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

Summer Outdoor Activities in Merritt BC

Summer Adventures and Activities in The Nicola Valley

Outdoor summer activities in Merritt BC , offers a wide range of sunshine fun.  200 lakes, mountain biking trails and more makes the Nicola Valley a great choice for your next destination spot in the summer. Merritt’s  slogan says it all “A Lake A Day For As Long As You Stay”.  And we have rivers too! I guarantee when it comes to experiencing summer outdoor activities in the Nicola Valley,  it will make you wish you planned for more time so to go kayaking, boating, hiking, mountain biking, horseback riding and viewing wildlife.   

“I don’t need therapy, I just need my boat.” Unknown

Summer Activities Merritt BC.

Gone Fishing! Photo by Tania Stewart.

Summer Activities Merritt BC

Outdoor Activities Merritt BC.

Swimming fun! Picture courtesy Tania Stewart.

Outdoor Activities Merritt BC.

Nature’s poolside, were you can find me. Photo by Tania Stewart.

Summer Activities in Merritt BC Includes Lundbom Lake 

Lundbom Lake is truly one of my favorite Summer Activities in Merritt BC. A beautiful lake which is located only 10 minutes from downtown Merritt BC. Moreover  Lundbom Lake  is a great location for camping, fishing and horseback riding. While the surrounding area also provides excellent mountain biking and ATV/dirt bike riding. Along with having sunny and shady sites. Open from Apr 26, 2019 – Oct 14, 2019. Outdoor  

Summer Activities Merritt BC.

Julie Pollard “Is that the big one?” Photo Tania Stewart.

 

Summer Activities Merritt BC.

Enjoying the dock. Photo by Tania Stewart.

Outdoor Activities Nicola Valley.

View of Lundbom Lake. Photo TS.

 

“I camp here until the end of October most years.” Unknown Tourist.

 

Kayaking on Lundbom. Photo by ehCanadaTravel.com.

EhCanadatravel

Fall camping Eh! Photo courtesy ehCanadaTravel.com

 

“Lundbom Lake is very quiet and peaceful. Little noise pollution during all 3 of our visits. That is all we have to base it on. So it works for us.” Eh Canada Travel Website

Outdoor Summer & Fall Activities in the Nicola Valley BC. Canada.

Lake Trout. Photo Greg Girard.

Outdoor Summer & Fall Activities in the Nicola Valley BC. Canada.

Lundbom Lake Fall night. Photo by Greg Girard.

“THE FISHING ROCKS! Had to get that one out.” Greg Girard.

Outdoor Activities Merritt BC

Horse back riding has to be one of the best summer  activities everyone can enjoy. A great opportunity to take in all of Mother Nature’s beauty. Trail riding is truly a Summer & Fall activity everyone can enjoy together in Merritt B.C. Offering a few choices, the Nicola Valley provides a day of adventure with nature in a saddle.  

Horse Camping at Lundbom Lake. Photo by Tania Stewart.

Outdoor Activities Merritt BC.

A-P Guest Ranch. Photo by Tania Stewart.

Fall Fly Fishing in the Nicola Valley

Fly Fishing being a popular sport, Merritt BC has it made with 200 lakes.  There is no wonder to why Corbett Lake Lodge is an anglers dream during the fall months. For all your supplies that you may need, surely drop by Ponderosa Sports located downtown Merritt.  

Summer Activities Merritt BC

Dragon Flies. Photo TS.

Summer Adventure on Nicola Valley’s Lakes

Fishing for bait. Picture by Tania Stewart.

 

Best Fishing Lakes Near Merritt

It should be noted that the Nicola Valley boast’s some of the best fishing in the World! There are over 200+ lakes in the region. Many are prime lake fishing destinations, including Garcia Lake, Marquart Lake, Hamilton Lake, Edna Lake, Mathew Lake, Morgan Lake, Roth Lake, Gwen Lake, Lundbom Lake and Lily Lake. Located just outside of Merritt, Marquart Lake is a small, clear lake which offers good rainbow trout fishing, camping and other outdoor activities nearby. 

Were to Start Planning Your Summer Activities

One place to start is our travel website Experience Merritt. Once you have your bearings than check out some of the fishing experiences on this blog site. Last, but not least, ask a local or visit Ponderosa Sport’s downtown Merritt.

 

Kennedy Lake Hike

Kennedy Lake Hike. Photo Credit: Tania Stewart

Mountain Biking Outdoor Activities Merritt BC

Outdoor adventure mountain biking on the many trails surrounding the Nicola Valley provide endless days of exploring the backcountry.  No crowds. Lots of trails. Mouth-dropping scenery. Therefore to enjoy the trails in our backcountry all you need is a water bottle, the right gear and your ride. Nature and the adrenaline rush provides the rest. In reality the Nicola Valley provides the beautiful backcountry scenery, the wildlife sightings, the remote wilderness lakes and forested rolling hills. A nature enthusiasts dream space. Questions? You can drop a line with Merritt Mountain Biking Association

Mountain Biking Fun

Mountain Biking Fun. Photo by Jordan Pinto.

Mountain Biking - Merritt BC

Scenic trails. Photo by Jordan Pinto.

Moreover Hiking/Backpacking 

Truly enjoying the fall weather while hiking in the Nicola Valley is a must. Making sure to have your compass, water, picnic basket and a camera to capture your adventure. With the City of Merritt being located in a valley surrounded by mountains makes this an ideal destination place for avid backpackers and hikers. Generally having on the average sunny warm fall days makes it a pleasant day of hiking and adventure for the whole family. Reminder to always tell someone were you will be hiking if alone.

merritt bc camping

Harmon Lake. Photo courtesy of Experience Nicola Valley Blogger Tom Reynolds.

Scenic nature. Photo by Tania Stewart.

Summarizing Outdoor Activities in The Nicola Valley

Outdoor Activities in Merritt BC truly will have you smiling and knowing that you just had the best summer.  While Merritt can boast over 200 lakes with desert-like weather truly makes this your next vacation spot. “ A Lake A Day as Long as You Stay” has been it’s local slogan for decades. Equally making this your next destination place for activities such as kayaking, boating, mountain biking, hiking, paragliding or just lazily strolling lake trails.  Truly making this your next destination vacation spot!

Summer Fun in The Nicola Valley

Come and Experience the Adventure

 

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Desert Hills Ranch

What better way to get your summer bucket list started off right than spending a day with an awesome summer adventure. 

Spending a day at Desert Hills Ranch with family.

A day at Desert Hills Ranch. Seriously hands down this is a hidden gem located in heart of  Ashcroft B.C.  A beautiful slow paced community that has so much charm to offer with old school western desert vibes. Ashcroft has a museum, well stocked grocery store, lovely tourist worthy location for community information. Lastly…  you could also bring your swim suits and check out our community pool to cool off.

desert hills ranch ashcroft bc canada

Goats at Desert Hills Ranch. Photo Credit: Jennifer Schell

mexican store ashcroft bc canada

Delish! Mexican Delights! Photo Credit: Jennifer Schell

History in Ashcroft BC

Of course my oldest son Logan, age 13, says his favorite thing to see is all of the tractors. He loves to see the historical and ancient farming machines. Secondly if you fancy yourself an avid gardener or aspire to be. The options for making that dream a reality is beyond belief. Think Garden of Eden meets tacos and you have a pretty good idea of what its like on the ranch.

Going Mexican Food in Ashcroft

Speaking of tacos… if you crave Mexican food and fare. This is the place to be for all sorts of chips, beans, hot sauces and salsas. I love stocking up on all the essentials for the best taco Tuesday meal items. In conclusion you do not want to forget to mark on your calendar for salsa weekend if you are keen to make your own.

plants gardening ashcroft bc

Plants!  Photo Credit: Jennifer Schell

ashcroft bc family fun

Family fun in Ashcroft BC. Photo Credit: Jennifer Schell

Fun Times at Desert Hills Ranch

A day at Desert Hills Ranch is fun for everybody! They have lots to see and do. Children,  I think,  have an especially great time here. As a Mom I appreciate the measures that the ranch takes to allow people to view the animals but also how clean they keep it. Along with the areas  to clean and sanitize hands often, and easy access to use the rest rooms. The barn is such a fun treat to explore every time and it is fun to see all the animal friends inside! Of course feeding the goats is so much fun! 

Fruits and more 

My daughter Amelia age 11 says her favorite thing to enjoy is the food. She loves to buy different fruits each week to try with the family and she loves the ice-cream. I feel zero regret buying ice-cream here for my family of 10! The price is right when it comes time for a cool treat. What a fun and affordable way to make the day that much more memorable! 

 

cows farming ranch ashcroft bc

Calf in Ashcroft

An Educational Opportunity 

Machines, where our food comes from, biology and botany are just a few subjects you will encounter on the ranch. As a homeschooling mama this place has educational field trip written all over it. And that is another perfect reason to come check out the ranch. This hasn’t been my first time blogging about my favorite ranch. You can read that post HERE . There is so much to see and do here, it really is a very enriching experience. My son Zach who is 6 absolutely loves that he got to see his favorite animal when he visited the barn. A baby cow was such a adorable treat for him to see so close.

kyle schell ashcroft canada plants

Lots Of Selection To Keep Any Green Thumb Happy

Flowers in Ashcroft BC Canada

This has to be one of my favorite parts of coming to the ranch. I love the huge selection of flowers, shrubs and trees they always have here. It makes adding curb appeal easy with the huge selection that they always have! I love that I can even dabble at pretending I am a homesteader with there great assortment of garden items. Cue the Little House On The Prairie theme song. I am so excited to try making a few different jams this season and give some canning  a try. We love getting our tomatoes and strawberries here. And filling up our garden rows with lots of other goodies as well. Corn, peppers, cauliflower to name a few! 

ashcroft flowers plants

Impeccable Selection Of Many Garden Items

Covid Pregnancy

Delicious Produce Awaits At The Ranch

In Conclusion 

A day at Desert Hills Ranch is never a day wasted. This place is really such a hidden gem. Surrounded by desert mountains. It has beautiful weeping willows to offer shade as you stroll around. They are always so kind and courteous. It truly offers an exceptional summer experience in the heart of British Columbia.

Therefore, if you are looking for more great all year around ideas for what to do in BCs interior. Please follow the Experience Nicola Valley Bloggers. And keep your eyes on the Blog for some more great Summer Bucket List ideas! Thanks for reading! Have a great summer and stay safe. 

CONTACT INFO

Desert Hills Ranch

250 Elm Street, Ashcroft, BC

250.453.9876

deserthillsfarmmarket@gmail.com

www.deserthillsranch.com

 

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“Experience Community Program” is a small and rural community authentic content marketing program. It is a product of the EH? Canada Marketing Group.  Contact us today to bring this award winning community program to your region. 

Art During Covid in Merritt BC

Creativity Persists, even in the middle of a pandemic

Our art show in February 2021 was full of light, beauty and humour

 

Art during Covid in Merritt BC helped lots of people pass the time during our lockdown and careful year.

Artists and artisans expressed how creativity, theirs and others, made the restrictions bearable. Some came regularly to our Arts Centre, with Gallery shows, a well stocked gift shop, and even our Program Space where we held very respectful events. 

We also provided the public with art classes online, as well as continuing our regular meetings via Zoom.

Special Community Art Show, Art During Covid

Art of Covid

Nancy Ellingsen art, Kim Leclair poster

In February we held a special community show, called The Art During Covid, Creativity Persists. We invited people in our Nicola Valley to submit art they had created during 2020 and early 2021. 

We were excited to see how the show came together, from paintings to pottery. And we were surprised at how positive the show was, overall. Despite the challenging times we were experiencing, and how difficult it was for people to endure, the show was full of light, colour, beauty and humour.

Overcoming sadness and separation with creativity

Art During Covid

Lin Butler Buchanan’s Covid 2020, Open Wounds

Of course there were expressions of trouble and sadness. The year was spent battling separations of family, the disappearance of social gatherings, and job losses. It was difficult for people not to succumb to feelings of loss and separation. 

At the Arts Centre we faced a difficult move, changing locations, and had to juggle all the participation, cleaning, and renos required. We missed several of our key contributing members who couldn’t risk even a bit of contact. 

Mission to stay connected

Art During Covid

Sharon Antoine, leather and beadwork

However, the NVCAC’s overriding mission during this difficult time was to help the community feel welcome, and keep up contact, even with restrictions. We stuck to the protocols so most people felt safe to come in to our Arts Centre and see our Gallery shows, browse in our gift shop, and sign up for an online art class.

The February Art During Covid Show had close to 20 participants. We were not able to hold a reception, but a steady steam of people came during the five week show. We made sure we posted lots of photos online, so extra-careful people could see the submissions.

One of our submissions was a large chalkboard, for people to write about what creativity they were up to during Covid. However, artist and NVCAC president, Mischelle Pierce’s own story, that she wrote to encourage others, was such an inspiration we just chose to leave it as one of the artworks.

Art of Covid

Art During Covid stories

The art show elicited story after story from people in the community, telling how they were keeping up their creative processes with the long hours at home.

They found they had time to do art

Art During Covid

Online classes and respectful in person art sessions

A common theme was how, with the stay at home orders in early spring 2020 that persisted for many, they found they had time to do art they hadn’t done for years. And some began arts and crafts that they had always wanted to do and had never tried.

Even local musicians, who were really missing our live music events like Open Mic, submitted songs they had written or worked on during the year. We played them on our YouTube channel at  the Gallery during the art show. 

Mandala Art

Kathleen Kinasewic Soul Circle Mandalas

An online art class that went over really well was Mandala Art with Kathleen Kinasewich, of Soul Circle Mandalas. Kathleen led a small group for a couple of hours, doing the healing and meditative process of mandala art work.

I am thankful myself, as the Gallery Curator, for the suggestion to do this theme for our regular February Community show. In the past we have presented an Art of Sound Show, an Art for Children, Children in Art Show, and other fun and interesting themes…. 

This show felt very meaningful

Art During Covid

Nona Tickner’s Wash Your Hands

This show felt very meaningful, to acknowledge and honour the way people rise to a difficult situation. Often our difficult times are experienced just in our own circle. But the Covid Pandemic brought us an experience that was felt, and still is, all over the world. And through our Art of Covid show we were able to gather some of the expressions of people in our Nicola Valley, and share them. 

The stories from this Pandemic continue. We hope that creativity and art expressions continue to help people get through this difficult time.

Art expresses our true feelings

Darkness, loss, and sadness to inspiration and light.  Art expresses our true feelings. Thanks to all who shared their creativity during this show with us. 

Express yourself!

And to see what else is happening in our Nicola Valley art community, visit my post Nicola Valley Creativity in Action.

Thanks! Jano Howarth

NVCAC Arts Gallery Curator

Visit us at nicolavalleyarts.com

Facebook Nicola Valley Arts Gallery

Facebook Nicola Valley Arts Council

Art of Covid

Cindy Trent’s Corvids

Art of Covid

Kim Vizi Carmen’s Collaboration

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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“Experience Community Program” is a small and rural community authentic content marketing program. It is a product of the EH? Canada Marketing Group.  Contact us today to bring this award winning community program to your region. 

Summer In Merritt BC Canada

Experience lazy summer days in the Nicola Valley

“No matter were you decide to spend time outdoors experiencing the Nicola Valley Merritt BC,  you will never be disappointed with all it’s beauty”

 

Destination Vacation in Merritt BC

Summer in Merritt BC in the Nicola Valley is a time to enjoy the outdoors and experience everything that nature has to offer.  Remember that first cold swim of the summer? Furthermore, do you remember your first boat ride, sunburn, eating hot dogs, or having a picnic.  “A Lake A Day For As Long As You Stay” is what we do well with over 200+ lakes,  ideal camping, great fishing and very friendly locals.  

Summer In Merritt BC Canada

Kayaking on Lundbom Lake located 15 min from Merritt BC.

A Lake A Day For As Long As You Stay

Experiencing Nicola Valley during the Spring and Summer months is truly breathtaking. Lundbom Lake located 15min out of Merritt attracts many campers every year who enjoy fishing, mountain biking and horseback riding!  You will truly want to stay and never go home! 

 

Summer In Merritt BC Canada

A 15min drive from Merritt. No need to pack a lunch! Photo by Tania Stewart.

“Most of the sites (Lundbom Lake) are spacious and private, great for large RV’s, tents, and trailers! I have even seen motorcycle groups come and stay for overnighters.” Julie Pollard.

Lundbom Lake in Merritt BC

Picture taken going into Lundbom Lake. Photo by Tania Stewart.

Scenic Beauty Amidst Nature

Kayaking on Lundbom Lake is truly peaceful. Being a smaller lake, Lundbom doesn’t let you down.

Summer In Merritt BC

Easily navigated for beginner kayakers. Photo Tania Stewart.

Kayakers Dream Lake!

Furthermore Lundbom never disappoints.

Lundbom Lake Kayaking

Summer is my season! Photo TS.

Picture Perfect Summer in Merritt BC

Don’t Forget Your Camera. Always a lot of nature to capture with a snap.

Lundbom

Late afternoon bliss on the water.

Bird lovers dream.

Bird lovers dream.

To Sum It Up The Water Can Be Cold!

Kayaking in Merritt BC

Cold but refreshing!

Kayakers Dream Lake

Cool summer breeze.

And There’s Nicola Lake

Located 23km from Merritt BC and 62km from Kamloops BC, Nicola Lake is easily accessible.  Great for kayaking, fishing and boating. 

Nicola Lake

Nicola Lake Fishing Dock.

Dock Fishing

Nicola Lake supports a variety of fish species which include Bull Trout, Cutthroat Trout, Kokanee and Rainbow Trout, Chinook, Coho, and Pink Salmon, and Steelhead Trout. Also watch out for Burbot and Mountain Whitefish. Can get a bit Fishy out there. 

Might be cold, but feels great!

No step ladder provided.

Swimming Allowed Here

 

Beautiful Nicola Lake.

You Don’t Have To Leave Merritt To Cool Off!

Located downtown Merritt BC, the Coldwater River is perfect for cooling off. That’s right, we call it the Clay Banks and many locals enjoy their day swimming here. Looking to camp? Claybanks RV Park Campground offers clean cut grassed sites, and immaculate washrooms along Coldwater River. Not to mention, it is a quick walk to historical downtown Merritt where you can take in all the Country Music murals. Get a picture with George Jones or the Hag. As well, one can venture a walk with the “Walk of Stars”

Searching for River Treasure.

Cooling off!

Check out Merritt BC Rotary Water Park!

Rotary Park is easily accessible due to its location near Downtown Merritt. A day adventure could easily be done with renting bikes from one of Merritt’s local business Breathe Bikes.

Rotary Lake Park in Merritt BC

Cool off under a tree while watching your children enjoy Merritt’s Rotary Water Park.

Beautiful Rest Stop For Travellers 

Located on Voght Street. A perfect spot to enjoy your lunch and stretch your legs.

You might see some Beaver evidence.

Enjoy a peaceful picnic.

Picnic Tables Along With Restrooms

In addition to being easily accessible. Picnic tables and restrooms are available. 

A truly scenic rest spot to enjoy a picnic.

Scenic Driving in The Nicola Valley

Of course you could take a scenic drive along the old highway from Merritt to Kamloops. 

Chances are you may spot an Eagle!

Even horses enjoy lazy summer days.

Petit Creek

Located 28km from Merritt BC this hidden gem is worth the drive.

Duck

Spring Duck.

Camping Allowed

Although these pictures were taken in the Spring. This spot is truly unique with the view of the old railroad bridge. Above all else, always take what you brought in. Leave no “Footprint”.

 

Would love to swim.

Old Rail Road Bridge.

Majestic Mountains

The view of the mountains from this little camp ground. Located only 28km from Merritt.

Anyone want to go for a hike?

And We Were Swinging!

Located 28km outside Merritt BC towards Spencer’s Bridge. Spius Creek Logging Bridge watering hole is surely a delight to all.

Swimming spot at Spius Creek Logging Bridge.

Great River Swimming!

River

Riding the Rapids! Sunshine Vly Rd, Merritt, BC

Lac Le Jeune

Lac Le Jeune is a lake and provincial park in British Columbia, Canada, located approximately 37 kilometers south of Kamloops or 47 kilometers north of Merritt.  A perfect day for a swim. 

Lac La Jeune Dock.

Great Place To Cool Off

Bring your picnic and your kayaks and enjoy this beautiful lake.

Great for water floaties.

Friendly leeches.

Resist jumping in!

Lac La Jeune Lake located 47km north of Merritt BC. Experience Nicola Valley!

Swimming in the Lake

Spending my summer swimming!

Experiencing The Nicola Valley Merritt BC

To sum it all up, no matter were you decide to spend time outdoors experiencing the Nicola Valley Merritt BC,  you will never be disappointed with all it’s beauty. Remember no matter were you go, don’t leave your “Footprint” behind.

 

Just standing by a lake is great!

Summer in Merritt BC in the Nicola Valley

Experience lazy day summers in the valley

Country Music Artist Michelle Wright – Merritt BC Murals

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Is It Me And You - Lisa Brokop

Is It Me And You – Lisa Brokop

Is It Me And You – Lisa Brokop Country Music Singer & Songwriter has released a soulful recording of a hot new love song. It is pretty much guaranteed that Lisa will certainly draw some attention and without a doubt capture the audience where ever and when ever she performs this song.

It is said that Lisa has put out one of the most soulful recordings of her career. Lisa’s career has certainly been a journey and an adventure for her. She credits her life and career  to the music as her motivator.

Lisa Brokop Is It Me And You

In Lisa’s own words she says:

“I love what I do. Every note I sing, whether in studio or on stage, is true. It hasn’t always been an easy road. There has been many curves, bumps and detours. But really, it is the love of the music that motivates each step I take in the business. It keeps me moving forward.” Lisa Brokop

Is It Me And You – Lisa Brokop – Country Music Singer & Songwriter on The Journey to The Merritt Murals

Is It Me And You – Lisa Brokop – Country Music Singer & Songwriter is featured on the walls of  the Merritt BC Murals. Born June 6, 1973 in Surrey, British Columbia, Lisa made her presence known in the entertainment world by the age of seven. It was then she started performing with her mother, who was a seasoned accordion player.

At age twelve, Lisa started sitting in on jam sessions with various country music bands throughout Vancouver, BC. By age fifteen she joined a touring band and was off to the races. It was obvious she was destined to be featured on the walls of our Merritt BC Murals located in the Nicola Valley in the community of Merritt BC Canada.

Sweet 16 And Beyond For Lisa Brokop

1990 at seventeen, Lisa released her debut single, “Daddy Sing To Me”. The song reached the top ten on The Canadian Country RPM Charts. In addition, “My Love”, her debut album, followed in June of 1991.

After graduation Lisa moved to Nashville, Tennessee to further her country music career. While performing at local clubs, Brokop caught the attention of The Nashville Network. The network began to play the video for Brokop’s single “Time To Come Back Home”. As a result they had Lisa make a guest appearance on The Ralph Emery Show. This appearance and a thirty minute showcase resulted in Lisa Brokop getting a record deal with Patriot Records.

Merritt BC Murals Is It Me And You

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

Is It Me And You – Singing and Acting in Harmony Cats

Before Brokop began recording her second album, she starred in the 1994 film Harmony Cats, where she played a country singer who leaves home in search of a big break in Nashville. Lisa Brokop contributed to the movie’s soundtrack and her cover of Tammy Wynette’s 1968 number one hit “Stand By Your Man” was issued as a single.

Back On And Off The Winding Road Of Recording

Lisa Brokop’s second album released the single “Give Me A Ring Sometime”, in June 1994. The single made the top 20 in Canada, but unfortunately it only reached No. 52 on the US Billboard Chart. Nevertheless, her first major label album. “Every Little Girl’s Dream”, was released in September of 1994. 

In the meantime ‘Give Me A Ring Sometime’ was charting. However, many Canadian radio stations refused to play Lisa’s music because the Canadian Radio-Television and Telecommunication ruled that ‘Give Me A Ring Sometime’ did not have enough Canadian Content in the song. Nevertheless, Brokop’s album went on to produce two more top 40 singles in Canada with ‘Take That’ and ‘One Of Those Nights’

1995 And Lots Of Change

By 1995, the album was certified Gold by the CRIA, for sales peaking 50,000 copies. Included in 1995 was a nomination for Top New Female Vocalist at the Academy of Country Music Awards. Also in 1995, Patriot Records closed its doors and Brokop transferred to Capital Nashville.

Lisa released her third album ‘Lisa Brokop’ the following year. The album did not do so well. As a result none of the album singles reached the top 40 in Canada or The United States. The failure of the album ended her relationship with Capital Nashville.

Consequently she decided to take some time off and focus on song writing. As a result, some country music stars took notice and started recording tracks she penned, including Reba McEntire, Terri Clark, and Pam Tillis.

Change Brings Opportunity

 Brokop signed with the Nashville division of Columbia Records, in 1998, where she released the single ‘How Do I Let Go’. The song reached the top 20 of The Canadian RPM Country Tracks chart and received a nomination for “Socan Song of the Year” at the 1998 Canadian Country Music Awards Show. 

In July of 1998, Lisa released in Canada the album, ‘When You Get To Be You’. It produced five more singles, including ‘What’s Not To Love’ that peaked at No 21. And, soon later, ‘Better Off Broken’ peaked at No. 8 becoming Brokop’s highest charting single on The Canadian RPM Country Tracks chart in 1999. The album was not released in the US and as a result Lisa Brokop left Columbia Records at the end of 1999.

Undeniable Change

In 2000, Brokop ventured on her own and launched Cosmo Records. It was under this label she released her fifth album, ‘Undeniable’.  Lisa Brokop received in 2001 two Canadian Country Music Association awards for Independent Song of The Year for ‘Something Undeniable’ as well as independent Female Artist of The Year.

The album’s third single, ‘I’d Like To See You Try’, won Brokop Independent Song of The Year as well as Independent Female Artist of the Year in 2002, from The Canadian Country Music Association. 2003 saw her receive another Independent Female Artist of The Year award.

Country Music In The Merritt Mountains

Lisa’s hand print was taken in July 1995 at The Merritt Mountain Music Festival (now the Rockin River Music Festival). Followed soon after by the unveiling of the hand print in Merritt, BC.

Again Lisa returned back to Merritt BC on Sunday, July 8, 2001 for her performance at The Merritt Mountain Music Festival. Followed, soon later, by the 10th Anniversary of The Merritt Mountain Music Festival in 2002. Then again she returned to Merritt at the launch of the Walk of Stars in 2003. Lisa was the main attraction for the gala which was a huge success.

Merritt BC Murals Downtown Walking Tour

Because of her desire, talent, passion, perseverance, and dedication to her music Lisa has definitely earned her place on the Merritt BC Murals. Lisa’s mural is located on the side of the Home Hardware building. There was a special ceremony for Lisa to unveil, and sign her Mural in 2006.

Her mural rests on the side of the Home Hardware building located at 1701 Voght Street. Her hand print is located at 2076 Coutlee Avenue.  

The Merritt Mural Project was created in 2005. The Merritt BC Murals were 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. 

Back On The Road And Going Strong

Brokop’s seventh album ‘Beautiful Tragedy’, was released in August of 2008. As a result, it featured a top 20 hit ‘Break It’.

In 2013, Lisa returned to commercial country radio and had success with songs ‘Let It Burn’ and ‘Love Me If You Can’ both of which were produced by fellow Canadian superstar Carolyn Dawn Johnson.

Lisa put together the new musical venture, ‘Lisa Brokop: The Patsy Cline Project’ where Lisa pays homage to one of country music’s greatest ladies. The project features some of Cline’s classic hits like ‘Sweet Dreams’ and ‘Walkin after Midnight’ as well as some of her own material written specifically for the project. 

“I’ve come full circle with this project,” Brokop says. “When I first started singing, I would sing some of Patsy’s songs because I didn’t have any of my own. They are still among some of my favorites today and I am so excited to have the opportunity to honor this amazing lady and the incredible music she gave us!” Lisa Brokop

Is It Me And You – Lisa Brokop 

Is it Me And You or is it just just me or is just you that thinks this new song will be the start of a new chapter in Lisa Brokop’s life and career. Let’s follow her and see where she leads us as her musical journey continues.

You can visit Lisa Brokop on her website, as well as, her Facebook page. 

Merritt Downtown Mural Walking Tour

Canadian Country Music Hall of Fame

Hall of Fame

Experience Nicola Valley Blog

Blog

Experience Nicola Valley

Travel Website

** Information resources includes Lisa Brokop website, Wikipedia page, and social media page.

Nobody's Girl - Michelle Wright

Nobody’s Girl – Michelle Wright – Merritt Mural

Merritt BC Downtown Walking Tour

“My earliest memories of music are singing in the car. Or spending the weekend with my father watching him put on a rhinestone-studded suit to perform in.” Nobody’s Girl –  Michelle Wright

Nobody’s Girl –  Michelle Wright Country Music Artist was born on July 1, 1961 in Chatham, Ontario but grew up in a nearby small town named Merlin, Ontario. The music scene was a heavy influenced throughout her childhood as both her parents were local musicians. 

Nobody's Girl - Michelle Wright

“We were never a family band, but I got a lot of inspiration and encouragement from my mother. That’s where my love of country music really began.” Michelle Wright

Nobody's Girl - Michelle Wright Country Music Artist

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

Michelle’s Education In Country Music   

Nobody’s Girl – Michelle Wright Country Music Artist was on her way. In 1980 this love of music grew while in college when Michelle joined a local band where she performed with them until 1983. Then in 1983 Wright started her own band.

But… in 1985,  a solo record deal with Savannah Records came calling. She released her debut single in 1986, “I Want to Count on You”, which peaked at No. 48 on the Canadian RPM Country Tracks Chart. At this time she still was performing with her own band until 1988.  

Time To Go Solo For Michelle Wright

Michelle Wright’s debut album, “Do Right by Me”, was released in 1988. Not only did it produce seven hit singles, including Wright’s cover of the 1974 Andy Kim hit – “Rock Me Gently” – but, more importantly, the album’s Canadian success led to a record contract with Arista Nashville.  Michelle Wright became one of the label’s flagship artists.

Nobody’s Girl – Michelle Wright – Queen Of Canadian Country Music Of The 90’s

The years during the 90’s was a whirlwind of success for Michelle Wright. It started in April 1990 with the release of Wright’s first American single, “New Kind Of Love”… then quickly followed up with a second album “Michelle Wright” in July of 1990. Consequently, Wright became the opening act for Kenny Rogers 1991 tour. The country music album became a huge success in Canada.

A Canadian Super Star Was Born

Michelle Wright immediately became one of Canada’s most widely recognized country music artists and most awarded female country singers. The 1990’s saw a string of awards and accolades for Michelle. 

In 1990 Michelle was awarded Female Artist of the Year by the Canadian Country Music Association.

In 1991 her awards included Album of the Year for “Michelle Wright”,  Single of the Year for her song “New Kind Of Love”, as well as, Female Artist Of The Year by The Canadian Country Music Association. The success of the album and the single encouraged Michelle to move to Nashville Tennessee to advance her career. This move inspired the start of the third album of her career.

 

Take It Like A Man

1992 witnessed the release of Michelle Wright’s third album, “Now and Then”. The album’s first single “Take It Like A Man”, became an instant hit reaching #1 in Canada and #10 in the United States. The song crossed over to the contemporary charts, reaching Number #18 in Canada. The song was awarded Single Of The Year from The Canadian Country Music Association.

The Whirlwind Success Continues For Michelle Wright

1993 recognized Wright as the Top New Female Vocalist of The Year, for the album “Now and Then”, from the Academy of Country Music. In addition CBS featured her on a television special, Women of Country, where she performed “Take It Like a Man”.

The “Now and Then” album went on to produce six more singles including the Canadian number one hits “One Time Around” and “Guitar Talk”. The album also included “He Would Be Sixteen”, which reached #31 in the US and #3 on the charts in Canada. Winning Single of the Year for “He Would Be Sixteen” and The Fans Choice Award completed 1993 nicely for Michelle Wright.

1994 Wright, released the first single from her upcoming album “One Good Man”. Although it didn’t reach the top 40 in the US it became her fourth number one hit in Canada. Wright’s fourth album, “The Reason Why” was released in Canada in September. Cancellation of the release of the album in the US, resulted in the album’s release in Europe after a successful European tour. 

Michelle Wright On A Roll

1995 was a busy year for Michelle. She completed a 40 – city tour throughout Canada. Which at that time was the most extensive tour in the history of Canadian Country Music in Canada.

In August 1996, Wright released her fifth album, “For Me It’s You”, following the release of the first single. “Nobody’s Girl”,  reached Number 1 on the Canadian  Country Tracks and No. 57 on the U.S. Billboard Hot Country Singles . The album went on to be successful in Canada, producing three Top Five singles  “Crank My Tractor”, “The Answer Is Yes”, and “What Love Looks Like”.  

The Winding Down Of A Decade

In 1997 Wright keeps busy behind the scenes focusing on her humanitarian accomplishments such as her international work with the Special Olympics, her successful fundraising efforts for St. Joseph’s Hospital in Chatham, Ontario, as well as, her support for the Manitoba flood relief fund.

Because of her humanitarian efforts Michelle was awarded the C.F. Martin Humanitarian Award by the Canadian Country Music Association. The year came to a close for Michelle at The Canadian Country Music Awards, where she delivered a show-stopping gospel-tinged rendition of the Curtis Mayfield hit, “People Get Ready”, accompanied by a fifty-voice choir. A personal highlight for her career. She reflects:

“I still get goose bumps whenever I hear that version”

1998 saw a collaboration effort with pianist Jim Brickman producing the song “Your Love”.  The song was awarded the Vocal/Instrumental Collaboration Of The Year. In addition the video topped the CMT Canada charts.

“It felt great to be at that point in my career.”

1999 saw the “Greatest Hits Collection”. Michelle provided her listeners a look back at her ten magical years punctuated by hit after memorable hit.  Wright’s “The Greatest Hits Collection”, was released in Canada in October 1999. “I Surrender” and “When I Found You” two new songs, both became Top Ten hits. 

US radio welcomed Wright back after the “Greatest Hits Collection” due to the 1997 duet with pianist Jim Brickman. The song, “Your Love” gave Wright her only American adult contemporary hit reaching #19 on the Adult Contemporary Tracks. Despite the song’s success at AC radio, it would be Wright’s last charting single in the United States.

Successes Of The Next Decade 

The next decade adds to Michelle Wright’s incredible career and keeps her on the move.

The beginning of 2000, Michelle Wright: The Greatest Hits Collection was released. The album contained eleven of her hit songs that helped shape her career and celebrate her ten year anniversary with Arista/Nashville Records. This album was an overview of ten cherished years.

In 2002 Wright released five more CDs, generating more sales and more hits. “Shut Up and Kiss Me” was released in 2002.

Her first Christmas album, “A Wright Christmas”, released in Canada in 2005 and internationally on Savannah Music at Christmas time, 2008.

Savannah Music released the Album, “Everything And More”, in Canada in July, 2006, as well as internationally in late 2008. Savannah Music reissued, the remastered and repackaged edition of “Do Right By Me”, across North America in August, 2010, as well as internationally the following October. 

During 2009 and 2010 Michelle hit the road in Alberta and recorded live, “The Wright’s Songs” featuring a 17 song collection of her many hits on acoustic instruments. Savannah Music released this Album to Canada in 2011 as well as internationally in 2012

Merritt Murals of Canada

As a Country Music performer at The Merritt Mountain Music Festival, and returning to Merritt BC Canada to perform and support the Walk Of Stars as well as the Canadian Country Music Hall of Fame Galas. Michelle Wright earned her place on the wall. 

July of 2004 seen Michelle Wright grace The Main Stage of The Merritt Mountain Music Festival, as well as making her hand print that year for The Merritt Walk of Stars.

In 2006, Michelle again graced The Main Stage of The Merritt Mountain Music Festival. That same year, Michelle became a part of the walls known as Merritt BC Murals. This same year she signed her mural. You can find the Michelle Wright Mural at 1701 Voght Street, among the walking tour of Merritt BC Murals.

Merritt Murals and Music 2.0

The Merritt Mural Project was created in 2005. The Merritt BC Murals were 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.

June of 2009, the sixth annual Walk of Stars Gala set the stage again for Michelle Wright to wow the Country Music fans of Merritt. Michelle delivered a show stopping performance,  once again in June of 2012, for the eighth annual Walk of Stars Gala. 

Michelle recruited a new team in 2016. She continues to record and write songs as well as perform across the Country and around the world. She is still proving to her fans that she won’t be going anywhere anytime soon and that the feisty girl from rural, Merlin, Ontario will be sticking around. There is no doubt that this 2011 Canadian Country Music Hall of Fame Inductee continues to make Canada proud.

Or as she says, “What a way to make a living! I plan on making and playing music for a long time to come.”

Keep up to date and follow Michelle http://www.michelle-wright.com 

Country Music Artist Michelle Wright – Merritt BC Murals

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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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