Skip to content

Built with blood, sweat and tears of Trail immigrants; rock wall set for demolition

Letter from Eileen Truant Pedersen, writer of ‘Set in Stone,’ a history of Trail’s rock walls
Daniel Street rock wall to be demolished, April 9, 2024. Photo: Eileen Truant Pedersen

Sunday April 7, I sadly became aware that the 460-foot depression-era rock wall on the 2000-2100 block on Daniel Street, begun 100 years ago, will be destroyed by the City of Trail.

I needn’t remind the citizens of Trail, near and far, of the heritage significance and importance of our hundreds of rock walls, stone stairs, gutters, garages.

Built with the blood, sweat, and tears of Eastern European immigrants, most of them Italian.

The rock wall in question supports Daniel Street where the road splits and leads to the lower level of Daniel.

The city hired MarWest Industries Ltd. to the tune of nearly 2.7 million dollars, which excludes moving the power poles right next to the lower Daniel Street residents’ homes, bringing the total to $3.2 million.

I spoke with Andrew Carr, Project Manager for MarWest yesterday, who graciously informed me of the sequence of events and what was in store for residents of Daniel Street and Topping Street.

Work began yesterday, Monday April 8, by informing Daniel Street residents with a piece of paper stating the intent: replace drainage, water, and sewer infrastructure (YAY), for 35 homes.

First they’d heard, for the most part.

I also spoke to other residents.

Readers may remember part of the wall which was rock and mortar, collapsed in 2022 and concrete blocks have been in place since.

The residents informed me that they had notified the city back in 2012 that the road above, in the location of the collapse, had begun to deteriorate way back then.

For 10 years, the city did nothing.

And then, the collapse.

And now, an “engineer” deemed the wall to be unsafe/unstable to support the road.


Plus, the power poles will be moved to right in front of the lower Daniel Street homes.

Andrew Carr told me Fortis wanted to move them. Not so said one of the residents. The city wanted this done to accommodate their plans.

But wait.

There’s more.

A concrete block interlocking wall is proposed for the middle of the existing three lanes of Daniel with a “decorative” outer layer etched to resemble rocks.

The rocks from the existing rock and mortar portion of the current wall will be discarded.

The rocks from the existing dry rock portion will be dumped somewhere for use in future projects.

Someone on the Trail Facebook page mentioned the city would create a “Heritage” pile of these rocks.

Imagine that.

The existing heritage stone wall is slated to fall in two weeks.

Layers of rock walls line Munter and Daniel Streets as seen on page 160 of ‘Set in Stone, a history of Trail’s rock walls’ written by Eileen Truant Pedersen, published 2008. Photo: Set in Stone

Over two years of planning this massive and destructive, disruptive project, with NO CONSULTATION WITH RESIDENTS AFFECTED OR US, THE ROCK WALL ENTHUSIASTS AND RECORDERS OF TRAIL’S ROCK WALLS, and this is what they have come up with, with NO communication to us.

As Andrew Carr said to me yesterday, there are no stone masons left around to re-do the wall.

Number one, I don’t believe that.

Number two, one resident brilliantly had already mentioned to the “powers that be” that Italy’s sister city, Bocchigliero, Calabria, could provide stonemasons!

Imagine how fabulous that would be!

Imagine the publicity Trail would get for honouring it’s stone heritage and bringing someone in to rebuild that wall!

Trail’s reputation for tearing down heritage structure would immediately transform!

And money would be diverted to that worthy endeavour.

For the City of Trail to step up, and step down from this crazy “fix,” put this project on hold, revamp it and do the right thing, given the HERITAGE VALUE OF OUR HUNDREDS OF ROCK WALLS, would be a great relief to us all.

Eileen Truant Pedersen

The Rock Wall Project


Read more: Trail walking tour offers ‘taste of life in Little Italy’

Read more: “Set in Stone ~ A History of Trail’s Rock Walls”

Read more: Paying homage to a cherished Trail stonemason

Read more: Celebrating Louie Bedin, Trail’s surviving stonemason extraordinaire

Sheri Regnier

About the Author: Sheri Regnier

Read more