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Hume Hotel presented with the 2023 Heritage Award

By Contributor
December 13th, 2023

The City of Nelson and its Heritage Working Group (HWG) are proud to present the Hume Hotel with the 2023 Heritage Award for their work in restoring the original Hume Hotel “ghost sign” as painted on the KWC building block in the 1950s.

This award comes with an $1000 honorarium.

A ghost sign is an old hand-painted advertising sign that has been preserved on a building for an extended period of time.

Restoring these signs seldom occurs and is a meticulous process, requiring consultation with heritage professionals who research the sign’s history and significance, and working with painters who have the knowledge and expertise to complete the delicate balance of both preserving and enhancing the sign.

Ryan Martin from the Hume Hotel took on this project, driven by his appreciation for the historical advertisement and his commitment to preserving the city’s heritage.

Martin hired heritage consultant Elana Zysblat who, working with local historians, put forward a plan of action, recommending local company Valor Painting who, with the consultant’s guidance, faithfully restored the original sign.

Every aspect, from the lettering and spacing to the font, was meticulously studied and recreated to ensure historical accuracy.

The newly restored Hume Hotel sign, with its hand-painted charm on historic brick, serves as a homage to the story and history of the community.

“Ryan Martin and the Hume’s dedication to preserving and restoring a cherished piece of Nelson’s heritage is truly commendable,” says Heritage Working Group Chair Berdine Jonker.

“This project is significant because it shows that heritage conservation is about more than just buildings of a certain age. Ryan saw the heritage value in this mid-century downtown icon and took the necessary steps to engage the right people to ensure it will last for generations to come.”

“From my perspective, so much marketing in today’s day and age has gone digital,” says Hume Hotel Owner and General Manager Ryan Martin.

“This is something that runs much deeper. There is a high degree of honour and respect to advertise on such an important and beautiful building, to paint over her turn of the century brick.

“It also commemorates a milestone year for us, with the hotel turning 125 years old in March. I’m hoping the sign will stand tall for another 75 years until one of my future grandkids needs to tackle it again.”

The City’s Heritage Working Group established this award in 2015 to recognize individuals, groups, businesses, or other organizations that have made an outstanding contribution towards the preservation and/or promotion of Nelson’s heritage, and to reward and encourage initiatives in support of it.

Previous winners are the Nelson Electric Tramway Society, Nelson CARES for their restoration work on Ward Street Place, Touchstones Nelson for its award-winning Cold War Bunker project, builder/restoration specialist Joern Wingender, author/designer Peter Bartl, historian Greg Scott, the Nelson & District Chamber of Commerce and local retailer Cartolina.

The original Hume Hotel “ghost sign” as painted on the KWC
building block in the 1950s. — Submitted photo

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