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P e o p l e A rts H o m e s F o o d G a r d e n s r e c r e at i o n H i s to ry Fall 2008

Life in the West Kootenay/Boundary Region

Labour of Love

Great Grapes

Nelsonites restore the Stanley House B&B to its former glory

Tunnels & Trestles

Biking the Columbia & Western Rail Trail is an impressive ride

Columbia Gardens Winery produces award-winning wines from a plateau above the Columbia

Artistic Enigma

Christina Lake artist Richard Reid loves to discuss the mystery of art Fall 2008 Route 3

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editor’s message

T

his has been a particularly lovely summer here in the Kootenay/Boundary (and frankly, well deserved after that long, cold spring) — a summer that has simply flown by. It feels like we just put out the first issue of Route 3, and here we are already with the second and into the fall season. Fall is harvest time and one crop taking serious roots here in the more temperate areas of the region is grapes. And not just any grapes, but fine Chardonnay, Gewurztraminer, Auxerrois, Pinot Noir and Marechal Foch vines. Our cover story tells how the Wallace and Bryden families of Columbia Gardens Winery are the first to produce award-winning wines in the Trail region, but it looks like they won’t be alone for long. Continuing with fall and things green, Vanessa Farnsworth’s gardening column covers the planting of trees and perennials in the autumn, and why it’s one of the best times of the year to do so. With the heat of summer gone for another year, fall is a great time for a day of biking, and the Columbia & Western Rail Trail near Castlegar is a wonderful place to start. Gord Turner tells us about this historic trail, part of the Kettle Valley rail system. If your fall’s already feeling too hectic and you need a little getaway to relax and wind down, consider staying in a peaceful yurt at Blue Ridge Mountain Retreat near Kaslo. Writer Andrew Zwicker took a mini-vacation at the retreat and left feeling rested and ready to take on the following week’s challenges. Sounds like a great idea! Maybe I’ll take along a lovely bottle of Columbia Gardens Winery Garden Gold...

November brings one of Rossland’s favourite events, the Rossland Mountain Film Festival, and Jessica Haist gives us the low-down on this year’s activities. For our home story this issue, we feature the beautifully-restored Stanley House B&B in Nelson. The Schultzes have done a fabulous job of bringing this treasure back to its former glory, and David Gluns was up to the task of reflecting its beauty through his fine photography. We like to feature a local artist in every issue, and in this one we’re pleased to have two — Richard and Beverley Reid. The renowned artists retired to their summer home at Christina Lake in the ’80s, and the we have been fortunate recipients of their passion for art ever since. Our intrepid history columnist, Greg Nesteroff, tells us about the oldest marked grave in the West Kootenay — that of Australian miner Tomas Higstrim, who was buried at Ainsworth. Last but definitely not least, we end this issue with a gorgeous photograph of the McKeen Basin in the Valhallas, by Rossland photographer Larry Doell. We’ve had excellent feedback on the first issue of Route 3, and we hope you enjoy this issue as much as the first. There are so many interesting stories to tell in the Kootenay/Boundary region. It will be a long, long time before we run out. Enjoy! — Shelley Ackerman

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contents Publisher Sandra Barron publisher@grandforksgazette.ca Account Representative Chris Hammett route3@grandforksgazette.ca Editor & Art Director Shelley Ackerman sackerman@telus.net Production manager John Snelgrove jsnelgrove@telus.net Route 3 is published quarterly by Glacier Media Group

Chris Hammett

Telephone: 250-442-2191 or 1-877-443-2191 Fax: 250-442-3336 email: route3@grandforksgazette.ca Courier and Mail: Box 700, 7255 Riverside Drive, Grand Forks, BC V0H 1H0 Route 3 is distributed through the following newspapers, and on racks throughout the West Kootenay and Boundary regions.

Grape vines at the Columbia Gardens Winery near Trail.

Cover Story

Homes

Great Grapes

Labour of Love

Columbia Gardens Winery produces very drinkable, award-winning wines from a plateau above the Columbia River, page 12

Nelsonites Gerald and Diane Schultz restore the Stanley House B&B to its former glory, page 20

Artists

Artistic Enigma Christina Lake artist Richard Reid loves to discuss the never-ending mystery that is art, page 7 Gardening

Autumn Treasures

Fall is an excellent time for finding great deals at local greenhouses, page 11 Outdoor Adventure

Tunnels & Trestles

Biking the Columbia & Western Rail Trail is an impressive, beautiful ride, page 17

History

Resting in Peace

The grave of Tomas Higstrim carries the distinction of being the oldest marked in the West Kootenay, page 25 getaways

Yoga, Yurts & Yogurt

Experience a peaceful vacation without corners at Blue Ridge Mountain Retreat in Kaslo, page 26 Q&A with

Jessica Haist

Executive chair of the Rossland Mountain Film Festival, page 29 Special Places

Photo by Larry Doell, page 30

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Printed in Canada on recyclable paper. Copyright 2008 by Glacier Media Group. All rights reserved. Reproduction of any article, photograph, or artwork without written permission of the publisher is strictly forbidden. The publisher can assume no responsibility for unsolicited material.

Cover photo of the Wallace/Bryden family at Columbia Valley Winery by Chris Hammett.


Meat cut fresh da ily! contributors Tyler Austin Bradley lives in an old corner store in Rossland. He divides his time between reading, writing, eating, sleeping, producing films and managing the waste stream of residents in the greater Trail area. He is originally from Vancouver. LARRY DOELL is a Rossland resident has seen his photography business flourish since establishing it in the Trail area in 1991. Previous to that, he traveled extensively and was represented by a New York stock photo agency. As a community photographer, Larry melds creativity with technical expertise to produce outstanding images. Last summer, Darcy Falkenhagen and Graham Tracey decided to improve their quality of life (and number of days on skis) and relocated from New York City to Rossland. With a history in both the book publishing and education fields, Darcy is currently teaching, writing, and editing. Graham composes and performs music for film and television (grahamtraceymusic.com). Vanessa Farnsworth is a B.C. certified Master Gardener, lifelong gardener and newly transplanted resident of the Kootenays. Her articles on gardening and the horticulture industry have appeared in publications across Canada. When she is not gardening or writing about gardening, she can usually be found flipping through gardening magazines. She prefers to be described as ‘passionate’ and not as ‘obsessed’. Nelson-based photographer David R. Gluns has captured moments in many special places in the world, creating images for numerous magazines, books and commercial clients, but “nothing beats the Kootenays as a place to live and photograph. I love the challenge of getting a great image whether it be flying in my plane, making food look great for the latest cookbook, or just hiking in the backcountry!� He can be reached at david@gluns.ca After numerous years as a camera store and photo lab owner/operator at the coast, and 30 years’ experience as a professional photographer, Chris Hammett decided it was time for a change, so she moved to Grand Forks to enjoy the slower paced, rural lifestyle. It was a chance to unwind and be inspired in a region of spectacular scenery. Exploring the backcountry in her Jeep, she still shoots professionally while being true to her own creative vision. Kyra Hoggan is a Calgary transplant who came to the Kootenays two years ago seeking a quieter, more relaxed lifestyle — only to end up busier than ever with the region’s bounty of exciting activities and fascinating people. Editor of the Castlegar Current and owner of Ironquill Freelance, Hoggan spends her off time with her 10-year-old son, as together they explore the wonders of their new mountain home.

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GREG NESTEROFF lives in Castlegar and reads the news on Mountain FM. He belongs to nine local historical societies and has been kicked out of several others for insubordination. Having visited 54 cemeteries throughout the West Kootenay/Boundary, he wouldn't mind being buried in Ainsworth. Amy Robillard is freelance writer based out of Nelson. She is a regular contributor to local papers and publications as well as a business writer for “Rising Women� magazine, based out of Calgary. When not playing in the mountains or writing, Amy can be found in her kitchen mixing up a batch of gelato for the company she founded and manages, “Little Miss Gelato,� a local ice cream manufacturing company based in Nelson. Gord Turner teaches English at Selkirk College and has been on Castlegar city council for six years, serving as its cultural liaison chair. He is a past chair of the Kootenay Gallery and has been a columnist for the Castlegar Sun, the Castlegar Citizen and now for the Castlegar News. He has published two books of poetry: No Country for White Men and The Book of Devin. Whether it be hunting for hidden waterfalls, kayaking glacial lakes, adventuring to ancient native petroglyphs, bushwacking to backcountry cabins, going deep into gold mines, daring to disc golf, soaking in springs or just hanging out with local artists, Andrew Zwicker lives the hard life of a freelance writer in the Kootenays. A firm believer in living life without corners, Andrew often finds himself asking “Who’s yurt daddy?�

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artists

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Kyra Hoggan

artistic Engima Christina Lake artist Richard Reid loves to discuss the never-ending mystery that is art

Chris Hammett

A

rtist or alchemist? That’s the real question to ask if you’re looking to understand Christina Lake artist Richard Reid — a man whose life’s work is as steeped in mystery and magic as Camelot’s Merlin. Born in 1930, Reid has spent the bulk of his 78 years exploring the enigmatic world of art — and despite having made art, sold art and taught art, he’s the first to admit that he can’t quite pin down what “art” is. “I can go on for days, talking about art, and never really define it,” he said. “It’s about the feeling. Some people always need to understand it and have all the answers — there’s a resistance to, or fear of, allowing themselves to be fascinated

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Chris Hammett

Above: Richard and Beverly enjoy the peace and beauty of their surroundings in a section of their 1.5 acre garden. Below: Across the Lake 3, watercolour.

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Route 3 Fall 2008

— but for me art is in the question, not in the answer.” Reid’s go-with-the-flow approach to life helped direct him to the world of art in the first place. As a child growing up in Regina then Winnipeg, he was good at drawing and similar endeavours, but it wasn’t until others noticed his skill that he really gave it any credence. “It was probably in grade eight or nine that I was recognized by some of the teachers as having some sort of innate talent I was unaware of,” he said. “It made me think more about what I was doing.” He said his only exposure to art was commercial work — what he might see in advertisements or magazines — so it seemed natural for him to pursue a pragmatic application of the arena, studying architectural drawing at Manitoba Technical Institute after he graduated high school. In 1950, he transferred to the University of Manitoba (originally considering fields as


diverse as architecture and medicine). Serendipity intervened — it was the same year that U of M took over the Winnipeg School of Art — and Reid was introduced for the first time to fine art. “I discovered Art, with a capital ‘A’,” he said. “That was a real eye-opener. It was a whole new world.” He switched over to the Bachelor of Fine Arts program, where he met the woman who would, in 1960, become his wife (Beverley Reid, a renowned artist in her own right). After graduating university, the two spent time exploring their craft, first in Mexico, and then through a five-year stint in Europe. Reid experimented in such varied media as fibreglass, print-making, etching and engraving, but it was overseas that he discovered his affinity for painting the human form. “When I was working in Europe, I realized I didn’t really have a sense of where I was going with my art,” he said. “I was making a lot, but I didn’t really have a direction.” He decided clues may lie in the work he had already created, so he combed through his past art in a search for what might come next. “I saw the human figure was a strong element throughout,” he said. “There was a lot of expression of sexuality in the work. I do landscape painting from time to time, and even see the landscapes as having sensuality — eroticism.” This realization would chart the course for much of Reid’s future work, as he applied himself to understanding, and extrapolating on, his fascination with figure painting. Upon their return from Europe, the Reid duo moved to Canada’s west coast, where Richard began teaching art — first through adult education, then at the University of British Columbia. He ultimately ended up chairing the Bachelor of Fine Arts program at UBC before retiring in 1979 at the age of 49. “It was really committed to teaching well, and I found I was getting further and further from my own work as an artist,” he said. “My production over those years was pretty dismal.” For a man who didn’t even take the time away from art to have kids, this was not an acceptable status quo, so the Reids left the hustle and bustle of the big city to retire at their summer home in Christina Lake, where they could live the country life and create, create, create. Richard got involved with the Grand Forks Art Council and was instrumental, in 1983, in starting the Grand Forks Art Gallery (where Beverley served as curator and Richard as

Clockwise from top: Across the Lake 8, watercolour; Love-Regained, acrylic on canvas; Artist and Model 5, watercolour

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Route 3 Fall 2008

director, for a time), and they’ve since been able to share their passion for art, not just with each other, but with the Kootenay/Boundary communities as well. “Beverley’s been exhibiting her fibre art quite a lot these days: in Revelstoke, Summerland, Penticton — all over the province, really,� he said. “We both had exhibitions in Spremberg, Germany, a couple of years ago, too.� Even the gallery responsibilities became onerous, though, for a man devoted more to his work than to his sales. “It (the gallery) needed a lot of energy and time I needed to use for my own work,� he said. “A lot of things get in the way of making art, for me. I’m a great procrastinator, and I let other things take over.� These days, Reid focusses his energies at his Grand Forks studio, where he can paint and play and show his work, by appointment, to anyone who’d like to share in his artistic journey. “I’m always happy to have visitors,� he said. “They don’t have to buy anything. They can just come and look and talk and drink wine with me. I could talk about art forever, it seems.� And the conversation, he admits, still centres around the perplexing magic that is art. “It’s a never-ending mystery,� he said. “Here I am, 78-years old and still fascinated by the world and what I do and the people that I see. I sometimes wonder if I could’ve ended up a discontented architect, just seeing what I do as a job, or recently retired with nothing to do and no sense of belonging in the world. “I don’t ever see this ending, as long as I’m alive. It’s magic, when it works. I’m not doing it to please people, but if it makes a difference to someone, I’m happy.� You can also visit Reid online at www.richard reid.ca


gardening

by

Vanessa Farnsworth

Autumn Treasures

A

utumn is when Kootenay gardeners turn their thoughts to harvesting the last of their vegetables, raking up leaves, and giving their gardens a good general clean up in preparation for the long winter months ahead. If gardeners think about incorporating new additions into their gardens at this late point in the season, those additions usually take the form of spring-flowering bulbs, which are diligently dug into the soil in anticipation of the vibrant displays they will conjure up come spring. This focus on winding down makes sense since spring, as we all know, is the time of the year when garden centres are overflowing with plants and gardeners are overflowing with the energy and ideas that a long winter spent indoors tends to instill in the horticulturallyminded. However, autumn is also an excellent time to plant trees, shrubs and many perennials. Some would even argue that it is the best time of year for this. Plants do well when planted in September and October because these months bring the cool, damp weather that plants crave when they are establishing their root systems. This is important because not only will plants go into the winter with strong, healthy roots, they will pop up next spring with much more oomph than the plants that join them in May. That’s because growth tends to stall when you first stick a plant in the ground, enabling that plant to concentrate its energy on repairing any damage done to its root system. Only once that damage has been repaired does new growth form. Planting in autumn is not without its challenges, one of the biggest being the lack of stock in garden centres at this time of year. Walk into a garden centre in May with a long list of coveted plants and chances are you will find yourself going home with as much as either your car or your bank account will allow. Walk into a garden centre in September and you can practically hear your footsteps echoing off the fences. Many of the plants on your list may not be available and those that are may not be in quite the shape they were in when they first entered the garden centre several months earlier. This doesn’t mean you won’t be successful. Securing plants for your garden in the autumn is both an art and a challenge. I tend to haunt garden centres at this time of year looking for deals on plants that no one wanted to purchase during the spring

rush. Sometimes this is simply because a plant isn’t particularly well known. I picked up a very nice Hellebore one year from a group of its brethren, all of which had failed to secure a home, likely due to the species being unknown to all but a few seasoned gardeners. Other plants have come at good prices due to imperfections that were transient and the result of cultural problems. (In garden centres, this is usually due to inconsistent watering during the harsh summer season.) Such cultural problems were rectified once the plant found its way into the ground under suitable conditions. At other times, deals were the result of garden centres trying to relieve themselves of the last of their stock so that they wouldn’t have to hold it over until spring. Still, it can be hard to find plants in the autumn and many gardeners don’t try. Instead they focus their efforts on transplanting. Spring and autumn are the two times of year when it is safe to cut a plant’s roots without having to go to drastic lengths to keep the injured plant alive. This makes autumn an excellent time to inventory your garden and determine which plants need to be divided, which need to be relocated, and which need to live in someone else’s garden or — gasp — the compost pile. Harvest festivals and fall fairs have long been a tradition in rural areas where the community comes together at the end of the season to celebrate and share in the bounty. The trading of freshly dug plants continues that tradition for gardeners who take advantage of those few short weeks in autumn when the weather hovers in a horticulturally ideal range to invigorate their gardens and those of their neighbours. The payoff for all this late season effort comes next spring when the planting or transplanting undertaken in autumn makes for one less task that needs to be undertaken during that notoriously busy time in the gardening calendar.

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Vanessa Farnsworth

Fall is an excellent time for finding great deals at local greenhouses


Great Grapes Columbia Gardens Winery produces award-winning wines from a plateau above the Columbia River

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Route 3 Fall 2008


food & drink

Darcy Falkenhagen & Graham Tracey Photos by Chris Hammett Story by

N

estled between farmlands along the banks of the Columbia River, Columbia Gardens has everything one would dream of in a local winery. As you head east along Station Road, just minutes off Highway 22A, you leave behind the city of Trail and enter an idyllic pastoral landscape. The rolling hillsides, already turning gold by mid-July, are reminiscent of the Okanagan or Napa valleys. After passing by a dairy farm and through fields of grazing cattle, you begin to see the perfectly maintained rows of brilliantcolored grapes that are the heart of Columbia Gardens Winery. If you look closely at the winery’s traditional oval label, you’ll notice a small log cabin tucked among large fir trees with mountains circling around behind. This is exactly

what you’ll find when you reach the vineyard gate and continue through the tall green rows of pampered grapes. Meticulously maintained upon a plateau above the Columbia River, this seven-acre vineyard boasts a large, timber tasting-cabin and store, a number of small outbuildings and warehouses, a modest parking lot, and two family homes sitting quietly above the shop on a grassy knoll.

Opposite page: Lawrence Wallace displays the awardwinning Garden Gold.

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Where can I buy Columbia Gardens wines? Grand Forks Station Pub & Columbia Grill 7654 Donaldson Drive, Grand Forks 250-442-5855 The Old Firehall Wine Bar 2115 Queen Street, Rossland 250-362-5804 Prestige Mountain Resort Latitude 49 Restaurant & Buffalo Ridge Lounge 1919 Columbia, Rossland 250-362-7375 Clyde's Pub 7248 2nd Street, Grand Forks 250-442-3913 Liquor Store n' More 1675 Central Avenue, Grand Forks 250-442-3050 Also available at other fine establishments throughout the West Kootenay/Boundary

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The winery is owned and operated by the Bryden and Wallace families, and the 50-acre farm has been in the family for five generations, since the 1930s. The land has seen many changes throughout the years, from vegetable farming (mainly potatoes and carrots) to cattle and hay farming, and now on to a vineyard. Its latest incarnation is the hope and dream of Lawrence Wallace, his brother-in-law Kevin Bryden, and his late father-in-law, Tom Bryden. Tom had been living on the land since the 1970s, and when Lawrence married his daughter Corinne, they joined the family on the farm. Lawrence was born and raised in nearby Trail. He explains that as a young boy, he was always digging in the dirt, always growing flowers and carrots in their neighbourhood backyard. His mother would refer to him as her “farmer without a farm.” While running a successful heating and cooling business, he had been making wine with California grapes for twelve years before he moved to the farm in the early 1990s. After researching the local climate and performing extensive temperature analysis, Lawrence discovered that the farm had some of the most consistently hot temperatures in the area, and that it was ideal for growing grapes. In 1995 he started a small experimental plot of vines with the idea of making his own wine for the family, a hobby that is a longtime Trail tradition. It took years of detailed research and trial and error to determine

the type of grape varieties best suited to the region’s climate. Finally, in 1997, with two tractors and the help of family, friends, and neighbours, he proceeded to plant Chardonnay, Gerwurztaminer, Auxerrois, Pinot Noir, and Marechal Foch over a period of four years, bringing the winery up to the size it is today. On September 15, 2001, the family “If you are thinkopened their gift shop and tasting ing about starting bar to an overwhelming crowd a winery, you had of supporters. With over 1,100 better be a farmer, people visiting the vineyard for the grand opening, because that’s they were forced to limit sales on the what it is.” very first day, and the community of wine-drinkers throughout British Columbia have been supporting them every since. The winery now produces about 17,000 litres of wine each year for distribution throughout the province. Lawrence warns would-be vintners, “If you are thinking about starting a winery, you had better be a farmer, because that’s what it is.” Luckily, his late father-in-law and business partner Tom Bryden was more than up to the task. “He was a hard worker too,” recalls


Live music every Friday

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4VNQUVPVTUBQBT TBMBETBOENBJOT 0WFS#$XJOFTCZUIFHMBTT BOEšOFEJOJOHJOUIFBNCJFODF PG3PTTMBOEÂąTIJTUPSJDšSFIBMM 0QFO5VFTEBZ_4BUVSEBZGSPNQN 2VFFO4USFFU 3PTTMBOE _XXXPMEšSFIBMMDB Left: The timber wine Lawrence fondly. “We used to think tasting cabin and store. haying was a lot of work, but then we Above: Rhiannon looked back and laughed at how little Wallace hard at work in the vineyard grooming work it was compared to grapes.â€? The the vines. work is shared now by Lawrence and seven other friends and family members, including his own children, who participate in all the requisite chores that a working winery demands, from flower pruning and shoot thinning, to harvesting and crushing grapes, and finally to blending, bottling, and operating the retail end of the business. When asked what he enjoys doing in the off season, Lawrence replies with a smile, “There is no off season.â€? Since the beginning, the winery has tried to produce a wide array of styles with the hope of attracting as many different wine drinkers as possible. The focus is also placed squarely on grape varieties that can be grown on their own land, outsourcing only Merlot grapes from the Okanagan. In addition, the wines are affordably priced in order to remain accessible to the locals. As Lawrence explains, “Since opening day, we have been looking out for our local market. In return, our local market looks after us throughout the year.â€? Lawrence also explains that his wines are made to be drunk, not aged over long periods of time.

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Above: Corinne and Lawrence enjoy their award-winning wines on the patio of the tasting room, overlooking the vineyard. Right: Jesse Wallace demonstrates how the labels are applied in the bottling room.

He generally prefers wines that are very drinkable and have lower alcohol levels. This philosophy, along with not adding extra sulfites as preservatives, creates a shorter shelf life but makes for a fresh and easily enjoyable product. This natural process also extends itself to his use and stewardship of the land, as he employs no fertilizer, little to none of his spring-fed irrigation system, and small amounts of a very light sulfur-based insecticide. “We are lucky here,” Lawrence states, “because this climate doesn’t lend itself to a lot of the

Daily tastings and private appointments if required. Tours by appointment for groups of 10 or more. Enjoy the peaceful scenery overlooking the vineyard while enjoying a glass of wine on our licensed patio deck.

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problems that arise in the Okanagan.” Don’t let this hands-off approach fool you, however. Columbia Gardens wines are winning awards across Canada, and are rapidly becoming favourites among wine drinkers everywhere. The 2004 Foch Private Reserve won a bronze medal in the 2007 All Canadian wine championships. This full-bodied red has an unbelievable oak and licorice nose, while remaining very drinkable with spicy berry-like flavours. A hint of smoke shines through as well, a characteristic of the Foch grape itself, and it goes well with red meats and pasta dishes. Garden Gold is a nearly perennial winner at the All Canadian championships, racking up gold medals as its name might suggest, and is the winery’s best seller. This popular white blend is a light-bodied, easy-drinking wine, perfect for hot summer days or any time you are serving chicken, fish, or light appetizers. With a crisp, refreshing flavour that suggests tropical fruit, and a nose that is reminiscent of apple blossoms, this wine is a steal. The winery’s newest addition is the affordable un-oaked Kootenay Red, with a fantastic label depicting the mama bear and two cubs that routinely came calling for the ripe grapes at harvest time. This deep, fruity red has a buttery flavour that makes it an ideal match for your next slice of pizza or backyard burger. With three new vineyards opening up close by, it seems that Columbia Gardens has started a trend. When asked about plans for the future, Lawrence rocks back in his chair and gazes out at the sunset illuminating his meticulously cared-for Foch vines. “Well,” he explains, “my two twin daughters are 16 and avid ice hockey players. They are both promising hopefuls for Team B.C..… My biggest concern is that when they go away to school, I will lose my help. My son helps me now too. He just turned twelve, and he’s a little farmer.” Though he is not pushing them into the business, the family winery is here for them, should they choose to come back to work in the summers. So as the winery steadily climbs to success, and the family grows up with it, Lawrence becomes more attached to the land, as the community becomes more attached to the wine he makes. The winery offers one-hour tours by appointment and free tastings all summer and fall, and for the holiday season. For more information including the exact location of the winery, where to buy Columbia Gardens wine in your area, and the vineyard’s hours of operation, visit the website at www.cgwinery.com.


outdoor adventure story & photos by

Gord Turner

Tunnels & Trestles

Biking the Columbia & Western Rail Trail is an impressive, beautiful ride

T

he 50 kilometres along the eastern part of the Columbia and Western Rail Trail near Castlegar is an easy stretch to cycle. As volunteer trail maintainer Harry Killough points out, “It’s also one of the most impressive parts of the entire Kettle Valley rail system.” When I began my bike ride at the Paulson Detour Road just above the Paulson Bridge on Highway 3 between Castlegar and Christina Lake, I could have gone two directions — south to Christina Lake or north and then east to Castlegar. I chose the Castlegar end going north because I’d heard about the towering trestles and the remarkable tunnels. The first part of the trail travels upward at a two per cent grade until it levels out six kilometres later at Farron. This spot has cement foundation remnants of a railway station and the small community that once surrounded it. Many stations along the rail trail have these same signs of the past.

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Previous page: McCormack Creek Trestle from below showing new hand rails and steel girders below. This page, from top: Rider on McCormack Creek Trestle; Eastern entry to tunnel near Farr Creek; Tiny hut with Tuscan red paint built into the mountainside at Coykendahl Station. Right: Date on cement bridge support on Cub Creek Trestle. Next page: Looking down and across to Deer Park on the north shore of Lower Arrow Lake.

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Route 3 Fall 2008

Past Farron, a number of filled-in gravel trestles boggle the imagination. At Porcupine Creek, for example, a wooden trestle in 1900 would have had to round a curve for about 250 metres. Today that trestle is filled in, and one can only imagine what it was like back in time. I scrambled down hundreds of metres to where the creek flows under this gravel fill-in and found a stone culvert constructed by master stone masons 108 years ago. It was large enough for a person to walk through with lots of head room, but the raging creek persuaded me not to venture. From Farron onward, the riding is all down hill, and I had to slow down to take in the scenery or examine buildings such as the red hut built into the side of a mountain at Coykendahl. This bizarre structure is tiny with a stove inside and a bench to seat two or three people. The real thrills of cycling down to Castlegar occur from Bulldog Tunnel onward and east along Lower Arrow Lake as the rider encounters one tunnel after another and trestle upon trestle with dynamic views. The Columbia and Western Railway was chartered in 1896 by Trail smelter owner Fritz Heinze to build a railway from Trail to Penticton. After completing the C & W to west Robson, Heinze sold his interests in 1898 to the CPR, which quickly brought in enough skilled workers to finish the Castlegar to Grand Forks section in 18 months. Riding along, it’s easy to imagine those men laying down track, building rock walls to shore up the rail bed, blasting holes through mountains, and creating huge culverts for the many mountain streams. Initially, the railroaders had to use a series of

switchbacks to get the trains over Bulldog Mountain, the most difficult hurdle on the entire route. But by 1900, Bulldog Tunnel, seven metres high and nearly a kilometre in length had been blasted through the rock. This tunnel is one of the must-see, must-traverse features of this cycling trail. A flashlight is necessary and walking your bicycle is crucial, but the dark journey is not dangerous. A hundred metres into the tunnel heading east, it straightens out, enabling the cyclist to see the green end of the tunnel far ahead slowly getting larger. The engineers who designed the rail grade along the southern side of the Columbia River (now Lower Arrow Lake) and then along Dog Creek to the height of land at Farron had a huge task. Nature, with its rushing creeks, carved immense canyons and ravines down the mountain slopes. But these 19th century master designers were equal to the task and created gigantic trestles across enormous ravines. The three well-built structures at McCormack, Farr, and Cub creeks may have originally been built using wood. But by 1915, steel girders replaced the wooden supports to better handle the stresses of steam engines passing overhead. When I cycled this trail 10 years ago, I was able to stand on the trestle ties and planks with no railings and feel as if I were floating in space and preparing to fly. Today these trestles have been upgraded for safety reasons. New, treated planking has been laid across the former creosoted ties, and heavy handrails have been added to each side. These initiatives began in 2004 using funds from Tourism B.C. and the Trans Canada Trail Foundation. Before that, beginning in 1997, the Columbia and Western Trail Society, a volunteer group operating out of Castlegar, fixed various portions of the trail. They built cribbings at washouts, dug shallow waterbars, cleaned out metal flumes, and cut overhanging snags and branches. On this day of cycling, I happened upon the head of that group, Harry Killough, who was fixing a small washout. Later, he followed me in his maintenance vehicle down to the Bulldog Tunnel and explained its history. He also took me further east toward the now-passable rock slide where a picnic bench overlooks the community of Deer Park on the far side of Lower Arrow Lake. It was a hot weekday when I left Castlegar, but it was cool riding in the avenue of trees lining the trail. I never saw any other cyclists,


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but a large group of ATVers on tour with Wayne George from Turtleback Adventures met me at McCormack Creek Trestle. A major controversy hangs over the entire Columbia and Western Rail Trail from Castlegar to Christina Lake. Before Tourism B.C. took over and began advocating cycling use only, these rail grades were used extensively by ATVers traveling into the back country for recreation and “This section to access summer homes strung along the south side of Lower Arrow Lake from of the Columbia Shields to Renata. In fact, communities such as Castleand Western gar have gone on record as supporting multi-use for this portion of the Kettle is a collection Valley trails. As Castlegar Mayor Lawrence Chernoff indicates, “ATV users and cyclists have learned to co-exist on this of marvelous trail, and that’s the way we want it.� Trails B.C. under the auspices of Tourengineering feats ism B.C., however, posted signs which stated “No motorized use allowed.� that have to be These signs have been partially defaced with the “No� being removed so the seen to be signs now read “Motorized use allowed.� Recently, new signs have been erectappreciated.� ed which read as follows: “Attention all users. This is a recreational trail.� Perhaps Tourism B.C. has begun to respond to local pressures. Certainly, the ATVers I met were courteous and gave me lots of room to pass. The total bike ride from the Paulson Detour Road to the gate guarding the trail entrance 8.8 kilometres west of Castlegar took about five hours and ate up 48.5 kilometres. As Harry Killough told me, “This section of the Columbia and Western is a collection of marvelous engineering feats that have to be seen to be appreciated.�

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Fall 2008 Route 3

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homes Story by

Amy Robillard

Photos by

Page 20

David R. Gluns

Route 3 Fall 2008


Labour of Love

A

Anyone who

Nelsonites Gerald and Diane Schultz restore the Stanley House B&B to its former glory

has ever passed through the four-way stop coming into historic Nelson from the west, can tell you that your eye is immediately drawn to Stanley House Bed an Breakfast, perched above the train tracks that roll into town. The manicured gardens, wrap-around veranda and canopy of towering Chestnut trees reverberate time past, when class and profession dictated more obviously how one lived. It truly is a symbolic gateway that tells a tale of past and present: The storytellers, owners Gerald and Diane Schultz. Though the house is visible from blocks away, the shear magnificence of this Victorian mansion is not apparent until entering the grounds. Though the surrounding area could be described as industrial, the house and Fall 2008 Route 3

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Owners Diane and Gerald Schultz welcome you to their home, the Stanley House B&B.

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Route 3 Fall 2008

the gardens are an oasis amongst the concrete and steel. Unlatching the gate that surrounds the property, one is whisked back to the early 1900s, an era of architectural brilliance. “In 1908, Stanley House was built as the home for the District Superintendent of the Canadian Pacific Railway. The architect, Alexander Carrie designed the house to sit above the train station and symbolize the gateway to the Superintendent’s area of responsibility,” Diane explains as she leads me to the back of the house overlooking the railway system and the spectacular views of Kootenay Lake’s West Arm. Stanley House B&B (Stanley being Nelson’s original name) defines the term, “Labour of Love”. The energy and time the couple have put into this house is truly a gift to the community and to all who visit the house. “The house belonged to the Canadian Pacific Railway until 1970 when it was sold to a local business man. After that time, the house had a variety of functions including an alternative school, Internet café and English language school. When we purchased it, the décor was heavily influenced by 60’s style”, Diane says with a laugh. The couple purchased the house in 2000 with the goal of restoring the house to its former glory. “There were many layers to strip away to find that former glory”, Diane explains as we enter the house. The foyer boasts high ceilings that naturally lead your eye to the wooden staircase. “We have used everything that was part of the original house including this moulding that we found in the closet and moved to a more obvious location.” The carpets, wallpaper and light fixtures look original, though Diane confides that unfortunately there were layers upon layers of old wallpaper that had to be peeled off, white shag carpeting that was removed revealing beautiful hardwood floors, not to mention the flourescent lighting that the couple replaced with beautiful copper fixtures. The second floor has three rooms for guests that all offer ensuite bathrooms — a modern sacrifice the couple was willing to make for the comfort of their guests. “We offer three unique rooms for our guests and their names depict trends of the time”, explains Diane as she points to the titles painted on each of the doors. “The Botanist Room” is a large room at the southeast end of the house. “Europeans had a fascination with plants in the early 1900s so it was appropriately named for the interest of that period”, Diane says as she leads me around the room. The walls are covered in beautifully textured, masculine green wallpaper. A dark wood canopy sits above the bed, situated across from the window. There is a 1914 copy of Hammond’s Handy Atlas of the World, placed neatly on the boudoir next to a beautifully embroidered pair of white riding gloves, small enough for a child. Commenting on the small details of the room, Diane explains that before they moved to Nelson, their house in New Westminster was full of antiques they had acquired over the years. “We knew that restoring a heritage house was in


Fall 2008 Route 3

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get what you want

Programs as unique as you. • Peace Studies • Aviation • Health & Human Services • Clay, Fibre, Jewellery & Metal

• Renewable Resources • Cooking • General Mechanics

For details on these or other Selkirk College programs call 1.888.953.1133 or visit selkirk.ca.

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Route 3 Fall 2008

our plan, we just had to find the right one.” The bathroom adjacent to the Botanist room was originally a walk-in closet. “This was the master bedroom because it had this compartment in the closet that opens to the hallway. Maids were never allowed to enter the master bedroom, so they would place the clean bedding in this compartment for the lady of the house to access from her room”, Diane explains. As Diane shows me around the house, she shares the philosophy behind their business: “We want our guests’ visit to Horticulturist Gerald Schultz take care of the be an experience, not just acbeautiful gardens on the grounds. commodation. The sitting room is a place where people can enjoy activities that are rare in modern times”, Diane says as we walk into the elegant red room. “This room is for guests to enjoy classical music, tea and home-made cookies in the evening.” The hostess and host/caretaker (a.k.a. Diane and Gerald) live upstairs, which was formerly the servants’ quarters. “There was a back staircase for the servants to use and that is what we now use,” Diane says as we walk down the stairs to the parlour to meet Gerald. Gerald is sitting in front of the fireplace when we enter “The Big Room”. “This is reminiscent of a traditional parlour in the early 1900s”, Gerald explains as he points out the original wood doors and the ornate water radiators. “This heating system was advanced for its time. The use of the fireplace was for ambience only; the source of heat came from hot water that was piped up from the train station”, Gerald explains as he tours me around the regal room. The room is elegant and tranquil and the beautiful sliding wooden doors lead into the dining area, where silverware, linen and china are perfectly laid out on the table. “Guests usually eat breakfast here, but they are welcome to take their coffee on the veranda, Diane says as we walk back to the veranda. The views from all angles of the veranda are stunning. Commenting on the gardens, Diane explains that Gerald is a horticulturist and the retired head gardener for Stanley Park in Vancouver. “He turned overgrown weeds into these beautiful gardens”, Diane explains pointing to the new vegetable garden they have added this year. The array of plants, trees and flowers is truly phenomenal. As someone who passes by the house daily, I can attest to the beautiful procession of blooming flowers that start in January and continue to October. The efforts the Schultzes have put into Stanley House B&B are remarkable. In their quest to run a bed and breakfast, they have created a living museum housed in a heritage home, complete with turn-of-the-century hospitality, blooming gardens and homemade cookies served every afternoon. Stanley House B&B is located at 420 Railway St. in Nelson. For more information, please contact The Stanley House by phone at: 1-888-352-3775 or visit their web site at: www.StanleyHouseBB.com


history

by

Greg Nesteroff

Resting in Peace The grave of Tomas Higstrim carries the distinction of being the oldest marked in the West Kootenay

Greg NEsteroff

T

he oldest marked grave in its original location in West Kootenay lies at Ainsworth Hot Springs — not in the beautiful old cemetery high above the town, but practically in someone’s yard. Not only is it the oldest, it’s also one of the most obscure. It belongs to Tomas (or Thomas) Higstrim, an Australian miner who took ill while working on his Coffee Creek claim. Fortunately for us, the Nelson Miner of April 25, 1891 printed a fairly detailed obituary. Born near Sydney on Aug. 14, 1855, Higstrim was a sailor who later tried prospecting in the U.S. and Canada. In 1887, he sold a mining claim at Ruby City, Wash. for $10,000, returned home to Australia, and afterward set out for England. He came to B.C. in the spring of 1889, and spent a year prospecting around Donald before arriving in Nelson. According to the Miner, he “concluded Hot Springs district was a good field to prospect in, and made that camp his headquarters. He was known as ‘Australian Tom,’ and was quiet and unassuming. His people are said to be well connected in Australia.” On the day he fell sick, he was found by some First Nations people who took him by canoe to Ainsworth. Six days later, he was dead of pneumonia at age 35. His body “was tenderly carried to a quiet nook on the slope of the firclad hill that overlooks Ainsworth and Kootenay Lake, every man in the camp turning out to pay their last respects to a brother prospector. At the grave Henry Anderson read the impressive burial service of the Episcopal church.” Higstrim was interred in a plot on the Bonita mining claim, a cross and railing around the

grave “silent testimonials of the estimation in which he was held by the prospectors and miners of Hot Springs district.” One other unmarked grave is said to be in the same area, but from then on, burials were made in the cemetery on the road up to the Highland mine. The first I heard of Higstrim’s grave was in Ted Affleck’s High Grade & Hot Springs: A History of the Ainsworth Camp, published in 2001. On page 35, he recounts the flu epidemic that apparently claimed Higstrim’s life, while a photo of the grave marker appears on page 114. It wasn’t until October 2006 that I had a chance to see it myself, however, along with Kootenay Lake historian Terry Turner. We were armed with directions from longtime resident Mavis Stainer, who has looked after the marker for years. I assumed the Bonita claim would be well up the mountainside, but that’s not the case. The grave is actually quite accessible if you know where to look, although it encroaches on private property, or vice versa. Stainer says a former neighbour wanted to dig the grave up and get rid of the remains, but she contacted the government’s cemeteries division, who ordered him not to touch it. A reserve has since been placed around the site. We drove up Sutton Street past the J.B. Fletcher and Silver Ledge museums, turned left onto South Street, and continued to its junction with Hanson Road, then kept left for a few hundred metres. We stopped and asked a young woman where the grave was. She pointed up the hill to the right, next to a falling-down shed. We found a picket fence around the grave and the wooden marker, painted bright white by Stainer the previous year. She also shaved a bit of rotting wood off the bottom, giving it a paddle shape. Twin trees lie at the foot of the grave. Although the marker is obviously ancient, it’s not the original, since the newspaper described it as a cross. Still, it occurred to me that this was West Kootenay’s oldest marked grave in its original location. That’s a lot of qualifying adjectives, but there’s a reason for them: there were certainly older First Nations graves, but they either aren’t marked or have been moved to the burial ground at Vallican. Earlier graves also existed in Nelson, but they were exhumed in 1894 and moved to a new spot. Reposing in obscurity, Tomas Higstrim claims a curious distinction. Fall 2008 Route 3

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getaways

Andrew Zwicker

Yoga,Yurts Yogurt

&

Experience a peaceful vacation without corners at Blue Ridge Mountain Retreat in Kaslo

“Mongolian-inspired yurts in the heart of little Switzerland. Talk about an international vacation right here in the Kootenays,” I joked to my girlfriend Kelly as we sat out under a fading blue sky, the wispy red clouds floating between peaks in the distance. Such deep thoughts and other oddities would spill forth over the ensuing mini-vacation as the peaceful power of spending a night in a round building on a moonlit hillside relaxed our minds and bodies. Nestled among the wildflowers on a hillside meadow overlooking the northern end of Kootenay Lake lies a new haven to escape life’s stress, letting mother nature’s sponge of soaring peaks, green lakes and sunsets reconnect you to the natural world. Opened for business on July 26, 2006, Blue Ridge Mountain Retreat has been doing just that, offering all comers a unique lakeside vacation. Aptly named, the yurts at Blue Ridge truly have been a retreat for owners Bob and Bev Jackson who escaped

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Route 3 Fall 2008

Andrew Zwicker

by


the yurts made a great combination of adventure and relaxation. Waking up early the following morning as the sun’s early rays beamed in through the six-foot diameter dome topping each of the yurts, our tired paddling shoulders felt great after a night in the simple, yet comfortable, beds. The brightness of the yurt with its many windows, French doors and dome top is one of the most noticeable and appealing features of the round structure. With each yurt coming complete with its own kitchenette and BBQ the potential exists to never leave the site and just enjoy the parklike setting covered in wildflowers, ponds and pathways, or take a walk down to the lakeshore and skip stones to your heart’s content. If you’re up for it, Bev also leads yoga classes in a larger 28-foot-diameter yurt. The site is the ideal location for yoga camps with space to house 12 guests at a time and the expansive yoga yurt right on site, all overlooking the lake. Yoga looks to play a large part in Blue Ridge’s future as they expand and grow. “We have the infrastructure to build three more yurts on the property, so we could potentially build a few more, maybe down by the lake eventually. I’d really like to spend more time working on the yoga side of things as well, organizing yoga camps and the like. We plan on taking it slow though, and as the business grows we’ll grow in the future. We’d like more Fall 2008 Route 3

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Andrew Zwicker

giving the structure its unique round shape. The wind and snow-load reinforced walls and ceilings are supported by a beautifully hypnotizing array of round lodgepole pine rafters. Among other eco-friendly attributes of the yurt design, all of Yurtco’s rafters are milled from ecologically harvested timber. Located north of Kaslo’s town centre, Blue Ridge Mountain Retreat makes the perfect home base to explore the region. The bright and open circular space of the 24-foot-diameter yurt was the perfect space to relax after a day spent on the lake with Kaslo Kayaking. As we sipped our Gewurztraminer outside the yurt’s double French doors, we chatted about the day’s adventure exploring the intriguing geography of hidden beaches and waterfalls by kayak. Kaslo Kayaking owner/operators Suzanne and Duff Thompson relocated themselves from a big city as well, moving out from Toronto to the Kootenays where they now take guests out on one- or multi-day tours. Combining the naturalness of a self-powered paddling trip with the curved experience of a night in Andrew Zwicker

from the big city life to a slower more meaningful pace six kilometres north of Kaslo. Having grown up and spent their lives in Calgary working in the oil and gas industry, the Jacksons regularly made trips to B.C. for vacations before leaving their professional careers and resettling along the Kootenay Lake shore. “We used to come here when our children were younger and we always enjoyed the area. It was so much quieter than the Okanagan and Invermere where we also vacationed. When we decided to leave Calgary, we ventured out and looked around, and came to the Kootenays almost right away. There just happened to be three properties for sale in a row here. We were actually looking for a campground, but found this place so we thought we’ll just buy it and do what we want with it,” said Bev. Having found their own slice of the good life, they began thinking about what they would do with the property. Although her husband was pushing to build cabins on the land, Bev, a yoga enthusiast, found her inspiration one day while chatting with her yoga instructor. “My yoga teacher in Calgary, when I told her we were thinking about building some cabins, said ‘why don’t you investigate yurts,’ and so that’s what we did. They were a little bit different, and such a nice space for yoga,” recollected Bev. After a full year building and installing the necessary infrastructure to host the yurts, Bob constructed the decking platforms in preparation for the delivery of the round canvas buildings. Set upon a sloping meadow, the intricate deck work provides the level, elevated platform for the yurts to sit on. Yurtco, based out of Burnaby, supplied the four yurts for the project, constructing the first two themselves, and leaving do-it-yourself yurt kits for the other two. “The guys from Yurtco came out and put up the first two yurts in two days. It took us and two other helpers about a week each to get the next two up,” recalled Bev of their building experience. The yurts themselves are constructed of space-age canvas that is tough against the elements, wrapped around a circular lattice work


ing the calmness of the early hour. Although brief, our one-night retreat from everyday life was just a sliver of everything to do and enjoy in the Kaslo area, and has left us planning our next escape to visit Bob and Bev at their yurts to once again stop and smell the wildflowers, play on the magnificent lake and live life without corners. For more information: www.blueridgeretreat.ca, 250-353-7105; Kaslo Kayaking: www.kaslo kayaking.ca, 250-353-9649

Courtesy Blue Ridge Mountain Retreat

time to really enjoy the area as well, so don’t want to grow too much too soon,� said Bev. Sleeping in to 8 a.m. in the hard-to-leave comfort of our sun-drenched memory-foam bed, we missed early morning yoga, but found just the rest and relaxation we needed to get centered and prepared for the work week ahead. Standing at the railing of our deck, soaking in the warmth of the sunshine, gazing up at the Purcell peaks across the lake, we ate our peach slices and yogurt in silence, enjoy-

Bob and Bev Jackson enjoy their property near Kaslo.

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Life in the West

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Great Grapes E LABOUR OF LOV e the Stanley Nelsonites restor former glory House B&B to its

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3 Fall 2008 ROUTE

Page 1

There’s Nothing Like it! To Advertise in the Winter issue, contact Chris at 1-877-443-2191 or email route3@grandforksgazette.ca


Q&A:

with Jessica Haist by

Tyler Austin Bradley

Rossland Mountain Film Festival

A forum for aspiring and established filmmakers and photographers, the multi-venue festival attracts mountain-folk and hangers-on of all stripes. With an emphasis on promoting the best of local, regional and international filmmaking, the multi-day festival (planned for mid-November this year) brings together the ski-bums, the lurkers, the wouldbe-Scorseses and the curious to share celluloid and digital injections of altitude-inspired camera work… and the occasional raw, burly cliff-drop. The ongoing success of the festival has always hinged on the efforts of a committed volunteer core, and the upcoming season of programming is no exception. With an expanded schedule of films having shown over the spring and summer this past year, expectations are high for this group to dish out the goods at the main event. In recent conversation with festival executive-chair-film-maven Jessica Haist, it is clear that while the film fest has grown, it has certainly not “matured” to the point of turning stale… Q. How does the Rossland Mountain Film Fest bring the community together? JH - The film fest is something that the town looks forward to every year. It brings the town to life before the busy ski season — it’s the kick off to winter, three days of community events where the town has an opportunity to get dressed up for the gala, see some great films and dance to live music, as well as participate in awesome workshops. It brings a bit more culture to small-town Rossland. Q. What are some of the components found in a crowd-favourite film at the RMFF? JH - Something that people from the Kootenays can relate to — an adrenaline rush, physical challenges, interesting mountain people. A unique perspective on life or adventure.

Tyler Bradley

Billed as “The Biggest Little Film Festival in Canada” throughout its eight-year run, the Rossland Mountain Film Festival has consistently won praise from moviegoers and filmmakers for its roots-oriented celebration of all-things-mountainous. Jessica Haist, executive chair of the Rossland Mountain Film Festival, takes it easy outside the Rossland Miners Hall.

Q. Nuts and bolts — what are some of the areas that the executive has been focusing on? JH - There was some talk about changing the venue to a larger space because (the Miners Hall) sells out every year, but we have decided that the Miners Hall is part of what makes the festival so unique. It has a great feel. We will not be doing a filmmakers’ workshop this year. Instead, we’re working on putting together a photographers’ workshop. And we’re trying to recruit key volunteers right now. The more people we can recruit, the more events and fun things we can get going this year. It’s a lot of work and pressure on a small board of volunteers — the festival is growing exponentially. Q. What film, real or imagined, would never appear on the RMFF roster? JH - Hard to say — we’d show pretty much anything. Cliffhanger? Although I love that movie! Q. Any advice for aspiring ticket-holders? JH - Definitely buy your tickets early, especially for the gala, Friday and Saturday late nights. For more information on the Rossland Mountain Film Festival, visit www.rosslandfilmfest.com (new site, same location coming soon), or e-mail Jessica at Jessica_haist@hotmail.com, or Vanessa at senecavm@yahoo.ca Fall 2008 Route 3

Page 29


special places photo by

Larry Doell

McKeen Basin lies one ridge west of Valhalla Provincial Park and its many lakes reflect the beauty of the surrounding peaks. Mt. Woden is the dominate landmark. Access is gained via a trail at the 65kilometre sign on the Koch Creek Forestry road that turns northwest off the Passmore-Slocan Road. A steep hike, allow three hours one way. Lodging for hikers and skiers in the basin can be arranged at vahallamountainlodge.com.

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Route 3 Fall 2008  

Life in the West Kootenay Boundary Region