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.
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!!!