Nelson, a small town in the interior of British Columbia, wonderfully designed by the architect Francis Rattenbury - who also designed the parliament buildings in Victoria - will make you reassess what you think civilisation should be like. It was made unique by a huge influx of American draft-dodgers during the Vietnam War, and has been kept unspoiled by constant overshadowing courtesy of the Rockies and their ski towns. Its many intellectual inputs (Russian pacifists settled there, sponsored by none other than Tolstoy himself) and its beautiful setting, folded compactly onto the shores of lake Kootenay by the underrated Selkirk Mountains, combine the majestic Canadian wilderness with the best minds and values our species has created. To top it off, the most beautiful YHA hostel I’ve ever seen ‘The Dancing Bear’ is located right in the centre.
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