The elegant city of Nelson (population 9,800) lies in a picturesque setting on the West Arm of Kootenay Lake, 660 kilometers (410 miles) east of Vancouver. Its relaxed pace, hilly tree-lined streets, and late-19th-century architectural treasures have helped attract an eclectic mix of jaded big-city types, artists, and counterculture seekers.
But while the city itself is uniquely charming, the surrounding wilderness of the Selkirk Mountains is Nelson’s biggest draw. The area’s many lakes provide excellent fishing, sailing, and canoeing, as well as some of British Columbia’s best inland beaches.
All the information you’ll need on Nelson and the Kootenays is available at Nelson Visitor Centre (225 Hall St., 250/352-3433, www.discovernelson.com, daily 8:30 a.m.–6 p.m. in summer, Mon.–Fri. 8:30 a.m.–noon the rest of the year).
© Andrew Hempstead, from Moon Western Canada, 3rd Edition