In 1893 twenty-six businessmen in the fledgling community of Nelson were unhappy with the attention that was being paid to their community by the federal and provincial governments and the various large development companies. They were concerned about the economy and the social life of the community. They met on April 26th,1893, and petitioned the Federal Minister of State for the right to form the Nelson Board of Trade.
The original sheet of paper signed by the twenty-six businessmen in 1893 as well as the Acts of Incorporation and the By-Laws of the Nelson Board of Trade, dated 1900, are proudly displayed in the reception area of the Louis D. Maglio building. The President’s Report and the Financial Statement dated January 1911 are also displayed.
The organization has undergone several name changes, the South Kootenay Board of Trade and then the Nelson & District Chamber of Commerce, since that historic meeting but the aims and objectives have not changed. The mandate of the Chamber today, quoted above, is still directed to the social and economic welfare of Nelson and area.
The Chamber has served the community since 1893 in a variety of ways: it has actively lobbied all levels of government on behalf of its members and the community at large, carried out projects such as the creation of a community float, acted as the incubator for projects such as the restoration of Streetcar 23, provided the basis for the formation of the West Arm Land Use Forum and organized various community celebrations.