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

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. 

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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. 

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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. 

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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. 

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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. 

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Harvesting wild animals is in their nature

The Veterinarian Who Hunts

At the age of six, Nicole Jamieson went on her very first moose hunt. At the age of 10, she decided that when she grew up she was going to be a veterinarian.

Nearly thirty years later, Nicole, who lives in Prince Rupert, British Columbia, still hunts; she has also been practicing veterinary medicine for the last ten years, bringing her childhood dreams to reality. 

“People who don’t know me are shocked when I tell them that I am a veterinarian who hunts,” she says.

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Local Brewers Craft for Community

You are sitting at your favourite bar in town watching the bartender pour that familiar winter ale that always signals the beginning of ski season. As you wait for them to slide that frosty mug of beer down your direction, you probably aren’t thinking about hop farmers, or the ways the brewery is trying to cut back on water consumption, or what happens to all the grain at the bottom of the fermentation tanks. 

For Hedin Nelson-Chorney, owner of Tailout Brewing in Castlegar, British Columbia, he knows all too well that beer and the environment go hand in hand. As a former employee of Parks Canada, with a Masters degree in Conservation Biology, Hedin has a deep understanding of the importance of treating the land well.

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Nakusp’s Jean Hewat is a champion for champignons

When you imagine a mushroom picker, who comes to mind?

Is it the scruffy, hermit-type you saw hitchhiking along the highway last week? Or maybe you remember that long-haired nomadic couple you met in university, the ones jazzed on all things fungi, mostly the mind-altering varieties. Then there is the bartender at your local legion. The one you went to elementary school with. The mother who cringed in unison with you when the hockey team your teenagers both played on was crushed by the visiting bantam league. 

In comes Jean Hewat. Since 1993, she has been the sole owner and operator of Jean’s Mushroom Station, one of a small handful of mushroom buying operations nestled in the idyllic British Columbia mountain town of Nakusp.

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Digital Nomad Women Work for the Greater Good

A local businesswoman, Karen Kornelsen, is running a business that has goals beyond maximizing profit. Karen is a newer business owner based out of Nelson, British Columbia. Her business, KG Creative, is a digital agency that works to create “professionally-designed, strategic content with on-brand marketing.” Karen lives out her social mission by choosing to work only with “women entrepreneurs who are truly making a difference in the world and non-profits who are also making a difference in their communities,” she says. 

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Creston Farmers Feed Community

Coming together to build healthy and sustainable communities in ways that do not leave anyone behind feels crucial in times like these. In Creston, British Columbia, farmers are doing this the best way they know how, by feeding their fellow neighbours using unique and resourceful approaches.     

Laura Francis and her husband Nigel were on their way to the University of Victoria to attend his first year of law school when they made a stop in Creston. It was meant to be a sort of vacation before committing to the long and tedious pursuit of attaining a law degree. The community had other plans for the young couple. Halfway through their vacation, Laura recalls the owner of the cabin they were renting inviting 13 people to dinner one evening.

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