“You should take a walk down there,” says Bruce, pointing to the lane in back of the old Arlington Hotel, a popular watering hole where a group of us had just wrapped up lunch over beer.
“Let’s see how many you find,” he adds as he and his sister, Sandra start across a deserted street. “We’ll meet you over at the other end in a few minutes. We’re headed for the Artisan store. See you there.”
So, while the rest of the group went left, I hung a right and traipsed on down the block.It’s pretty quiet for a Saturday, especially on a holiday weekend. There’s practically no traffic. Pretty much anyone who stayed in town must be at the Arlington.
As I reach the entrance to the lane, I spy a bike tied along the guy wires of a telephone pole, then a line of bikes overhead, pinned to the building wall. Further down, more bikes.
Making my way slowly down the alley, I notice that bikes are everywhere, all painted in bright, colourful hues. They’re all out in the open, but some are easier to spot than others. It’s a bit like an Easter Egg hunt.
The “Bike Alley”, as it’s called, is the brainchild of Dan Haley, who moved back to Trail and opened Casa di Cioccolato, a chocolate, tea and olive oil shop on Bay Avenue, a few doors down from the Arlington Hotel. Dan figured the downtown alley could use a little whimsy, not unlike Tofino, where he was living before moving back to Trail.
I spent about 30 minutes walking back and forth along the alley, photographing bikes as clouds blowing overhead changed the tone and character of the light.
“Pretty cool, right?” calls Bruce as I exit the alley. I hadn’t seen them walk up.
Yup, pretty cool. A great way to start revitalizing a downtown.