Our unassuming little mountain town of Golden BC– which my daughter dubs ‘the pass-through town’ because we are such a popular fuel and food stop for folks travelling the Trans Canada and Hwy 95 – has hit the big leagues. Canadian Geographic magazine features Golden BC on its November cover, along with a six page spread in the issue.
While the amazing team at Tourism Golden deserves full accolades for making this opportunity possible, I think all Goldenites can take pride in the fact that Golden BC itself shined its natural, unpretentious awesomeness on our Canadian Geographic visitors –so much so that it snagged the lead spot for the issue.
People in Golden already know this -- we know our town is the epitome of natural, unpretentious awesomeness and many of us have chosen to live here precisely for this reason. But we also realize not everybody sees our town the way we do, at least at first pass. We do, after all, have a bit of a diamond-in-the-rough quality about us. Some folks will see the rough and miss the diamond. It happens. But we only kinda mind when it does.
Truth be told, many of us realize the double-edged sword of becoming a full-fledged recreation destination. Yes, increased tourism is a great thing for Golden. And getting more people buying second homes -- or moving here permanently -- is even greater.
But at the same time, we sure value the fact that our hiking and biking and ski trails aren’t too busy or overrun, and that we have backyard access to a world class ski resort which still has a low-key, not-too-big-or-touristy vibe.
We love that for sign-up type activities like golf or white water rafting we don’t have to do the ‘super-early-bird’ thing to get a spot – other than Golden, how many places do you know where you can play a ‘top 100’ course, still get a same-day tee time and play for as low as $50 a round?
We love that Golden has no parking problems or traffic issues, and that waiting in line at shops or restaurants is basically a foreign concept (other than after our winter Masque Parade celebration perhaps). We take pride in the fact that our stores are largely owner-operated and staff can take the time to help you find what you are looking for (shopping in Golden BC, by the way, is a total customer-service renaissance experience. You almost can’t believe just how laid-back, helpful, friendly and knowledgeable our local shopkeepers and staff are!).
So, as thrilled as I am that more and more people, like the good folks at Canadian Geographic, are loving Golden BC for the same reasons we do (basically, because of its natural, unpretentious awesomeness), I can’t help but to feel just a tiny bit ambivalent about the whole thing. Of course I want Golden to thrive and grow and develop. But I also kinda want it to stay as it is -- as other people’s pass-through town.