Our culture is a derivative of the arts, heritage and the people that reside here. Most everywhere you go you will feel that vibe that we value and embrace as the Kootenay vibe.
Heritage is Alive
With more heritage buildings per capita than anywhere else in British Columbia, Nelson’s and Kaslo's culture can be seen in our historic homes, shops and buildings. Nelson's vibrant local artist co-op, the Craft Connection, is housed in a downtown heritage building, and the state-of-the-art Touchstones Museum of Art and History is located in our original 1912 post office building, a gorgeous turreted stone structure, designed by the same architect who designed the parliament buildings in Victoria. The Langham Cultural Centre in Kaslo is still a remarkable building, not only in its structure but its generous hosting of arts events throughout the year: literary, visual and performing arts.
Nelson — The Queen City
The Nelson Kootenay Lake area has long been a place that values its arts and culture. Known as “The Queen City”, Nelson was from the start a centre for culture. Nelson is highlighted as the "Number One Small Town Arts Community in Canada" by author John Villani, and is home to a large and diverse artisan community. The Capital Theatre and the Civic Theatre are both testaments to the long standing richness of our cultural heritage. That same community investment in culture is alive today: Oxygen Arts Centre, a modern artist collective, hosts an artist-in-residence series as well as presentations series, book launches, and much more.
Our Working Heritage
An original streetcar, restored to its original glory, runs all summer and fall along Nelson's waterfront. In Kaslo, the SS Moyie, the oldest preserved sternwheeler in the world, is restored to give visitors a feel for real life in the 1800s along the Kootenay and Columbia rivers. The downtown areas of both Kaslo and Nelson are full of lovingly restored heritage buildings.
Come for the Heritage, Stay for the Community
The Langham Cultural Centre in Kaslo has been carefully restored by a community group, and for this effort recently won acknowledgement as one of British Columbia’s Best Buildings. The Langham is just one more example of the blending of our rich cultural heritage. The Kootenay Lake area is unique in this way, and we can’t wait to show it off. You’ll love the gorgeously restored heritage buildings and the stories within them. Make sure to take time to steep yourself in our arts and culture while you're with us.
Street Car #23 - Electric Tram
Situated along the lakefront, in beautiful, Nelson, BC lies a historical marvel. Streetcar #23 is a fully functional streetcar that was once in use here in Nelson in the first half of the 20th century. Once the backup streetcar for the defunct Nelson Street Railway, it has had a colourful history.
- Electric Tramway starts at the Prestige Hotel and runs to Lakeside Park, Nelson
Balfour & District Business & Historic Association
Nestled along the shores of Kootenay Lake, Balfour is a small but vibrant community, offering multitudes of opportunity for the avid hiker, biker, golfer, boater and fisherman. Fine-dining, great pub food and delicious baked goods will satisfy any craving.
The SS Moyie had a long history along the Kootenay River, from 1898 to 1957, when she was retired. She is the world's olderst intact passenger sternwheeler. Today, she sits right in downtown Kaslo, along the waterfront park on the bay. The beach, lots of great restaurants and shopping are close by.
- Front Street, Kaslo
Kootenay Writers Society
The Kootenay Writers Society is a non-profit society dedicated to promoting, supporting and encouraging all writers in the Kootenay region of British Columbia, Canada. Each year we put on a Kootenay Literary Competition that brings in writers from across the Kootenays. Read more about the competition and share with your friends, or perhaps enter into the competition yourself. All ages are welcome.
Nelson Overture Concert Society