It wasn’t your typical Saturday afternoon ride. As Nelson’s historic Streetcar 23 rumbled down the track June 4, Dawna Penner and Garnet Runcie said their vows and traded rings, becoming the first couple to wed on the tram.
Penner, who grew up in Nelson and now lives on a farm outside of High River, Alberta, says she was originally going to hold her wedding outside, but didn’t want to risk being rained out. Looking through brochures for other options, she noticed the streetcar could be booked out for events, including weddings.
But while the option has been available for years, no one had taken advantage of it.
“It’s the first one,” Penner says of her wedding.
“Everyone is so friendly, and this is a perfect venue.”
Born here in 1946, Penner says she remembers riding the streetcar in the days before its 1949 retirement.
“I don’t know if we used it as our main mode of transportation, but I do remember the big hoopla,” she says. “I think they had a free ride before it went into retirement.”
She says it’s “just thrilling” the tram is in operation again, and for her small wedding it was an excellent venue.
In addition to her wedding party and guests, including longtime friends from the Nelson area, the tram held harpist Simone Varey, and two officiators — one local, and one who introduced the happy couple.
In addition to the day of the wedding, the tram played host to a few special pre-marriage moments.
“We went on a rehearsal on the train with Simone playing the harp to make sure the harp would fit okay,” explains Penner.
But when the group reached the Prestige tram stop they discovered a guided tour of seniors from Fruitvale and Trail waiting to board.
“I had told them that they we were having my wedding rehearsal and they were all allowed to come aboard and they would all be my flower girls,” Penner says.
“It was so sweet, because one little lady said, ‘well, where’s my new dress?’ It was just adorable, and then Simone played for them on the harp and everybody was just so excited.”
With her wedding over, Penner says she plans to take tram society brochures back to Alberta with her, and promote the venue at bridal fairs.