Riondel was settled because of a very productive silver, lead and zinc mine, know as the Bluebell Mine. In the 1882 an American named Robert Sproule staked four claims along the peninsula, including the Blue Bell. When he left to register his claims an Englishman, Thomas Hammill, restaked the claims. This led to a dispute that ended with Sproule shooting Hammill dead and going to the gallows for his crime.In the 1890’s the settlement was known as Hendryx, after Wilbur Hendryx, who had control of the Bluebell and other claims in the mid 1880’s. In 1905 The Canadian Metal Company purchased the mine, and in 1907 the settlement was named Riondel after Count Edouard Riondel, the president of the company.
The Bluebell mine operated from 1895 to 1929, during which the population was stable at around 70. With the closure of the mine the population dwindled until in 1943 there were only 22 left. In 1950 the mine re-opened, and the population soared to almost 300 within three years. The expansion of the mine required more electricity and in 1952 Cominco built the power lines across the lake, bring power to the East Shore without the use of generators.
From 1950, Riondel was a bustling, thriving mining town until 1972, when the mine closed. While some people moved on to follow the work, many liked it here too much to leave. Riondel became a popular as a retirement community and at one time had more seniors per capita than any other postal code in Canada. Currently about 400 people of all ages live in this quiet and picturesque community.
Today it is a tidy village with real streets, lakeshore campground, beach, community centre, playground, cable TV system, Riondel Golf Club’s 9-hole golf course, grocery and liquor store, Bob’s Bar & Grill cafe and pub.
Riondel has it’s own website at www.riondel.ca.
Please note: Driftwood Cove RV Park & Campground is no longer in business.