Kootenay (or Kootenays) is a Canadian region that encompasses southeast British Columbia. Its nomenclature comes from the Kootenay River, named by the Ktunaxa nation (also known as "Kootenai" or "Kutenai"), being the first nation explored by the David Thompson expeditionary.

Borders are more or less defined by the cadastral district in the area, although these may vary depending on which areas are part or not. The most accurate definition of the region is the Lower Kootenay river basin, which passes through Canada at the height of Creston, Columbia, British.


Located in the land of sports legends and adventurers, and steeped in rich mining history, Trail is the industrial heart of the Kootenays. The town takes its name from the Dewdney Trail, which was started in 1860 to serve as a trade route from the coast to the BC interior. Trail’s transition from frontier to settlement began in 1895 when a smelter was built on a bench above the Columbia River to process ore from the Rossland mines. That smelter later grew to be the largest lead-zinc smelter in the world.

Located in a relatively arid valley carved out by the Upper Columbia River, the town of about 8,000 defies its hard rock location with an impressive Communities in Bloom record of achievement. For three seasons of the year, you’ll find bursts of colour around every corner. The terraced homes and intensive gardens tucked into the winding streets of “Little Italy” are also a delight to see. Some say the best Italian food in the province is to be enjoyed here. A little further up the road towards Rossland is the former Village of Warfield. Tour Warfield to see the style of homes that earned it the nickname “Mickey Mouse Town.”

For much of its history, Trail has earned its reputation as BC’s #1 Sports Town. The Smoke Eaters (now Junior A) hockey team still hold the distinction of being the last Canadian amateur hockey team to win a World Championship, back in 1961. Check out the Trail Sports Hall of Fame at the Trail Memorial Centre downtown – you will be sure to recognize some famous Canadian champions who hail from Trail.


Castlegar is the second-largest community in the West Kootenay region of British Columbia, Canada.

Castlegar is located within the Selkirk Mountains at the confluence of the Kootenay and Columbia Rivers. Castlegar is a regional trade and transportation centre, with a local economy fueled by forestry, mining, and tourism.

Castlegar was recently cited as one of the Top 8 Places in British Columbia for most promising growth. It is home to Selkirk College, a regional airport, a pulp mill, and several sawmills. The population of 7,259 people includes a large number of Doukhobors, who were largely responsible for much of Castlegar's early development and growth.

A sizeable Portuguese community grew as workers, mainly from the Azores islands, moved in to take up employment in the area. The area which was to become Castlegar was an important centre for the Sinixt (Lakes) Peoples. Outside the city limits are the small surrounding communities of Ootischenia, Brilliant, Robson, Robson West, Raspberry, Tarrys, Thrums, Glade, Shoreacres, Fairview, Genelle, Pass Creek, and Krestova. There are also the much smaller communities of Deer Park, Renata, and Syringa on Lower Arrow Lake.

Taken together, these outlying areas comprise an approximate population of a further 8,000 people.


Rossland is a city in the West Kootenay region of British Columbia, Canada. Tucked high in the Monashee Mountains, Rossland is at an elevation of 1023 metres (3356 feet). Its population is 3729, though it fluctuates from season to season. The population is at its peak during the winter. Rossland has been known as the 'Mountain Bike Capital of Canada' since 1993 when it was awarded this title, with an extensive trail system radiating from the outskirts of the town. Also nearby is the multi-peak ski hill, Red Mountain Resort.

The origin of the toponym Rossland comes from the name of a miner, Ross Thompson, who staked a claim in 1890. He had tried to call the city Thompson, but he was advised that there was already a town with that name.


Nelson is a city located in the Selkirk Mountains on the extreme West Arm of Kootenay Lake in the Southern Interior of British Columbia, Canada. Known as "The Queen City", and acknowledged for its impressive collection of restored heritage buildings from its glory days in a regional silver rush, Nelson is one of the three cities forming the commercial and population core of the West Kootenay region, the others being Castlegar and Trail. The city is the seat of the Regional District of Central Kootenay. It is represented in the provincial legislature by the riding of Nelson-Creston, and in the Parliament of Canada by the riding of Kootenay—Columbia.

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