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Mid-Winter Mardi Gras: Rossland's Winter Carnival

Mid-Winter Mardi Gras: Rossland's Winter Carnival

Rossland was a wide open mining town in 1897, newly incorporated as a city, but only a few years away from being but a cluster of shacks on a bench on an isolated mountain side.  As new gold-copper deposits were discovered and proven, men poured in, seeking employment in the mines.  Business was expanding, the city was growing and people were exuberant and confident of the future.  There were growing pains, of course, but there was also rapid development.  Streets were laid out, houses, hotels, commercial buildings and schools were being built (and expanded), and transport facilities from the outside world were being completed and rapidly improved.  A small American-owned company, the Rossland Water and Power Company, was supplying fresh water and electricity to parts of the city, but sewerage remained a serious problem.  In the near future, the West Kootenay Power and Light Company would be formed and would begin providing electricity to the mines and the city from its hydro-electric works on the Kootenay River and the city would take over and develop the water system and build a comprehensive sewerage system.  However, in 1897 Rossland was still a rather primitive frontier town facing another cold, dark, snow covered and, for many, dreary winter.  But the city had an ice rink and an outstanding ski champion.  Why not have a party to celebrate ice and snow sports and relieve some of the winter gloom  --  and have it in February, the gloomiest month of them all.