Arts, Culture, & Heritage

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Arts, Culture, & Heritage

The famous "Kootenay vibe" runs through the arts, heritage and people of our region. With more heritage buildings per capita than anywhere else in British Columbia, Nelson’s and Kaslo's culture can be seen in our historic and gorgeously-restored homes, shops and buildings. 

The Touchstones Museum's heritage building in Nelson BC, seen through some blossoming flowers.

Nelson's vibrancy

Known as “The Queen City”, Nelson was, from the start, a centre for culture. It 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.

Two larger theatres, the Capitol Theatre and Civic Theatre, are both testaments to the long standing richness of our cultural heritage. Nearby, the Oxygen Arts Centre, a modern artist collective, hosts an artist-in-residence series as well as presentations series and book launches.

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.

Art BC Recommended DestinationOther notable attractions include the large inventory of public art throughout Nelson, with sculptures, murals and art infrastructure created by both local and international artists; the self guided Heritage Walking Tour; attending Artwalk to experience the wonderful work of local visual artists; and strolling the streets of Nelson for a mural tour of new artwork from the Nelson Internation Mural Festival.  

Nelson is a proud participant in BC Culture Days, watch this video by Peter Schramm on Nelson Culture Days 2016 to see what the event is all about. 

And to round it all off, an original streetcar, restored to its original glory, runs spring, summer and fall along Nelson's waterfront.

Kaslo's rich history

Kaslo's Langham Cultural Centre is a remarkable building, not only in its structure but its generous hosting of literary, visual and performing arts events throughout the year. Its recent restoration won acknowledgement as one of British Columbia’s Best Buildings.

Kaslo also has a collection of art throughout the village, with new stores and artisan shops displaying their wares on Kaslo's vibrant streets. Many downtown heritage buildings have been lovingly restored.

And no mention of Kaslo can go without the SS Moyie, the oldest preserved sternwheeler in the world. It was restored to give visitors a feel for real life in the 1800s along the Kootenay and Columbia rivers. 

Self-Guided Tour & Digital Map

Walk, bike, or drive a self-guided heritage tour in Nelson or Kaslo. Follow online with our digital map or pick up a printed brochure at the Kaslo Visitor CentreNelson Visitor Centre or Touchstones Nelson. Our digital map allows you to easily locate and learn about the many heritage and cultural locations in the Nelson and Kootenay Lake region. 

Artwalk Nelson


Nelson and District Arts Council presents the Annual ArtWalk event! ArtWalk has drawn locals and visitors downtown to experience the wonderful work of our visual artists for 28 years!  

Street Car #23 - Electric Tram

Electric Tram

Situated along the lakefront, in beautiful, Nelson, BC lies a historical marvel - Streetcar #23, a fully functional streetcar from the early 1900's.


Balfour & District Business & Historic Association

Balfour & District Business & Historic Association

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.

Kootenay Writers Society

Kootenay Writers Soceity

The Kootenay Writers Society is a non-profit society dedicated to promoting, supporting and encouraging all writers in the Kootenay region.

Nelson District Arts Council

Nelson District Arts Council

To stimulate, broaden, encourage and facilitate the continuing development of arts and cultural opportunities, projects and activities in Nelson and District.

Gary Wooden Bowls

Gary Wooden Bowls

Gary McCandlish hand makes stunning wooden bowls from local wood in the Kootenay Lake region. There's not a better gift to take home after your vacation. Read about Gary's skills and valuable products.

S.S. Moyie

S.S. Moyie

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. 

Mountain Fruit Folklore Centre

Mountain Fruit Folklore Centre

Mountain Fruit Folklore Centre is much more than a consumptive retail venture to put food on the table (although important too!). 

Nelson Overture Concert Society

Nelson Overture Concert Soceity

We bring classical music to Nelson, with a range of musicians each year ranging from instrumental quartets, soloists to full orchestras. Take in our concerts at the Capitol Theatre.

West Kootenay Regional Arts Council

Provide training, consultation, communication, and coordination for arts in the West Kootenays.

Historic Ainsworth Walking Tour

Whitelight Photography

Walk your way through the beauty of Ainsworth with local photographers. Take in the history and scenery of the area and customize the entire experience to meet your interests. 



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