Sunday, December 28, 2008


Rossland is this marvellously quaint and modern town 10 miles above Trail. Town proud merchants catering to savy tourists have developped their little inland mountain community. Walking the few blocks of town streets I'd feel at moments I was looking at New England shops, in a suburb of Whistler, while all at once back in gold rush era of the 19th century. It is unique and cultured community with it's own Light Opera Company. I learned as well that the teacher of the local high school dance troupe is formerly of the Royal Winnipeg Ballet.
That night at the Firehall restaurant and cabaret,indeed a red brick towered firehall with a well used firepole, the smoothest jazz saxophone along with stand up bass,soft drums and very hip singer lead guitarist played one great set after another. Between sets an hillarious and attractive burlesque dancer re enacted brief camp routines reminiscient of the Gold Rush era.
Rossland today is the extreme skiing capital, site of the pond hockey championships and a destination for all those who love to back country mountain bike. The people on the streets, in the gift shops, and sports wear stores, all seemed to radiate health and vitality.

I was delighted by the cozy book store and expresso bar whose stock may not be large but whose selection and diversity is superb. It's a mixture of Banyen Books, an Oxford library collection and the latest in paperback thrillers and Canadian childrens' stories.

Much to my surprise I found the following cutting edge neuroscientists writing. I'd read a remarkable paper by him in a scientific journal recording his studies of Carmelite nuns. But here was the book which I quickly bought up. It's called the Spiritual Brain by University of Montreal researcher Mariol Beauregaard and writer Denyse O'Leary, Harper Perennial, 2007.
Drinking cafe latte across from an opera company with snow falling outside Ifelt real contentment as I began this latest treasure.

I was invited to Rossland for an exquisite evening meal at an extraordinary wood stove heated home surrounded by appealing spiritual art. Even the dog seemed a happy reincarnated soul. The gathering of cosmopolitan international professionals had humorous tales of their various jaunts but all had been captivated by the outdoor adventure of Kootenay living and stayed to raise their charming university aged children. My gracious hosts glowing with health and good humor looked hardly old enough to be the parents of lawyers and epidemiologists.

And yet they seemed representative of this community. Refined, energetic, world travelled, ecologically conscious and personally compassionate.

I was reminded of the demographic trend that suggested given the advances in communication technology that cities with their onerous traffic, lack of parking, urban crime and street filled crack addicted pan handlers were quickly becoming second choice to those who wanted to raise their families safely and now could do so with all the advances of modernity and insights of postmodernity.

Rossland was certainly such a place.

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