Posted by: cherylyoung | February 7, 2013

Nelson is one of the prettiest towns in British Columbia in one of the most beautiful settings




On the shores of the giant Kootenay Lake

Nelson is one of the prettiest towns in British Columbia,

in one of the most beautiful settings.

Life in Nelson is unhurried, and people still smile and

greet visitors.

Over 350 lovingly restored turn-of-the-century heritage

buildings and facades, breathtaking views and personable

citizens make this city a little oasis of genuine civility.

Incorporated in 1897 as a mining town, Nelson has

bloomed into a unique community with a thriving

tourist trade.

Cafés and galleries are everywhere, and many residents

seem to be artists or crafts people.

Most who pass through Nelson want to come back, many

of them permanently.

You may, too!

Population: 9,923

Location: Nelson is located at the junction of Highway 6

and Highway 3A, at the western tip of the West Arm of

Kootenay Lake, 26 miles (41 km) northeast of Castlegar.

Ride Streetcar 23: Born at the turn of the twentieth century

out of the promise of rich mineral discoveries, one of the

smallest railways in the British Empire operated in Nelson.

Originally built in 1906, its streetcars carried passengers

up and down some of the steepest grades of any

conventional street railway, not without some spectacular


Completely restored and returned to operation with the

help of Selkirk College in 1992, visitors can now enjoy a

waterfront ride on the electric Streetcar 23, one of the three

cars that operated in Nelson from 1899 until 1949.

Walking Tours: Stroll back in time on a self guided

Heritage Walking Tour of Nelson, a city with ornate and

grandiose High Victoria style architecture introduced to

Nelson by a transient population, but modified by the

conservative English settler.

Be guided by the excellent tour brochure available at the

Visitor Centre.

Armed with the self-guided Heritage Motoring Tour

booklet, head out and see more of the well laid out and

solidly built Uphill district of the town, the principal

buildings of which are solidly constructed of brick and

stone, many of which are still in a remarklable state of


Events: Special events in Nelson are endless.

Watch teams compete for the mid-summer Bonspiel title,

when Nelson hosts the world’s largest summertime

Curling Bonspiel.

Then there’s Artwalk, a summer-long multimedia, fine art

extravaganza put on by a hundred or so artists in 15

intimate gallery locations.

Whitewater Ski Resort is a popular spot for snowboarders

and cross-country skiers a short drive south of Nelson.


Skiiers can blast out of some of Nelson’s legendary

’bottomless powder’ at Whitewater.


Nelson’s community Ski Hill, Morning Mountain, also

offers great family and beginner skiing.


Skiing and Winter Recreation in the Kootenays.

Film Production: Nelson was the location of two feature

films: the popular Steve Martin comedy Roxanne, and

Bill Forsythe’s witty Housekeeping.


Roxanne fans won’t want to miss the walking tour of the

film’s sets and locations.


Nelson Brewing Company is located in the same historic

building as Nelson’s original brewery more than 100

years ago.

Brewery Tours are available.Touchstones Nelson:

Museum of Art and History celebrates the culture and

history of Nelson and area in its museum, archives and art gallery.

Located in the heart of historic downtown Nelson at

502 Vernon Street, Touchstones is a state-of-the-art

cultural facility in the former Post Office and City Hall.

On the main floor, enjoy temporary exhibitions featuring

local and regional art, craft, design and exhibitions of

historical interest.

On the second floor the museum tells the story of local

geography, first people, explorers, settlers

(famous and infamous) and industry.

A mini-theatre, audio area and touch screen technology

animates the space and invites visitors to actively engage

in experiencing the area’s history.

On the lower level is the Shawn Lamb Archives, offering

research opportunities for visitors and local residents.

The Chamber of Mines Museum at 215 Hall Street is a

geological museum with impressive mineral and ore

collections and interpretive displays of mining in the


The Chamber of Mines was established in 1926 to prevent

claim jumping and now conducts research and provides

information for prospectors.

The library and map room have documents dating back to 1895.

Prospectors courses are offered.

West Arm Provincial Park in the Kootenays encompasses

a diverse range of habitats, from lakeshore to subalpine,

high-elevation forests and alpine areas.

The park protects important First Nations archaeological

sites situated along the shore of Kootenay Lake, and there

is an historic trail (not maintained) up Lasca Creek.

Kokanee Creek Provincial Park is the largest campground

in this part of the West Kootenays.

This 235-hectare park is situated on the north shore of the

west arm of Kootenay Lake on the site of an old homestead.

Its huge sandy beach and delta area is backed by a gently

rising upland, giving way to the forested slopes of the

Slocan Range of the Selkirk Mountains.

Kokanee Glacier Provincial Park is a rugged 30,000

-hectare mountain wilderness offering excellent

recreation in summer and winter, with some fine angling

for trout in the more than 30 glacial lakes.

Just a short drive away, you can embark on one of the

many spectacular trails and discover breathtaking views

of mountain lakes, meadows, and Kokanee Glacier.

Aerial Tours of Kokanee Glacier Park and the surrounding

area are also available out of Nelson.

Cody Caves Provincial Park offers a great experience

under this world.


Located on the eastern slopes of the Selkirk Mountains,

near Ainsworth Hot Springs, the cave system features an

underground stream flowing through ancient limestone

formations, discovered by prospector Henry Cody in the 1890s.

Theatre: Take in a world-class performance at the newly

restored Capitol Theatre, one of the finest theatres on the

continent in 1927.

It could be a local play or a touring international show.

The Capitol also boasts an extensive costume museum.

Golf: With splendid views of Kokanee Glacier, Kootenay

Lake, and the mountain city of Nelson, the Granite Pointe

Golf Club is a gem in the Kootenay Rockies, traversing hilly

terrain and featuring a number of risk-reward holes

requiring precise shot-making (18 holes, 5,180 yards).

Golf courses in nearby Balfour include the magnificent

Balfour Golf Course and Eagle View Golf Course.

Golf Vacations in the BC Rockies.

Paragliding: The mountainous region around Nelson offers

a number of good hanggliding and paragliding launch sites,

including Elephant Mountain.

Fishing: Although famed for its scenery, Kootenay Lake

also boasts the world’s largest rainbow trout, the Gerrard

Trout, which grows up to 30 pounds, and the kokanee,

a landlocked salmon. Kootenay Lake rarely freezes, allowing

great fishing year round.

Diving: Off Lakeside Park, under the Nelson Bridge, is the

sunken 77 foot steamtug from 1899, the SS YMIR.

The varied terrain of the B.C. Rockies region of British

Columbia accommodates every outdoor recreation known

to man.

Take the longest free Ferry Ride in the world, a 40-minute

scenic crossing of Kootenay Lake, from nearby Balfour to

Kootenay Bay.

Click for Inland Ferry Schedules.

See the best of the area on

The Okanagan and BC Rockies Circle Tour.

Travel the sunny interior of British Columbia, north

through the Okanagan to Sicamous, following Highway 1

into the mountains of the BC Rockies.

From Golden, head south through the Columbia Valley

to Creston, and west through Boundary Country and the

Southern Okanagan to complete the loop. Circle Tours in BC.

South of Nelson is Salmo, a quaint and interesting little

village that has visitors arriving every year to sightsee in

the old downtown and relax in the mountains and trails

around Salmo.

Southwest of Nelson is Castlegar, home of many of British

Columbia’s Doukhobors, a pacifist group of political refugee

emigrants from Russia that settled in the Ootichena Valley

in 1908.

Their history has now become part of the attraction of


North of Nelson are the communities of Balfour and

Ainsworth Hot Springs located on the western shore of

Kootenay Lake, the largest natural lake in southern

British Columbia.




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