(Above) The Banker's House in Creston was built in 1907 by the Imperial Bank of Commerce. (Below) The Lower Kootenay Band chuch was built in 1892.

Creston artist Bruce Paterson releases second book of historic building sketches

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  • Aug. 1, 2015 2:00 p.m.

When Bruce Paterson published Kootenay Cameos: Tales of the West Kootenays a year ago, he spoke of the difficulty he had in selecting which pen and ink illustrations and stories he would include. After all, he had a collection amassed over a period of more than eight years from 1987-1995, during which they were published in the former Kootenay Review.

Now, with success selling the first printing at the Creston Valley Farmers’ Market, Paterson has released Volume Two of Kootenay Cameos. In it are another 21 finely detailed sketches depicting places of interest from Yahk to New Denver and Sandon. Each illustration is accompanied by a one-pager describing the history of each building, and often interesting anecdotes, as well.

“I’ve been very pleased with the response to the first book,” Paterson said. “And it’s been great fun to chat with visitors at the farmers’ market.”

His first selection on Volume Two is the Banker’s House, a 1907 home built for the Canadian Imperial Bank of Commerce manager. It was a pre-fabricated house from the British Columbia Mills, Timber and Trading Company of New Westminster and is one of Creston’s oldest existing buildings.

Paterson said one of his motivations for making the sketches in the 1990s was to capture their images before they were torn (or fell) down or succumbed to fire. The Lower Kootenay Band church remains standing, for instance, but has been unused for years and is in poor condition. Who knows how long the 1892 building will remain standing?

In his second volume, Paterson also pays tribute to the importance of early transport on Kootenay Lake, with features on the S.S. Nasookin, a sternwheeler that was built in 1913 in the CPR shipyard in Nelson. The upper deck, which was converted into a home, can still be seen just a couple of miles east of Nelson. Paterson also tells the story about S.S. Kuskanook, which he drew from a postcard dated 1913. The ferry was launched in 1906 to accommodate increasing demand for travel between Nelson and Kootenay Landing.

Newer buildings are also represented. The popular Salmo Hotel, with its design from a much earlier era, was built in 1981, a tribute to an earlier structure that was destroyed by fire.

Paterson is a regular fixture at the farmers’ market, where he is happy to sell both volumes of Kootenay Cameos and chat with visitors about Kootenay history.

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