We decided to stay an extra night in Nelson because of its history and rather cute town centre. There are over 300 heritage buildings in this town and many have been renovated. It is situated on the western side of Lake Kootenay, a man made lake that is part of a large hydro electricity scheme.
There is a rather nice park along the lake, complete with vintage tram car, which was once part of the original local public transport system. The highway enters the town via quite a large bridge. It’s a pity that we are moving on tomorrow as the local Rotary Club are having an event in the park tomorrow and providing free lunches. As well as face pointing and other activities, one of the events is a look a like competition to judge which owner looks most like their dog. We wouldn’t be much good in that competition because we don’t have a dog!
Along the main street, Baker Street, are many historic buildings. Most are now used for vastly different uses than their original purpose. The explosives company’s business fizzled out many years ago and the cattle baron’s butchers shop has had the chop. We haven’t seen a barber’s shop anywhere in town and judging by the look of the long haired and bearded men, they also must have left town long ago. True to its ‘hippy’ style of culture there are, however, a plethora of organically grown food stores and coffee shops, book exchanges and a food cc-op. The ivy covered courtroom is still in use.
Having seen the town, we had a few hours to fill in this afternoon and drove down the Kootenay River to the next town called Castlegar and back. In three places that we could see, the river is dammed to support a series of hydro power stations. these appears to have ben built between 1900 and 1944. There seems to have been a boom in hydro dams in British Columbia between 1950 and 1960 when many valleys were flooded to provide electricity. These dams predate that boom.
Dinner tonight was at Mike’s Bar at a hotel about four blocks from our hotel. Good value home style pub food supported by an inexpensive bottle of local wine!