NEWS RELEASE

 

 

Merritt & Nicola Valley Destination Marketing Society
Release #012

For Immediate Release

March 15, 2021

Tourism Nicola Valley community tourism initiative wins International and Provincial awards in the same week

Merritt, BC – Last week was a remarkable one for Tourism Nicola Valley. The independent destination marketing society was recognized twice for its innovative digital tourism marketing program, “Experience Nicola Valley”.

2021 Canada Prestige Award for the ‘Marketing Program of the Year”

United Kingdom based magazine Corporate Live Wire announced on March 10th that out of the thousands of nominations received, Tourism Nicola Valley won the 2021 Canada Prestige Award for the ‘Marketing Program of the Year”. With a global audience numbering in the millions, Corporate Live Wire provides business professionals with in-depth content on business trends in industries such as Technology, Healthcare, Energy and Tourism. The annual Prestige Awards recognize small and medium-sized businesses from around the world that have proven the best in their market over the last 12 months.

tourism nicola valley award

Corporate Live Wire Project Manager, Tom Avon explained the reason Tourism Nicola Valley received the award this year was because “[i]n a relatively short space of time [Tourism Nicola Valley] has clearly created something unique in the market that is making a big difference to people in the community. The program is both informative and educational and really helps put a focus on local businesses and what they do well. There is no question [that] the program will encourage more to visit the region. We are very pleased to recognize [this] hard work.”

2021 BC Economic Development Association Community Project Award

Shortly afterwards on March 11th Tourism Nicola Valley received the news that it won the annual BC Economic Development Association Community Project Award for the “Experience Nicola Valley” program. The British Columbia Economic Development Association (BCEDA) and FortisBC teamed up this year to announce the winners of the 2021 BC Economic Development Awards. This BCEDA Community Project Award recognizes an organization that has implemented various economic development initiatives that provide economic benefits to a community or region.

bceda award tourism nicola valley

According to Dale Wheeldon, BCEDA President and CEO, “the BCEDA has given these awards to individuals and groups who have dedicated their time to community-based economic development. These awards recognize BCEDA members’ outstanding work in supporting their local economies, and making a meaningful difference in their communities.”

Tourism Nicola Valley Award Winning Program

Launched in 2018, the Experience Nicola Valley project is part of a larger tourism marketing initiative developed by Greg and Colin Girard of eh Canada Marketing Group. The “Experience Community Marketing Revitalization Program” is a community driven authentic content marketing program specifically designed for rural and small communities. The program consists of three interactive “real time” content marketing platforms and an extensive ongoing training program including: an interactive community website on a national platform; a blogsite created by the community; and a live weekly Talk Show that features local businesses and organizations.

While the program has been a huge asset for Merritt, British Columbia, Canada and the Nicola Valley since it launched, it has proven to be an even bigger one over the past year as the community deals with the negative effects of COVID-19.

Tourism has been basically shut down for the past year”, says Melvina White, Vice President of Tourism Nicola Valley. “The Experience Nicola Valley program has kept the community alive by providing a platform for locals to share their stories about the region with people from around the world’.

QUOTES:

“Fantastic news to learn that the Merritt and Nicola Valley Destination Marketing Society has been recognized nationally and provincially for their innovative Experience Nicola Valley Program. This economic development and tourism initiative has created many positive experiences and results in our community. Thank you goes out to all who play a part in this authentic, and, obviously successful, program.” Manuel Olguin, Community Futures Nicola Valley.

“I would like to offer my congratulations to the Merritt and Nicola Valley Destination Marketing Society better known as Tourism Nicola Valley for winning not one but two prestigious awards this past week. The team has been working very hard promoting tourism for Merritt and the Nicola Valley and their efforts have paid off big time with some amazing peer recognition locally from the BC Economic Development Association and from as far away as the United Kingdom and Australia. Their Experience Nicola Valley Program has included everything from the large four-season signs on the highway at the entrances to Merritt all the way to the very successful blogging post they do. Great work team; the awards are well deserved.” Tony Luck, Merritt City Councillor.

“Time, staff, skills and funding has, for as long as I can remember, been a challenge faced by many a small and rural community in Canada when it comes to marketing and growing their brand. Hence, why we developed the “Experience Community Program” specifically designed for small towns. It is an authentic and customizable proven program which we plan on replicating in as many communities as possible,” Greg Girard Co-Bro Founder of EH? Canada Marketing Group.

TO LEARN MORE:

Experience Nicola Valley: www.experiencenicolavalley.com

Corporate Live Wire Prestige Awards: https://corporatelivewire.com/awards.html?award=174

BC Economic Development Association Professional Awards: https://www.bceda.ca/professional_awards.php

eh Canada Travel: https://www.ehcanadatravel.com

For more information or to arrange an interview, please contact:

Melvina White, Vice President Tourism Nicola Valley – melvinawhite2@gmail.com

Greg Girard, Vice President eh Canada Marketing Group – media@ehcanadatravel.com

 

– end –

Merritt Canada Stories Celebrated At The Blogger Awards 2020!

The Nicola Valley comes together to hear about the successes of ExperienceNicolaValley.com!

Note! This event happened on Mar 6/2020, just a week before social distancing settled on our valley, province, country, world. Glad we celebrated these Merritt Canada stories just in time… Stay safe!

Merritt Canada stories and experiences are everywhere around us. Our job is to find them and then celebrate them. The 2020 Bloggers Awards were held in early March, and people from the Merritt community and elsewhere gathered at the Canadian Country Music Hall of Fame for good food, music, info, acknowledgments, and laughs. The tables were full and conversations were lively!

merritt canada stories blog awards

The Experience Nicola Valley 2020 Blogging Awards Gala

A fun evening celebrating Merritt Canada stories!

colin and greg girard

Colin-Website Creator and Greg Girard-Program Consultant, Trainer – (photo credit) Julie Pollard

Celebrating Experience Nicola Valley story tellers

Just a month earlier, creators and consultants of the community blogging website Experience Nicola Valley, brothers Greg and Colin Girard, and Melvina White, thought it was time to acknowledge the hard work and dedication of the contributing bloggers. How? Golden trophies at an event like the Academy Awards, of course! Add a local twist of prime rib beef (ranch country!) and music by longtime popular locals, Tammy Weymouth and Stuart Emslie. And, oh yes, a talk by a travel influencer, a popular Canadian Vlogger. All in all, it was fun, unique, exciting and something the Nicola Valley has not seen around these parts for a long time.  A total success. 

Melvina White-Blogger and Event Coordinator

Nicola Valley Bloggers Telling Merritt Canada Stories

Bloggers for the Experience Nicola Valley website have been promoting the town of Merritt and the Nicola Valley for almost three years.

The group of bloggers have been writing about businesses, services, individuals, and non-profits in the community. The blogs are full of info, insights, photos, and things to do in our area, with a focus on adventures of all kinds in the community and valley.

The bloggers meet up almost every month to plan their next steps, talk about upcoming events, and the choices for upcoming blogs. The blogging is done out of a passion for our community, and the hope to show off the town of Merritt and the beautiful Nicola Valley to those far and wide, to bring a benefit to all of us who live here.

Check out all the blogs on our site! Lots! Such a variety! But I digress…

Community and Blogger Nominations

Not only were the bloggers up for acknowledgments, but also the people in the community who had been the focus of the blogs. So businesses, events, Non-Profits, organizations and individuals were nominated for the interest they had generated online.

bloggers of nicola valley

Blog award winners and nominees – (photo credit) Julie Pollard

The awards choices were made by tracking the online data! The statistics of the views, Likes, Shares on the website and Social Media (Facebook, Twitter and Instagram) determined the picks for the nominations. After intense review, the coordinators of the Experience Nicola Valley group sent out nominations for different categories, like best photo, most popular blog, and best event blog.

A great idea to share the successes of the community blogging endeavor with the community it serves! An Awards Gala! A Merritt Canada Bloggers Awards Gala!

Put the Bloggers to Work!

The bloggers pitched in to plan, create, decorate, and man the stations at the Gala. There was a wet bar, filled with beverages of all kinds, tables set up with candles for the ticket holders and the nominees, and two tables ready for a delicious catered  dinner.

The stage at the Country Music Hall of Fame was filled with a big TV for the presentations, mics for the speakers and performers, framed acknowledgements for the nominees and golden trophies for the winners.

Julie Pollard and Tania Stewart took photos all evening of all the fun and action. So did I!

Tania Stewart-Blogger and Photographer

And at the red carpet entrance to the beautiful venue, our blogger and emcee, Tom Reynolds looking natty in a suit and  light-up bow tie, greeted the Gala comers and guided them in various directions. 

Tom Reynolds-Blogger

Greg Interviews the Nominees

Greg Girard is very excited about the worldwide response to the Experience Nicola Valley blogs! And he works hard to be sure our blogs get out there! At each of our meetings, he shares with us the data that is pouring in- the number of blogs read, page views, website visits. He tracks for us the social media attention our posts are getting, all the shares of the Merritt and Nicola Valley outdoor adventures, events, restaurants, gift shops, art and culture. Greg researches the status of our blogs on the Google searches, noting which are doing well, and which need tweaking. He is as determined as we are to bring lots of attention to the exciting and worthwhile things going on in our valley.

And while his brother Colin makes the website magic happen behind the scenes, Greg is ready in the bright lights of the cameras. But his purpose? Show off this great community and the people who make it that way. He interviewed all the nominees as the evening began. (Look for the full list of interviews on the Experience Nicola Valley You Tube and Facebook Pages.

jano howarth - arts blogger telling merritt canada stories

Myself, being interviewed by the Awards Gala emcee (photo credit) Julie Pollard

2020 Blogging Award Categories and Nominees

 

merritt event blogging awards

People’s Choice Nominees

(Individual/Event)

(Ellen Miller) Nicola Valley Women’s Fair
Don Loewen Saddlery
Open Mic Night

People’s Choice Nominees
(Business)

Game On Sports
Boston Pizza
Mary’s Corner Cafe

People’s Choice Nominees
(Non Profit)

Seniors Centre 
Canadian Country Music Hall of Fame 
Nicola Valley Food Bank 

Top Guest Blogger Nominees

Amber Papou
Meagan Preston
Manuel Olguin

Best Picture Nominees (Blogger)

Julie Pollard (Fall in the Nicola Valley)
Diane Lavoie (Boston Pizza)
Tania Stewart (Nicola Valley Rodeo)

Top Story Nominees (Blog)

Melvina White (George Jones)
Diane Lavoie (Things To Do In Merritt)
Tania Stewart (A-P Ranch)

Story Teller of the Year Nominees (Blogger)

Tania Stewart
Tom Reynolds
Melvina White
***

Socialize and Network About Merritt BC Canada Stories

The spacious setting at the Hall of Fame was full and noisy, with lots of laughter, and a few introductions exchanged. People mingled and chatted, sharing stories of the blogs. And took photos before settling in to a hearty plate of medium rare prime rib beef with roasted veg. And celebratory cake….

 

Networking before dinner – Tony and Wanda Luck

telling merritt canada stories at our table

My table at the Experience Nicola Valley Blogging Awards Gala

Community Involvement from Open Mic

Open Mic, a successful Nicola Valley Arts Council program, running for two and a half years at the Kekuli Cafe, received an event nomination for a blog written about it. This long running live music weekly event is worth a blog, or two, or three! We have a solid crew running it, regular local musicians playing at it, as well as lots of variety with locals who come now and then and visitors passing through and playing a set or two. And even more regulars in our audience!

For this event, Open Mic closed up at Kekuli and we filled a double table at the Gala with crew, musicians, and Open Mic fans. My daughter Tasya traveled from Vancouver to celebrate with us. And as she usually does, got busy helping along with the bloggers.

Open Mic table

Usually the Sound Guy for Open Mic, Amrit Ahuja got out his video equipment to cover this event. Amrit shares his time between sound recording, music creating, and videography. He spent the evening behind the video cam and we look forward to a short promo with lots of highlights of the Gala. Of course we saved him some cake!

WATCH VIDEO

 

Amrit Ahuja-Videographer and Open Mic Sound Guy

Then the Awards!

The Experience Nicola Valley event coordinators put on a great awards presentation, acknowledging the nominees and crediting the award winners.  Greg split his presentation between info on the nominees, and jokes to engage the crowd.

boston pizza merritt bc

Boston Pizza accepts their award for BEST Business Story by a Blogger- (photo credit) Julie Pollard

Guest Speaker on Social Media

Matt and Karla, popular You Tube vloggers from Calgary, Alberta joined us for the evening. Matt was the special guest speaker. He talked to us about the importance of social media supported by a beautiful slide presentation from their travels across Canada.  The info he provided was familiar to those of us blogging with Greg, as Greg has inspired us with the possibilities of a great online presence and how to do it. Matt’s talk gave us his own story through the online process to their personal success, focusing especially on You Tube. His statistics were impressive, and I’m sure convinced many in the room why it’s worth getting our local stories online and out to the global community.

matthew bailey

Keynote speaker at the ENV Awards Gala – Matthew Bailey of Must Do Canada – (photo credit) Julie Pollard

Many thanks to Matt and Karla for their perspective, and for coming all this way to celebrate our successes with us and sharing theirs!

Check out their entertaining and beautiful You Tube channel, Must Do Canada!

Arts in the Community

While the stage set up was changed for our live music performance, I took the opportunity for a five minute talk about the Nicola Valley Arts Council. I blog about art and culture in the community, while serving as the Arts Gallery Director for the Arts Council. 

How much info can I squeeze into 5 minutes. Lots, if I talk fast. So I did! And gave away several free memberships in the Arts Council!

nicola valley arts council

Jano Howarth (moi) during my 5 minute talk during the Awards Gala – (photo credit) Julie Pollard

And Live Music from Stuart and Tammy

We loved this part of the evening. It was a great wind down.  Lots of visiting, chatting, and a little dancing to some covers, and some beautiful original music from Tammy Weymouth and Stuart Emslie.

 

Tammy and Stuart live music

Story Telling Songs Fitting For The End of the Gala

The whole room quieted when Stuart sang some of the emotional songs he has written. Stuart is involved with a group focused on mental health in youth, and how to mitigate and express their difficult experiences.  Stuart’s personal experiences have inspired him to get involved and contribute his musical talents.

So, for a few moments during a joyful night, we were reminded of what community is about. Contribution and serving. And getting together…

“Have some fun, do some good.”, as my recently passed partner Gord Cockle always said.

A Lot of Fun, and Doing Good in the Community

As the evening drew to a close, the people voiced their appreciation for our blogging endeavor. We were glad to stop briefly, work hard, and pull off a fun Gala, a dress up evening in our small town. To take time to celebrate each other. And celebrate with others.

Fun at the Blogger Gala event!

Thanks to Greg, Colin, Melvina, all the bloggers, and everyone who came to our Gala evening. Glad we did it!

Still so much to blog about! We feel like we have just scratched the surface with over a hundred blogs in our almost 2.5 years! It’s a small town in a big valley. Lots of history to write about. Lots of people, businesses, organizations, non-profits. Great adventures, restaurants, services…. 

Our Experience Nicola Valley group has lots to inspire us. As a group, we inspire each other to keep going and promote our town, our valley. And tell some great stories.

And for now… #staysafe #stayhealthy #flattenthecurve

This is a whole new reality to write about. Blessings…

Jano Howarth 

Art and Culture Blogger

 

Blogging in Merritt, B.C.

Creating your Merritt Canada stories and experiences for the world


Merritt British Columbia Canada Top Travel Guides

Blogger Awards Gala FREE TICKET Give-away.

Celebrating Community Awards, Prime Rib Dinner, Featured Keynote Speaker and Live Entertainment!

WIN 2 free tickets to the 2020 Blogger Awards Gala on March 6th at the Canadian Country Music Hall of Fame.

Welcome to our 2020 Blogger Awards Gala ticket give-away. The “Bloggies” is an opportunity to celebrate some of Nicola Valley’s finest bloggers, small businesses, individuals, events and non profits. Click this link for the gala details. However, this is a ticket give-away story, so lets move on with the contest rules. 

How to Win Tickets
(entry rules posted below)

Every day, starting  February 25th and ending on February 29th/2020, we will post a different give-away contest on our Experience Nicola Valley Facebook page. You have until midnight of that day of the contest to submit your entry on that post.  

There will be no rhyme or reason to when we post these contests to enter the draw. This way we can keep you on your toes and keep things interesting.  

Follow the Experience Nicola Valley Facebook page so you do not miss any of the give-away entry opportunities. Why? Well… not only could you win tickets to contests but you will also learn a lot more about tourism, adventures, people, businesses and events happening here in the Nicola Valley.  Real people telling real stories. 

Rules and Claiming Prize

(1) Must submit your contest answer entry in the comment section on the Experience Nicola Valley Facebook page @experiencenicolavalley

(2) Must like and/or follow the Experience Nicola Valley Facebook page to claim tickets.

(3) Contest will run from February 25th to February 29th, 2020.

(4) Draw date is March 1st, 2020 starting at 10 AM. 

(5) You have 1 hour (after your name is announced on our Facebook page) to claim your tickets. 

(6) To win you must go to our Experience Nicola Valley Facebook Page and submit a comment on the post with your “Name” as the winner claiming your tickets.

(7) If tickets are not claimed within 1 hour after the name has been drawn a new name will be selected 15 minutes later, or 1 hour later?  

(8) Any entries which go negative will be disqualified because #merrittmatters .

The Game Master holds all the cards to when the next name will be drawn. So watch our Facebook Page page closely on March 1st all day because you just never know, the Game Master may draw your name.

Where to Buy Tickets ($20 per person)

D & D Emporium
2070 Quilchena Ave
Downtown Merritt in between Fields and Creative Comfort
Tuesday – Friday  10 AM to 5 PM
Saturday 11 Am – 4 PM
250-378-9223

Canadian Country Music Hall Of Fame
2025B Quilchena Ave
Downtown Merritt
Wed – Fri 12 Noon to 4 PM 
250.378.9569

WIN 2 free tickets to the 2020 Blogger Awards Gala on March 6th at the Canadian Country Music Hall of Fame.

A Tourism Nicola Valley Event

 

Merritt British Columbia Canada Top Travel Guides

Merritt Event – Awards Gala – Best of the Nicola Valley 

2020 Blogging Awards Gala – “The Bloggies”

“The Merritt event will be a fun filled night of awards, prime rib dinner, live entertainment and a featured keynote speaker. Our guest speaker is Canadian Influencer and Social Media Personality Matthew Bailey of Must Do Canada.”

This Merritt event is a semi-formal gala celebrating the best 2019 positive stories and experiences in the Nicola Valley. All the ticket and activity details are listed below. 

Come join us at the first annual 2020 Blogging Awards Gala in Merritt BC Canada.

Merritt Event Celebrates the Nicola Valley

The semi-formal gala celebrates the many positive stories and experiences of 2019. Each one shared by our Experience Nicola Valley bloggers! There are 7 trophies to be awarded at the gala. The award categories are as follows: 3 “People’s Choice Award” categories (business , individual/event and non-profit), as well as, 4 blogger categories (Best Picture, Top Guest Blogger, Top Story of the Year and Top Story Teller). 

The Bloggies

The 2020 Blogging Awards is to be held at the Canadian Country Music Hall Of Fame on March 6th. Doors open at 5:30. Event starts at 6 PM. Do not be late, as the prime rib dinner is served prior to the award ceremony starting. However, there will also be a cash bar on site for the entire night. Besides the 7 trophies to hand out, and the prime rib dinner… there is more. We are fortunate to have Matthew Bailey, of Must Do Canada, as our guest keynote speaker. Matthew is a Canadian Influencer and Social Media You Tube Personality based out of Calgary , Alberta

blogging awards merritt event

2020 Blogging Awards also known as “The Bloggies”

 

matthew bailey - keynote speaker

Matthew Bailey – 2020 Blogging Awards Keynote Speaker

Keynote Speaker Matthew Bailey

Matthew is the creator of “Must Do Canada“. He has been featured in Our Canada Magazine (front cover photo and six-page spread), the Calgary Herald, and the Toronto Star to name a few. Matthew will be sharing his story and experiences about blogging, and social media. Matthew has traveled to 42 countries and 6 continents. We look forward to the many insights Matthew will be sharing with the community at this Merritt event about travel and content marketing. 

 

 

blogging awards stu tammy

Story telling songs and covers provided by Stu and Tammy

Merritt Live Entertainment

Since Experience Nicola Valley is a story telling platform, we invited a local musical duo to the 2020 Blogging Awards to entertain us with story telling songs.  We are happy to present as our featured artist for the evening, Stu and Tammy. Stu will be telling stories through songs (written by himself). And along with Tammy, they will play some of our favorite cover songs. Come and join us for a night of music, stories and dance. 

 

2020 Blogging Award Categories and Nominees

merritt event blogging awardsPeople’s Choice Nominees
(Individual/Event)

(Ellen Miller) Nicola Valley Women’s Fair
Don Loewen Saddlery
Open Mic Night

People’s Choice Nominees
(Business)

Game On Sports
Boston Pizza
Mary’s Corner Cafe

People’s Choice Nominees
(Non Profit)

Seniors Centre 
Canadian Country Music Hall of Fame 
Nicola Valley Food Bank 

Top Guest Blogger Nominees

Amber Papou
Meagan Preston
Manuel Olguin

Best Picture Nominees (Blogger)

Julie Pollard (Fall in the Nicola Valley)
Diane Lavoie (Boston Pizza)
Tania Stewart (Nicola Valley Rodeo)

Top Story Nominees (Blog)

Melvina White (George Jones)
Diane Lavoie (Things To Do In Merritt)
Tania Stewart (A-P Ranch)

Story Teller of the Year Nominees (Blogger)

Tania Stewart
Tom Reynolds
Melvina White
***

 

Bloggies Food Bank Drive

Just telling stories makes us hungry. So, just imagine how hungry some of our fellow Merrittonnians are when times get tough. We here at ExperienceNicolaValley.com and ExperienceMerritt.com like to help where we can so…. when you come to the 2020 Blogging Awards Gala please bring 1 food item. There will be a box at the entrance which you can place your item in. All donations will then be delivered to the Nicola Valley Food Bank

Location of Merritt Event

Canadian Country Music Hall of Fame
2025B Quilchena Ave
Merritt BC Canada

Date: March 6th, 2020
Time: 6PM to 9PM and beyond
Doors Open at 5:30

Where to Buy Tickets ($20 per person)

(limited quantity available) 

D & D Emporium
2070 Quilchena Ave
Downtown Merritt in between Fields and Creative Comfort
Tuesday – Friday  10 AM to 5 PM
Saturday 11 Am – 4 PM
250-378-9223

Canadian Country Music Hall Of Fame
2025B Quilchena Ave
Downtown Merritt
Wed – Fri 12 Noon to 4 PM 
250.378.9569

Merritt British Columbia Canada Top Travel Guides