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P e o p l e A rts H o m e s F o o d c u lt u r e r e c r e at i o n H i s to ry Winter 2008/09

Life in the West Kootenay/Boundary Region

Brewing a Frosty One Nelson Brewing Company leads the pack with organic beers and green practices

skinny ski adventures

There is no shortage of opportunities to cross-country ski in the region

Last of the Phoenicians

The number of those alive who were born in the ghost town is dwindling

log Cabin luxe

This Castlegar home is a true labour of love Winter 2008/09 Route 3

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Stop Dreaming. Start Building. Whisper Creek Log Homes has created a unique build process that combines the beauty of a handcrafted log home with the integrity of modern building methods. Utilizing handplane logs as the exterior finish, we have created a proven “SystemBuilt,” structurally sound product that is quick to build and incredibly affordable when compared to traditional log home construction.

Call for the Whisper Creek dealer nearest you.


editor’s message


n the cover of this winter issue of Route 3, Frosty the Snowman is seen enjoying a day of ski touring at Kokanee Glacier Park with his trusty pair of Atomics, some tasty ju-jubes for emergency backcountry nutrition, and a cold one. Not that we endorse drinking and skiing, but I'm assuming Frosty’s of majority age and able to indulge responsibly... If you're looking to do a little skiing yourself this winter, why not go Nordic? Cross-country skiing is excellent exercise and great for your head space, all for a small cost — sometimes even free! Brian Fletcher tours the Boundary/West Kootenay region and gives us the scoop on local cross-country skiing locations, from cruising groomed trails to setting fresh tracks in the backcountry. Sticking with the topic of skiing, this issue we introduce you to Kimberly Joines, a World Cup champion sit-skier and Paralympics bronze medalist who’s going for gold at the 2010 Paralympic Winter Games in Whistler. With her positive attitude and top-notch skills, she shouldn't have any problem adding her name to the list of Rossland gold-medalists. The cold weather and lovely white stuff kindles a need to cozy up to a warm fire with a nice mug of hot chocolate. What better place to do that then in Art and Lois Enns' beautiful log home? The Castlegar couple did all of the interior work and finishing themselves, creating a home that’s a true work of the heart. Another great way to get warm in the winter is by enjoying a rich, dark Oatmeal Stout from Nelson Brewing Company. Or if you prefer, an

India Pale Ale, or the classic Old Brewery Ale... with seven different brews, you can’t go wrong. Amy Robillard explores the history of beer in Nelson, and tours the longstanding facility. On the arts front, we meet Warfield artist Jennifer Smith, and learn about the Oxygen Art Centre in Nelson. Jennifer Smith takes her inspiration from the natural landscapes around her, painting the fine details of bark, moss, branches and water to produce large oil paintings of incredible detail. Simone Keiran chats with Oxygen director Nicola Harwood about political misconceptions and the importance of the artist-run gallery to the community. The last couple of articles are from the Boundary region. First, a Q&A with the director and president of the Grand Forks Choral Society, which just celebrated its 20th anniversary. Then on to Greg Nesteroff’s fascinating recount of the history of the ghost town of Phoenix, and interview with one of the few surviving native Phoenicians, Dave Macdonald. We end this issue with another beautiful photograph of a special place in the region — this time of Meadow Mountain, located above the town of Meadow Creek at the north end of Kootenay Lake, by Nelson photographer Doug Pyper. Enjoy! — Shelley Ackerman

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contents Publisher Sandra Barron Account Representative Chris Hammett Editor & Art Director Shelley Ackerman Production manager John Snelgrove Route 3 is published quarterly by Glacier Media Group

David R. Gluns

Telephone: 250-442-2191 or 1-877-443-2191 Fax: 250-442-3336 email: Courier and Mail: Box 700, 7255 Riverside Drive, Grand Forks, BC V0H 1H0

Empty cans waiting to be filled with the fine ales Nelson Brewing Company produces.



What She Knows Best

Going for Gold

Warfield artist Jennifer Smith always comes back to painting, page 7

World Cup champion and Paralympian Kimberly Joines has her sights aimed at the 2010 Winter Games in Whistler, page 22

Food & Drink

Good for What Ales You The Nelson Brewing Company is spreading the gospel of good beer, page 10 Outdoor Adventure

Skinny Ski Adventures

The West Kootenay and Boundary regions have no shortage of cross-country skiing opportunities, page 15

Arts & Culture

Oxygen: the Vital Element This artist-run gallery in Nelson is all about community, page 25 Q&A with

Tracy Garvin & Nancy Gillmor: Organizers of the Grand Forks Choral Society, page 27 History


Log Cabin Luxe

Art and Lois Enns’ Castlegar home is a true labour of love, page 18

Last of the Phoenicians

The number of those alive who were born in the Boundary ghost town is dwindling, page 28 Special Places

Photo by Doug Pyper, page 30

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Route 3 Winter 2008/09

Route 3 is distributed through the following newspapers, and on racks throughout the West Kootenay and Boundary regions.

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 Frosty the Snowman doing some ski touring and enjoying a Wild Honey Ale at Kokanee Glacier Park, by David R. Gluns.

elevate you r mind contributors LARRY DOELL is a Rossland resident who has seen his photography business flourish since establishing it in the Trail area in 1991. Previous to that, he travelled 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. Darcy Falkenhagen has spent her professional life as a literary book editor and English teacher. After almost a decade in New York City, last year, she and her husband relocated to Rossland. Enjoying life in the Kootenays, Darcy currently teaches at Selkirk College and online for Johns Hopkins University. Brian Fletcher was born in England and raised in Vancouver, B.C. After experiencing smalltown life in Switzerland for a year and a half, he moved to Grand Forks where he has lived for the past 30 years. He is a founding member of the Phoenix Cross-Country Ski Society, the Grand Forks Cycling Club and the Kettle Valley Mountain Bikers’ Association. Currently he owns and manages Chain Reaction Ride and Slide in Grand Forks. 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 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.

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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. Simone Keiran's articles have been published in Harrowsmith Country Life, Avenue, Porch and ARTiculate: Journal of Arts and Culture in the Columbia-Kootenay Basin. Keiran has traveled extensively, interviewing writers, performers, artists, producers, designers, curators, festival organizers, philosophers, religious teachers, educators, political refugees and ex-prisoners of war. Based in Grand Forks, Mona Mattei is a reporter for the Grand Forks Gazette and a freelance journalist. Recently nominated for a prestigious Jack Webster Award for her feature on uranium mining in The Weekender, Mona loves the challenge of journalism. You can catch her alter-ego Sophia on stage with Les Folles Jambettes cancan dance troupe or at the studio teaching dance and yoga. Since 1998, Mountain FM news announcer Greg Nesteroff has been tracking the dwindling number of people born in the Boundary ghost town of Phoenix. It keeps him out of trouble. Doug Pyper has been a Kootenay-based photographer, photojournalist and freelance writer for over twenty years. He is widely published, has an impressive list of satisfied commercial clients, and is a highly respected wedding and portrait photographer. “For me photography has always been about people. The human landscape intrigues me. It is ever changing, endless in its complexity, and profoundly interesting.â€? 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. Andrew Zwicker enjoys nothing more than his favourite meal of Kootenay powder with a side of homebrew wine high on a backcountry mountain top after a hard day of writing. From launching a newspaper to launching himself off cliffs Andrew loves a good challenge. A refugee from mountainous locations around the world, Andrew currently calls Rossland home and plans on staying put‌ for now.








Winter 2008/09 Route 3

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Route 3 Winter 2008/09



What she knows best

Darcy Falkenhagen

Photo: john snelgrove

Through all the distractions of life,Warfield artist Jennifer Smith always comes back to painting


ows and rows of exotic cacti stand at attention along the white studio wall. Across the small room you find French doors that open out to birch trees and a colourful leaf-covered yard of Warfield. Another wall is taken up by a huge canvas that hosts a work in progress, an extremely detailed realistic landscape that lives in harmony with the natural surroundings of the studio. This is the home and workplace of artist Jennifer Smith. The only other piece of art in this well-used studio is a poster of Frida Kahlo with a number of parrots in her arms and resting on her shoulder. Although their work is very different, this Canadian artist shares much with the passionate Mexican painter, including a love of birds. In fact, when Jennifer is not painting, she is busy raising over one hundred exotic and endangered parrots (with her business Parrots Aplenty), a few of which are chirping away in the background as we

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Previous page: Jennifer Smith with 18-year-old Tiny, a Moluccan cockatoo, in front of a work in progress. Above: “Moss with 3 Red Flowers,” 36" x 54", oil on canvas.

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talk. When asked why she doesn’t paint these animals she is so passionate about, she explains, “They are so stream-lined; it wouldn’t make for a very interesting painting. I’d have to paint them with their wings open, from a photograph. And I don’t really want to do that. Who knows, maybe someday I will paint them.” For now, Jennifer is busy taking inspiration from natural landscapes that surround us here in the Kootenays. An avid hiker, skier, and former technical climber, she explains, “The outdoors has always been what inspired me to create art.” While exploring the wilds of B.C., she often brings a camera along, and it is from these photographs of little-known lakes and unnamed peaks that she paints. After sifting through hundreds of images, she prints out the slides that she wants to work from. “Although slides are certainly a part of it… and photographs make a terrific

Route 3 Winter 2008/09

reference, there are always going to be points at which I have to put them away and work directly from the objects themselves.” Her cupboards are overflowing with seashells, strips of bark, Spanish moss, and other natural artifacts that she has used as references for the details. When doing paintings of a marsh, for instance, she had her bathtub full of live lily pads and bulrushes floating in water for over a month. Working from both the slides and raw materials, she then alters the composition and its colours. The results are striking works that focus on a specific area of detail, such as an icy river or the reflection in a temporary pool. By magnifying the minute details of nature, she brings an entirely new meaning to the landscape, allowing it to take on a beauty of its own. Born in England and raised in Ontario, Jennifer explains how she started to paint.

“I always wanted to do it, but as a teenager I didn’t know it was possible. I didn’t think you could be a professional artist. I understood it to be only a hobby, so I went to university, like I was supposed to, and got a Bachelor of Science in Biology. By my last year I knew that something was not quite right, yet I’d come so far, I figured I’d finish the degree before pursuing my art.” Soon after she’d graduated, Jennifer was headed to art school. An artist friend recommended that she study in San Miguel de Allende, Mexico at a school made famous decades earlier by Diego Rivera and the Mexican muralists. Unfortunately, it wasn’t the romantic, creative institution she’d hoped to find, so after a year she continued her Bachelors of Fine Art at the Nova Scotia College of Art and Design, during which time she also studied at Cooper Union in New York City as an exchange student. She recalls fondly living for two dollars a night in the

Unfortunately, Jennifer also shares one more commonality with Frida Kahlo. Over the last ten years she has suffered from severe medical problems that have prevented her from being able to paint. She explains her relationship to the Frida looking over her shoulder as she paints, “I look to her for inspiration in my time of physical trials, for she painted for over twenty years with severe pain due to spinal deformities and a streetcar accident before it became too much and she had to commit suicide.” Fortunately, Jennifer’s medical issues have recently subsided, and she’s again back to that which she loves most, painting. Jennifer has been represented by the Bau-xi Gallery in Vancouver, and has had several very successful shows at that location and at their satellite galleries in Toronto and Seattle. For the next year and half, she will be preparing for a show in Whistler during the 2010 Winter Olympic Games while at the same time making plans to expand her home studio. She hopes this expansion will allow her to experiment with wood and soapstone sculpture, a medium she has been inspired by since architecture school, but she quickly admits, “I’ll always come back to oil painting. Painting is what I know. It’s what I do.” Jennifer’s work is currently on display at Rossland’s Rouge Gallery on Columbia Avenue. Stop in to check out her work and that of other local artists.

Photos courtesy jennifer smith

art lofts provided by the school. “Those were the days,” she chuckles. Her courses included printmaking, animation, photography and film, but she always came back to oil painting. “I love the gutsy feel and the brilliance of colours. It’s the immediacy that I love. I always come back to painting. Always.” She spent her summers at the Banff School of Fine Art, where all the best artists were teaching at the time. She thinks back with a smile, “It was the 1970s, and everyone was very into painting stripes. They’d put masking tape on the canvas, paint a colour, peel it off, and it was art. I couldn’t believe that everyone was doing the same thing.” She recalls often having been considered the “black sheep” with her representational style which was shunned during this time period. “They didn’t approve of my working from photographs,” Jennifer continues. “They considered it sacrilege.” She explains that it wasn’t respected until it was discovered that even the greats in Rome had been working from set images. Despite her commitment to becoming a professional artist, Jennifer quickly learned it wasn’t easy, painting intially for three years without selling enough work to make ends meet. Soon after this period, Jennifer read about the famous architect Le Corbusier who explained that he had always wanted to be an artist, but in order to support himself he had to become an architect. He divided his day in half: the mornings were dedicated to his own art, and in the afternoon he made his living practicing architecture. Inspired by Le Corbusier’s life, Jennifer decided to go back to school for a degree in architecture. She spent four years at UBC, earning her architecture degree and working as an apprentice to various architects during the summers. However, Jennifer once again felt her art pulling her away from a different career. “By the end, I realized that there was no way I could do what Le Corbusier did. Things in the field were radically different [then]. If I wanted to make it as an architect, I’d have to work full-time.” So with another degree in her pocket, Jennifer sold her Vancouver condo and moved to the Kootenays to raise birds and paint full-time, producing an average of twelve paintings a year.

From top: “Logarhythms,” 36" x 54", “Roots and Blues,” 36" x 48", Jennifer with “Send in the Clouds,” 52" x 52". All paintings are oil on canvas.

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food & drink

Amy Robillard Photos by David R. Gluns Story by

Good for What AlesYou The Nelson Brewing Company is spreading the Gospel of Good Beer

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Route 3 Winter 2008/09


he ritual of drinking beer is not taken lightly here in the Kootenays. Blessed with a microbrewery that serves up seven different types of organic beer, the Nelson Brewing Company is part of Kootenay culture. Whether it’s swigging back a Liplock Ale on a patio in the heat of the summer, or downing an après-ski Faceplant Ale, Nelson’s deliciously hoppy beer always hits the spot. Rooted deep in Nelson’s heritage, the art of microbrewing in the West Kootenay is not a new one. Opening its doors in 1893, Nelson’s first brewery was established by Robert and Julius Reisterer and aptly named Reisterer Brewing Company. Deemed the “beverage that cheers but never inebriates,” as quoted on August 3, 1893 in the Nelson Tribune, the brewery was state of the art with “all modern appliances.” The original brewery burned down in the late 1890s, and was rebuilt at 512 Latimer Street, the site that houses the present Nelson Brewing Company (NBC). But, before we get too far ahead of ourselves…

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Previous pages: Tim Pollock, Owner and President (left) and Al McLeod, Sales and Marketing, in the main part of the building where the vats are held. Top: Production people Stephanie Kunz (left) and Alex Konkin both show off some of their morning’s work — canning Old Brewery Ale. Above: Label of an old bottle once produced in Nelson, dating back to 1928. The brewery keeps a lot of the old bottles, representing the many beers produced in the building over the years.

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Route 3 Winter 2008/09

The grey building that sits proudly on Latimer Street in uphill Nelson was partly financed by John R.F. Rowley (whose lineage can be traced back to English nobility), an Irish businessman who partnered with Robert Reisterer incorporating Nelson Brewing and Ice Company in 1897. Being the first brewery to have a refrigerated plant, the company became the major beer supplier of hotels in the area who relied on the ice to keep their beer cold in the hot summers. It is estimated that the brewery produced and sold double the amount of beer in the early 1900s as NBC sells today. Rowley incorporated the brewery in 1903 and sold the building and brewery for $100,000 in 1904. Under corporate management, the brewery grew until the 1950s when another corporate giant came to the area, closed the brewery down, and subsequently bought a new brewery site in Creston (now owned by Labatts) for a very minimal cost, leaving Nelson without a brewery for the first time in over 60 years. The designated heritage building sat vacant for decades until 1991 when an Englishman by the

name of Patrick (Paddy) Glenny sold his brewery in Oxfordshire, England to re-establish a brewery in Nelson. After importing the entire innards of the British brew house from England, Paddy and his business partner, Dieter Feist set up shop in the 100-year-old brewery and began churning out kegs of the beloved Old Brewery Ale (OBA). Luckily, Nelsonites love their beer, and Nelson’s brewing industry sprang back to life. In 1995, the talented businessman and beer lover Tim Pollock became NBC’s president and introduced three types of beer to NBC’s ale line: Nelson After Dark, Valhalla Gold and Nelson Strong Ale. By 1996, an expansion plan became a reality with the development of the new industry standard — 341 ml. glass bottle six-packs — that were sold by the truckload at the Nelson Liquor Store. With a new image and a plethora of beer to choose from, NBC has become the beer of choice in the Kootenays, and the brewery a destination for beer geeks and tourists. As beer enthusiast (vs. beer geek) Al McLeod, NBC’s marketing director greets me for my first ever beer tour — he is

NBC FAQ Nelson Brewing Company offers seven varieties of beer: Wild Honey Ale Liplock Summer Ale Old Brewery Ale Paddywhack India Pale Ale Nelson After Dark Blackheart Oatmeal Stout Faceplant Winter Ale Brewery Tours: Brewery tours are offered at 512 Latimer Street every Friday afternoon at 3:30 at no charge

shocked that I have never stepped foot into the brewery — Al knows that I am a fan and have a six pack of OBA in my fridge at all times. The building is endearingly dilapidated, though the tasting room is comfortable with a row of stools and NBC’s paraphernalia displayed on the walls. Al explains the history of the brewery — a fascinating re-count — and proceeds to show me old photos and newspaper clippings chronologically telling Nelson’s beer history. As we enter the production area, I am astonished by the amount of hoses, stainless steel vats and kettles that fill the space. Al describes the process of making beer explaining how the grain mixes with water creating “wort”, a liquid that is transferred into the kettle. The bittering hops are then added to the mixture and stored in a fermentation tank where the liquid stands for 28 days. The process they use at NBC is a typical fermenting approach to all ales, a process called top fermenting. NBC only produces ales (versus lagers, which use a bottom fermenting process). All ingredients are organic, a choice the company made last year, being one of only two breweries in British Columbia to offer certified-organic beer. Though former owners Glenny and Feist are no longer involved at NBC, Brewmaster Mike Kelly and the nine full-time employees promise to keep providing the best brewed ales around. With the number of trophy plaques adorning the walls, they obviously deliver on their promises. NBC has won gold and silver in the prestigious Canadian Brewing Awards, winning nation-wide recognition in a variety of ale categories.

Shipping Stats: NBC ships 110 kegs and 24,480 bottles per week from their brewery in Nelson B.C. The Kootenay breakfast: For a special brunch treat, pour a shot of espresso into a glass of room temperature Blackheart Oatmeal Stout. Mmm…good! Website:

Top: Cans of Wild Honey Ale getting filled on the production line. Above: Brewmaster Mike Kelly displays malted barley — a very important ingredient to making beer.

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Relax your way to good health

Book a session in the luxury infrared sauna at The Relaxation Studio

Call 250-364-5050

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NBC’s Black Oatmeal Stout — a key ingredient of the Kootenay Breakfast (see previous page for recipe).

”Above all else, we want our beer to be

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Route 3 Winter 2008/09

Producing over 7,000 hectolitres (1 hectolitre = 100 litres) of beer in 2007, NBC hopes to expand production to 10,000 hectolitres by 2009. But, Al is quick to point out, NBC’s philosophy is not centred on sales: “We want to brew great beer and though we are in business, becoming a big brewery is not where we are looking to go. Above all else, we want our beer to be good for the environment and good for the taste buds.” With sustainable business being all the rage in British Columbia, NBC is leading the pack. With plans to trade in all OBA bottles for cans by January 2009, NBC is a leader in the industries’ green movement. Though a small brewery in terms of British Columbia’s definition of a microbrewery — a brewery producing 75,000 hectolitres or less — NBC’s marketing and production seems to be one step ahead of industry standards, whether it be becoming certified organic or switching to green packaging. So, what is it that makes locals gaga over this fermented nectar? Perhaps it is NBC’s long history or its environmentally sustainable practices or maybe it’s just that cold crisp brew. Whatever the reason, the moral of this story is: If you are going to drink beer, make sure it is brewed here.

outdoor adventure story by

Brian Fletcher Larry Doell

photos by

Skinny Ski Adventures The West Kootenay and Boundary regions have no shortage of cross-country skiing opportunities


here is something about sliding along on skis in the middle of nowhere, in complete silence except for the occasional avian twitter, which appeals to the primitive ethos in most of us. Happily, there are a number of excellent Nordic ski experiences available in the West Kootenay and Boundary regions for those who wish to explore. The winter fun starts in the Boundary, just west of Grand Forks on Highway 3. Historic Phoenix Mountain is where the local Phoenix Cross-country Ski Society has been maintaining a trail system among the old mine sites for many years, with assistance from the adjacent Phoenix Mountain Alpine Ski Society. You never know just what you will encounter for grooming at these Winter 2008/09 Route 3

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Previous page: Cross-country skiers on the Black Jack trails near Red Mountain and Rossland. Right: Cross country skiing is enjoyed by all ages. Next page: The Haywood Norams, one of the many Nordic competitions held in the region.

trails, so bring backcountry, classic and skate skis, if you have them. In 2000, the club built a warming hut, or dacha, at a spectacular viewpoint looking northward toward the hamlet of Eholt. Donations for trail use are voluntary. If you prefer a more leisurely pace, the old CPR rail grade starting from Eholt, a former switching yard and rail junction, can be skied for 25 kilometres almost without interruption. This old trail winds through fir and pine forests and through two tunnels (where the skiing is very rough), the second of which brings you out onto the side of Thimble Mountain high above the Granby River. It runs mostly downhill from here to Grand Forks, the city that at one time (pre WWI) boasted the largest copper smelter in the British Empire. This route features some very scenic views of the Granby River Valley, before you end up skiing right into Grand Forks itself where you can stop at the restored CPR Station to refuel with great food and drink. Heading east through Christina Lake and up the Paulson Pass, you will Page 16

Route 3 Winter 2008/09

find many choices for off-track alpine touring and telemark skiing along the highway, such as at Michener and Bonanza Creeks. These picturesque areas feature open cut-blocks, skiergroomed single-track through secondgrowth forest, and warming huts. There is no fee for use here as these are ungroomed trails. A few clicks further east you will encounter the Mud Lake/ Paulson network, a popular trail system maintained by the Castlegar Nordic Club. This is a great place to get a high-tempo workout on classic skis or delight in a backcountry kick-and-glide. This system charges for use, features all levels of terrain, three warming huts and maintains a strong Rabbit training program for youth. The highway 3/3A junction will take you south toward Rossland, where at the Nancy Green Summit you will find the trailhead at Strawberry Flats for the ski into Old Crow and the surrounding backcountry terrain. This is a popular and very scenic landscape, so take your camera and be prepared for a full day of incredible skiing.

Just a few clicks further down the road toward Rossland, you will find Black Jack Cross Country Ski Club, one of the best-groomed systems in this area. This network owes its original trail system in large part to the mining and forestry activity, which has always been the economic mainstay of the Kootenay and Boundary regions. This venue features some of the most exhilarating skate-skiing experiences anywhere and recently was awarded funding to complete a biathlon (target shooting and skate skiing) facility. Canadian national Nordic ski team member and Olympian, George Grey grew up in Rossland and trained on these trails. There are a number of warming huts among the trails and a manned kiosk on site that collects fees for trail use. As well, the Centennial Trail — a ski trail linking Rossland to Red Mountain — is a relaxing alternative for those wishing a slower pace. If you miss the Slocan Valley, you will never forgive yourself. The rail grades that remain here after the heavy steel wheels of locomotives disappeared have been transformed into

recreational corridors for lighter-wheeled cyclists, hikers and skiers. These picturesque routes are quite easily skied since they never exceed a two per cent grade and this valley is well known for its abundant snowfalls. Driving south of Nelson on Highway 6, you can stop at the Whitewater Ski Resort turnoff to investigate the Nordic area called Apex. This network, although not extensive, is located conveniently close to Nelson and Whitewater. It is well groomed for both classic and skate techniques, uses an old railway bed for trails and features a day cabin at the trailhead. There is a charge for trail use. An idyllic winter Driving from Nelson toward Creston, you climb up to Stagleap Park at Kootenay Summit. This alpine highway, at 1,555 mesnowscape can be tres, is the highest all-weather driving pass in B.C. and features Bridal Lake and some found anywhere of the best backcountry skiing in the area. The altitude almost guarantees consistent if you glide far snow conditions throughout the season. This is a wilderness area with no grooming enough away from services and therefore has no fees for use. An idyllic winter snowscape can be the crowds. found anywhere if you glide far enough away from the crowds. This picture is pretty as long as you are prepared for the unexpected. If you are planning on skiing into avalanche terrain, take necessary equipment, check weather forecasts, take a ski buddy along and tell a friend of your plans before you go. The pretty can turn ugly very quickly when the unexpected happens and you are unprepared. The groomed trail systems described herein are usually safe from avalanche hazard. It is a different story in the backcountry where the weather can change rapidly, there are few, if any people to come to your rescue and there exists patchy cell-phone coverage at best. There are opportunities to ski everywhere in the West Kootenay and Boundary regions, both groomed and backcountry. It is up to you to find them. Respect and enjoy.

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Winter 2008/09 Route 3

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homes Story by

Kyra Hoggan

Photos by

Chris Hammett

Log Cabin Luxe

Art and Lois Enns’ Castlegar home is a true labour of love Page 18

Route 3 Winter 2008/09


The term “cabin fever” takes on a whole new meaning when you see Art and Lois Enns’ log home just outside of Castlegar — you’ll be in a fever to get one just like it.

In fact, the word “cabin” only applies insofar as the home is of log construction, inside and out, and it’s nestled on a forested mountainside. That’s where all cabin connotations end, though — the house is luxurious and airy, almost palatial, with soaring mountain views and high-end finishings that belie the rugged setting into which it blends so seamlessly. Lois said one of the goals in designing the house was to create something in sync with the natural surroundings.

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Not only do wonderful works of art adorn the Enns’ home, but their home is a work of art itself.

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“We were the first people in this subdivision and it just cried out for a log house,” she said, explaining they had seen Whisper Creek Log Homes and liked them, but it was the forested subdivision that clinched it. “This area sealed the deal. The house fits in perfectly.” The gorgeous mountain vista is echoed inside, where soaring logs serve as beams, the massive fireplace is faced with rock and myriad windows wash natural light into every corner. Accenting the walls are remarkable pieces of Aboriginal art Lois has commissioned over the years, but the real eye-catcher is the view across the valley to the mountain range beyond. ”Last night, I was watching the sunset on the mountains – it was this brilliant, brilliant pink – awe inspiring,” Lois said. “It was better than anything on TV.” Out back, there’s a pool and covered hot tub Lois says the neighbour kids just love, and gardens for the Enns to grow both flowers and food. A huge deck wrapping around the house allows the duo to survey their domain ”Last night, I was from almost any angle. “Art drinks his coffee out watching the there every morning,” Lois says. “It’s how he starts every sunset on the day.” Idyllic as all this may sound, mountains – it getting here, for the Enns, was no stroll in the (woodland) park. was this brilliant, After deciding to sell their bed-and-breakfast on brilliant pink – Vancouver Island and move here to be closer to their son awe inspiring. It (a chef at Selkirk College), the two arrived in 2004 and set was better than to work. The first order of busianything on TV.” ness was to erect a garage so they’d have somewhere to spend the winter. (Actually, corrects Lois, the very first priority was to build an outhouse, “That was the number one job,” she said.) They lived in an RV trailer in the interim, then moved into the garage — but had to keep cooking their meals in the trailer, since zoning prevented them from putting even a temporary kitchen in the garage. Undaunted, they got started on the house proper, and had the foundation dug out by January 2005.
“Then the frame came on two big semi trailers,” said Lois, explaining the frame included the walls, windows and the log exteriors in a simple-to-erect package from Whisper Creek. “Then Art (a carpenter by trade) got the roof on himself in about two or three weeks.” Living rough while building first a garage, then a house, is not for the faint of heart — Lois said the two were out in

Photo courtesy Lois Enns

sleet, hail and snow, slogging forward to finish their new sanctuary. “There’s so much here that we’ve never done before, because we couldn’t find someone to hire to do it within our budget,” she said, forbearing mention of the fact that Art was well into retirement and she had had recent knee surgery as they undertook all this hard physical labour. They did hire an electrician and plumber, while Art set to work building absolutely everything, from the stair rails to the kitchen cabinetry; the furniture to the doors. “Art lost 30 pounds that first summer,” she said. Lois, meanwhile, varathaned the hundreds upon hundreds of metres of wood used for beams, spindles, cabinets and so on — then sanded it smooth and varathaned again. And again. “We moved in five days before Christmas (in 2005),” said Lois, “but it was nowhere near done.” Lois didn’t need to concern herself with that for a while, though, as just days before Christmas she broke her shoulder. In fact, if the two have made their mark on the house, the reverse can be said as well — both boast scars from injuries received during the grueling work. Now, almost four years after the foundation was dug, the two agree that this is home to them more thoroughly than any house they’ve owned — or even built — before it. Every detail they see is their own creation — every piece of furniture hand made, every light fixture and door knob personally chosen. Even the materials speak to the Enns’ hearts, as there’s wood from here, a local pine, in the cabinets. Other wood used, spalted alder, is from the home they left on Vancouver Island, and there’s a denim pine from Ymir that Art has been hauling around for years, waiting for just the right project for which to use it. “The only thing is, if something is wrong, we can’t say, ‘Oh, that darn contractor...’” Lois laughs. “This is the third house we’ve built (or rebuilt) together, and we’ve put more of ourselves into this one than any of the others. “It has been a labour of love, but really, we’re too old for this — we really felt this one,” she said, explaining this is not a house they’ll flip for profit before starting from scratch elsewhere. She said the Enns are most certainly here to stay. “This has got to be the last one,” she said. That doesn’t mean, though, that the couple is ready to rest on their laurels — Lois is ready to have her sewing/ laundry room finished, and she said there’s some fine tuning to be done on the outside deck, and... “A carpenter never really finishes a house,” Lois said. “He’s always got something else he’s wanting to do.” And everything they put into the mountain retreat, she added, is an investment on which they get a remarkable return. “This is home.”

Art Enns’ masterpieces are handcrafted with skill. His work is found throughout the entire home, including the wood furniture, staircases, rails and even the doors. This home is truly a labour of love.

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people by

Andrew Zwicker

Going for Gold World Cup champion and Paralympian Kimberly Joines has her sights aimed at the 2010 Winter Games in Whistler

Photos courtesy Kimberly Joines

“N In the 2007/08 season, Kimberly took four gold medals at a World Cup race in Queyras, France (top photo), three gold medals at a World Cup race in Korea (above photo), as well as several medals at other races. Page 22

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othing gets her down; she’s always got a big smile on her face and wears a T-shirt that says ‘my life rocks,‘” laughs a close friend, describing recent local Rossland transplant and current World-Cup-champion sit skier Kimberly Joines. With those expectations in mind I sat down with Kimberly in the comfortable confines of Rossland’s Café Books lounge area, organic peppermint tea in hand, to get to know her. One hour and a cranberry orange muffin later I found my spirits boosted, having met someone who so obviously loves living and getting everything she can out of it, who’s not content to sit on the sidelines and watch time pass her by.

Growing up in Edmonton to an athletic family of four, Kimberly was an energetic, sports-minded child that participated in every sport she could. Her father’s driven attitude rubbed off on her at an early age and Kimberly always knew she wanted to be the best in the world at something. Thinking the road to the top might be through snowboarding, she moved to Lake Louise, working as a liftie her first winter out of high school. Snowboarding everyday that season, pushing herself to new heights daily, it was a self-described “lame jump” that changed her life’s direction in an instant. “I hurt myself in the terrain park. I took a 50-foot table and landed upside-down on the flats well past the transition. It was just one of those days I was a

little over-confident, showing off for the boys, showing off for the posse and just hit it too fast and corked upside down and cracked my helmet,” explained Kimberly of the accident that caused her to be paralyzed from the waist down. “It was the day after I‘d been to some outdoor party with a jump set up and I’d been doing backflip after backflip after backflip, so it got into my muscle memory. The first run the next day I was going to do a straight air but my muscle memory told me “back flip,” so my mind was, like, “no straight air,” and I just fought myself in the air and kind of hung up there. If I would have just turned off my mind for a second and maybe tucked it under, I probably would have broken my hands and knees, but probably not my back, but... hindsight is 20/20,” she said. Almost immediately after the accident, the future champion decided she would get into sit skiing. Unlike some disabled sports, sit skiing was a major draw for Kimberly, because to her the sport was not that much different than able-bodied skiing, and she could still get out there and feed her competitive spirit through racing. “It was just one of Her desire to compete and win drove her ascension to the Canathose days I was a dian national sit-ski team less than two years after her accident, and a little over confident, trip to the 2006 Paralympic Winter Games in Torino where she captured a bronze medal. While most showing off for the people would likely be stoked to say they won an Olympic bronze medal, boys, showing off Joines downplays that success, as her competitive spirit wanted to be for the posse and on the top of the podium. Some medals did come in her first just hit it too fast few years racing on the World Cup circuit, however life seemed to be and corked upside getting in the way of her achieving her full potential on the snow. down and cracked “In Edmonton I worked in a physio clinic and I’m still a business student as well. It was, like, full-time work, my helmet.” full-time school and full-time training,” noted Kimberly. “When you do the math, you can’t really do three things full time. It doesn’t really work. I cut out the sleep pretty much and added a whole pile of stress,” said Kimberly. Leading such a busy life in the heart of a big city and not achieving her full potential in the racing world led her to follow through on the first step of a dream that hatched in her mind during a Lake Louise staff ski trip to Rossland. “There was, like, 100 Lake Louise workers that came out here and just ripped this mountain up,” recalled Kimberly with a big smile. “It was even less busy back then. It was the weekend and there were 29 cars in the parking lot.

Thank you! WhenitwasdiscoveredthatParalympianKimberlyJoines’oldhouse in Rossland was in need of major repairs, Kimberly and friend Matt Williamson initiated a sponsorship drive raising over $60,000 in products and services to completely renovate her house into a safe and more wheelchair-friendly environment, so she could relax and focus on bringing home the gold without worrying that her roof might cave in. The following companies stepped up to the plate to help Kim realize her dreams: A&P Furnishings Adrenaline Adventures Ltd. Alpine Contracting Alpine Disposal & Recycling Bryan’s Transfer ltd. BV Tool Rentals Cloverdale Paint Dahl Mechanical Davies Sales & Service ltd. Fire & Ice Refrigeration and Heating Glenmerry Glass & Windshield Ltd. Gold Island Forest Products Ltd. Granite Mountain Excavating Hinterland Surveying & Geomatics Inc. Home Hardware Building Centre JMK Kitchens & Custom Woodworking Ltd. K2 Contracting Kings Door & Exterior Ltd. Korpack Cement Products Co Ltd. Laface Contracting Law Electric MGK Drywall Mountain High Designs Inc. Nelson & District Credit Union Nordic Spirit Timberworks Inc. Peak Excavating Powder Pig Excavating Services Priority Concrete Pumping Ltd. Red Mountain Resort Rossland Pro Hardware Rossland Rotary Club Selkirk Truss Terasen Gas Trail Roofing Ltd. Tree Brewing Vincor West K Sand & Gravel ltd. Williamson & Daughters Construction WSA Engineering

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It hadn’t snowed in two weeks and we were finding powder galore. I was, like, ‘This hill is awesome!’ and you know, at the time when I was still able bodied, my eventual plan was to open a bar in a ski town and I thought ‘this is a town I could do that in.‘” After her friends that ran the physio clinic she worked at moved to Rossland, she quickly moved her five-year plan up to a right-now plan, and bought an old house in Rossland. Prior to re-locating to the Kootenays, Kimberly was going through a difficult emotional time dealing with the pressures of being a student, working full time, training as a high-level athlete and dealing with the post-traumatic stress of a major injury, which she had been avoiding. “After the injury I went right into it,” described Kimberly. “A lot of people do take the time to grieve, but I never did, and it might have backfired in the past couple years. I had some emotional problems which were likely demons from ignoring traumatic injuries. Double broken legs, broken femurs, broken ribs, I kept taking anything that was traumatic and block-

ing it out, like, ‘Next! Forget about it move on.’ At the time everyone was like ‘Oh you’re so strong. That’s so impressive.’ But, I mean, you have to deal with some of that stuff because it can bottle up and eventually explode.” The unknown solution to happiness and success on the World Cup seemed to be a little high-altitude air and some friendly, supportive small-town Kootenay atmosphere. “I went through a time just before I came out here when I was super stressed in the city and going through some of my emotional garbage,” recalled Kimberly. ”I was on anti-depressants, but pretty much as soon as I came to Rossland I was able to get off it and just be happy without them, so that was pretty cool.” Eliminating full-time work from her schedule and de-stressing her life in general through the move to Rossland, success quickly followed her new-found satisfaction. During the 2007/2008 World Cup season, Kimberly won gold in every single race but two. “In moving to Rossland I was able to just focus on my sport without the work and without

the stress,” said Kimberly. “It’s pretty calm here as well and I can spend the time training and not be bitter about it. In the city I would do my training, but it would be that extra thing in my day that I didn’t need to do and I wasn’t winning when I was in the city. When I came out here and stopped the work and was able to focus on skiing, that’s when I had my breakthrough season.” With no plans of stopping anything soon, the consummate competitor plans to ski competitively as long as her body will allow her, and is currently working on a book based around the many stand-out moments she’s experienced. Don’t count out her original plans of opening a ski bar in Rossland one day, however, as someone with as much drive and passion for life as Kimberly will succeed in whatever venture she puts her heart into. For now though, she has her sights set firmly on the top of the podium in 2010 at the Paralympic Winter Games in Whistler, and bringing her gold medals back to the little mountain town that has supported her and nourished her spirit, soul and skiing.


To Advertise contact Chris at 1-877-443-2191


Life in the West

ry Region Kootenay/Bounda

Brewing a Frosty One Company Nelson Brewingwith organic leads the pack n practices beers and gree


SKINNY SKI of opportunities ge There is no shorta ski in the region to cross-country

PHOENICIANS LAST OF THEthose alive who were

The number of town is dwindling born in the ghost


LOG home is a This Castlegar true labour of3 love Page 1 Winter 2008/09

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Route 3 Winter 2008/09


There’s Nothing Like it! To Advertise in the Spring issue, contact Chris at 1-877-443-2191 or email

arts & culture by

Simone Keiran

Oxygen: the vital Element This artist-run gallery in Nelson is all about community

“It is important

ate equivalency. The reasoning was to eliminate redundancy across the province. The most ironic twist was when The Kootenay School of Writing had to relocate to Vancouver in order to keep its doors open. Local writers lost its dynamic series of workshops, critical reviews, and exposure to other writers of national and international stature. Oxygen stepped in to provide a podium for the region’s writers. The arts are an exception to the outlook that cultural programs can be redundant. The work of each artist is unique, and each program which a professional art teacher creates will reflect their individual contribution. The more arts and cultural programs there are, the more they generate, and the finer the quality of their achievements. The founders of Oxygen rose to meet this challenge. The exhibition BOOM! was a classic example of such community-building. “The proposed waterfront developments on Kootenay Lake were so divisive, people weren’t listening anymore. They weren’t even willing to. This show evolved out of my thematic artist resi-

Above and left: Thomas Loh’s aesthetic transparencies stood across from each other within striated wooden frames, which ran horizontally in the Kootenay Baker window, and vertically in the Craft Connection window. They presented opposing polarities or longitudinallatitudinal viewpoints, unlikely ever to meet.

Photos by Simone Keiran

not to give into divisive political tactics, or it becomes too easy to lose courage.” Nicola Harwood, director and founding member of the artist-run Oxygen Art Centre in Nelson, spoke with me about the misconception of artists as elitists — people who siphon off public funding, while criticizing those who provide it. “The reason why Oxygen is here proves how integral artists are within our communities, strengthening and supporting our society’s foundations,” said Harwood. Arts have a continuous momentum in the West Kootenay region because artists are part of the community and rising from within to express its form, colour, story, music, metaphor and movement. “We are ordinary Canadians,” she said. The existence of Oxygen Art Centre proves art is vital, enlivening and enriching communities — building bridges, as Harwood said, not burning them. Oxygen offers classes in digital filmmaking, literature, architecture, conceptual art, theatre and dance. It provides space and mentorship for emerging artists and established professionals alike with its residency program. It curates exhibitions — eighteen since its inception — and hosts evening events, like author readings and presentations. The centre came about in 2002 when the Kootenay School of Art merged with Selkirk College, which entailed a reduction of programs, teachers, and status as a facility which, like Emily Carr School of Art and Design, held baccalaure-

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Courtesy Don Mabie

Mabie’s show expands the notion of community involvement, inspiring artists who wish to create at an international level. “The idea of making works of art which could be sent through the mail was popularized in 1972 by a piece on Ray Johnson of New York in Rolling Stone magazine.” Mabie had already developed a calligraphic style which lent itself to correspondence art, when this article legitimized this Pop-Art style. “Take a theme like peace: artists submit works on peace. An artist picks some addresses and mails stuff to them. There are catalogues online, easily Googled. You can get two to three dozen people involved. I’ve had shows where a thousand works covered the walls. The work is recycled and circulated — mailed onward. The art has no critical guideline. It can be … whatever. Anyone can participate! Some artists are disturbed by this, but I think it accentuates the freewheeling, inclusive nature of creativity,” said Mabie. Through venues like Oxygen, the arts continue to thrive in Nelson, and international attention is brought to locally produced work against the cynicism of changing fortunes. Oxygen Art Centre is located behind the building at 3-320 Vernon St., Nelson. Their hours vary, so check their website first at:, or phone 250-352-6322. The website also provides a schedule of upcoming readings and events.

Simone Keiran

dency, my concern for Nelson’s development. It grew to include anyone keen on the subject of our city’s growth,” said Harwood. BOOM! encompassed several approaches: site-specific multidisciplinary installations were set up around the city and at the gallery. A walking tour and iPod talk produced by Patrick Thompson expounded on the different sites and Nelson’s history. The exhibition included a documentary film, a multimedia DVD presentation, 3-D architectural models, storefront installations, and more traditional sculpture and painted murals. A forum of artists, filmmakers, community leaders, urban planners and architects met in September to discuss issues like the balance between industry and living space, affordable housing, environmental footprints, access to cultural, natural and recreational amenities. Each individual effort repudiated the concept that artists hold themselves aloof from the society in which they live. Endorsement of Oxygen’s mandate extends beyond Nelson’s urban boundaries. Don Mabie, aka “Chuck Stake,” a well-known Canadian artist who recently retired in Nakusp, and whose upcoming “...they’re open trading card and correspondence to art which isn’t art show opened November 28, commercial: wholeheartedly praises the centre. alternative art, art “I’ve been involved with artistwhich is more run centres for over 20 years now. They apply the courageous and same standards for critical review shows more as a museum, the same system of creativity.” juried exhibitions and peer review, but they are livelier, more exciting, less academic, less...” “Conceptual?” “No, artist-run centres can be conceptual, but they’re more in tune with what’s happening at the moment. Unlike commercial galleries, their focus isn’t on making money. So they’re open to art which isn’t commercial: alternative art, art which is more courageous and shows more creativity. They also give more young artists breaks,” said Mabie.

Above: Two sets of artist trading cards by Nakusp artist Don Mabie, aka Chuck Stake. Left – Lava Lamp cards (set of nine artist trading cards), pen and ink on paper. Right – Bits and Pieces (set of nine artist trading cards, computer printout collage. Top: The entrance to the Oxygen Art Centre.


with Tracey Garvin & Nancy Gillmor by

Mona Mattei

The Grand Forks Choral Society.

wenty years ago a small group of people decided to create “a venue for frustrated singers with a song in their hearts but no outlet for their latent talents.” Grand Forks Choral Society director Tracey Garvin, and president Nancy Gillmor were both there from the start helping people who wanted to sing find a place to express themselves. With their yin and yang personalities, Garvin and Gillmor have both played key roles in the growth of this group to the over 60 members they are creating works of song with today. Garvin, a music teacher and musical director for the group, says she couldn’t have done it without Gillmor’s more practical dedication to the management end of things. The choral society’s 20-year anniversary performance, 20th Anniversary, Hallelujah, held in early December brought together the present members of the group with the members of the past including youth who, over the 20 years, have been an active part of the group and some of whom have gone on to professional music careers. Gillmor says there have been too many shows to keep track of if you include Christmas caroling, shows at senior’s homes, hospitals, and local events, but you can always count on at least two major productions in the spring and during the Christmas season each year. They have challenged different styles of shows from Broadway to classical and each year they have even more fun! Q: How did the choral society get started 20 years ago? TG: I had recently moved to the community and had always been involved with other choral groups in my community. I got together with Jill McVie, a voice coach, and Bruce Grattan, local music teacher, and we decided to try to get a group going. That was in 1988. Our first performance was in December 1988 at Dr. Perley Elementary school in concert with Laura Spitzer. Nancy joined us in those first few months and we had, I don’t know, about 30 to 40 members that first year. NG: We had everyone from teens through to seasoned adults. They had different experience including people who just wanted to sing to professionals. The group has changed over the years but it keeps growing all the time. Q: Do you have problems attracting the right types of singers — sopranos to bass — and what about the ratio of men to women? TG: We’ve always had more women than men —they are definitely a minority — but we always seem to have the range of voices that we need. It really depends on the show we are doing, but there never

seems to be a problem. Q: When you look back over the history of the group what stands out as an unusual story or happening? (Much laughter) TG: You want just one story? One that I remember really well was when we were doing songs from the show “Miss Saigon.” We had rented a fog machine and it was supposed to come on when the sound of helicopters was going in the background of the song. Well, we didn’t have time to test it enough, I guess, and so when the fog finally began it just “No matter how sort of trickled out and up, instead of billowing out around us. you feel when We were at the high school auditorium and apparently caused quite a commotion you get to the with the audience! We were singing away and we saw movement in the crowd and people were coming up into the back of group practice or the stage. We didn’t have a clue what they were doing, but apparently they thought show, you feel there was a fire somewhere on stage! We, of course, kept on with the show like nothing so much better was happening. But it was very funny! Q: Is there any crowning achievement after singing.” that stands out for the group? NG: One of the best parts of the group has been the number of young people who have been involved. That’s why our December anniversary show highlighted the youth that have always been a part of the group. We were very proud to be one of the first choral groups in B.C. to be accredited for the youth. That means that they receive class credits for their participation in the group. We’re really proud of the young people who have participated; some have even gone on to professions in music. TG: There was one young woman who apparently would return home from rehearsal and practice directing in the mirror. She’s now a choral director. Who would know where all this music leads us? Q: When you sing with the group what does it feel like? NG: Healing. No matter how you feel when you get to the group practice or show, you feel so much better after singing. It just seems to heal you.


Photo: Tracey Garvin

With a Song in their Hearts

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history by

Greg Nesteroff

Last of the Phoenicians


ou probably weren’t aware of it, but the end of an era is nigh. Within a few years, hardly anyone will be left from an elite group that is already down to as few as eight members: the sons and daughters of Phoenix. A Boundary mining community that became one of B.C.’s most famous ghost towns, Phoenix was perched on a mountaintop between Grand Forks and Greenwood and claimed to be Canada’s highest incorporated city, with an elevation of 4,300 to 4,600 feet. Its heyday lasted a little over 20 years, from about 1899 until copper prices collapsed at the end of World War I. Today nothing is left except the cenotaph, the cemetery, and a giant pit where the town used to be. Although population estimates tend to strain credulity, we know from the census that Phoenix had at least 866 people in 1901 and 662 in 1911. As a company town — the Granby Mining and Smelting Co. was the chief employer — it also had many families. The B.C. vital events index shows 58 births there between 1899 and 1903, although due to a recent change in legislation, it will be many years before we learn how many occurred afterward. But if the trend of 16 or 17 per year held true through 1919, we can guess that overall about 300 people were born in Phoenix. Many of them also had the distinction of being born in a hospital designed by Francis Rattenbury, arguably B.C’s most famous architect, who also designed the B.C. Legislative Building and the Rossland Courthouse. The hospital apparently moved in late 1917 to a different building. At least 31 native Phoenicians have died since 1997, but another eight are still with us — the youngest of whom is 88. Dave Macdonald, 90, was born in Phoenix, as was his sister Betty Ridge. In fact, she was the last baby before the city disincorporated in 1921. Their late brother Roy was named after an uncle who died at Vimy Ridge and is on the Phoenix cenotaph. Their father Russell, a crusher boss at the mines, came to Phoenix from Prince Edward Island, while their mother, Margaret McCullogh, arrived in

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Photo: Greg Nesteroff

This is one Phoenix that won't be rising from the ashes: the number of those alive who were born in the Boundary ghost town is dwindling

Canada with her grandparents after her father died in a Scottish coal mine. The couple married in Greenwood in 1909. The Macdonalds were one of the last families to leave Phoenix, finally moving to Grand Forks in 1920 for the dismantling of the Granby smelter, then following the company’s coal operations to Cassidy and Copper Mountain, near Princeton. “We just got there and they shut the thing down,” Dave says. “The reconstruction of West Kootenay Power’s No. 1 plant at South Slocan was going in 1924, so Father came over and got the job as master mechanic.” Dave, who began his schooling on Copper Mountain, continued up to Grade 11 in Nelson, then quit to join his father at West Kootenay Power. His first job digging pole holes took him back to the Boundary and the ghost town of Camp McKinney. Including overseas military service during World War II, he worked for the company for 40 years, most of them in South Slocan, and retired as head of the welding shop. His family returned to Phoenix many times. “We used to go up and nobody was around. We’d sleep in the back of the truck. It was quiet

Above: Dave Macdonald’s birth certificate attests to his membership in a very exclusive club: people born in Phoenix. Left: Tokens from the Hotel Brooklyn and Royal Billiards in Phoenix.

The Phoenicians Still living (8) Jim Campbell (Saturna Island) Mabel Cliffe (Nanaimo) Herbert Larson (Trail) Dave Macdonald (Nelson) Freda Mawer (Coquitlam) Ann Plecash (Summerland) Betty Ridge (Nelson) Florence Turner (Nelson)

Died recently (31)

with just the wind blowing through those spruce trees and we’d stay two or three days.” For a long time there were many abandoned buildings, but that changed in the late 1950s when Granby’s new open-pit operation obliterated what was left of the town. Macdonald kept track of his fellow Phoenicians, many of whom he knew or was familiar with through family connections. Quite a few stayed in the West Kootenay/Boundary while others were in Princeton. He donated several items to the Greenwood museum, including his father’s tool box, a principal’s desk from the Phoenix school, and a mirror and toilet paper dispenser from the Granby staff house where his family lived. He also gave the Provincial Archives a complete set of the Granby News, the company publication. Macdonald and wife Rita, whom he married in Edinburgh in 1944, now live in an apartment below the orange bridge in Nelson. During a recent visit, he pulled out his birth certificate, proving his pedigree: William David Macdonald, delivered by Dr. Lee Smith on Jan. 2, 1918 in Phoenix, B.C. Not many can make that claim. There are fewer with each passing year.

Clockwise from top: A postcard of the lower town of Phoenix. Noted B.C. architect Francis Rattenbury designed the Phoenix hospital in 1901, the site of most of the city’s births through 1917. – Courtesy Selkirk College archives. A postcard of miners at the Raw Hyde Mine.

Anita Andersen (New Westminster) Mary Buchignani (Vancouver) Charles M. Campbell (Saturna Island) Evert Carlson (Nelson) Florence Cooper (Nanaimo) Helen Coyle (Princeton) Catherine Delich (Rossland) Bob Forshaw (Grand Forks) Pat Fuller (Vancouver) Anne Gallo (Castlegar) Edna Gohn (Fruitvale) Margaret Greig (Richmond) Lena Gri (Nelson) Alice Haddock (Victoria) David Johnson (Portland) Gilbert Kay (Trail) William Lindsay (Vancouver) Thelma Meilleur (Kennewick, Wash.) Francis McDougall (South Slocan) Ella McIntosh (Edmonton) Mary McKinnon (Courtenay) Lil Parkinson (Princeton) Nick Plecash (Princeton) Tony Poscente (Victoria) Emerson Reid (Grand Forks) Carl Stenvold (Princeton) Joe Trombley (Penticton) Ida Turner (Trail) Virginia Venturini (Trail) Archie Walters (White Rock) Helen Willey (Nanaimo)

Winter 2008/09 Route 3

Page 29

special places photo by

Doug Pyper


elkirk Wilderness Skiing was the first snow-cat skiing operation in the world. It opened in 1975 fulfilling the vision and dreams of Allan and Brenda Drury. SWS is located on Meadow Mountain above the small town of Meadow Creek at the north end of Kootenay Lake and offers more terrain than Whistler-Blackcomb and Vail combined. The snow cat transports skiers to 2,500 metres (8,400 feet) elevation to enjoy the annual snowfall of 15 metres (50 feet). The awesome panorama viewed by the lone skier is Mt. Cooper (3,089 metres/10,000 feet), the highest peak in the Selkirk’s Goat Range.

Page 30

Route 3 Winter 2008/09

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Winter 2008/09 Route 3

Page 31

Route 3 Winter 2008  

Life ion the West Kootenay Boundary Region

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