Trail, BC, incorporated as a city in 1901, population 7681 (2011c), 7237 (2006c). The City of Trail is located on the COLUMBIA RIVER at the mouth of Trail Creek, just north of the international boundary, 630 km by road east of Vancouver. Settlement in the area began at ROSSLAND, with its proximity to the rich ore of Red Mountain. Development at Trail (after the DEWDNEY TRAIL) came with the realization that shipping ore to American smelters was too costly. American F.A. Heinze built the original foundry 1895, then a narrow-gauge railway to Rossland 1896. With the CPR's decision to build lines through CROWSNEST PASS and the Kettle Valley, Heinze's smelter and railway interests were purchased by the CPR in 1898. In 1906 the mines came under CPR ownership through its subsidiary, Consolidated Mining and Smelting Company of Canada (Cominco).
A move to electricity brought extensive hydro development on the Kootenay River. Trail's smelter rapidly expanded (by 1910, 40-50% of BC's output came from the Kootenays) and in time it grew to be the largest smelter in the British Empire. Long-term development was ensured by the ready access to cheap, bountiful hydroelectric power on both the Kootenay and Pend-d'Oreille rivers and the rich lead-zinc ore deposits of the Sullivan mine at Kimberley, BC.
Trail continues to be dominated by Cominco's activities. Lead and zinc ores from the Kootenay and the US are smelted and refined here, yielding refined metals, chemicals and fertilizers. Trail also acts as a commercial centre for the adjoining towns of Fruitvale, Montrose, Warfield and Rossland. The Trail Smoke Eaters were, in 1961, the last Canadian hockey team to win an amateur world championship.