#34 – Nelson Sports Museum: Honour the Past; Inspire the Future!

#34 – Nelson Sports Museum: Honour the Past; Inspire the Future!

Goalie masks from the past.

Goalie masks from the past.

Visit the Nelson Sports Museum at Nelson and District Community Complex and the Civic Arena

Since 2007, Nelson has been lucky enough to have a sports museum housed in both the 1935 Civic Arena as well as in our Nelson and District Community Complex.

After Nelson was host to Hockey Day in Canada, Community volunteers have worked closely with Touchstones Museum to create a unique museum that really showcases Nelsons rich sports history. After taking advantage of a few of the athletic offerings here in town, make sure to take a moment to visit our Nelson Sports Museum to get an idea of how rich and varied Nelson’s sports history is.

“Honour the PAST; Inspire the FUTURE”

As Bill McDonald, the driving force behind the museum has said in the Nelson Star, “‘A lot of it is honouring our past. But we also want to use this to inspire kids.” And by displaying exhibits dating all the way back to the early 1900s, the museum certainly inspires. Nelson has had a vivid sports history, with more than its fair share of hockey stars, lacrosse stars and softball heroes. Residents have helped by donating their personal sports memorabilia to the cause, and sharing stories with the museum.

 July 6, 2012 Saw The Official Opening of the Nelson Sports Museum 

Though the museum started in 2007, it didn’t get its official opening in the Civic and NDCC until July 6, 2012. Luckily, two visiting Vancouverites happened upon the exhibits housed at Touchstones and implored McDonald to try to get them a permanent home. The 75th anniversary of the Civic Arena in 2010 allowed for creation of displays and further expansion of the exhibits. When it was constructed in 1935 it was one of the largest facilities of it’s kind west of Ontario and we’re very lucky to have this facility to house our museum: it’s rare to have a pre-1940s structure still used for sports today. Because the museum is housed in the Civic, anything related to the Civic Arena or Civic Field is included in the museum: Hockey, Figure Skating, Curling, Lacrosse, Baseball, Soccer and Badminton.

A lacrosse set and uniforms along with team photos.

A lacrosse set and uniforms along with team photos.

Surprising Facts from Nelson Sports Museum:

Nelson is home to some sports greats. Here are a few facts to whet your appetite:

  • Ever wondered why our local high school is called the “Bombers”? During World War 2 the badminton hall (now the gymnastics club) was used to manufacture components used in bombs.
  • Lilean Hickey, a baseball player from Nelson, was one of the first women to play in the “All-American Girls Professional Baseball League” during World War 2. In 1998 she was inducted into the Canadian Sports Hall of Fame.
  • In 1969 the Nelson Bantam Leafs were provincial champions. This was before Minor Hockey had a tier system, so they were up against the best of the best in BC making their victory a more impressive one.

Learn more about the Nelson Sports Museum on their Facebook Page. If you have a bit of time while you are in Nelson, make sure to drop by. The Nelson Sports Museum Summer Program will begin during July and August and open to the public  Thursday to Saturday from 11:00am to 5:00pm. Entrance to both the NDCC and Civic Arena is via the NDCC parking lot. Admission if free, so make sure to take the time to come and check it out!

 

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