Nelson Leafs defenceman Ethan Land skates away after the team’s season ended in dramatic fashion on March 23 at NDCC. Photo: Tyler Harper

COLUMN: A different kind of discovery tour

Escaping the cold at three downtown events

April Fool’s Day was Easter Sunday.

Or should it have been Easter Sunday was April Fool’s?

And that’s maybe why Easter Monday felt like a Snow Day, even though the kids were already scheduled off from school.

Either way, it’s been quite the test of faith and patience for those of us waiting for spring.

Not surprisingly, it was a crazy end to an excellent season for the crowds up at Whitewater Ski Resort on Monday, the last day of operations at the resort.

“Please write an article about the crazy events up at Whitewater,” wrote Helen Foulger. “The longest line ever of cars. To us skiers this is an historic event.”

Message received, Helen. History has been made.

And now with the traffic jam ending and the local hill closed, even the skiers want the temperature to climb.

While there’s precipitation in the forecast later this week, at least the mercury is expected to rise to double digits.

Thankfully, there are plenty of ways to warm your heart on a cool night in this town.

I took in the Savoy Hotel’s grand opening bash on March 22.

More than 1,000 people — 10 per cent of Nelson’s population — dropped by the boutique inn on west Baker during the all-day complimentary party. The historic hotel, first opened in 1914, has been transformed from a derelict building into a stunning establishment in just five years.

A beaming Mayor Deb Kozak announced “you have breathed new life into this building” as she cut the ribbon in the downstairs club.

I didn’t stay long, but it’s clear the positive vibe from this event will linger for months.

The following night, at the east end of Baker Street, there was another big crowd out for some entertaiment of the sporting variety.

My wife and I joined the 900-plus fans attending Game 6 of the KIJHL conference final between the Nelson Leafs and the Kimberley Dynamiters. The Leafs lost 2-1 in double overtime, but it was a truly memorable night.

I heard a young man say to his pal as they walked away from the arena, “Wouldn’t it be cool if the crowds at Leafs games were always like that?”

Yes, indeed, that would be cool. And when you consider the price of admission is only $10, there’s no reason they can’t be. Wait till next year.

The third installment of this protracted tour came Thursday, as I ended up at the Hume Hotel for the Nelson and District Chamber of Commerce Business Excellence Awards.

To me, it seemed casual and comfortable with just as many sweaters as suits in the crowd.

Selkirk College’s Bob Hall walked up and confirmed my observations.

“I came here feeling apprehensive, but now I’m excited,” said Hall, shortly before he was confirmed as one of three new chamber board members.

Hall, who was editor of the now-defunct Nelson Daily News in the 1990s, said the Nelson Chamber of Commerce wasn’t always a comfortable place for both sides of the political spectrum.

“It’s a good mix now,” he said.

And the expanded agenda of this year’s awards, managed by amiable executive director Tom Thomson, ensured there was a casual Kootenay feel.

There were several highlights, but perhaps witnessing Timberland Consultants co-owner Trevor Anderson sporting a toque as he accepted the Professional Service Excellence Award might have been the coolest.

The chamber added four new categories this year, including one for Non-Profit/Community Service Excellence.

The award went to Nelson CARES, whose executive director Jenny Robinson expressed thanks and finished with “We live in amazing place. Let’s keep it healthy for everyone.”

Words that perhaps you wouldn’t expect to hear at a business awards function.

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