It doesn’t take much to experience something that is part of the arts world on the Kootenay Road Trip. Public Art decorates the streets and alleyways. Museums and galleries are the cornerstone to our past, present, and future. Theatres, bars and lounges showcase the true Kootenay lifestyle with local musicians and actors dominating the stages.
Artisans are prominent as Crawford Bay’s main street, with broom weavers, potters, ironsmiths, weavers and more creating a fascinating destination. Venture further afield along the East Shore to discover more galleries on a leisurely drive.
Playful and historic statues line Rossland’s main street in homage to wildlife, pioneers and free spirits. You’ll find all kinds of independent shops around downtown, including an artisan chocolatier. Learn about the area’s rich mining and ski history at the Rossland Museum & Discover Centre. Fun fact: guided tours include a gold panning demonstration. Bet the kids didn’t see that one coming!
There’s a reason Castlegar has been trademarked the “Sculpture Capital of Canada.” In the past four years over 120 sculptures have been on display as part of the city’s annual Sculpture Walk. Every May, 30 new pieces from artists in the Kootenays and around the world are situated around the city’s downtown core. Locals and visitors alike are then encouraged to get a voting ballot, visit all the sculptures and rate which ones are their favourite.
The votes are counted every October and the most popular sculpture is then purchased by the city to be on display in perpetuity.
Murals, murals, on the wall. Who’s the fairest of them all? That’s for you to decide on a stroll through Nelson’s alleyways and downtown streets, and just a taste of what to expect when it comes to arts and culture on your road trip. The Nelson International Mural Festival has created a legacy of supersized public art. A combination of permanent and temporary installations on historic Baker Street and beyond is yours to discover.
Nelson theatres, bars and lounges showcase local talent and top-notch touring artists. Visiting in the summer or fall? Don’t miss our many attractions, and a ride on Nelson’s historic Streetcar 23 as it clicks and clacks its way along the waterfront. Colourful murals, iconic heritage buildings, art galleries, boutique shops and museums give Nelson it’s storybook feel.
Kaslo’s historic Main Street has a similar feel, with a nod to the past and an eye to the future. Discover artisans ranging from potters to musical instrument makers in the compact downtown. Make sure to visit the trio of historic buildings, two of which are National Historic Sites: the SS Moyie Sternwheeler, City Hall, and Langham Cultural Centre. Other nearby heritage attractions include the Lardeau Valley Museum in Meadow Creek, JB Fletcher Store and Museum in Ainsworth, and artisans in Balfour.
Arts and culture are front and centre in communities throughout the region. Happily, a road trip is the perfect way to discover them for yourself.
MUST SEE PUBLIC ART
- Rossland Statues – Rossland
- Nelson International Murals – Nelson
- Public Art – Kootenay Lake area
- Harvest Statue – Meadow Creek
- Sculpturewalk – Castlegar
MUST EXPLORE MUSEUMS & GALLERIES
- Rossland Museum & Discovery Centre – Rossland
- Trail Riverfront Centre – Trail
- Touchstones Museum of Art & History – Nelson
- Viewpoint Gallery – Nelson
- Langham Cultural Centre – Kaslo
- Lardeau Valley Museum – Meadow Creek
- Arrowsmith Gallery – Boswell, East Shore
- Stephanie Gauvin – Rossland
- JB Fletcher Store and Museum – Ainsworth
- Doukhobor Discovery Centre – Castlegar
- CPR Station Museum – Castlegar
- Kootenay Gallery of Art – Castlegar
MUST VISIT ARTISANS
- Artisans of Crawford Bay – Crawford Bay, East Shore
- Front Street Artists – Kaslo
- Baker Street – Nelson
- Columbia Ave – Rossland
To learn more about arts & heritage in the area visit the tourism websites.
Enjoy your #KootenayRoadTrip