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!!!


John "By Stargoose And Hanglands" said...

It all looks very leafy and pleasant. One wonders why it's so difficult to approach this standard of maintenance in the rest of the world.

Reader Wil said...

Thank you Hildred for your. never failing work you do every week , informing us about Canada and especially your own surroundings.
Have a great week and weekend.
Wil, ABCW Team

Melody Steenkamp said...

Hi Hildred

Thank you for taking me on this trip to a place i did not know, loved it.

Have a nice ABC-day / -week
♫ M e l ☺ d y ♫ (abc-w-team)

Sallie (FullTime-Life) said...

Oh I am so glad you chose Nelson and I am happy to learn more about it. I almost wrote when you started this series to ask you to feature it when you got to N (I really don't know how many N towns there are of course). \

Anyway, I have a family connection with this town as my Great-Uncle and Great Aunt and my dad's cousin and her children lived there. We visited once (it was a big deal, we didn't travel much). After showing us around their town (and this would have been before the horrible aluminum "improvements" of course), Great-Aunt Emily served afternoon tea ... I can still remember every single thing about how she made it so carefully in a china pot -- and how she served it with lovely pastries. I suppose I was about 10 or 11 and I was completely charmed as she was one of those rare people who treated children as if they were the same as any other person. All of the other times we saw these relatives, they visited us in Washington and it wasn't quite the same. So Nelson has always represented charm and magical times to me!

(Bill and I did visit there once but even that has been many years ago ... we must go back!!!) Thank you for the memories -- and for the information, which of course was probably told to me as a child but ... you know, the pastries and tea were obviously more important then!!

Hildred said...

Glad I made the right choice, Sallie. You have happy memories of the town, - that is quite apparent. It is really appealing and very beautiful. I learned that many of the peope who settled there were immigrants from England (which would perhaps explain the elegant tea!) and later, in the seveties, many draft dodgers from the US slipped over the border and made their homes there, - and some excellent contributions to the culture and the emphasis on the arts. I have passed through many times, but never stopped to explore, unfortunately.....

Roger Owen Green said...

Sometimes the old ways are better. Away with the siding!