|Population: 11,106 (2021 Census)
Elevation: 535 m (1,755 ft)
Video: Open to More, Nelson
|Kootenay Lake Ferry:
It travels between Balfour and Kootenay Bay
and is a spectacular 35 minute free ride.
On the West Arm of Kootenay Lake resides Nelson, a mountain city with a big city buzz. Known for its welcoming personality and diversity of outdoor adventures, the city itself is full of heritage buildings (350) that flourish year-round.
Described as the best Art Town in Canada, for the entire summer, ArtWalk turns the downtown core into a living art gallery. In the warmth, enjoy a trip on the historic Streetcar #23, play in the sand and grass, or just relax at one of the parks.
Nelson doesn’t stop at the city’s edge, but continues onto the lake with paddle boarding, sailing, kayaking, canoeing, fishing and numerous other water activities. The excitement continues into the mountains for hiking, biking, climbing, you name it, even golfing with gorgeous views from the scenic Granite Pointe Golf Club.
Once the snow hits, Nelson’s renowned Whitewater Ski Resort, one of the best powder mountains on the continent, becomes a central hub for locals and tourists alike. Heli and cat-skiing reach out in all directions to take advantage of the world-famous powder and mountain faces, and while cross-country skiing replaces the biking, fishing and sailing continue on Kootenay Lake.
The arts community continues to thrive throughout the winter presenting an overwhelming amount of music, theatre and movies at its many facilities: the meticulously restored Capitol Theatre, and Civic Theatre, and newly created Shambhala Music and Performance Hall and Oxygen Art Centre. A visit to the historic Touchstones Nelson is precious for both the art and the history.
The Village of Salmo is approximately 40 km (25 mi) south of Nelson on Highway 6. You’ll pass through the village of Ymir where spectacular Logden Lodge is located. Salmo offers a quaint downtown, museum, heritage tour and six unique stone murals.
KOOTENAY LAKE, WEST ARM
Ainsworth Hot Springs offers a full-service resort and a popular family destination. The pools are situated on a hillside offering a panoramic view of the Purcell Mountains.
Kaslo is picture perfect. The world’s largest intact passenger sternwheeler, the SS Moyie dominates the waterfront and reminds everyone of its glory days. The quaint downtown is filled with shops and galleries.
Meadow Creek features the Lardeau River, stunning backcountry beauty and the perfect place to paddle, hike, fish or join a rafting adventure.
KOOTENAY LAKE, EAST SHORE
Home to a diverse group of craftspeople, most of whom are a few minutes walk of each other. The village also offers services, dining and accommodation options.
Sanca & Boswell
Sanca showcases an unusual roadside attraction, The Glass House, which was built of over half a million discarded embalming fluid bottles. Boswell offers waterfront cabin and RV accommodation.
Features the Sirdar General Store located in a heritage building which has always operated as a store, but once also housed a 6-room hotel.
This village offers exceptional bass fishing at Duck Lake and very scenic ice-skating in the winter. The Kuskanook Marina is located here as well as the Wynnwood Cellars Estate Winery.
City of Nelson history
Nelson did not exist until the late 1880s and it was the lure of precious metals that attracted groups to the area. It was Gilbert Sproat who first invisioned Nelson as a town above all towns and persuaded the provincial government to reserve the townsite just as the silver-bearing galena ore of Toad Mountain was being exploited. Discovered by the Hall party from Colville, Washington, the Silver King Mine attracted prospectors to the townsite and in 1899 Nelson was named after British Columbia’s Lieutenant Governor, Hugh Nelson. In 1897, Nelson was incorporated as a city with home-owned utilities, thriving business and community activities. Nelson’s heritage smiles from many streets and alleys, showing flashes of the past. To learn more about the history, visit the state-of-the-art permanent exhibit Touchstones Nelson, it is a must see. Nelson Chamber of Commerce site: DiscoverNelson.com