Situated on the broad Kettle River Valley, the small and peaceful village of Midway is one of the great places to visit in Boundary Country, with many historical sites, numerous recreational centres, good camping facilities, and countless fascinating attractions.
Midway was originally known as Boundary City when the townsite was laid out in 1893. However, the name was too similar to that of the nearby Boundary Creek post office, so Captain R.C. Adams, one of the owners of the townsite, changed the name to Midway the following year.
The name was suitable for multiple reasons. Midway was halfway between Penticton and Marcus, Washington, then it’s nearest railway point. Midway is near the midpoint on the old Dewdney Trail, from its beginning at Hope to its terminus at Wild Horse Creek near Fort Steele, and Midway is approximately halfway between the Rocky Mountains and the Pacific Ocean.
The population of the settlement reached 6,000 during the mining boom in the 1890s, and expanded after 1899 with the arrival of the Canadian Pacific Railway that made Midway the centre point for the distribution of iron ore. Midway became the western terminus of the Columbia and Western Railway in 1900.
While the discovery of gold and the arrival of the railroads shaped the past of Midway, service industries, the lumber industry, and tourism shape Midway today.
Heritage Buildings: Kamigochi House was the old Spokane Hotel, which closed in the 1940s. The United Church was built in 1905 by the Great Northern Railway. The Old School House was the oldest one in the area. Heritage homes that are now private residences include Delisle House, the Lundy residence built in 1894 for one of the early pioneers, and McNeil House, formerly an old customs border crossing office.
The Entwined Trees are two trees that were entwined together by the First Nations people from the United States and the Okanagan that camped in Midway when the village was young. Located in a park adjacent to the Boundary Central Secondary School, the trees were tied together as a symbol; “Yet they are separated, be as one”.
Kettle Valley Railway: Midway is Mile Zero of the Kettle Valley Railway Trail, a popular wilderness recreation trail that follows the rail bed of the old Kettle Valley Railroad and is now part of the TransCanada Trail. The Kettle Valley Line was to link Midway to the west coast, with the first eastbound passenger train departing Midway in May 1915, and the last passenger train on the Kettle Valley Line passing through Midway in January 1964.
The Kettle Valley Museum is now housed in the old train station, located on Highway 3. Although the tracks have been removed, you can stand on the original platform and imagine the hustle and bustle of the railway station, or catch a glimpse of the bygone era and the life of early Boundary Country settlers in the museum operated by the Village of Midway. Notable museum features include a windmill from the Bubar farm that was originally purchased from the T. Eaton Co, and a restored Canadian Pacific Railway caboose.
Tubing the Kettle River is a popular summer activity, and the village maintains a stock of inner tubes at Frank Carpenter Memorial Park. The park is also a local campground, and is particularly popular with RV owners travelling through Midway.
Golf: Golfers can tee off at the 9-hole Kettle Valley Golf Course, a beautiful course located opposite the Kettle Valley RV Park, 5 miles (8 km) east of Rock Creek on Highway 3. Golf Vacations in British Columbia.
Trails: There are a total of 12 kms of trail on the mountain and 2.1 kms along the Kettle River suitable for hiking and mountain biking. The 5-km Riverwalk Trail is especially suited to the casual hiker as it is mostly level and meanders through the trees next to the Kettle River. Access to the Riverwalk Trail is at the west end of Seventh Avenue. Park behind the airport hanger buildings and walk through the gate at the end of the road. The trail cuts diagonally across the field to the Kettle River. Access to the Village View Trail, which provides a great view of the village of Midway, is on Fritz Road.
Winter: The Riverwalk Trail is a great location for cross-country skiing and snowshoeing in winter months.
Mount Baldy is a great place to picnic or hike in the summer, and provides great downhill and cross-country skiing in the winter. The exciting year-round destination is reached by a 45-minute drive north of Highway 3, west of Rock Creek. Skiing & Winter Activities in the Okanagan and Similkameen Country.
Phoenix Mountain is a community ski hill in the Phoenix Interpretive Forest of the South Okanagan. Phoenix Mountain is a regular destination for local ski and board enthusiasts alike during its winter months, providing terrain for all skill levels ranging from beginner to advanced.
Kettle River Recreation Area, located 4 miles (6.5 km) north of Rock Creek on Hwy 33, is named for the river that runs through it. It also contains the abandoned right-of-way of the Kettle Valley Railway, which makes an excellent hiking trail. Open May through September, this recreation area features vehicle/tent sites and a picnic/day-use area. Remains of gold and silver mines that once brought thousands of people to this now peaceful area can be seen on the river’s eastern bank.
Boundary Creek Provincial Park is located northeast of Midway, about 2 miles (3 km) west of Greenwood on Highway 3. This tranquil park offers 18 vehicle/tent sites beneath the cottonwoods and the chance for patient anglers to catch rainbow and brook trout. Nearby are the remains of the old BC Copper Company smelter, which employed about 400 men from 1901 to 1918.
The Rail Trail 200 Dog Sled Race is contested in mid January over approximately 200 miles of exciting and challenging trails running through some of BC’s most beautiful backcountry. The race starts and ends in Grand Forks, following the old Kettle Valley rail bed. The trail leaves the rail bed to continue through spectacular scenery along the valley bottom before climbing the slope to Big White Ski Resort for a mandatory layover. From there the trail returns through the Kettle Valley, across the adjacent slopes and rivers to Grand Forks.
The Rock Creek and Boundary Fall Fair is one of the last “true” country fairs, commonly referred to as The biggest little country fair around. Two fun-filled days features events such as the heavy horse show, mutton busting, cattle penning, pro-barrel racing, lawnmower races, a tractor pull, horse events, and livestock competitions. The fall fair is held in Rock Creek every September, on the second weekend after Labour Day.
Other Events in Midway include the Kettle River Days, Show & Shine, and the New Year’s Eve Family Skate on December 31.
East of Midway is Greenwood. Rich in historic charm, the story of Greenwood dates back to the discovery of rich lodes of copper-gold ore by prospectors in 1891. The dreams of Robert Wood came true, when in 1895 he purchased the land that is now the site of the city, built a General Store, and named the settlement Greenwood. With the discovery of rich copper ore came an influx of people from far and wide, and within two years the former rugged wilderness region had been transformed into a booming frontier city, one of the busiest and richest mining regions in Canada. Greenwood had become the social and economic hub of the entire Boundary region.
West of Midway is Rock Creek, a once-flourishing gold and silver mining boomtown that is now a small community of 300 residents, with an economy based on agriculture, forestry and ranching. Some of the finest blue ribbon livestock in British Columbia is raised in Rock Creek and the surrounding area.
Circle Tours: See the best of the area on Okanagan and Kootenay Rockies Circle Tour. Travel the sunny interior of British Columbia, north through the Okanagan to Sicamous, following Highway 1 into the mountains of the BC Rockies. From Golden, head south through the Columbia Valley to Creston, and west through the Southern Okanagan, starting and ending your sun-drenched voyage in Osoyoos, the place where two lakes come together. Circle Tours in British Columbia.