to preserve the crumbling buildings, hold on to the rich can-do mining character, and tell the boom-and-bust stories of days long gone.

There is a character to Greenwood and a hardy identity to its people. It needs to be rediscovered and celebrated. In Greenwood, the old-world charm of the Canadian West and the pioneering spirit of Canada is particularly strong. Even its time-worn accelerated degradation and central location in the Boundary Country offers an eerie charm or omen to the still remaining places around it. It reminds one of that powerful and always-present inescapable universal flow.

Flow of Time

Humanity is insignificant within its force. Regardless of who we are, where we are, what we had for breakfast, or how we drink our coffee, our world will keep on spinning at a speed of 1,800 km/hour. We will continue to be screeching around the sun at 108,000 km/hour, as our solar system spirals at 750,000 km/hour through this galaxy. Our planets will continue to exist for another 4 billion years, our Universe expanding for another 13.5 billion more.

Within this mind-numbing magnitude, we are part of the flow, and we are because of the flow.

All we can do is hang on to a minuscule significance, oblivious of the speed at which we hurtle through time and pace. For us, the sun came up in the morning and will go under this evening. The seasons will pass. Life will begin, friendships made, and partners lost. Civilizations will rise. Some will fall. Industries will blossom and die, presidents elected, killers executed, trees grow, suns collapse, species disappear, climates change and Black Holes born. Gold will be discovered. Fortunes made, and many will be lost.

We will grow old. Our lives will end. Soon, someone will forget.

We stand alone against the massive freight train of life. In the blistering madness of its momentum, we can only try to find a place - our place, a sense of purpose, some significance. A point to it all. The best we can hope for is conscious glimpses grasping at fleeting, subjective moments of awe, splendour, beauty, love, acceptance, and pleasure in the places and with the people we love.

There is no Heaven, no Valhalla, karma, or fortunate re-dos waiting on the other side.

This is it, a sliver of existence in time, a minuscule place in the Universe. Living is all we get. Holding on is what we have. The big question then is, “What to do with it?”

The answer, “Be”. The world forgets easily but definitely.

Greenwood, BC

Greenwood is all about history, it 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 into 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 an excellent destination for history buffs. Many adventures await you in this historic little city.


Enjoy the little feature we’ve put together about the museum of Greenwood. Yes, it is a museum, but we know it is also the memories, character and the personality of its people. We have already invested in Greenwood and is soon becoming residents of this charming little gem.

We invite the world to come and visit, stay and build a life with us.

Come to see Greenwood.

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