An inquisitive mind – and sturdy shoes – are all you’ll need to take a guided tour of Trail’s rock walls this week.
Rated “easy,” the walk will start at 6 p.m. Wednesday from the Gyro Park gazebo.
“We will view the stone work at Gyro along the sidewalk,” began Eileen Truant, a guide from the Rock Wall Project. “We’ll go down the stairs to the beach, walk along and look at the bleachers and talk about how all that came to be at Gyro Park.
“Then we’ll move over to the parking lot across the road and look at the massive stones and talk about how they came to be and the stone masons that were involved. We will look at the bronze plaques as well.”
From there, she’ll guide the tour toward stone work nearer the Columbia River and then swing back up to rock walls and stairs along Fourth Avenue.
“It’s not going to be strenuous,” she said, mentioning the tour will be about one hour. “Smoke or not, I am going to show up and whoever is there, we’ll just go ahead.”
This is the first of two walking tours Eileen, as a member of the former Rock Wall Project Entusiastico Society (Society), has planned in collaboration with the Kootenay Columbia Educational Heritage Society.
The second tour, rated “moderate,” is slated to leave from the Riverfront Centre on Thursday, Sept. 13 at 6 p.m.
The historic rock walls were built by the city’s rock masons to support European-style streets and neighbourhoods throughout Trail. Given fun names like the Rigatoni Ramble or the Haggis Hike, the Society has put together a number of self-guided walking tours to give locals and visitors a “taste of life in Little Italy.”
The hiking map was a side project following the Society’s main objective, which was the publication of a full-colour book called “Set in Stone – A History of Trail’s Rock Walls.”
“They hold up our roads, our yards, our gardens, and our town,” says Bert Green from the Trail Historical Society. “Visually, they form a soulful part of Trail’s unique character and Italian heritage.”
The rock walls are a testament left to us by skilled, hard working rock masons, Green added.
“The rock walls are a legacy to be proud of. They differentiate the Silver City from other communities in the Columbia Basin, and possibly the rest of B.C.”