The Anyox Dam Then and Now!

The Anyox Dam Then and Now!

Our Two day “Anyox – The town that got Lost” tour June 3-4, 2017 and June 10-11, 2017  will visit this iconic structure that is till standing almost 100 years later.  It was Canada’s tallest dam at one time and is still an amazing structure.   Don’t miss your chance to be on of the few people to visit this iconic structure.

The dam was completed in 1923 and was built by hauling pallets of concrete bags up a single guauge railway line operated by electric hoists. The dam is 635 ft long and 137 ft high and 28 000 acre ft of water capacity. In 1923 before the dam was complete heavy rains caused a landslide above the dam and the debris from the slide plugged the penstocks and the water level rose to dangerous levels so much so that they had to evacuate people living in the lower parts of Anyox below. The water eventually subsided and the dam was completed.

Building the Anyox Dam
Building the Anyox Dam
The Anyox Dam today!
Aerial View of the Anyox Dam

 

Anyox dam
The Anyox dam

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The Port Essington Experience Revealed!

One of the iconic towns of the Skeena River is the town of Port Essington. Founded by Robert Cunningham in 1871 and a fall camping spot of the Tsimshian known as Spokeshute this site has over a wealth of interesting sites and features that will truly amaze you! A jungly 100 year cemetery with hundreds of moss covered headstones, a grisly boneyard of cow skulls and bones, a one km long boardwalk falling into disrepair, pilings protruding out of the brackish river on their last legs, a boiler form the Cunningham sawmill, old bottles, trinkets, and remnants from over 100 years of habitation. The One day Port Essington Experience will jet boat you back in time to a place that few have visited and explored.

May 27, 2017
Terrace, BC

The Guests of Ghost Towns 2016

On all of our trips our guest really make the trips. We have had so many interesting people participate in the tours and it has been great to get to know them over a short period. Many of them are repeat guests that are coming back for another tour the following year. We always like to to take a lot of photos on the tours for marketing purposes and many of these now include photos of guests participating in the tours. Here are some photos from last August’s Ghost Towns of Northwest BC Tour. This year’s tour is starting to fill up and will be another great tour to some of northwest BC’s most remote and inaccessible Ghost Towns.

2016 Ghost Town Guests posing in front of Kitsault sign
Exploring the inside of the Anyox Dam
2016 Ghost Town Guests in front of the Dorreen Store
2016 Ghost Town Guests going into the Alice Arm School
2016 Ghost Town Guests checking out the pilings at low tide
Enroute to Anyox to aboard the Raincoast Explorer
Checking out Ringbolts in Kitselas Canyon
Guests posing in the the Kitsault Maple Leaf Pub
Exploring Anyox Powerhouse
Guests Exploring Kitselas Historic Site
Guests waiting for the stores to open in the Kitsault Mall
Guests enjoying a meal at Alice Arm provided by the locals
Photographing in the Anyox Cemetery
Guests paying for a bottel of water at the Kitsault Grocery store
Guests waiting for the movie to start in the Kitsault Movie theatre

 

 

 

The Concrete Walls of Anyox

The Ghost Town of Anyox has all kinds of remnants from its days as a copper mine in the early 19th century but after the town was shut down in in 1935 and a fire roared through the town in 1942 the majority of the buildings that survived were the one made of  steel and concrete. A jungly forest has grown up inside and out of the remains which makes the buildings even more eerie.  Here are a few of the buildings and the concrete walls that still remain.  If you are looking for a unique “Off the Beaten Path” adventure then check out our  “The Town That Got Lost” Anyox Exploration June 3-4, 2017 or the “Ghost Towns of Northwest BC” tour August 21-27, 2017.

Anyox Coke Plant Wall
Forest View at Anyox
Anyox Window
Anyox Old Door

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Going back in time to the Kitsault Mall

Who thought it was possible to go back in time. Visiting the Kitsault Mall may be as close as one can get to a time warp. The mall closed shortly after it opened and I think they were still looking to fill all the stores. As seen in the Kitsault Times the mall opened in 1982 and the residents were told to leave in 1983. The “Hospitality Foods” still has grocery carts in the store, the bank still has the charge machines and stationery. The mall had a grocery store, restuarant, sports store, post office, clothing, sears and more. It is quite the feeling wandering around the mall and expecting people to come out of the stores or expecting there to be packages of bacon in the meat section of the grocery store. We will be heading back to Kitsault in August 2017 as one of the five ghost towns on our “Ghost Towns of Northwest BC tour.

The Kitsault Times Mall Opening
Hospitality foods
Kitsault Post Office
Empty Store shelves
The Kitsault Sears
Kitsault Post Office
Kitsault Post Office

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Anyox General Store

The Anyox General store was one of two stores in the community.  It was the company store that was owned and ran by the Granby Compaany.  The other store was “Franks” or Frank Lew Luns and it was one of the only non company owned buildings in the town.  The General store got shipments of fresh fruit, vegetables and milk twice a week.  An interesting side note is that the company did try and have fresh milk by bringing in 12 dairy cows but the Smelter killed off all the vegetation in Anyox and there was no grass for them forage on and they were eventually condemned for being sickly and sent to the incinerator. The store really was the hub of the town and on saturdays and paydays it was bustling with activity.  The store sits on the ocean and is one of the first structures one sees when entering Granby Bay,  It is 117 ft long and 60 ft wide and three stories high. It sold groceries, postoffice, clothing, furnishings etc.   The store is an eerie place now as a forest of trees has taken over where the rows of canned goods and ladies fashions once sat.  The branches have climbed there way through the roof and windows and break the beams of sunlight that try and penetrate the floor.

Anyox general store
Anyox general store today
Sun shining through the remains of the Anyox Store
Front of the Anyox general store

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2017 Ghost Towns of Northwest BC

Investigate the abandoned Ghost Towns of Northwest BC

Ghost Towns of Northwest BC
August 20-26, 2017
Terrace, BC

Don’t Miss out on our most popular tour as it will fill up again in 2017.

Anyox Coke Plant

 

This 5 day northern BC adventure is a must for the Ghost Town aficionado. Exclusive access to some of British Columbia’s most restricted ghost town’s will be provided. The remoteness and history of these fabled towns will amaze even those without an interest in the eerie past of these boom and bust communities. You will visit the modern day Ghost town of Kitsualt which has sat vacant for over 30 years and the only thing missing are the people. We have been granted access to the remote and historic mining town of Anyox which has been referred to as the “The Town that got Lost”. The once thriving mining town had over 3000 residents in 1914 but has now been uninhabited for the past 80 years. The tour also includes an adventure to one of BC’s most inaccessible ghost town’s, Alice Arm and the historic ghost towns on the Skeena River; Port Essington and Doreen. We will utilize ocean going boats and jet boats to access these remote locations. Hopefully you are not afraid of ghosts as we will be overnighting in three of these eerie towns. Don’t miss this chance of a lifetime to be part of this special trip!

DAY ONE
We travel east of Terrace and launch our two jet boats on the magnificent Skeena River and take a short boat ride to the north side of the river. After a short walk we arrive at Dorreen, at the base of glacier-covered Mt. Knauss. Our local guide will show us around the once thriving town and share is passion and history of the town. The town used to be a prospering mining and farming town on the GTP rail line, but today only a dozen cabins and houses are still remain and most people use it as a summer getaway. The town is hub for old antique discarded vehicles that were brought in by train to drive on the few km’s of dirt road.

Old truck in the Ghost Town of Dorreen
Old truck in the Ghost Town of Doreen

DAY TWO
We will travel downstream (west) towards the historic cannery town of Port Essington. Built in 1875, this town was the life of the mighty Skeena River until 1910, when another town to the north, Prince Rupert, was built at the terminus of the railway. At this ghost-town you will have the opportunity to capture amazing historic photos and explore the forest where remnants of the past await us with a special story behind each one. Afterwards we’ll take a boat ride across the river to a small hidden hot spring, where we can soak in a small pool under the towering coastal Sitka Spruce rainforest.

The Boneyard at Port Essington
The Remnants of the Pilings at tthe Cannery Ghost Town of Port Essington

DAY THREE
On your third day you will drive through the heart of a historic lava flow en route to the coastal village of Gingolx. At this village we will meet our boat and captain who will take us into Observatory Inlet on the way to the once bustling site of Anyox. The boat will go at a relaxing pace to see the amazing coastal scenery and observe wildlife along the way. Our stop will be at the abandoned town of Anyox, once the most important smelter along the west coast. Remains of old railway cars, power stations, general store and the once largest dam in Canada will be toured.

The Anyox Dam

DAY FOUR
We spend the day at Alice Arm, the legendary silver mining town and site of the once famous Dolly Varden Mining Railway whose narrow gauge track led up the Kitsault river to several rich mine sites. The town has several dilapidated cabins and stores, alongside modernized cabins used as summer retreats. We will walk around the historic sites, meet some locals and walk to a nearby waterfall, where salmon can be  seen spawning. We will be treated to a seafood barbecue by the only year round residents of Alice Arm.

Alice Arm Haunted House

DAY FIVE
After a comfortable and peaceful night at Alice Arm Lodge, we will travel by boat across the inlet to the modern day Ghost Town of Kitsault. Our exclusive access to this site will include a tour of the site and the many buildings that have sat vacant as is since 1981. This will include the shopping centre, swimming pool, school, theatre and much more. We will spend the night in one of the 1980’s style apartments and get rested for our 4 hour drive through the coastal mountains back to Terrace the following morning.

36 years of emptiness in Kitsault Shopping Centre

 

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New! “The Town That Got Lost” – Anyox Exploration Tour

June 3-4, 2017
Terrace, BC
$695.00
  Includes all accommodations, meals and transportation

This is another new tour we have added this year and is guaranteed to fill up fast.  We already visit the exclusive ghost town of Anyox on our 5 day tour but we have had a lot of requests for an extended exclusive visit to this 100 year old copper mining town.

Explore the Anyox Coke Plant

This unique two day tour visits the remote and historic Mining Town of Anyox.  We have special permission to explore this exclusive location on BC’s northcoast.  The remoteness and history of this fabled town will amaze even those without an interest in the eerie past of these boom and bust communities.

Be one of the few people to ever explore the Anyox Dam
The Anyox Powerhouse

Anyox which has been referred to as the “The Town that got Lost” was a once thriving mining town which had over 3000 residents in 1914.  It has now been uninhabited for the past 80 years but what remains in this ghost town is truly amazing!  Remains of Canada’s once largest dam, the Anyox Powerhouse, coke plant, steam plant, concentrator, smelter stacks, old railway cars, general store, cemetery, red light district, golf course, and more will keep  us busy for two days.  We are fortunate to be able to spend the night in this historic and eerie ghost town. Be one of only a handful of people to visit this town this year!

Guests on this tour will get to explore items like this from the Anyox Red Light District

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The Port Essington Hi-Lo inside scoop!

One of the highlights on our tour to Port Essington ( especially for the photographers) is the single boat lying in the grass. I was fortunate enough to make contact with one of the previous owners ( Sarah Brown) who provided me some history on the boat.

It is small crab boat called the Hi-Lo, that focused its efforts on the inner islands around the mouth of the Skeena River. It was originally from Oona River and later sold to someone who beached it as Port Essington. Sarah remembers fishing with her dad and sleeping on the engine box. ( very cool memories). Every year it seems to show its age a bit more.

The Port Essington  Hi Lo
The Port Essington Hi Lo
Boat Relic in the sedge grass
Boat Relic in the sedge grass

What happened to the person buried under this gravestone on the UNBC Ghost Towns Tour?

One of the highlights on the UNBC Ghost Towns of Northwest BC educational tour is the visit to the cemetery.  It is probably one of the remotes cemeteries in BC as there are no year round residents anywhere near here and when you do it is almost impossible to find as it is tucked away in an overgrown forest.  One gravestone that stands out is the one below.  The first thing guests notice with the gravestone is that it has been turned over and huge whole remains below it.  There are a few  stories behind the overturned gravestone and I will let you decide which one is true.

1. The story goes that a middle aged woman of European descent who was quite wealthy was buried with many of her valuable treasures of Gold and Silver.  She was buried in 1911 and a rumour out there is that after 100 years of age gravestones are fair game to “retrieve” valuables.  The story goes,  that 100 years to the day she was buried,  a huge hole appeared below the gravestone and all the valuables were missing (or maybe never buried).

2. This story goes that the middle aged European woman had not been sleeping well and had decided to take a copious amount of sleeping pills and had passed out and gone into a mild coma.  With no Dr in the small remote community at the time, she was pronounced dead by the minister.  With winter fast approaching and the ground already freezing they had to dig a grave quickly and lay the body to rest without a coffin.  The lady was actually not dead and just feeling the effects of the sleeping pills and with the chunky frozen earth over top of her in the shallow  grave she was able to stay alive and dig her way out of the earth.

3. The story goes that a middle aged European died suddenly and her husband who was the love of her life was devastated.  He visited her grave site every day while living in Anyox.  When the town closed he moved back to his homeland in Europe but could not leave without being close to his beloved wife.  He applied and was granted approval to exhume her and take her back to the homeland where he could bury her again and visit her every day.

If you want want to know the most plausible answer, you can sign up for our Ghost Towns of Northwest BC tour Aug 21-27, 2016 where we will get to the bottom of this unsolved mystery!!

Mysterious Overturned Anyox Grave
Mysterious Overturned Anyox Grave
Where did the person buried here go?
Where did the person buried here go?