Sandon, BC, is a historic community located in the Slocan Valley of the West Kootenay district, 13 km east of NEW DENVER. Known as the "Silver City" or the "Heart of the Silvery Slocan," it was the centre of what was the richest silver-lead producing region in Canada. Set in a narrow gulch, it is split by a fast-flowing creek and surrounded by high, steep mountains.
Silver was found in 1891 and a rush followed, with thousands of prospectors staking the silver-bearing slopes. By 1895 Sandon was a thriving town and the terminus of 2 railways. It was the first town in BC to have a hydro-electric utility system and today boasts the oldest continuously operating hydro-electric plant in western Canada.
Sandon was incorporated as a city in 1898 and peaked in 1899 with a population of about 5000. It was disincorporated in 1920 after many years of decline. The population fluctuated during World War II when it was a relocation centre for 950 Japanese Canadians from the coast and when nearly 1000 miners were attracted to Sandon during the KOREAN WAR because of high metal prices. In 1955 the creek overflowed, causing much damage. Many of its remaining buildings were then torn down for salvage.
Today there is a combined museum and visitors' centre and a souvenir shop housed in restored buildings. Historic trails on abandoned railway beds offer HIKING and mountain biking opportunities.