Nelson is recognized as the shopping capital of the Kootenays, boasting an eclectic and bustling heritage downtown with a tremendous number of unique retail shops, restaurants, and coffee houses. Historic Baker Street is a major attraction and is the main artery from which the rest of the charms of the downtown can be explored. The city also enjoys the conveniences of supermarkets and established national retail brands too. The Lakeside Mall for example offers a selection of stores and services.
Nelson’s physical footprint isn’t big, and that’s its blessing. Nestled along the shore of the sparkling Kootenay Lake in the majestic Selkirk Mountains the town has maintained a population of around 10,000 for over 125 years. Back then it was mining that brought the people; now the attractions are almost endless. The lure of Nelson and area includes the fully restored downtown shopping area, exceptional arts and cultural scene, nightlife, outstanding four-seasons recreational options including world famous powder snow skiing, wildlife, fishing, and boating. And it’s just a funky and amazing place to hang out. People come from all corners of the world to sample this special place. Some never leave!
Check out Nelson Kootenay Lake Tourism for more info.
With well-established schools and post-secondary institutions, Nelson offers a broad spectrum of educational possibilities. There are nine publicly funded schools within Nelson and area (not including online programs). Most of them fall under the Kootenay Lake School District.
Nelson also has a francophone school:ecole des Santiers-alpins
The city boasts three campuses of Selkirk College offering qualifications in areas as diverse as Hospitality & Tourism, Environment & Sustainability, Industry & Trades and various studio arts.
The University of British Columbia runs the West Kootenay Teacher Education Program from its Nelson office. There is also the Academy of Classic Oriental Sciences and The Kutenai Art Therapy Institute.
Health and Wellness
Nelson is an active, healthy community and its residents pride themselves on their support for and knowledge of the professional healthcare options they want to have.
On the primary healthcare front Nelson’s Kootenay Lake Hospital has a modern Emergency Room and services include surgical and inpatient care.
There are several family doctor’s clinics in town. Check out the Kootenay Boundary Division of Family Practice for more info.
Alternative medicine flourishes in Nelson and area with numerous acupuncture and massage therapists. Several wellness retreats offer everything from deep healing to yoga.
The Nelson –Castlegar and Nelson Northshore corridor has a diverse collection of impressive manufacturing companies from craft breweries to lumber manufacturers, manufacturers of LED lighting systems and electronics, even handmade luxury hats , chocolate or coffee .
Pacific Insight is one of Nelson and area’s top employers. It manufactures electronic control modules for the automotive industry. More than 200 people work at their plant just a five-minute drive from the city.
High-speed broadband fibre has been available to Nelson businesses since 2014. This fibre-optic network provides the upload and download speeds needed to meet ever-increasing requirements in a competitive digital age.
Access to the fibre network is a big boost for the local economy and local start-ups have ushered in some exciting emerging initiatives.
These include tele-medicine, filmmaking, motion graphics and advanced collaborative decision-making software.
D-Pace is just one example of how a global leader in hi-tech enjoys all the lifestyle benefits of being based in Nelson. The company supplies products and services to the international commercial accelerator industry.
There are several small mills and associated services in the region employing hundreds of people. Local employers include Kalesnikoff Lumber, ATCO Wood Products and Porcupine Wood Products, all of which are within an hour’s drive of Nelson.
There are also four community forest licensees in the West Kootenay region including at Harrop-Procter near Nelson.
Mining & Metallurgy
The Metallurgical Industrial Development Acceleration & Studies (MIDAS) centre is an applied research, commercialization and digital fabrication training facility in Trail, B.C. That’s a one-hour drive from Nelson. The facility is focused on the metallurgical sector that exists in the region surrounding the Teck Trail Operations smelter. Opening in September 2016, MIDAS makes recent advances in manufacturing technology and metallurgical applied science accessible to West Kootenay companies, entrepreneurs, and students.