About Nelson

Welcome to the City of Nelson

Birds Eye View of the CityNelson is a city where life is unhurried and people say "hello" to strangers. With 350 heritage buildings, a fully restored and operating streetcar, stunning geography and a thriving arts and small business community, Nelson is a combination of storybook charm and cosmopolitan sophistication.

Here on the shores of Kootenay Lake you'll find a world-class recreational playground in a pristine setting, with all the comforts of urban amenities.


Nelson sits on the West Arm of Kootenay Lake, nestled in the rugged Selkirk Mountains of southeastern British Columbia. We are located in the beautiful West Kootenay region, halfway between Vancouver and Calgary. Nelson is within a 30 minute drive from the City of Castlegar and one hour from the City of Trail. For more details see our location on Google Maps.


Nelson is an attraction in itself a beautiful, bustling community tucked into the lush Selkirk Mountains. There is plenty of tranquility here and lots of action, too. Whether you're here for relaxation or adventure, be revitalized. Some come for a visit and never leave; such is the power of this extraordinary town. Those who do leave, leave inspired. Nelson is so extraordinary because it compromises nothing-we really do have it all. The city is more than the sum of its individual attractions, though they are quite impressive in themselves. The rolling Selkirk Mountains set against the West Arm of Kootenay Lake offer scenery that defies comparison. Thanks to the mild climate, you can ski without freezing in the winter and fish without scorching in the summer. This makes Nelson a paradise for outdoor sports enthusiasts. The terrain and abundant snow make for amazing skiing, snowboarding, snowmobiling and snowshoeing in the winter. As the snow melts away in the spring, the landscape becomes a mecca for golfing, hiking, fishing, climbing, mountain biking and bird watching. See the Nelson and District Chamber of Commerce website or the Nelson Kootenay Lake website for more details.

Google Street View

Navigate the following image to get a glimpse of Nelson or view a larger option. Need help?


For detailed demographic information see the 2010 Economic Development Handout (PDF) provided by the Nelson and Area Economic Development Partnership. Further information can also be found in the 2006 Community Profile prepared by Statistics Canada.


Surrounded by stunning mountains and set on the shores of pristine Kootenay Lake, Nelson has been called the prettiest small town in Canada. Home to over 350 restored heritage buildings, Nelson's charm creates the quintessential storybook setting. Nelson has a diverse infrastructure and development is soaring, with the largest areas of growth in education and small- and medium-sized businesses. The community is looking to attract high tech industry, education, tourism, value-added manufacturing, light industry and other areas of technology. As the service centre for the West Kootenay, Nelson offers incredible and unique shopping opportunities. The community has excellent educational facilities, both public and private. Selkirk College's vocational, tourism and technical divisions are located on two campuses with over 400 students enrolled annually. Nelson is also home to Kootenay School of the Arts at Selkirk College, which has an annual enrollment of over 200 students. Recreational opportunities abound: hockey, swimming, soccer, baseball, fishing and boating, skiing (cross-country, downhill, heli-jet), mountain climbing, biking, yoga, martial arts, dance-we've got it all. Whether you head into the hills for an off-road adventure, lounge by the lake or visit the Community Complex for a workout, you'll never be bored in Nelson. Come and visit us. But be warned: once you're here, you may never want to leave.