A series on West Kootenay/Boundary place names
In their 1997 book, Rossland: The First 100 Years, Rosa Jordan and Derek Choukalos included a list of the city’s subdivisions, although it’s not clear whether all the names were still in use at that time.
We’ve used their list as a starting point and added to it below.
Nickel Plate (or Nickelplate, Nickleplate): West of the arena, including Nickleplate Road, plus portions of Cliff, Davis, and Earl Streets, and portions of First and Second Avenue. Like Black Bear, it’s named for a townsite addition in turn named after a mining claim, which was a bit to the north. At one time, a bridge across Centre Star Gulch on Second Avenue led directly to the Nickle Plate mine.
Happy Valley: Farming and dairying area on the city’s east side, which includes the old Columbia cemetery. The name was in use by the 1940s (and perhaps a lot earlier) and is perpetuated in Happy Valley Road.
Jordan and Choukalos write that the name was “possibly meant to describe the state of persons interred in [the] cemetery.”
Alistair Fraser, who grew up in Rossland, notes “There must be hundreds of Happy Valleys in North America. I have lived in two widely separated communities each with a Happy Valley.”
Section Pond: Down a steep hill just beyond the junction of Highway 22 and the old Cascade highway, west of town. It was adjacent to the Red Mountain Railway roadbed and presumably took its name from a section house in the area.
Coronation Heights: The Rossland Miner of April 30, 1937 indicated this was then a new subdivision. It’s the southeastern-facing area just below the former Mater Misercordiae hospital. The name, which presumably referred to the coronation of King George VI and Queen Elizabeth that year, was still in use through at least the early 1950s, but has since fallen out of favour.
Pinewood: This subdivision, built from the late 1940s through the 1960s, is south of Coronation Heights. Its tree-themed streets are Pinewood Drive, Tamarack Avenue, Balsam Avenue, Fir Street, and Maple Crescent, plus an extension of Park Street.
Thompson Heights: Named for Thompson Avenue, in turn named for townsite founder Ross Thompson, this area also includes portions of Davis, Earl, Spokane, and Washington streets plus Union, Victoria, Phoenix, and Princess avenues.
An early mention in the Vancouver Province of Nov. 11, 1928 noted that “Mr. and Mrs. P. Taylor entertained about 25 friends … at their new residence on Thompson Heights.”
Planer Hill/McDonald: Planer Hill includes Planer Crescent, portions of Second through Fifth Avenues, and is bounded on the east by Spokane Street. The name recalls a large lumber mill in the area.
Jackie Drysdale says when she was on city council in the 1980s, the McDonald Subdivision was created in the area as a development permit area with heritage design guidelines.
“Central to this area is the West Kootenay Power and Light substation and manager’s home and about ten new lots,” Drysdale says. “Several homes were built at this time but it was only later that the subdivision filled in, and without regulation.”
The name honoured John McDonald (1864-1942), chief superintendent of West Kootenay Power, who lived there with his wife Ethel Elder McDonald, a teacher, and their two children. Son Jack was known to many as a noted historian and the driving force between the establishment and operation of the Rossland Museum.
Edgemont: Listed as a subdivision in Rossland: The First 100 Years, but it appears to have fallen from use.
Charlston: The area around Charlston Street. Named after a mining claim.
Redstone: Developed in the 2000s, it’s everything adjacent to Redstone Resort golf course, including Redstone Drive, Silvertip Road, Lynx Road, and White Tail Drive. The homes were built on what was once scrub land and Chinese gardens.
Iron Colt: A subdivision developed around Iron Colt Avenue within the last 20 years or so, and named after a mine.
McLeod East: A subdivision adjacent to Iron Colt, developed in the last decade at the east end of McLeod Avenue. The street was named in 1947 after John McLeod (1884-1962), who served as Rossland’s city clerk from 1911 to 1955.
We’ll conclude our look at Rossland neighbourhoods next week.
— With thanks to Ron Shearer, Jackie Drysdale, Alistair Fraser, and Larry Doell