The Best Boutique Shopping is Around Kootenay Lake

The Best Boutique Shopping is Around Kootenay Lake

Travel the province from the Coast to the Rockies, and you’ll be hard pressed to find more vibrant mountain towns than Kaslo, Crawford Bay and Nelson. Nestled between Kootenay Lake and forested mountains, the historic downtowns are packed full of colourful shops that invite visitors to discover that special something. 

Main streets like Baker Street in Nelson are hard to find these days. Pedestrian friendly, compact, and with all kinds of patios and public art, it’s a treat to wander. And the lovingly restored heritage buildings are full of independent businesses with their special niche. 

Nelson’s reputation as an outdoor destination is matched by the variety of sporting stores with an emphasis on top notch gear ideally suited for our mountainous terrain. Sacred Ride and Gerick’s specialize in bikes and skis, Tribute Boardshop has the latest rides for street and snow, while Valhalla Pure Outfitters and ROAM stock all the essentials for the backcountry, water sports, and outdoor lifestyle. 

If clothing and shoes are your thing, you’ll find plenty to try on for size. Shoe La La, Shoes for the Soul, and Vince DeVito Shoes feature carefully chosen footwear. You’ll find the latest style trends up and down the street at over a dozen shops, ranging from Men’s wear to vintage finds, eco-fashion to Women’s wear, and locally designed and produced fashions that you won’t find in any chain store. For the DIY crowd, don’t miss the locally owned yarn and sewing shops. 

Browse new and used bookshops for a great read, and head to a nearby patio or the waterfront to dig in. A rich tapestry of local artisans deserves a whole other story, but visitors can discover a variety of art, jewelry, iron work, clothing, soaps and more at Craft Connection or Touchstones Nelson. And for the young (and young at heart) don’t miss the treasure chest of games and toys at Secret Garden Toys. 

Nelson’s reputation for culture and quality infuses local home good shops. Be inspired by the unique blend of heritage and nature throughout town. You’ll find distinctive furniture, accessories and kitchen wares at Kootenai Moon, Maison, Cartolina, Patina’d and Cottonwood Kitchens. 

Kaslo’s Main Street is decorated with colourful heritage buildings, surrounded by the Purcell and Selkirk mountains, and one block up from the enticing shores of Kootenay Lake. A selection of unique shops range from Willow Home Gallery, the Kaslo Adventure Centre, and the Mountain Fruit Folklore Centre (perhaps Canada’s smallest, coolest, music shop). Take a stroll and discover this quaint piece of paradise and take home a souvenir or two. 

Crawford Bay is a bustling destination with a broom shop, forgery, weaving, pottery, clothing, flowers, and much more. It seems to grow between every visit. Park the car, walk about, and enjoy the culture that thrives in this small community.

JB Fletcher Store at Ainsworth Hot Springs is a gateway to the past and present with historical items and local artisan goods, and even magical wands and singing bowls. 

You’ll find other stores dotted throughout the region, including a variety of merchants on both sides of Kootenay Lake, at the Balfour and Kootenay Bay ferry landings. A stroll around their shops and waterfronts is always refreshing before the journey across Kootenay Lake, or the drive home. 

These historic communities and their compelling downtowns are hard to find this side of Europe. With boutique shops, lots of public art, relaxing main streets cradled in the mountains, and plenty of places to eat and drink, Kootenay Lake and its surrounding communities are the kind of place that you won’t soon forget. 

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