‘Hippie sanctuary’ Nelson makes Macleans travel list

Macleans magazine has given Nelson a ringing endorsement, lauding its heritage, mountain biking, and hippie-friendliness. - Courtesy
Macleans magazine has given Nelson a ringing endorsement, lauding its heritage, mountain biking, and hippie-friendliness.
— image credit: Courtesy

Macleans magazine has included Nelson on its list of ten Canadian places to see in 2014, calling it a “modern-day hippie sanctuary.”

The online version includes an assortment of photos and a 2½-minute video featuring Hume Hotel owner Dave Martin, local funny man Lucas Myers, and mountain bikers Mike Kinrade and Matt Barrett, among others.

“The downtown strip offers local watering holes, the historic Hume hotel, eccentric do-it-yourself stores and coffee shops for loitering,” the story by Rosemary Counter reads. “Nary a Tim Hortons nor any other franchise is in sight; in fact, when rumours had a second Wal-Mart coming into town, a wealthy resident purchased the central land plot so the corporation couldn't have it.”

Well, close. There are some franchises downtown and it was actually a consortium that bought the land — which was supposed to be the home of the Kutenai Landing condo development but instead remains vacant more than 12 years later.

The story also references the filming of Roxanne here and credits the influx of American draft-dodgers and anti-war activists half a century ago for the city’s “progressive schools” and “disproportionate population of artists.”

“Visitors to Nelson are entranced by a modern-day hippie sanctuary,” the story continues. “Some may see an idyllic mountain commune frozen in time by flower children, but the whole story is that Nelson has grown — and is growing — with its bohemian ideals embraced and fiercely protected.”

It claims that Nelson’s main drag “has more than 350 heritage structures,” but that’s the number for the entire city, not just Baker Street.

Among the nine photos by Jimmy Jeong is one of the orange bridge shrouded in fog, and of someone sitting on top of the Hume Hotel beneath its neon sign.

Nelson was one of two BC spots to make the list, the other being Liard River Hot Springs. The remaining places are Winnipeg, Yellowknife, Gaspe Bay and Charlevoix, PQ, Fogo Island, Nfld., Writing-on-Stone, Alta., Prince Edward County, Ont., and Annapolis Royal, NS.

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