Welcome to Living Here

Living Here is a place to share local stories about people in rural communities and small towns who are helping to build healthy, safe, strong and sustainable communities.

Living Here is about our shared values and finding the common ground to move us forward. We care about the people and places that make small towns and rural living such a treasure. Like friends around the campfire or a family at a holiday meal, we share stories that let us learn about each other’s lives and help us help each other to enjoy and take care of our home

Salmo River angler casts a line to the future of fishing

“I remember thinking: it looked like a good trout river.”

So thought James Baxter, a West Kootenay angler, when he first drove over the Salmo River in 1997. Little did he know then that he would come to spend the next 24 years of his life working, playing, and fishing on this river.

The Salmo is a 60 kilometre river born from the Selkirk Mountains. It winds through stands of cedar, hemlock, and Englemann spruce, and it is visited by foraging grizzly bears and breeding Harlequin ducks.

Continue Reading →

Small Farms Feed Community in Big Ways

The best piece of relationship advice that Geoff Beech ever received was on the day of his wedding when a friend told him a simple secret to a long lasting marriage:

“Find something that neither of you have done before and do it together.”

In their thirties, Geoff and his wife Terri Austin-Beech learned to ski together. Now that they have reached retirement, they are pursuing a dream 40 years in the making; they are learning to run a farm together.

Continue Reading →

Clear Sidewalks and Close Neighbours

Shovelling snow is a chore as familiar to most Canadians as folding laundry. 

Some shovellers enjoy waking before dawn like a song sparrow in spring. They are the first ones to make that crunchy rhythmic chorus that will soon be echoed by the rest of the block.

Others swear under their breath and begrudgingly set their morning alarm an hour earlier than normal as the next morning’s forecast sinks in. They’ll need to walk the dog, make lunches, drag the kids out of bed, put out the trash, and shovel several inches of snow to get everyone out the door by 8 a.m.

Wherever you may fall on the snow shovelling spectrum, however, you’d be lying if the thought of rolling out of bed, slipping on some Sorels, and firing up a snow blower has never crossed your mind. 

Continue Reading →

Technological Toughness in Uncertain Times

Kootenay folk are a tough bunch. We home-cook meals, chop firewood and kindling, shovel mountains of powdery snow and drive icy swerves every winter. We troubleshoot the plumbing when we can’t find a professional to make the trek our way. Some of us hunt deer, and others hunt mushrooms. We grow gardens, scale the tallest branches of fruit trees, and preserve or freeze what we reap. We work hard at jobs in health care, tourism, business, and resource sectors. We’re no strangers to taking care of ourselves, our families, and our neighbours.

Resilience is our middle name. But how tough are we when it comes to technological resilience? One of the questions asked globally during this pandemic is: how can we make our communities more resilient, self-reliant, and adaptable?

Continue Reading →

Shifting into Electric Gear

Steve Elder was born in New Zealand and lived there until he moved to sunny Los Angeles in the 1970s, eventually finding his way north to greater Vancouver, which he now calls home. However, summers spent vacationing at Christina Lake with his family is something that always brings back good memories for Steve. 

Perhaps that is why three years ago, Steve purchased the old Mercury shop truck that spent many years parked beside the workshop at the Christina Lake Service Station.  As a car enthusiast and career mechanic, he has big aspirations for the truck: Steve dreams that one day he might be able to electrify the 1954 pickup. It’s an ambitious undertaking, yet perhaps he is on to something much bigger.

Continue Reading →

Cranbrook business community stays connected with customers during Covid

Before she became an entrepreneur 12 years ago, Stephanie McGregor thought she might become a nurse. She liked thinking on her feet, being under a bit of pressure, and responding to situations as they unfolded.

Being an avid dog lover, however, (she affectionately refers to her dachshunds as her kids) and after years of visiting speciality pet stores in other cities, Stephanie suddenly knew what she really wanted to do. And that meant opening up a specialty pet store with knowledgeable and friendly staff in her hometown of Cranbrook, British Columbia. 

Continue Reading →

Everything Under the Kootenay Sun

In the early 1950s, Queen Elizabeth II was only in her twenties when she became the British Empire’s newest sovereign. Britain was recovering financially from the tolls of World War II, its colonies across the world were seeking independence, and London air was so thick with smog from coal that in 1952, 4,000 people died from pollution related illnesses.

Yet during this time, the young queen may have had one indulgence that could grant her a moment of escape and pleasure: cherries from Renata, British Columbia. Or so the rumour goes. 

Continue Reading →

When Life Gives you Lemons, Plant Flowers

Let’s start the year off right by looking at the silver lining. Most of us are over the moon to be starting a new year. 2020 will go down in history as a uniquely challenging year for most communities worldwide with the Covid-19 pandemic and the hardships following in its wake. So let’s celebrate the good people of one creative and resilient community. 

Trail, British Columbia, exemplifies the words community pride. This small city, which is about as south as you can get in BC before hitting the United States border (an 18-minute drive to be precise), is home to remarkable residents who have greatly improved their city over the last two decades. 

Continue Reading →

You can always find moments of happiness

This has been a hard year. One might say, this has been one of the most difficult years we have ever had to face. 

Collectively, we have experienced one of the most challenging times in modern history.  

And yet, here we are. 

For some of us, this year has not come without loss. There are many people who are grieving right now. 

Still, joy and grief can live simultaneously. 

This year has been hard but if you look closely you can always find moments of happiness, even if it’s just in the little things. 

Continue Reading →

Bartender Builds Home from the Ground Up

If You Build It

You may recognize Carlos Köppen as the head bartender at Jackson’s Hole & Grill in Nelson, British Columbia. He’s worked there for 12 years. What you might not know is that he is building his family a house with the same two hands that serve up Caesars on Wing Night to local residents. 

Carlos lives with his partner Julia, the wholesale manager at Kootenay Bakery, and seven-year-old daughter Aria in Krestova, BC. When Carlos first moved to the area, he lived in Nelson before buying a two acre property in Krestova in 2012. 

Continue Reading →