It’s not unusual to see bicycles in downtown Trail but taking a stroll down the back alley between Bay and Pine avenues leaves your head spinning.
Suspended from fire escapes and hanging on walls and veranda railings their are about half a dozen bikes, some painted in bright colours, some home to flower baskets, and others just unlikely situated.
Two are perched above the back door to Casa di Cioccolato, a chocolate and tea shop located on Bay Avenue.
“I take responsibility for them,” owner Dan Haley, said with a smile. “It’s totally whimsical, I had the one old bike out front and somebody saw it and gave me another and it just kind of went from there.”
Haley calls his little exercise in whimsy, “community development from within.” He is hoping that by making even the back alleys of downtown Trail more attractive, it might encourage more people to take the time to walk around and develop more of an appreciation for the city’s core.
Haley recently moved back to the area after being away for years, most recently having lived in Tofino. He believes Trail is a beautiful place, if seen from the right perspective.
“Trail has got a lot to offer, I think this is a beautiful area,” he said. “I love walking around West Trail, with all the little streets and staircases, (or) just looking at the houses.”
His efforts in the alleyway are also reflected on the street side of his shop, where he has placed pennies into the sidewalk in front of the entrance and keeps flowers on display.
“I’m trying to improve the street appearance in the area and I think it’s starting to spin off,” Haley said. “You see some of the other businesses starting to renovate their store fronts.
“I’d like to see more people walking around down here, we’ve got more people moving into our community, many between their 20s and their 50s and I think they like little shops like this,” he added. “I can’t draw more people downtown on my own, I need help from everybody. We all have to believe this is going to happen.”