The Adventure Hotel in downtown Nelson, British Columbia began over one hundred years ago as high-end accommodation when Nelson was a booming mining town.

Now, over a century later, the hotel is a historically important landmark and a cornerstone of Nelson’s heritage. The original 1914 structure is the centre block, a symmetrical four-story brick structure which included the then-modern conveniences of hot and cold running water, radiators and telephone. In fact, a piece of the original boiler is showcased in the hotel’s coffee house, The Empire. 

In 1939, the original building was added to and this addition reflects the architecture of the age, with rounded corners and a flat roof. Later, in 1959, another addition further expanded the hotel, keeping the historic and heritage aesthetic of the architecture.

The Vernon Street location sets the Adventure Hotel squarely in the downtown core of Nelson, across the street from the new Kootenay Commons and near many local restaurants and cafes. With roots in both the early and later segments of Nelson’s history, the hotel has been a part of the growth of Nelson as the Queen City and her journey into a cultural, educational and tourism centre for British Columbia.

The Adventure Hotel serves the modern tourist who wants a heritage hotel that is fully modern. Through the iterations over the years, The Adventure Hotel has stayed true to both the historic roots as a foundational building in Nelson’s downtown as well as a modern hotel that caters to the adventure tourist. As part of the Nelson Heritage Register, the Adventure Hotel remains a local landmark and a symbol of Nelson’s reputation for high-end accommodation from the turn of the century on. 

Nelson was incorporated in 1897, and quickly became a major British Columbia centre for mining and trade. The city was bustling, and a part of that growth included one of hte largest Chinatowns in British Columbia, located on Vernon Street until the turn of the century. Across the street from the Adventure Hotel you can see a monument to the original site of Nelson’s Chinatown. It was later moved to Lake Street as the city grew. By the 1950s Nelson’s Chinatown had all but died out as people of Chinese heritage moved to larger cities or integrated into Nelson. 

Nelson as an Adventure Tourism Mecca

From the earliest beginnings, Nelson attracted tourists. The scenic beauty of the area, including alpine hiking and organised skiing, attracted visitors from the early part of the twentieth century. The Nelson ski club began in 1932. The Silver King Hill began to be developed in 1957, expanded in 1965, and became the Whitewater Ski Resort in 1974.

In the 1970s, too, the area invented Cat Skiing, and is now known as the Cat Ski Capital of the World. If you’re visiting us as an adventure tourist, know that you’re part of a long and illustrious history of fellow tourists and be proud.

Nelson has also been a center for government and trade, making us a convenient as well as adventurous destination. By 1914, the “Queen City” was a Divisional Point for the Canadian Pacific Railway, Canada Customs, central Post Office and a Supreme Court. Because of this long history, many often notice that Nelson has everything you want and need in a city. 

Culturally, too, Nelson has historically had championship rowing, hockey, curling and football teams and a public library. Due to the development of the Opera House in 1898 and the Capitol Theatre in 1927, numerous performing arts groups were also thriving and Nelson started to be known as a centre for the arts. Currently, Nelson is home to a thriving performing arts scene, with the non-profit community owned Civic Theatre showing both major Hollywood releases and arts films daily. The Capitol Theatre brings live performances from across Canada and around the world to Nelson — Our location often lures some of the bigger names for surprise performances.