Wednesday, July 22, 2015

Stewart B.C.

Tide Flats in front of Stewart, B.C.

We enjoyed our visit to Stewart which proved to be a fun town with an interesting past.  Settlement and mineral prospecting took place at the head of Portland Canal with the arrival of 68 prospectors in 1898 followed by the Stewart brothers, Robert and John, who arrived in 1902 and laid out a town site forming the Stewart Land Company.  

Stewart B.C.
Stewart and Hyder (then known as Portland City) were at that time joined by a two-mile long “road” on pilings across the tide flats.  These pilings are still visible today running through the estuary in both Stewart and Hyder. 

Stewart B.C.
Gold and silver mining had caused a rapid growth bringing 10,000 people to the area but the population declined during the war years.  In 1916, gold and silver were again discovered near Stewart which became the famous Silback Premier Gold Mine, one of British Columbia’s richest gold-silver mines which supported Stewart and Hyder until the 1950’s.  
Church in Stewart, a beautiful backdrop
Later the Granduc Copper Mine was the main employer until 1984.  Today Stewart has a population of 500 people with all the necessary amenities, but the early days of mining have left a legacy of artifacts and historic buildings in both Stewart and Hyder.  We didn't want to miss the sights having made the long venture up Portland Canal so we got out our bicycles and rode into town.  As we biked from the marina towards Stewart, we discovered a boardwalk that leads over a portion of the tide flats, a nice shortcut into town for hikers and bicyclists!  
Glacier-like Snow Field above Stewart
The boardwalk is also a great place for bird watching and provides excellent views of the mountains and snow fields seen high above town.  
Boardwalk over Tide Flats, Stewart
We found several interesting buildings from the old mining days including the large abandoned 
Abandoned 1908 Empress Hotel
Empress Hotel built in 1908, which also served as a base for the Canadian Northeastern Railway.  The refurbished Stewart Fire Hall, constructed in 1910, now serves as a museum.  
Old Fire Hall & Museum
1898 Log Cabin on Museum grounds at Stewart
On the museum grounds is an original 1898 log cabin that once belonged to DJ Rainey, one of the first settlers and prospectors to the area.  
Boardwalk leading out of Town
Of course we had to stop by the bakery in town and enjoy an early dinner at the cute Dash Bistro which has some very tasty dishes.
Enjoying the Ride

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