Tuesday, October 13, 2015

Charming Nelson

ABC Wednesday
October 14, 2015

The Letter is N for Nelson, British Columbia

Said by the New York Times to be the prettiest city in Canada, and

chosen for the site of numerous movies

(Roxanne, Housekeeping, Snow Falling on Cedars 
 Gold Diggers and The Secret of Bear Mountain)

Nelson, with its three hundred and fifty restored heritage buildings nestled on tree-lined streets 'creates a warm and welcoming ambiance'

The West Kootenay region of British Columbia where Nelson is situated is part of
the traditional territories of the Lakes and Kutenai peoples.

Archeology information suggests occupation of this territory for some four to five
thousand years - thousands of years of use by indigenous 

Gold and silver were found in the area in 1867, and then again silver was discovered at nearby Toad Mountain in 1886.  The town boomed - two railways were built to pass through Nelson. and
it soon became a transportation and distribution centre for the region.

It morphed from a false fronted boom town to a sophisticated city, and many of the granite buildings
were designed by Francis Rattenbury, an architect most noted in British Columbia for the
Parliament buildings in Victoria.

However, in the sixties and seventies Nelson's merchants, wanting to be more modern,
sheeted many of their buildings with aluminum siding!!

In the eighties, suffering a devastating economic downturn when the local
Forest Products sawmill was closed, merchants of downtown Nelson
were drawn to observe the historical restorations of the oldest areas in Vancouver
and Victoria, with great success.

Nelson quickly stripped its aluminum siding, restoring
their buildings to their original brilliance, and in the process creating the
most charming of places to live and tourist to visit,  AND in which they have
 discouraged big box stores and crowded malls.

The Courthouse

Many artists and writers make their home in Nelson and the city is highlighted as
"Number One Small Town Arts Community in Canada' by the publisher of  The 100
Best Small Arts Towns in America.

There are many festivals, exhibits, displays of artwork around town, and several outdoor markets where artisans and farmers can be found selling everything  from
local produce, poultry and eggs to handcrafted jewelry,
pottery and clothes.

Two local hiking trails are popular.  Skiing and snowboarding are primary
winter outdoor activities, and mountain biking is 
part of the local culture.  Rock climbing is also a popular
summer activity on many of the surrounding bluffs and cliffs.

During the summer months it is possible to take a ride on a piece of Nelson's heritage
that spends time moving back and forth along the waterfront.

Streetcar #23, which plied the streets of Nelson until the streetcar system
was replaced by buses in 1949,is now fully restored and carries passengers
along to the Lakeside Park.

Located on the extreme West Arm of Kootenay Lake Nelson is popular
for boating and fishing.

How to get there?  The city is approached from the west across a quite elegant bridge

and here is a map of its location.....

Many more Ns here at ABC Wednesday.

Thanks to Denise and Roger and notable helpers!!!

Monday, October 12, 2015

From the back seat.....a quick-snap posting

Thanksgiving, - and a glorious crispy, sunny day culminating in a most delicious dinner among dear ones. 

But first, that old familiar trip over the Yellow Lake Pass to Summerland....

I sat in the back seat, the better to manipulate the camera - and here are some of the things I saw....

So many blessings - so much to be thankful for!

Tuesday, October 06, 2015


ABC Wednesday
October 7th, 2015

The letter is M, for Midway

Not the Midway of World War 2 fame, but a semi-desert village nestled into the West Kootenay region of southern British Columbia - a border crossing into Washington State with
a population of between six and seven hundred.

It is also Mile 0 of the Kettle Valley Railway, and when you speak of railways and Midway 
there is bound to be a tale.....

In 1896 Augustus Heinze announced that he was planning to extend his Columbia and Western Railway into the neighbourhood.  There was great talk of mines and smelters in the vicinity and the hope that Midway might become a metropolis of some note.  In 1898 the Canadian Pacific Railway bought the Columbia and Western, extending the railway eastward to Castlegar, - but wait!  In 1905 Jim Hill's Vancouver, Victoria and Eastern steamed up valley and into the settlement and the dye was cast for the Great B.C. Railroad War.  "....but a Canadian war, with the actual battling resembling a hockey  brawl, really..." (D.M. Wilson)  Nevertheless it was earnest and enthusiastic, lasting all of two days with pistols fired (mostly in the air) and the outcome of the dispute  between the CPR and the V.V. & E resulted in the V.V & E. winning the support of the B.C. Supreme Court and being proclaimed victors, commencing regular passenger service into Midway.

That was in the romantic days of train travel.  Now the rail bed of the old Kettle Valley Railroad is a popular wilderness cycling trail stretching as far as Penticton, to the west. 

 At the trail's start the Village of Midway operates the Kettle Valley Museum which highlights the life of early Boundary settlers.

One of these early pioneers was Charles Thomet, who for a number of years  enforced law in the district as a British Columbia Provincial Policeman.   

On his retirement he purchased the grand Midway Hotel, - a safe endeavour, one would think...... 

 Here is his story.....

Midway has settled down to become a quiet and attractive town.  Its greatest
attraction to us, I guess, is that our first born granddaughter and her husband
teach math and calculus in the Secondary School....

...but I have always loved this beautiful Boundary country, just to the east of the Similkameen....

a great place to fish and tube the river

and to hike the many trails, as marked below

a lovely, small, quiet town !!!!!!

One last story......adjacent to the Secondary School is a park in which two trees have grown together when the village was young.

The trees were joined together by Sinixt people as a symbol of the International Boundary Line dividing their people and the Canadian territory.  

A plaque at the site reads:

When the International Boundary Line was being surveyed in 1857-1861 the major portion of the large Indian band then living in this area then moved to the reservation in Colville, Washington.
One of the Indians entwined two saplings, saying

"Though divided we are united still - we are one."

For more interesting Ms make your way to ABC Wednesday
here,  with thanks to Roger and Denise
and their many helpers and admirers.

Sunday, October 04, 2015

Putting the garden to bed, with remembrance

A gorgeous fall day.  Blue sky and sunshine entice me into the garden

and there I find the beginnings of somnbulence, -

and a cool, crisp breeze that speaks of autumn;

a definite need to deadhead the yellow daisies

and harvest the herbs and the walnuts which have fallen from the

neighbours big nut trees.

The husks of the walnuts suggest deep rich woolen dye

but those days are beyond me now so I content myself with bringing

in the sage, the oregano, the basil and the rosemary,

stripping the leaves to lie on a cookie sheet and dry.

It is time to repot the geraniums and bring them in to brighten the winter kitchen.

and to dig up the bulbs and cut down the huge dahlia to store

 in their winter bed of peat.

The peonies and the vine that entwines itself around the raspberry bushes

when I am not watching - all have donned their fall colours.

But still there are bright yellow daisies here and there and the asters

glow in the sunlight.

Snaking through the garden bed, the Chinese Railway has sent up

lanterns to light the way, and I will pick the remainder of these

for winter decoration in the church, along with some silver dollars..

As I work in the garden, replenishing the bird feeders

and filling the fountain with fresh water

my mind is with my mother, who left us so long ago

on this date.

I love this picture of her with my father, - when they were young

and gay, and  full of romance and my father was recovered from his wounds and

 home from the Great War.

and this one, - towards the end of her life, with the V.O.N. who were so good to her....

and she was so patient and so loved.....

an inspiration to me all my life....

Rest in peace, my darling....