January 1 - The annual Polar Bear Swim attracted 103 hardy souls. Sheri Regnier photo

Trail Times Year in Review, Part 1

Top news-making stories for January 2019

As we prepare to turn the calendar over to 2020, this time of year allows us to take one last look in the rear-view mirror at 2019.

The Trail Times has compiled notes on events from the last year, including photos, that resonated in our community.

This year we’ve also included some of the best photo submissions from our dedicated readers.

We hope you enjoy our annual Year in Review compilation and look forward to another busy, news-making, sports-celebrating year in 2020.



1 – 103 swimmers take the plunge in balmy 3 C weather during the annual Polar Bear Swim at Gyro Park.

2 – A major disaster was averted after firefighters extinguished a blaze at the Trail Legion building. According to reports, it appears a fire was lit under the side access of the building and only a quick response and fire doors prevented the blaze from spreading. The Legion was closed several weeks for repairs.

5 – Madia Ann Vandermeer was the first baby of 2019 to arrive at the Kootenay Boundary Regional Hospital. Parents Leah McInnes and Scott Vandermeer along with big sister Lainey welcomed the eight-pound, six-ounce addition to the Beaver Falls family.

9 – A backcountry avalanche near Red Mountain partially buried two people. While one skier was able to extricate and go for help, it took rescue crews and Red Mountain ski patrol to help the other skier and get him to an ambulance.

10 – The Higher Path is set to become the first recreational cannabis shop in the West Kootenay after clearing the final hurdle towards opening its doors. It welcomed the public on Jan. 28.

13 –Responding to reports of a man carrying a shotgun around East Trail, police discovered a cache of weapons and stolen items in the 1400 block of Fifth Ave.

15 – The former McBride Manor in East Trail has been earmarked for affordable housing thanks to a $900,000 grant from BC Housing to the Lower Columbia Affordable Housing Society.

21 – A Trail couple is warning citizens of a rental scam after a home they saw for rent online was actually sold. The anonymous poster asked for cash up front, which the potential renters refused.

28 – Fortis Inc. announced it was selling its 51 per cent interest in the Waneta Expansion Hydroelectric Project to the Columbia Power Corporation and the Columbia Basin Trust for $991 million.

30 – Former Trail resident Amber Oosthuysen, known as Amber J, appears on the first episode of CTV’s “The Launch,” a program for up-and-coming singers and songwriters. Amber J didn’t make the final two, who were selected to perform a song with one version streamed online after the show.

31 – The Kootenay-Columbia School District is reporting above-average graduation rates for its students. The district said its five-year success rate ranges from 81-to-93 per cent while the provincial average sits at 75-to-86 per cent.

31 – A shoplifting suspect has been charged with assaulting a downtown grocer who was trying to stop the thief.

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January 5 - Madia Ann Vandermeer is sound asleep as parents Leah McInnes, Scott Vandermeer and big sister Lainey welcomed her into the world at the Kootenay Boundary Regional Hospital. Submitted photo

January 2 - A fire, started underneath the side entrance of the Trail Legion could have been even more catastrophic. The fire doors on the Legion building held the fire from getting inside the structure. Jim Bailey photo

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