Nelson’s Famous Electric Tramway Streetcar #23
Nelson’s Streetcar #23 got its start in 1906 in New Jersey, but from 1924 to the present day, she’s been living in the Kootenays, much of that time spent in Nelson as a streetcar. Originally #3, the streetcar was renamed #23 in an attempt to make the fleet seem larger than it was. (We wonder, really, who they were trying to fool…). In any case, Streetcar #23 remained on active duty until her retirement on June 20, 1949.
Things Take a Turn for the Worse: 1951 – 1982
In the 1950s, the streetcar system was replaced by buses, and the streetcars were no longer needed. Sold for $10, Nelson streetcar #23 sadly spent some time as a dog kennel, a chicken coop, a shed, and (maybe this was a little nicer for her) a crafts shop. Cast off and filled with a concrete floor, completely stripped and with holes cut in her side, Streetcar #23 was in a sorry state up to 1982, when she was sold and the new owner thought restoration was a good idea. Although City Council couldn’t see the vision, streetcar #23 was taken in by Nelson Chamber of Commerce, and the Rosemont Campus of Selkirk College. She was moved on site and the restoration process begun.
From 1988 to 1992, volunteers worked diligently to get streetcar #23 back to her original glory. Finally, on July 1, 1992, after a 1.2 kilometre track had been built for her along the waterfront, she began her latest career, trollying tourists back and forth along the waterfront, from the Rose Garden Cafe in Lakeside Park to the Prestige Hotel.
Great Way to Celebrate Father’s Day in Nelson!
We can’t think of a better fit for many Dad’s on Father’s Day than taking a ride with their family on streetcar #23, followed by an ice cream at the Rose Garden Cafe. Here are our top ten reasons this is a great idea:
- Dads ride FREE on Father’s Day! What’s better than Free!?
- Dads love trains and electric streetcars. Okay, maybe that’s a stale generalization, but it’s better than a tie…And come on, Dads love trains. They just do.
- Ice cream at the end! Begin at the Prestige Hotel at the base of Hall street, take a ride along the waterfront, and at the end of your tour, you arrive at the lovely Rose Garden Cafe, where you get an ice cream! (You can get whatever you want, but I would get ice cream.)
- You can ring the bell! Maybe, if you’re nice to the conductor. But how fun is that?
- It’s a lovely, silly, fun thing to do. It’ll make you feel happy and happy is good.
- The streetcar is very lovingly restored. Sitting in it, surrounded by people who are also simply there to experience an historic mode of transportation, you really get to soak up all that volunteer love and care that goes into the society. And it feels great.
- The conductors are awesome! They’re all volunteers, and their love for streetcar #23 is contagious.
- Nelson waterfront is gorgeous. Traveling along in a streetcar, reminds you of how really lovely and beautiful our waterfront is. No matter what the weather, either. Bright and sunny is great, but misty, rainy or blustery works too. After all, you’re bundled up in a cozy streetcar.
- You can just sit with your family for a few minutes. The gentle motion of the streetcar, combined with the clickity clack background noise, is a perfect scenario to simply sit with your family. Enjoy each other.
- The Streetcar Museum is open 7 days a week, noon-4:00 pm.
Tram Schedule & Fares
The first run starts at 11:10 a.m. at the Wray Suffredine station on Hall Street, and proceeds eastbound past Chahko Mika Mall and along the waterfront to Lakeside Park Station, adjacent to the orange bridge. Westbound service departs Lakeside Park station at 11:30 a.m. and every half hour until 4:30 p.m. Routine stops include Hall Street, Chahko Mika Mall and Lakeside, with flag stops available at the Lyle Ward Memorial Car Barn, the soccer fields and the power shed.
Adult fare is $3.00, seniors and youth (ages 6 to 12 years) is $2.00 and under 6 years with an adult is free. Maximum family fare is $8.00.
Like Them on Facebook!
Nelson Electric Tramway Society is active on Facebook. Even if you can’t get out this Father’s Day, go ahead and “like” them on Facebook, and try to take a ride at least once this season. If you’re really motivated, visit the Nelson Electric Tramway Society in their trolly barn at Lakeside Park.