Nelson, BC

Nelson is a small (pop. ~ 10,000) city in the West Kootenays.  The West Kootenays are part of the Kootenay region that makes up south-eastern British Columbia and parts of Washington State.  Nelson is to Spokane as Vancouver is to Seattle.

Nelson's history starts in the late 1800s after the discovery of gold and silver in the Kootenay area. It officially got it's name in 1889, named after the current Lieutenant Governor of BC Hugh Nelson.  Prior to that the area was home to the Kootenai Indians who to my knowledge do not exist anymore, at least in that part of British Columbia.  Although many Kootenai settlements eventually became towns in the Kootenays there is no evidence to suggest that they lived on the site where Nelson is now.

Modern day Nelson is the Queen City of British Columbia (what is the King City?) and boasts 350 heritage buildings per capita.  Its streetcar, No. 23 is close to if not more than 100 years old and still runs along the lake side.  Nelson has also reinvented itself to be a community of artists and craftsmen.  The home of the Kootenay School of the Arts it has placed #1 in Canada and #4 in North America in John Villani's book The 100 Best Small Art Towns in America 5 years in a row.  It is also home to Streetfest, an annual festival of international street performers.  2002 will mark the 6th annual Streetfest.  Sometime in the 80s the Steve Martin interpretation of Cyrano de Bergerac, Roxanne, was filmed in Nelson and our fire hall has never looked the same since.

Nelson is situated in a valley and surround by lakes and mountains; summer weather is almost always sunny and in the winter the town blanketed by snow looks like it came out of a Charles Dickens novel.  It's an excellent place for nearly any outdoor activity from fishing and mountain biking to skiing and snowshoeing.  Like most of British Columbia Nelson is also famous for its pot.

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