Nicola Valley attraction venues located in and around the City of Merritt, BC, Canada. 

Nicola Valley Creativity in Action

Creatives in the Nicola Valley Gather, Carefully

What local creative projects do you know are happening?

Nicola Valley creativity is in action. The community is buzzing with creativity. As the curator at the NV Arts Gallery I have my finger on the pulse of arts happening in and around the town of Merritt.

At least that’s what I wish. Beyond my mandala of gallery action and the programs we run, there is a lot going on out there. Just like our recent exhibition, The Art of Covid, showed, creativity persists in our Nicola Valley inhabitants. No matter what the conditions. 

And I can’t keep up with all the arts action in the community. Visual arts like paintings, pottery, and fabric arts are happening everywhere.   Dance seems to be alive and kicking. Online possibilities are taking the place of in person, and inaction. Creativity persists.

Music in the Valley

Some community art expressions, like music events, have dropped off. But I know music is being made…You Tube, Facebook, Spotify all have local music happening. 

Bobby Garcia musician

Bobby Garcia singing I Remember When

Open Mic music is kept up by Al and Denise. Robert Bertrand posts music, and Bobby Garcia lets us know about his latest releases on Facebook. Richard Lepinski writes an original song a month, and posts them to his You Tube channel, along with cover songs. Lilly Parks hooked us up to her channel and we’ve got her on our playlist.

Covid protocols

Meet up with Denise Kearney

I miss our weekly Open Mic Night at Kekuli Cafe, but local musician Denise Kearney and I stay in touch, talking about how and when the music action in town will open up.

What Creative Projects are happening?

I can’t tell you everything that’s happening arts wise here in the Nicola Valley, but I get to talk to, and hear about, people who are immersed in creative projects.

I enjoy it because inspiration is often a part of the conversation. If inspiration is present then commitment and action are usually not far behind.

Since I am committed to taking action, almost monthly with new shows, I wanted to flesh out two upcoming summer shows with working titles Body Art and The Art of Clothing

Meet Up for  Summer Inspiration

Merritt BC Artists

Kelly and Olivia discuss art shows

I called Kelly Reid for a meet up. Kelly manages her son Joel’s art which we carry in our Gift Shop. Kelly is a creative herself, turning Joel’s art into bags, Tshirts, and cards. And she is full of art appreciation and ideas.

I knew we could generate some ideas for the summer shows. We invited Olivia Nendick, an artist still in high school who has just applied for a Gallery art show for next fall. She had told us that she hunts down one of a kind fashion.

Besides the of-course! summer tie dye outdoors event we had already come up with, our trio decided to gather thrift store finds for artists to creative-up, and keep an eye out for mannequins. Got one we can use?

We figure we’ll plan an early workshop to get creative with articles of clothing (think beads, embroidery, patches, fabric paint). Stay tuned.

Creative Circles

Leonard George Artist

Leonard George and Blue Bear Painting

We like the idea of local artists’ works printed on silk scarves (imagine Jean’s red post office or Leonard’s blue bear. Or Herta’s flowers). 

We’ll hunt down the leather workers, bead makers, hair, tattoo and henna artists, and see if Colleen Waddell will do some fun air brush make up on a July Saturday afternoon.

Fashion design drawings, sketches of hairstyles, photos of tattoos for our Gallery walls.

And Olivia is going to take on a mannequin for the Art of Clothing show. Can’t wait.

Got ideas? Want to participate?

Know a local you think could contribute to either of these shows?

The Body Art Show is by invitation, but we are looking for body artists so get in touch. And the Art of Clothing is a community show, so get busy! We have limited space but we love to fill it.

More Shows

Before those summer shows happen there are three shows in the works. MSS is putting on a show “Unmasked”. Then the Clubhouse group is going to show all the art they’ve been doing during sessions with several NVCAC artists. 

And in June we are welcoming long time artist Judy Young, once involved with the Valley Visual Artists. Judy always contributes something amazing to our community shows so I’m looking forward to her one-person show coming up.

Following Covid protocols

We are Covid careful, but we are still in action with the arts, learning mad Zoom skills, planning Gallery shows, manning the Gift Shop, having socially distant meetups, putting on workshops. 

And… I just heard that the Farmer’s Market will accept artisan vendors as well as the produce essentials. Art is essential! Will we participate? Or just head over to enjoy what other locals are setting up? 

At the NV Gallery and Gift Shop, we know a lot of what’s happening in the arts in our community. And when you read our Experience Nicola Valley blogs,  the paper, as well as, watch Facebook and listen to our friends and colleagues like I do, it is easy to see Nicola Valley creativity in action. 

 

Kids Art

Susan and Fiona, Fabric Art Fun

Indigenous Art

Cliff McDougall Powwow photography

Merritt BC Artists

Artists Herta and Shirley

Artisan Covid masks

Artisan Angela Ho designs clothes

Artist Cindilla Trent

Cindy Trent setting up her “Looking Forward” Art quilt show

Art Program with Covid Protocols

Clubhouse Art Program

The arts are alive and well in the community! I’m inspired….

Jano Howarth 

NV Arts Gallery Curator 

Arts and Culture Blogger for Experience Nicola Valley

Artists Merritt BC

Artist Pat Tombe burns a design into one of his fab wooden bowls

Banjo

Watching Richard Lepinski on Youtube

Nicola Valley Creativity in Action

 

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Hold My Beer – Aaron Pritchett 

Downtown Merritt Mural Walking Tour

“I Grew To Love Country Music Because Of The lyrics,” Aaron Pritchett

Hold My Beer –Aaron Pritchett country music artist  who was born on August 2, 1970 in Vancouver, British Columbia, Canada. By the same token, Aaron grew up and was raised in Kitimat, BC, Canada – a coastal community in the northwestern region of British Columbia.

Merritt BC Canada Murals

Aaron’s love of music didn’t start with country music. Growing up he would listen to the rock ‘n’ roll legends of his parents like Elvis, Sam Cooke, Smokey Robinson, The Miracles, Van Morrison, and James Brown. Correspondingly, as Aaron grew older, Canadian acts from the 1980’s, especially Bryan Adams, were a major influence as well. Consequently Pritchett’s single ‘DRIVE’ was co-written by Bryan Adams and British writer Phil Thornalley.

“Def Lepperd, AC/DC, bands like that; they are all a big part of the rockier licks I use in my songs today. I grew to love country music because of the lyrics . The songs are all about true life experiences.” Aaron Pritchett

Merritt BC Murals

Aaron Pritchett – Featured artists of Merritt BC Murals

Embarking On The Touring Scene

Aaron Pritchett started his career as a DJ at Rooster’s Country Cabaret in Pitt Meadows, BC. As a result of his DJ career, he also played in a house band throughout BC and Alberta playing cover tunes.

Hold My Beer – Aaron Pritchett’s Big Break

In 2001 everything changed for Aaron.  In short he entered a singing contest called “Project Discovery” sponsored by CMT (Country Music Television). Most importantly Aaron won $10,000 in cash, and a professional music video directed by internationally acclaimed director, Steven Goldmann.

Aaron put his winnings towards recording his first album “Consider This”. The title track from the album was co-written by Pritchett and BC country music legend Rick Tippe. Soon after, he got to record three songs with one of Canada’s top producers, Tom McKillip. In short, it was then, when Aaron Pritchett won the Project Discovery Talent Contest, at the Canadian Country Music Awards, he started receiving national recognition and attention.

Aaron Pritchett on the wall

Melvina White (Experience Nicola Valley) / Mural Painted by Michelle Loughery

Country Music Charts Recognizes Aaron Pritchett

Pritchett was now on a roll with some of his songs climbing to the top of the charts. Songs like Hold My Beer. As a result his success continued to grow with the release of his next albums – “Something Going On Here” in 2003 and “Big Wheel” in 2006. During this period of Aaron’s country music career he toured promoting his albums to his growing fan base.

“Combine humble, driven, talented, great songwriter and a focused artist together and you have Aaron Pritchett.”

Hold My Beer – Aaron Pritchett Merritt BC Murals Connection

Merritt, British Columbia, Canada has played a big roll in Aaron’s career. Not to mention Aaron has played a big roll in building Merritt’s country music brand. For instance, Aaron Pritchett was a regular attraction over the 17 years of the Merritt Mountain Music Festival (now the Rockin’ River Country Music Fest). His debut performance at the festival was on the “The Little Big Stage” in 1993.

Pritchett said, “the times I performed in Merritt were quite an experience”.

Hold My Beer – Aaron Pritchett Winning Single

Winning Independent Male Artist of the Year at the CCMA’s in 2004 and then Songwriter of the Year in 2007 put Aaron on the country music map. His winning single ‘Hold My Beer’ was not the song Aaron and his co-writers thought would ever make it big. Were they surprised.

Signed To The Record Label 

604 Records, the production company of Nickelback’s Chad Kroeger, signed Aaron Pritchett to a label in 2008. Soon after, the “Thankful” album was released on September 9, 2008. Aaron promoted this album on a tour of Western Canada with Toby Keith and Jessie Farrel.

Aaron released his next album “In the Driver’s Seat” on November 9, 2010, under his own record label Decibel Music. Pritchett’s first greatest hits album, “Body of Work: A Collection of Hits”, was released on May 12, 2015 under Big Star Recordings.

In June 2016, Pritchett released the album “The Score”.  Moreover, the title commemorated his 20th year recording and the anniversary of his first album . The lead off single “Dirt Road In Em” went on to become #6 on the country music charts and was earmarked as a comeback single in Pritchett’s career. The second release from the album, “Out Of The Blue” followed suit reaching #9 on the charts. The release of “When A Momma’s Boy Meets A Daddy’s Girl”, climbed the charts and sat at #10 on the Canada Country Billboard for 8 weeks. Because of the results of Aaron’s efforts he was nominated in 2017 for Country Album of the Year at the Juno Awards.

The Country Music Team

Aaron is often heard praising his team for all his success. In addition Aaron credits his success, in the early part of his career, to Country Music Television and radio airplay. In addition, Aaron credits each and every fan that has supported him along the way. An early highlight of his career, was playing for an audience of 20,000 people in Ontario, Canada and listening to them singing along with his songs. 

“Without a team it is impossible to reach your goals.” Aaron Pritchett

Above all Aaron credits industry icon Heather Ostertag for much of his success. Heather is the Past President of FACTOR, Past President of the CMAO and owner of Heather Ostertag and Associates.

“Without Heather, many aspects of my career would never have happened. She has been a major supporter, a strong mentor and one of my best friends to this day. I thank her from the bottom of my heart for believing in me.” Aaron Pritchett

Merritt BC Murals Selfie Photo

Recognition as a Canadian Country Music Artist

To sum it up nicely, Aaron is considered, one of Canada’s favorite entertainers and all around good guy. Firstly, he has been honored with multiple Canadian Country Music Association, Juno and British Columbia Music Association nominations and awards. Secondly, some of the hardware he has taken home include Independent Male Artist, Independent Song, Entertainer, Male Artist, Album and Group of the Year Awards.

Aaron Pritchett has earned his title as one of Canada’s most energetic and electrifying entertainers in the industry. Most importantly, to all of us here in Merritt BC, Aaron has been a staunch supporter of The Merritt Walk of Stars, The Merritt Mural Project and The Canadian Country Music Hall of Fame.

Merritt Walk Of Stars

Hundred’s of International and National Country Music Artists have performed at the annual Merritt Mountain Music Festival over the 17 years of the festival. As a result, those stars left their mark permanently in Merritt BC by creating hand prints (or, in one case, footprints) accompanied by signatures. Therefore, each  artist print is encased in concrete stars.

In 2003, those hand prints became the motivation behind the Merritt Walk of Stars – a self guided walking tour throughout the community . More importantly, the project helped solidify Merritt BC, Canada, as the Country Music Capital of Canada. Today, more than 100 bronze stars are located in plaques throughout the community. Aaron Pritchett created his star in 2004.

“It is huge to get a star,” he said. “It a real honour to be among the artists who have made stars in Merritt. As well as be recognized among some of the names that are included, in The Walk of Stars.”

Hold My Beer – Aaron Pritchett On The Merritt Mural Walking Tour

The Merritt Mural Project was created in 2005. The Merritt BC Murals is part of a successful program called, the “Merritt Youth Mural Project”. A project designed for working with local young artists and “ youth at risk”. Merritt Murals were painted by muralist Michelle Loughery. These beautiful works of art can be seen all over downtown Merritt BC.

Therefore, as a result, not only did the program serve to enrich our society, but it helped to transform Merritt BC, Canada into the largest outdoor country music art gallery you’ll ever visit. Subsequently, Aaron had his mural painted and sits on the wall of City Furniture on Voght street in Downtown Merritt, BC.

Canadian Country Music Hall of Fame

Country Music Capital of Canada

Merritt, BC Canada has its own history of cowboys, cattle ranches and country experiences. Country music is a part of the heritage and country lifestyle of Merritt, BC, Canada. Because Merritt has hosted an annual Country Music Festival for many years, it consequently became branded as the Country Music Capital of Canada. There was a short festival hiatus from 2012 to 2014. As a result Rockin River Music Festival took over the festival in 2015 and, since then, every August long weekend people come to Merritt for some top quality country music.

Canadian Country Music Hall of Fame

The Canadian Country Music Hall Of Fame opened in Merritt, BC Canada in 2009. However, in 2012, it became an arm of the Canadian Country Music Heritage Society in order to create a venue to display artifacts related to the inductees of the Canadian Country Music Hall of Fame. As a result, in 2018, there is a total of 139 inductees in the Merritt Hall of Fame.

The Canadian Country Music Hall of Fame is located in Downtown Merritt, BC, Canada on 2025 Quilchena Avenue. Moreover, make the effort to visit the Canadian Country Music Hall Of Fame and enjoy their  displays of your favorite artist inductees.

In conclusion make the Canadian Country Music Hall of Fame your starting point for your visit to Merritt, British Columbia, Canada. In addition please visit our downtown coffee shops, restaurants and local shops for a unique shopping experience.

Moreover, say hi to Aaron on social media and let him know you met him here on Experience Nicola Valley. Further more, Aaron can be found on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram. Don’t forget to send us a selfie of you with his mural too.

Hold My Beer by Aaron Pritchett

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Merritt Ice Fishing – Fishing Nicola Valley

A Lake A Day As Long As You Stay

A day ice fishing with friends and cousin at Marquart Lake

Merritt Ice Fishing is a great example of why we cherish our year-round fishing destination and winter wonderland. With over 200 lakes to choose from in and around Merritt and the Nicola Valley. We chose Marquart Lake. Who would ever think you would be able to catch a fish through a 10 inch hole and a 12 inch thickness of frozen ice.  I am sure the ice was thicker at some of the lakes higher up the mountains but this lake was perfect for a newbie.

Merritt Ice Fishing Prize of the Day

Cousin Guide Jay with his prize

Merritt Ice Fishing in The Nicola Valley

For one, who has only fished in an open body of water, the anticipation and excitement of trying to catch a fish through a 10 inch hole in 12 inches of thick ice was an experience like no other. Although fishing is is a great outdoor sport that is relaxing and fun, ice fishing is a unique experience adding a whole new dimension to excitement and pleasure. I didn’t exactly get to experience catching a fish myself, on this first ice fishing expedition but I did see evidence, that pulling a fish up through that 10 inch hole is how it works. It is a little difficult to put this experience into words, but I can definitely say this. I can see a healthy addiction blossoming real fast.

Ice Fishing through the hole

The Hole That Holds Anticipation

Let’s Go Fishin’

Jay and Dana my cousin fishing guides picked me up and we were on our way. The weather was overcast and snowing, although beautiful when we arrived at Marquart lake, About 10 minutes east of Merritt, BC. Situated on the Lundbom Lake forestry road.

Once we stopped, the cousin guides took 2 big sleds out of the back of the truck. They started loading it with stuff that made me wonder of we were going fishing for a week. Although they had  filled me in a little about the process of ice fishing. They forgot to tell me about the getting ready part. Like what has to happen before you get to the lake.

2 Sleds of gear for ice fishing

The Cousin Guides, Jay and Dana with 2 sleds of gear.

Answers To The Before Fishing Questions

They started out with. “Don’t let the cold stop you from having a fun filled day of fishing.” Ice fishing is a safe winter sport but it does involve a bit of preparation. All you need is some safety tips and tricks, a bit of basic equipment, some warm gear,  and you’re in business.

First Things First

Along with a fishing license, some minor safety equipment and tips are first on the list. It is important to learn to check the thickness of the ice.  Use a spud bar (a long piece of steel, about 4-5 feet in length with a tapered point at the end,) or an auger to check the thickness. If you are able to hit the ice twice in the same spot with a spud bar and the ice remains solid, you know it will be safe to step on it in that area. If you can break through it, the ice is to thin. Continue testing as you walk out onto it. Don’t ever assume all ice is safe because it can be inconsistent thicknesses throughout the lake. Watch for rotten ice. You can spot rotten ice by its discoloration, cracks, holes and any water flows underneath it may have.

Some basic rules to follow for ice thickness:
  • A minimum of 4 inches for people
  • At least 6 inches for snowmobiles and sleds
  • A minimum of 7-12 inches for light cars
  • At least 14-16 inches for full sized trucks

Bare Bone Gear For Fishing

According to the cousin ice fishing guides you will be needing some unique gear and some gear with a different twist:

  • Ice fishing Rod – 24- to 36-inches will make sense for an ice jigging rod when  you hover over an eight to 10 inch hole in the ice. 
  • Reel – popular ice fishing reels are spinning and inline. Even though spinning reels may be the most common, that doesn’t mean they’re the best. As the inline reels continue to gain ground, they will easily become the go to reel for ice fishing.
  • Rod Holder – Rod holders are a handy little gadget. There are a couple of choices. Some fit conveniently on the rim of a five-gallon bucket. The  stand-alone model  elevates your rod and reel just off the ice for easy positioning over the hole. Try both designs and decide which one best suits you.
  • Lures – Trying to find the fool proof lure is nothing less than a process. You have to try various lures to figure out what will work for you. I was told the three best places to get the lures you need to try or need for Merritt and the Nicola Valley was from Ponderosa Sports , Gun Fishing located in Merritt. Lucky Bug Lures  Products and information can be found in above sporting stores as well as on-line. You will need some hooks, split shot weights and a bobber (optimal).
  • Bait – Worms, Corn, Maggots, Krill, Shrimp.
  • Staple Tackle – line clippers, fish grabbers, pliers, hooks, sinkers, weights etc…

Ice Fishing Must Haves

  • Auger and Ice Scoop – Ice auger is what you use to cut the hole in the ice. Gasoline or battery powered augers takes the physical labor out of hole cutting and allow you to cut more holes than you would by using a hand Auger. Augers come in a variety of sizes to create holes ranging from four inches to 8 inches in diameter or larger. Make sure you have a strainer-type ice scoop, to scoop ice shavings and snow out of the holes.
augers in action in merritt

Cousin Guide Dana checking the ice and drilling a hole

Some Handy Extras

Ice fishing exposes a unique set of weather challenges for both the fisherman and his or her equipment. Let’s just say, ice fishing is one of those sports where preparation is just as important as the action of fishing itself.

  • Ice Fishing Shelter – it’s vital to your comfort, and even your survival, when you’re out in cold for extended periods of time. Of all the gear that you need on an ice fishing adventure, your ice tent may be the most important.
The Nicola Valley Eskimo hut

Cousin Fishing Guide Jay Setting up The House

  • Seat/bucket – Five-gallon buckets are a must piece of equipment. You can use them to carry gear, rest rods, and store your fish. The bucket caps are designed for your seating comfort while you patiently sit and stare at that rod watching for the big hit. The cap also doubles as storage for tackle storage.
  • Propane Heater – When ice fishing, a propane heater is sort of a must-have item for your tent. It takes the chill out of the air and lets you sit and watch that rod in comfort.
  • Comfy Chair – You’re likely going to be sitting for a large part of the day if you’re ice fishing. So your best bet is to choose a chair that is easy to carry, offers custom options when it comes to comfort, is sturdy enough to withstand 200 pounds in weight and can collapse easily for transport.
  • Sled –  An ice fishing sled is often overlooked. Sleds are a rugged and light polyethylene tub designed to haul all of your fishing gear and glide over ice and snow. Pick a size that should be able to  carry everything you need to go fishing. You might need 2 but 1 should be good if you choose the right size.

Electronics for Ice Fishing

One of the advantages to having fishing electronics is to help you find fish faster and mark hotspots for future trips. Having the cream of the crop equipment on the ice makes for a more comfortable, successful on the ice/water.

  • Fish and Depth Finder – Knowing how to use a fish finder for ice fishing is an essential part of your electronic gear. The first step is keeping the hole free of slush and finding bottom by using your depth finder. After you find bottom, slowly drop your lure down the hole. You should be able to find and see your lure as you slowly lower the lure. As you continue to lower the lure further down the water column, it will be easier to find. Reason being the depth-finder cone angle widens as the depth of the water increases. One advantage to using a sonar while ice fishing is you can move until you find or see fish. You are not going to catch fish that are not below you. Fishing without a Fish Finder is like looking for the needle in the haystack.
  • Underwater Fish Camera – An underwater fish camera is an essential tool to be able to  get a full picture of your fishing conditions. Underwater fishing cameras are great for ice fishing. Giving you a real-time video of fish and terrain, they also provide a better view of the lake bottom, including weed beds, and any fish swimming by. 
Reading the depth finder

Using the Fish Finder Checking Depth of Water and looking for fish

Dressing For The Fish

One thing I figured out real quick is that Mother Nature isn’t one of the most hospitable hosts I’ve ever come across. Assuming I was dressed pretty warm with a few layers. I was starting to freeze in about 3 hours. This encouraged me to do some investigating about exactly how to dress for ice fishing.

Cousin Guide Jay said, “Who do you think you’re dressing for? The fish don’t hold fashion shows.”

keeping warm fishing

Dressing for the ice fishing occasion

Ice Fishing Dressing Tips

  • Base Layers – Base layers keep your bodies warmth close to the skin. Long underwear is the most basic base layer and works fine. New advanced fabric base layers are lightweight and very thermally efficient.
  • Outer wear – Despite fishing from an ice shelter. Proper pants and jackets are important,  The best ice fishing jackets and pants are Insulated, windproof, and waterproof. 
  • Headwear – At minimum, you should wear a quality stocking hat. Even better are fur or fleece lined hats with ear flaps. Balaclavas are even better, as they have complete face and neck coverage.
  • Gloves – Fingers need protection from the cold and wind. Ice fishing gloves are waterproof, and have flip open finger covers to make dealing with fishing line easier. Gloves that have wrist coverage and can slide up underneath your jacket sleeves are ideal.
  • Boots – Insulated, waterproof boots are best for ice fishing. Keeping your feet warm is key to keeping the rest of you warm.
The End Of The First Merritt Ice Fishing Experience

Ice fishing is definitely a magical, social, exciting fun filled adventure that tends to get overlooked as a winter activity. Up until now I didn’t have a clue about ice fishing. This experience has opened my eyes to what a healthy, natural outdoor sport it is. A simple sport that you don’t need a boat for and little gear to get started. While this is true at the beginning, I can see adding the bells and whistles as you get hooked on ice fishing.

With Merritt having A Lake A Day As Long As You Stay it is inevitable that Merritt, BC is an Ice Fishing Destination.

Fishing Contest – Enter before March 30th, 2021

Ice Fishing Contest - Wes David ice fishing with Wes David

ICE FISHING PHOTO CONTEST
Win a $100 Gift Certificate for fishing gear and an opportunity for your photo to be used showcasing our Nicola Valley ice fishing season on the Fishing the Wild West TV Show with Wes David (30+ Million Viewers).
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Merritt Ice Fishing Destination

Fishing Nicola Valley

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Okanagan Circle Tours from Merritt BC

Similkimeen Okanagan Road Tripping – Part Two

One of many tours starting from the Nicola Valley

 

Okanagan Circle Tours – In my last blog I was talking about circle tours from Merritt, BC, in particular from Merritt to Princeton and then onto the Okanagan. The first part of the journey was from Merritt, BC to Princeton, BC, Canada.  While this trip is fun any time of the year the best period would be early to mid August.

On the Road Again – Okanagan Circle Tours From Merritt, BC

When you leave Princeton you want to head out on Highway 3 going east towards Penticton.  This is a gorgeous part of the trip as you follow the beautiful Similkimeen River.  While there are many points of interest along this route I will be only mentioning a few since this is only a two day tour.  

 

Our first point of interest is Hedley, BC, home of the Mascot Gold Mine.   The mine was closed in the mid twentieth century but was turned into a tourist attraction by the Province and the local first nations people.  Unfortunately the tours ended in 2018.  Despite not being able to take tours  anymore it is still impressive to see the structures that were put in place to mine the side of a mountain.

Mascot Gold Mine

Mascot Gold Mine

Stop #2-Circle Tours From Merritt, BC

While there are many choices to stop for lunch, one of my favourites is Bromley Rock Provincial Park.  This is a perfect spot for a picnic.  As well as  a great lunch venue you could also take a dip in the river.

Bromley Rock Provincial Park

Bromley Provincial Park

Keremeos-The Fruit Stand Capital of Canada.

Keremeos is the last stop in the Similkimeen Valley on our Okanagan Circle Tour from Merritt, BC.  Most of the fruit stands in Keremeos  are the traditional type where the stands are selling fruit from their own farms which is not always the case in other areas of the Province. For example, in August you can get the best peaches because they come from the orchards behind the fruit stands.

 

keremeos fruit stand

Keremeos Fruit Stand

While fruit is the main claim to fame for Keremeos, the Cathedral Lake Lodge is a must see.  Unfortunately you won’t have time on this trip but do book mark it for another time.  The alpine hiking is inspiring.  As well there is plenty of time to do simpler things like reading your book in a comfy chair by the lake.

Cathedral Lakes reading spot

Cathedral Lakes reading spot

Penticton is next on our circle tour from Merritt, BC

Hopefully y0u have timed your trip so that you leave Keremeos by 4:30 or 5:00 so that you can make Penticton by early evening.  You will need to book a hotel for one night.  The more expensive ones are on Okanagan lake while more reasonable accommodation can be had near Skaha Lake.  

After you settle in you will want a bite to eat.  While they have all the fast food choices the Hooded Merganser is a spectacular place to eat.  While it is on the pricier side of things its location on the lake cannot be beat.  Otherwise you may want to try a winery on the Naramata Bench.  We’ve actually eaten at the Hillside Winery where we had an experience we will never forget.

Hillside Winery

Hillside Winery

When we arrived it was a beautiful evening.  However, the wind started to pick up and the clouds began rolling in.  At this point many of the diners left the patio to go inside, but not us.  The temperature was dropping and the waiters brought us blankets. The rain began in earnest but we were protected by a roof. We became the only patrons left on the rooftop patio.  As if the wind and rain weren’t enough along came thunder and lightening.  It was truly spectacular.  By the way, the meal was great.

Day 2 starts in Penticton.

You’ll want to be up early because this will be another fun filled day.  There are so many fun things to do from having a lazy beach day, winery tours, shopping and my favourite, tubing the canal.

For wineries the Naramata Bench provides 19 wineries in very close proximity to each other.  For shopping you will want to take in the mom and pop shops on Main Street. As well you will want to visit the funky galleries on Front Street.

Finally I do recommend the tubing.  If you didn’t bring one you can rent one at Coyote Cruises which opens at 11:00 AM.  Allow three hours for the trip and 1/2 bus trip back.

Floating the canal

Floating the canal

Next stop on our circle tour from Merritt, BC is Summerland.

Summerland is split by Highway 97 with the commercial section on the west side of the road and the beach area down the hill on the other side of the street.  One of the main attractions is the steam train.  You have to be careful though because you might get robbed by bandits on horse back!  You need reservations and you may not get on board if you arrive too late from Penticton.

Steam Train

Steam Train

However not all is lost as downtown Summerland has some great unique stores in downtown.

Our Final Stop on our tour- Peachland

You have to plan your arrival in Peachland at dinner time because you will want to have the best dining experience in the whole Okanagan at the Gasthaus on the Lake Restaurant.

Whether you choose to sit on the beautiful patio with its flowers and trees or in the Bavarian style of the restaurant you will be impressed.  The food and service is also great.  As the last thing to do on this trip you will want to take in an Okanagan sunset,  Peachland has a stunning walk way that travels from one end of the village to the other.  Also there are many scenic spots to stop and take in the surroundings.  All in all this is a great way to end your trip as you prepare to head back to Merritt, BC

 

Peachland waterfront

Peachland waterfront

This Tour Ends

While this tour ended it is obvious that Merritt is a great place to use as a base camp for circle tours.  After all there are eight roads leading into and out of Merritt.

Okanagan Circle Tours from Merritt BC

Similkimeen Okanagan-Part Two

 

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Street Art in Merritt BC

Nicola Valley Arts Gallery Show “Street Art”, first show in 2021

Street Art is visual art created in public locations for public visibility.

Street Art Merritt BC

Merritt BC Street Art Show

Street art in Merritt BC just got a boost with the Art Show. For the last two weeks of January 2021 the community of Merritt and the Nicola Valley were invited to submit designs they thought would make good street art.

We collected over 40 pieces of art for us to consider for a street art project coming up. The City of Merritt, with their Beautification program, is working with the Nicola Valley Community Arts Council to bring art to the streets and buildings in Merritt.

Merritt is already known as a mural town.

Most of our murals have a country music theme.

We want to bring a variety of focuses, mediums, and sizes of street art to our community. So our art call out asked for designs and depictions of plants and animals common in our area, of humour, information/word art, abstracts…

Our Art Show was a good way to collect what people already have or was created especially for public art ideas. And it also allowed the public to come in and have an opinion on what they thought would make great street art in Merritt BC.

We have artists who’s art have already made it to the streets in Merritt and other towns, like Joel Reid.

Street Art Joel Reid

Joel Reid Street Artist

Our show consisted of paintings, sketches, mosaics, carvings, and photos.

Street Art Carving

Pat Tombe Carving Design

We talked about the process of turning the art into a design, small to large. And who would do it. It’ll take a team!

After we know the  possible spaces for designs and get the kinks worked out, then a group of volunteers from the NVCAC will get started on turning these ideas into a reality.  

We hope to have street art several projects completed this year. That’s the plan. And then locals and visitors can enjoy art around them when they are downtown in our community.

Street Art Mosaics

Ellen Miller Mosaics

We want the public art designs to have a wide appeal.

From the look of the art work we had in our show, the designs will appeal to a lot of people. From flowers to mandalas, from stepping stones to powwow scenes, there’s lots to choose from!

Street Art in Merritt BC from Indigenous artist Leonard George

Street Art Leonard George

Leonard George Mural Artist

Our Art Show visitors had a great response to a long and dynamic piece brought in by long time local Indigenous artist, Leonard George. We are hoping to get a space for a mural by Leonard soon, so his work can be a showpiece for the community.

Thanks to all artists and creatives!

Thanks to all who contributed art, and to all our visitors who came by the Gallery! The NV Arts Gallery and Gift Shop has now been in its new location, 2051 Voght Street, for four months! It’s a bright, accessible space.

And “Street Art” was a bright and colourful Art Show…

Street Art in Merritt

Phyllis Laage Street Art

Next show at our Gallery? “Art of Covid”! 

What have the members of our Nicola Valley community been doing over the last year of Covid, to keep their creativity alive?

The submissions are starting to come in…

Hope to see you there! February 3 – March 8/2021

Covid Protocols in place…

And read about our fall move to 2051 Voght Street, beside Kekuli Cafe.

Jano Howarth, Arts Gallery Director

Express Yourself!

Nicola Valley Arts Council

Get in touch! nicolavalleyartsgallery@gmail.com

Street Art in Merritt BC

Twin Willows Street Art Poster, Nicola Valley Arts Gallery

 

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Outdoor Winter Activities

Adventures for the Family in the Nicola Valley

Winter activities enjoyed by all 

We in the Nicola Valley enjoy our outdoor winter activities despite the dark colder days of winter. Albeit, Canadian winter’s can be long and enduring. Although with a bit of incentive everyone can enjoy a winter day like no other.  Beating the winter blues with outdoor winter activities in the Nicola Valley.

Winter Outdoor Activities

Nicola Valley. Photo by Tania Stewart.

Outdoor Winter Activities Like Footprint Tag

Play tag as you normally would…but stepping only in others’ footprints. It should be noted to not have Bigfoot play with you. A slight size advantage there right? As a night time game, we would suggest using glow sticks or flashlights so it makes it even more challenging and interesting. 

Foot print tag. Photo courtesy of Sheldon Quewezance.

Night time tag or hide n seek! Photo by Tania Stewart.

Golfing in the Winter Snow 

Snow golf anyone? Take some time to smooth out a fairway and a green. Take an open can and plant it in the snow. This becomes the whole in one shot! Make sure to color your golf balls and tee’s. Truly easier to find in the snow. Indeed this is how we do golfing during Canadian Winters.

Winter Bocce Ball 

Bocce ball Covid style. Say what! How cool is this to play in the snow.  Bocce ball sets can be found at local Canadian Tire. Truly a ton of laughter will be heard.  

merrittBC

Bocce Ball.

Outdoor Curling Rink?

Due to Covid19 many avid curlers are without a rink to go to. Build a rink in your own back yard or on a lake. Come together as a family and throw some rocks. Good time safe bubble sport with social distancing. 

outdoorwinteractivities.

Outdoor curling rink. Photo courtesy of Pixel.

Other Winter Outdoor Activities

Go on a winter photo scavenger hunt.  This is how you start. Take a picture of an outside recognizable feature. Within the agreed radius. Each participant sends picture to all participants and the hunt is on to locate feature. Clearly it could be a tree or a street name, or even a snowman down the road. Importantly it is an outdoor adventure that is full of fun. Furthermore this winter outdoor activity could include you community. Social distancing while connecting and having fun. Winner’s photo will be shared on social media. 

Winter Outdoor Activities.

Scavenger Hunt. Photo by Tania Stewart.

Merrittwinteractivities.

Winter Games. Photo by Tania Stewart.

Outdoor Winter Activities for the Whole Family in the Nicola Valley.

Build a snowman or snow fort. How about a snowball fun fight? Round up your neighbors and have a friendly winter competition. Divide and conquer. Snowball fight bring it on! Follow up the fun with a creamy hot chocolate and a backyard winter BBQ.  

 

Feeling Artistic?

Host a snow sculpture competition within your neighborhood. Firstly find some  judges. Snowmen consist of three large snowballs of different sizes with some additional goodies for facial and other features. Common accessories include branches for arms and a rudimentary smiley face, with a carrot used for a nose. Clothing, such as a hat or scarf, may also be included for all!​

Winter Beauty is ours to enjoy! Photo from Tania Stewart.

More Outdoor Winter Activities

Ice fishing is considered one of the most recognized  Canadian winter activities. While some fishermen prefer to stay out in the open, most prefer a shelter.  Equally some people like to go big with luxury fish shacks that have heaters, stoves, beds and even T.V’s. My idea of ice fishing! Experience ice fishing in the Nicola Valley.

Ice Fishing

Ice Fishing Nicola Valley.

merritt ice fishing

Enjoy the solitude ice fishing in the Nicola Valley. Photo by Greg Girard.

There are numerous small lakes that are pure gems for ice fishing enthusiasts. Connect with the great outdoors and spend quality time with friends and family while on your Nicola Valley Ice Fishing Adventure. Safety first when you head out on the ice.

Ice skating and Pond Hockey.

Ice skating is truly a Canadian winter activity. Whether being a backyard rink or a frozen pond. Many Canadians can proudly say they spent many a winter days learning to skate and play on outdoor rinks. Apart from the usual sport, how about elevating it. Alternatively adding “Bowling” into pond skating. Set up some pin’s and bowl with skates on. Keep score and have a bawl with this. 

Merritt Cross Country Skiing 

Truly  cross-country skiing is one of the best ways to enjoy a crisp winter day. The Nicola Valley offer’s superb trails. Cross country skiing in the Nicola Valley starts and ends on the Kane Valley xc ski trails. With over  50 kilometers of groomed trails ideal for wilderness Nordic skiing. Consequently, the trails are well marked with signage, decorated with shelters (warming huts) and there are washrooms on site too.

merritt cross country skiing - kane valley

Cross country skiing on the Kane Valley Trails. Photo by Greg Girard

“First of all remember these 2 words – Kane Valley. That is all you have to do to get your next xc ski fix in the Nicola Valley.” Greg Girard.

Additionally, there is also sledding, snow tubing, snowshoeing, fat biking and winter hiking, as well as, stargazing. Merritt BC offers some of the best stargazing without big city light pollution. Truly ideal to stargaze. Each year the Merritt Astronomical Society hosts a large and roomy Star Party.  

Perfect Stargazing outside Merritt BC.

Snowshoeing 

Snowshoeing is the new winter hiking. Utilizing and exploring the same summer trails. Equally provides a winter perspective to the scenery. Lastly, snowshoeing trails are available in the Kane Valley region of the Nicola Valley. Plan a day picnic while  snowshoeing within Merritt’s beautiful backcountry. 

merritt snowshoeing

What a great day to go winter snowshoeing in Merritt. Photo by Pixel Bay

While there is always “Skijoring”

Skijoring,  is a winter sport that originates in Scandinavia, where it has been practiced for centuries. Laplander’s skied on Nordic skis holding the reins attached to reindeer. Subsequently by the mid 1950’s, skijoring found its way to North America. This time ranchers would attach a long rope to the saddle horn while being pulled on ski’s down a straight-away. Important to note the rider determines the pace and route for the skijoring adventure, while the skier attempts to hold on. Extreme maybe? Fun is what I  would say!

Horse Skiing. Photo “YouTube”

 
In Conclusion it is “Fun”

Despite the dark colder days. Nerveless we can all enjoy outdoor winter activities, especially when living in the Nicola Valley. Albeit Canadian winter’s can be long and enduring. Although with a bit of incentive everyone can enjoy a winter day like no other. Who is to say we can not enjoy summer activities during winter months. Playing summer games during the winter months can be hilarious as well as a lot of fun.  Ideally the point is to get outside with family and friends and have a lot of fun with a barrel full of laughs. And if feeling really brave try out Big Foot tracking. Enjoy all activities outdoors during our winter months in the Nicola Valley.

Winter Outdoor Activities.

Big Foot Tracking in the Nicola Valley. Photo Tania Stewart.

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Art in Merritt BC

Art in Merritt BC was on the move in October 2020.

Let’s get artistic in Merritt 

Art Gallery in Merritt BC

2051 Voght St, Merritt BC

Art in Merritt BC at the Art Gallery and Gift Shop moved to 2051 Voght Street after almost 20 years at the old Courthouse on Nicola Avenue. The Nicola Valley Community Arts Council took the plunge and took over enough space in the heritage Jackson building to have an office, a Program Space, our Gift Shop and a Gallery Exhibition space.

After our move, Art in Merritt BC is Back in Action

Two weeks of moving and intense action to spiff up the place, and we were back in action. In a big way!

At least, for our restricted Covid 19 times. We are still waiting for a return to full workshops and music events. Even Friday night Open Mic is on hold!

"Twin

1st Art Show in the New Space on Voght Street

On Oct 15/20, we held our first Art Show in our new space in Merritt BC,  “Art for the Love of It”. Prolific local Artist Jean Kiegerl filled the walls with her work, past and present. Joining her was the creative stained glass duo Glenn and Susan Parkinson of Twin Willows.

The Gift Shop space, adjoining the Gallery, was full of artisan work, from pottery to weavings, so there was lots to look at! Locals and visitors flocked in, masked and socially distant. We doubled our usual show numbers!

Art and Music Reception

A week into the Art Show we held a Reception, held over 6 hours and by invitation, to manage the social interaction we are used to at our events. And for only the 2nd time this Covid year, we enjoyed live Reception music. This time Paul Mozin and Desiree Dunbar played us a little jazz. (I would do that again!)

Music in Merritt BC

Art Show Reception with Paul Mozin and Desiree Dunbar

Shop local!

In mid November, when our first Art Show in our new digs came to

Winter Art Show, Merritt BC

Winter Artisan Show

an end, we switched up to our 5th Winter Artisan Show.

30 local artists and artisans filled the whole spacious space with gifts- practical, creative, fun and beautiful works. And in a year when there were no craft fairs to go to,  we had a flow of people in for the weeks leading up to Christmas Eve.

Who’s who at our Arts Council?

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I really want to talk about the people in the Arts Council, and all our artists and artisans! We have a motivated group making decisions in our Nicola Valley Community Arts Council. It was a lot of work and decision making to get us down to our new space from the old Courthouse. For now, I’ll just send kudos out to everyone who made this move, this change, happen.

Thanks everybody!

Active Arts in Merritt BC, 2021

We are looking forward to an active Arts year here in the Nicola Valley! For more on our NVCAC and Art in Merritt BC, visit here.

After a short holiday break, we are open again January 8th, 2021!

Our extended hours are Wednesday to Saturday, 11-6pm

Sunday 12-4pm

NVAC Facebook and Instagram

NVAC Gallery Facebook

Thanks for stopping by! Jano Howarth

Remember…Express yourself!

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Art Show “Art for the Love of It”

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Circle Tours from Merritt BC

Similkimeen Okanagan-Part One

One of many tours starting from the Nicola Valley

 

There are many circle tours from Merritt, BC because of its location.  Incidentally, there are four highways that pass through Merritt which gives you eight directions to go in.  The length of the tours depends on what you want to see and do.  For example, one of my favourite trips is from Merritt to Princeton, then to Penticton, Summerland, Peachland and then back home.

The American Plan

If you use the American Plan you can do this tour in one day.  The American Plan you say?  Actually this is my own interpretation of an American Tourist based on an incident I witnessed at Cathedral Grove in MacMillan Provincial Park on Vancouver Island.  Believe it or not while we were there an American family pulled up in front of  the large Cedar tree that is a feature of the park.  They all stood in front of the tree, had their picture taken and were off.  Needless to say this is probably not how you want to experience the park but if you are in a hurray I guess it works.  I  don’t know if the American Plan is a “thing”.

Planning Circle Tours from Merritt BC

Any way, the tour I am reporting on consists of about four to five hours of driving time and you then need to consider the time you want to spend in each area. For example, if you intend to spend two hours in the four main centres you are looking at an additional eights hours and your day will consume upwards of thirteen hours.  As you can see this is probably too much to do in one day.

The First Leg-Circle Tours from Merritt BC to Princeton

The first leg of the journey is about one and a half hours as you leave Merritt on Highway 97c, commonly known as the Okanagan Connector.  Some of things along this route you will want to come back to explore are the Corbett Lake Lodge, Kane Valley, Laurie Guichon Grasslands interpretive Site and Lundbom Lake.

Circle tours from merritt bc  - great rainbow trout

Fishing at Corbett Lake

At the junction of Highway 97c and highway 5A you turn right to make your way to Princeton.  The area around Aspen Grove has some great fishing lakes.  However, if you’re more into kayaking this is a great area.  Further along the road is the turn that leads to Kentucky-Alleyne Provincial Park.  Unfortunately you won’t have time to stop there if you want to complete this tour in a timely manner.  In fact you should put this on your list of things to see when you return to the area.

Lake Near Aspen Grove

Lake Near Aspen Grove

Kentucky Lake Hike

Kentucky Lake Hike

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

This leg of the trip is beautiful as you pass numerous lakes surrounded by the hills.  additionally, one of these lakes is the entrance to the AP Guest Ranch.  Yet another point of interest to return to.

AP Guest Ranch Circle Tours from Merritt BC

Experience Nicola Valley Bloggers visit AP Guest Ranch

While there are several other lakes along the way, the province has established a Provincial Park at Allison Lake.  On the one side of the highway is the campground and on the other side is the day use area.  This is a nice spot for a refreshment break.

BCThe Town of Princeton is upgrading its look

After leaving Allison Lake you will arrive at the Town of Princeton.  Collectively this is one of the four towns I recommend stopping at on this circle tour from Merritt, BC.  In recent years the town has taken to upgrading its appearance.  As you can see in the picture below they have added a very attractive gateway,

Princeton Circle Tours from Merritt BC

Princeton Entrance

As well as City initiatives, the businesses are also getting into the act upgrading their store fronts.

Ulpgraded Facade

Upgraded façade

By the way, this is where we ate lunch.  As a matter of fact, the food was really good as the ingredients were all local when possible.  After you eat you can explore the downtown shopping with some quaint shops you won’t find any where else.

Other Activities in Princeton.

Of the many things to do in Princeton I like to walk the part of the Trans Canada Trail (now called The Great Trail) that goes trough town along the Similkimeen River.  They have built a cool pedestrian bridge that crosses the river.

 

Pedestrian bridge

More of the Circle tour from Merritt, BC to come

This part of the tour would take up about four hours at a minimum.  However, you can shorten the time and plan to return another day.  The next leg of the journey is up the Similkimeen Valley to Penticton.  Hopefully, you will stay tuned for the next blog on the rest of this Circle Tour from Merritt, BC.

Circle Tours from Merritt BC

Similkimeen Okanagan-Part One

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“Santa Claus” and Christmas in Merritt BC

A Nicola Valley Christmas with Santa from the North Pole

“Twas the Night Before Christmas and all through Merritt …”

Christmas in Merritt BC Canada is coming up and Santa Claus is busy looking over his naughty & nice list in preparation for the big night. It has truly proven to be a very difficult year for keeping off the Naughty List too. Therefore Santa is checking it twice to find out who has been naughty or nice. In doing so, Santa was very pleased with the children of the Nicola Valley, as well as, the Experience Nicola Valley Bloggers in their efforts of bringing good cheer into the homes of Merrittonians throughout the year.  

Christmas in Merritt BC

Santa checking the Naughty and Nice List twice from Santa’s Village in the North Pole

Mrs. Claus started Christmas in Merritt BC 

Christmas in Merritt BC started with Mrs. Claus accompanied by some poking and prodding from the Elves. One night talking with Santa, Mrs Claus was sharing some of the things she was reading about in the letters from Nicola Valley children. Meanwhile, the snickering Elves nearby hanging the Reindeer stockings were encouraging Mrs. Claus to take a Nicola Valley vacation. So she looked it up on ExperienceMerritt.com to learn more. She was hooked. 

Mrs. Claus Pays It Forward 

Mrs. Claus wanted to get a positive feel for Christmas in Merritt BC Canada. So she visited  the “Walk of Stars”, the Downtown Shops and some of the children, who are now adults, operating small businesses in Merritt during Covid 19. On her list was Blacks’ Pharmacy, Miss Vicki’s Petal and Plants, Planet Hair and Spa, Community Futures Nicola Valley and the City of Merritt Mayor, Linda Brown. 

Christmas in Merritt BC Must Go On

The Elves, the reindeer, Santa and Mrs. Claus all realize first hand how the children miss meeting with Santa Claus due to Covid19. Because of the pandemic Santa could not do his annual rounds visiting all the children throughout the world. Santa decided, based on the feedback from Mrs. Claus’ visit to the Nicola Valley, that Christmas in Merritt BC must go on!

christmas in merritt

Santa and Mrs. Claus discussing Christmas in Merritt BC

Interview with Santa and Mrs. Claus

Santa and Mrs. Claus agreed to provide Experience Nicola Valley a 1/2 hour interview on our community talk show called Nicola Valley Talk. Lucky me! I, Tania Stewart, was the host of that episode on Nicola Valley Talk which had Santa and Mrs. Claus as a special guest! They shared so many things during our interview about Santa’s Village, the North Pole, the reindeer, the mischievous Elves and Xmas Eve. Watch the interview below. 

Letters from Nicola Valley Children

After much consideration Mrs. Claus and Santa, along with their 90 thousand elves, decided to grant the Nicola Valley Talk Show an additional episode so they could answer the letters from Nicola Valley children live online. In addition, they would invite a few children online to talk and chat with Santa on a video call live from the North Pole in Northern Canada. We received letters and some video submissions too, making for great stories and answers.

We all know that  Mrs.. Claus runs the show in the North Pole. Without her,  Santa would truly be lost. Of course Mrs. Claus did all her research on the ExperienceNicolaValley.com and ExperienceMerritt.com websites! Notably she searched Merritt BC  Things To Do on Google and the Experience Nicola Valley and Experience Merritt websites came up 3 times on the first page! 

“They must be the community experts Experience Nicola Valley Bloggers. And I was right!” Mrs. Claus.

Meanwhile back at the North Pole 

Then there are the Elves who are dedicated and work tirelessly to make sure Christmas is special. In our discussions, we met the two head Elves, Alex and Daniel.  These two had it all together. Therefore they were in charge of feeding the Reindeer, building toys, and assisting Mrs. Claus with the banking so to provide Santa with his cookies.  

christmas in merritt bc elves

The Head Elves, Alex and Daniel, helping out at the North Pole.

“In the light of  all the work that Santa’s Elves do throughout the year. They are just so jolly and full of spunk.” Melvina White

To point out these are the 5 most asked questions from children as well as adult’s to Santa Claus. 

  1.  -“Do you remember when Santa and you got me a XXXXX when I was 6?”
  2. – “Is Xmas cancelled because of COVID?”
  3. – “Can the reindeer really fly?”
  4. – “How does Santa get down the chimney?”
  5. – “Are there really such things as Elves?”

Santa in 2021

We sure do hope to have Santa back next year on the show to answer and chat live with Nicola Valley children. 

Christmas in Merritt BC Canada

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Winter Activities in Merritt BC

Outdoor Winter Activities in The Nicola Valley

Getting outdoors and enjoying the crisp cold air is exhilarating to say the least.

Winter activities in Merritt BC – Albeit we all want to hunker down during the winter months and hibernate, sit back and wait for spring. Truth be told Winter is one of my favourite seasons to become more active and enjoy Outdoor Winter Activities in the Nicola Valley. Although nothing compares to swimming in a lake in the summer, ice fishing on that very lake in the winter is an “AHA moment”. Winter Activities in Merritt BC is an outdoors enthusiasts dream scape. Here in the Nicola Valley there is a winter activity for everyone to enjoy. Get outside and Experience Nicola Valley!

Winter Activities in Merritt BC.

Snowshoeing in Merritt.

 Winters in Merritt, BC, Canada

Snowmobiling on Tyme Mountain – Winters in Merritt, BC, Canada.

Let us begin with cross-country skiing and snowshoe winter activities in Merritt BC.

Importantly and ideally the best place is” Kane Valley” for xc skiing and snowshoeing. It is only located 18 kms south of Merritt, BC, Canada. ExperienceMerritt.com points out that the Kane Valley enjoys a base elevation of 1160 metres (3800 feet). The timbered valley has a micro-climate that can provide ideal Nordic skiing conditions. The snow is generally dry, seldom more than 1 to 1.5 metres deep, and the air temperature is usually between 0 and -15 degrees Celsius throughout the winter. The best winter access to the ski areas is along the Kane Valley road which joins Highway 5A/97C near Corbett Lake, 18 kilometers south of Merritt. 

Winter Activities in the Nicola Valley.

Cross country skiing Kane Valley. Photo by

merritt cross country skiing - kane valley

Cross country skiing on the Kane Valley Trails

Snowshoes are welcome also at Kane Valley. Outdoor Winter Activities in The Nicola Valley.

Snowshoeing winter style. Photo by Bonnie Kittle.

Furthermore with Covid19 and self-distancing there has been an increase with people getting back outdoors and enjoying nature. Albeit cross-country skis can be cumbersome to younger children, snowshoes are much easier to navigate and you will forget you are wearing them.  

Now let us look at Snowmobiling. Outdoor Winter Activities in The Nicola Valley.

Snowmobiling is an outdoor winter activity everyone can enjoy in The Nicola Valley. While experiencing the crisp air and boundless trails. Snowmobiling in the surrounding  Nicola Valley is an outdoor enthusiasts dream. Snowmobiling in Merritt BC can be the ride of your life, as stated by EH Canada Travel.

“Come and experience a snowmobiling paradise in Merritt BC, Canada. From rolling hills, groomed trails to immense peaks our snow-covered landscapes offer a variety of snowmobiling adventures for all ages, abilities and desires.”

snowmobiling on Helmer Lake

One of the great winter activities around Merritt, BC.

Snowmobiling on Tyme Mountain - Winters in Merritt, BC, Canada

Snowmobiling on Tyme Mountain – Winters in Merritt, BC, Canada.

Ice Fishing truly an Outdoor Winter Activity in The Nicola Valley.

Ice fishing is not for the weak at heart. In other words having to deal with the wind, cold, wet feet and even picking the wrong drilling spots can be trying for some. However, ice fishing is a winter delight for many who enjoy fishing as a hobby. This is an activity anyone can enjoy, whether being a beginner or a pro. On the other hand, when the fish are not biting, make it a family day of fun with a hotdog roast and gooey smores. Lastly, make sure to check the depth of the ice. Safety is key! Need more information on ice fishing, go to “Getting Started for Ice Fishing.

Where to Ice Fish in the Nicola Valley?

Nicola Lake located 13km from Merritt is a favourite for ice fishing. Chicken Ranch Lake, another lake, offers great fishing for Brook Trout. The fish average in size around 1 lb but can reach up to 3 to 4 lbs. Alleyne Lake (near Merritt) fishes Kokanee. Generally speaking ice fishing usually starts in mid December as the colder weather brings over 6 inches of hard ice. Along with the fish still feeding because of the high oxygen levels in the water. Ideal ice fishing time!

Photo courtesy of Freshwater Fisheries Society.

What about Tobogganing? Truly a Winter Activity enjoyed in Merritt BC.

Surely one of the best tobogganing is just before Lundbom Lake. With easy access for cars this is an ideal place with some amazing hills to toboggan down. It is an outdoor adventure with a picnic. A historical fact – the toboggan was originally used as transportation by the Inuit and First Nations groups of Canada. Moreover do not forget the hot chocolate! 

Star Gazing outdoor winter activities in The Nicola Valley.

Star Gazing during the winter months in the Nicola Valley is ideal. Because it is a smaller community there is little-to-no light pollution to cover the stars at night. In effect the Nicola Valley is one of the best location for avid star gazers. Thus if you are a pro star gazer or a beginner this is your destination place.  

Star Gazing. Photo by Alessandro Viaro.

Winter Activities in Merritt.

Photo courtesy of Calwaen Liew.

Winter Activities in Merritt BC.

Winter Moon. Photo by Tania Stewart.

Even more there is Winter Hiking! 

Hiking Kentucky Lake.

Okay now let us talk about winter time hiking. Merritt is situated in a valley surrounded by mountains with an abundance of mountain trails. Makes for an ideal spot for all levels of hiker’s who like a challenge or just a hour stroll.

In addition the Nicola Valley offers trails that wrap around majestic lakes. Check out Kentucky Lake which offers a scenic hike around it’s lake. Assuredly the Nicola Valley has a wide variety of hiking trails available for all hiking abilities. Iron Mountain located just off highway 97C,  enjoys a 4k trek to the top. Worth the views.

Winter Hiking. Photo by Tania Stewart.

Hiking trails in Merritt. Photo courtesy of Tania Stewart.

Tom Lacey Memorial Trail. Located close to downtown Merritt. Truly a fun family hike. Then there is Sugarloaf Mountain which starts at Lundbom Lake. Follow the access road to Hamilton Lake, gives  you the most direct access to the top of Sugarloaf Mountain,

Winter in Merritt BC 

Winter activities in Merritt BC are numerous.  Getting outdoors and enjoying the crisp cold air is exhilarating to say the least. As previously stated winter in the Nicola Valley offers ice fishing, tobogganing, snowmobiling, snowshoeing, cross-country skiing, hiking, and star gazing. Further more Merritt has numerous Hotel accommodations for travelers along with a great selection of downtown shops with fine eateries for all. Let us bring back skating on lakes what about outdoor hockey with masks.  

Winter in Merritt, BC, Canada

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