Castlegar Community Album: People From the Past

Castlegar Community Album: Castlegar Co-operative Transportation Society

Castlegar is all about transportation. It was established by the conjunction of the Canadian Pacific Railway and the paddlewheeler boat traffic. The ferry was established giving clear connection between Trail and Nelson. Then a growing network of roads appeared, tying Castlegar to Nelson, Trail, Salmo and points east and west. Finally it created an airport that by 1947 had Canadian Pacific Airlines offering fast connection with the outside world. Still today, Castlegar equals crossroads.

As the Depression road camps worked on improving the roads and road surfaces, residents of the closed-in city of Trail began to look further afield. Castlegar offered lower taxes, cleaner air and a freedom from the smelter. Smelter workers liked all of those attributes. To ease the transportation problem they first car-pooled and then formed the Castlegar Co-operative Transportation Society in 1937. The impact of that was reflected in 50 new housing starts in Castlegar in 1938 as well as the Co-op ownership of two cars and a passenger bus.

Castlegar continued to develop and grow, and so did the Transportation Society. In 1955 they opened their new garage in downtown Castlegar, servicing their own fleet of ten buses and six cars as well as doing general public automotive repair. The Trail Smelter had an insatiable need for workers, and many of those workers wanted to escape Trail after work. Castlegar continued to provide a great alternative.

The Castlegar Co-operative Transportation Society still stands as one of the many ways that the community of Castlegar works together to solve its needs.

Castlegar Co-Operative Transportation Society
The Castlegar Co-Operative Transportation Society's maintenance garage and bus fleet - c. 1940. The transportation was mainly for smelter workers…
Overview of Castlegar
A late 1930s overview of Castlegar, B.C. with C.P.R. water tank in the foreground and the Castlegar Co-operative Transportation Society…
Castlegar Co-operative Transportation Society Bus
A new Castlegar Co-operative Transportation Society bus in 1942. The photo may have been taken on Baker Street in Nelson,…
Castlegar Co-operative Transportation Society Bus
A group of men in front of a new 1942 Castlegar Co-Operative Transportation Society bus custom built by Peebles Motors…