Raising the Flag

Mount Roberts canada day flag raise popular then and now.

  • Jun. 27, 2014 7:00 p.m.

Danielle clarke

Rossland News

Rossland is a community with great history and great tradition.

With Canada Day quickly approaching several Rosslanders are gearing up to hike Mount Roberts in order to raise the flag and join in the singing of Oh Canada.

What they might not be aware of is the story behind it all.

This tradition has become very popular on Canada Day, explained Gael Fisher, a local who has done the hike a few times including once in 1986 to place the plaque in commemoration of the two flag-raisers.

Mount Roberts, formerly known as Spokane Mountain, received its first flag on June 5, 1900.

The first flag to go up was the British ensign in honour of General Roberts and his troops as they occupied Pretoria during the Boer War, as stated in an article published in the Trail Times on June 22, 1979.

After 1900 few people made the hike up Mount Roberts until the 1970s. Leo Telfer and Hutch Hutchinson began the tradition by going up annually for nearly ten years.

“They went up every year…and usually had to cut a new pole,” said Fisher.

The hike was steep and rocky and without any trees on top of the mountain, the two men were forced to go down the west side of the mountain for about a mile looking for their flag pole.

“These guys had to go over the edge of the mountain, hull it up and get it so it would stay there for awhile and tie it in…it was a lot of hard physical work,” said Fisher.

Telfer made his last climb when he was in his 80s.

Years later, Cominco (now Teck Trail Operations) donated a metal flagpole to be installed and in 1986 a plaque was donated in honour of Telfer and Hutchinson.

It was this plaque that Gael and husband Stan Fisher together with Booty Griffith and Jim Douglas helped put up on Oct. 18, 1986.

On this particular occasion they drove part way up and then began their two hour hike, as the equipment was very heavy.

The plaque and flagpole have remained there ever since and a new flag is raised once a year.

“My favourite part was standing at the top looking at what you can see…the best view was looking out past Trail towards Montrose…just a fantastic view,” said Fisher, “I think that’s why it’s so popular,” she added.

There are now up to a hundred people that make the trek annually .

It was Pat, the daughter of Leo Telfer, who thought people should know about the history behind the tradition they are continuing; “I agree with her…I believe that people should know how it started…and recognize what they did,” concluded Fisher.

This tradition certainly has a tale to be told and a history to be had.

To see a picture of last year’s turnout, check out the photographs in the window at 2024 Columbia Ave.