I met with Abby, ex of the Sacred Stone Spa in Ucluelet, now of the Stone Spa in Nelson, and we shared a nice cuppa tea.
I tried repeatedly to catch Shawn and Carla, ex of Words End Bookstore in Ukee, now of iLovenNelson.com and UndergroundArtsRailroad.com, but despite several visits and calls i never managed to catch them at the office.
I wandered into Enchanted Gifts, on Baker St. (the main drag), and started chatting with the owner, who turned out to be Francois, ex of the Enchanted in Tofino.
And at a street market i saw a newsletter put out by Eco Society with an article by Lee-Ann, ex of the Friends of Clayoquot Sound. I thought i’d look for her in town, and found her by pure coincidence on a street corner, waiting for the light to change.
These folks told me about others who have moved from the West Coast to Nelson and area (the Kootenays, or “the Koots” to those in the know). And the single, striking word they all used about their new situation was “happy.” Happier than they were on the coast. Francois elaborated: when he plays hockey, there’s a melange of freaks, cops, hippies, straights, young and old on the ice and they all get along; people don’t pigeonhole each other, don’t separate into cliques, don’t gossip behind each others’ backs and boycott each others’ businesses because of something someone said five years ago. Others echoed the sentiment. Damn — are we like this on the coast?
But there was one thing they all, every one, regretted: they pined for the ocean.