Perhaps it was apt that the sun was hiding behind foggy clouds, a rarity in our small mountain city. As one of the sunniest places in Canada, the sun is an almost constant friend.
But that afternoon as I strolled the pedestrian-friendly downtown of Kimberley, the monochrome hues enticed me to notice other details. At times I felt like I was strolling through a home-spun Christmas card; as if at any moment, a horse-drawn sleigh might glide past, jingling bells filling the chilled air. I even imagined a gaggle of carollers strolling by, hands snuggled in furry mufflers for warmth. In the summer months, we do have a barber-shop quartet that serenades the townsfolk but that afternoon, all was unusually hushed. Just a few of us shoppers perusing the quaint stores for treasured gifts. One of my favourite carols came to mind… It’s beginning to look a lot like Christmas, everywhere you go. Take a look at the five and ten, glistening once again, with candy canes and….
Ah yes, the town would be glistening in just an hour or so when the light-festooned trees would dazzle with colour. But in the hour before dusk, with the stone-paved streets blanketed in snow, there was serenity in the stillness.
The shopkeepers had decorated for the season; simply and organically, with a feel for the mountains. Kimberley has an unpretentious vibe to it, however the locals do take their mountain attire and winter boots pretty seriously (yes I’ve succumbed and find myself with a few dapper new pairs!) But overall it’s a casual, laid back attitude.
Many shop locally, frequenting these unique stores that embody the revilatization of this once mighty mining town, now re-born. Now, as then, Kimberley attracts people from Europe and further afield to settle… for the lifestyle… is the usual response. People also relocate here from other points in Canada; Vancouver, Ottawa, Calgary… for more affordable housing and the safety and simplicity of small-town living. There also happens to be the ski hill, golf courses, biking and hiking trails, and ample doses of friendliness; call it Kimberley’s signature.
But I digress. Kimberley is now also known as a place to find that something special in the ample array of independently owned shops. And oh, they are a delight! From honey-bee candles and bespoke essential oils to speciality kitchen wares, books and designer jewellery. From European boots and homemade chocolates, to bikes and skis and everything those lifestyle pursuits entail. It’s all here, including an emporium of antiques and collectables. Yes, one almost feels like a child again, like stepping back into that ‘ole five and dime!
That day, I was enchanted by the simple charm of the store fronts with their twinkling lights, fresh boughs of pine, stacks of wood and home-crafted wreaths – a classic Christmas tableau. The usual friendly chit chat reminded me of how natural this feels and as ‘Happy Holidays’ rang out time and again, I took it all in and allowed myself a moment to reflect… gosh this truly feels like home!
Wishing you all a very Merry Christmas!