Gyro Park in East Trail circa the 1930’s. (Trail Historical Society photo)

Trail Blazers: Gyro Park, the perennial summertime haven

Before the Columbia River dams cut the water flow starting in 1968, the river rose much higher.

As the warm rays continue to shine down on the Silver City, looking at Gyro Park beach – a popular landmark both historically and today – is perfectly timely for this week’s Trail Blazers feature.

Originally named Sandy Island, this celebrated park sits on land donated to the City of Trail in 1933 by Nelson resident, Hugh W. Robertson.

The area was incorporated into Trail’s scheme of parks and playgrounds, which meant that the parks board could develop the land for a safer swimming area and playground.

Development of the venue was under the direction of Trail-Tadanac Parks Board. A formal agreement was drafted between the parks board and the Trail Gyro Club that established a cooperative development scheme for the beach and the parkland.

Significant upgrades were completed in 1933, mainly the eradication of the ever-present poison ivy plant.

Flowers were planted along the river bank as were several trees, most notably the Carolina poplar.

Other improvements were the completion of a 375-foot sidewalk to the bath house, a flagstone sidewalk fronting the bath house, and a foot path allowing for easier access to other areas of the park.

There was also lawn bowling at the park in the 1940’s.

In 1960, the bathing pavilion and concession were renovated and space was provided for a putting green.

Over a three-year period in the early 1960’s, a set of five tiered stone bleachers were built by stone masons Bill Di Domenico, Stefano Como and different crews of men.

Before the Columbia River dams cut the water flow starting in 1968, the river rose much higher and the bleachers were used by residents to allow for safer access to the water.

Recently, new and upgraded facilities have been added, such as an updated concession building, a spray pool, playground equipment, washrooms, change rooms, and further improvements to the beach area.

Today, the park is used for many events including family picnics, concerts and community celebrations.

The same year Robertson donated the land, 1933, development of the park was initiated by the Trail Gyro Club.

The Trail Gyro Club was founded October 12, 1932 with 12 members. In the 1930s the club cleaned up Gyro Park, including re-roofing the change room building. The Gyro’s also sponsored one of the first Little League baseball teams, awarded scholarships, and remains active on the Silver City Days Committee.

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The 1960 Gyro Park bathing pavilion with the outdoor theatre tucked in behind. (Trail Historical Society photo)

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