Virtual Sale #4: Warfield

CANCELLED

The good news is that we have started to confirm venues for this summer! So far we are booked for Galiano, Mayne, Duncan and Salt Spring (Farmers’ Institute). Fulford, Pender and Nelson are likely, but will have to be re-scheduled, and the rest are pending. You can check for the dates and the latest updates on the 2020 Schedule page.

But in the meantime, welcome to our Virtual sale in Warfield!

Warfield, nestled into the Selkirk Mountains

If you haven’t heard of Warfield, it’s not surprising; it’s a hamlet of about 1,700 near the bottom of the hill between Trail and Rossland. And quite the hill it is. There are two runaway lanes coming down it, including my favourite in all of BC: the unlucky driver whose brakes have failed has to take their semi ACROSS a lane of oncoming traffic to hit the steep pullout on the other side. That’s the first one. The second isn’t much better: either you plunge over the embankment, or you get funneled like sausage meat into a lane of bright orange barrels which will theoretically squeeze you to a stop. And if you survive all of that, there is the killer hairpin in Warfield itself, which before our sale a few years ago claimed another victim, a young driver who couldn’t control his load of paving stones and lost it on the corner.

Warfield is a unique place, and that’s why we like it. It’s most distinguishing feature is the “Mickey Mouse Houses” the neighbourhoods of cute steep-roofed houses all built in 1938. Cominco, the smelting giant who controls everything in Trail and the vicinity, built 150 all at once to house workers for its expanding plant. The second most distinguishing feature is the Warfield Liquor Store, nearby, conveniently, the community hall. Our friend Michel has worked with the owners to bring in a terrific selection of American craft beer (the border is a skip and a tad away), to make it, foot by foot, one of the best places to buy IPA in BC. The third most distinguishing feature may be (ahem) the annual Kebe and Fast Asian Decor Sale at the community hall. Several residents have told us so!

In fact because of its proximity to Trail (and to a lesser extent Rossland) there isn’t a lot of small business in Warfield, and a typical reaction when coming into 2000 sq.ft. of Afghani carpets, hand-blocked duvet covers, Balinese sarongs and all the rest of it is “what are you doing HERE?” And in truth we are here because of Rossland.

And Rossland is here because of Red Mountain. There was so much gold coming out of Red Mountain in the 1890’s that the stock exchange in Toronto had to restructure, in effect becoming the modern TSX. For awhile it had a population of 7,000, making it one of the largest towns in western Canada. Grand structures were built (along with some 42 saloons and 17 law firms), including the magnificent Miner’s Hall.

Rossland Miner’s Hall

It was in the Miner’s Hall that the powerful unions of the western states and BC agitated for and signed a bill that enshrined the 8 hour work day into the Canadian labour code. The Miner’s Hall is a heritage building with an important history, and being community hall afficionados, we were thrilled to book it for a sale. It may be the Miner’s is our favourite hall of all time, but for mundane reasons it wasn’t possible for us to keep it on our itinerary.

One of the mundane reasons is… the heritage 1893 Waneta bridge south of Trail. It’s one-lane and unsuitable for most heavy trucks, so commercial traffic from Trail across the US border goes up through Rossland’s main street, and right past the Miner’s Hall, which is street front with no pull off. It’s no fun loading and unloading as 18 wheelers bear down!

So here we are at the community hall in Warfield. Everyday is a beautiful, if sometimes white-knuckle, commute from Rossland, with the southern Selkirk range the backdrop to the huge Teck-cominco smelter chimney. We love this diverse and unusual part of the province, as quirky as it is. Trail, for example, has a strong Italian heritage from the recruitment of miners and mill workers. This has resulted in BC’s best independent grocery store, Ferrero’s, with only two branches (Trail and Rossland) and a pasta aisle as sacred as St Peter’s.

Downtown Trail, with Teck smelter

I’m glad you could come along with us to Warfield! Another common refrain we get from Warfielders, after “what are you doing HERE?” is “You should go to Nelson. They like this stuff there.” We keep coming back to Warfield because, in fact, they do like this stuff here as well, but the advise is good and taken to heart: next week we are in one of our favourite places in the world, Nelson! I hope you can join us then for another Virtual Sale, and you can always, don’t forget, find the perfect rug to pop your room here:

Or drop us an email here:

Or leave a comment below. Until then, stay safe, be kind, have fun,

4 Replies to “Virtual Sale #4: Warfield”

  1. Your writing is terrific….engaging and interesting at the same time.
    Good luck with whatever you’re doing this summer and hope to see you in Errington some time.
    Cheers
    Penny

    Reply

    1. Hi Penny, thanks, and great to hear from you! Errington, alas, won’t happen this year. If you do have a chance to make it down island at all, check our schedule, as more of our summer venues are confirming.
      -David

      Reply

  2. Thank you for sharing the history of the Miners Hall in Rossland. I did not know Warfield existed, but it sounds like a fun drive down the switch backs and worth the drive.

    Reply

  3. And, the best part is we get to see you. We sure miss you this year. Christine & Michel

    Reply

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