Businesses in Merritt and the Nicola Valley

Merritt Medi Spa Entrepreneur Spotlight: Anastaszia Cash

Owner/Operator of Desert Divas and Dons Medi-Spa

Experience Nicola Valley’s Sit-Down with one of Merritt’s Newest Storefronts

 

Merritt Medi Spa : A couple of weeks ago I put together a promotion at Community Futures Nicola Valley. I wanted to promote some local women entrepreneurs here in Merritt BC for International Women’s Day on March 8th. This was how I met the owner and operator of Merritt’s Desert Divas and Dons Medi-Spa, Anastaszia Cash.

Merritt Medi Spa Anastaszia Cash

Anastaszia was a fantastic collaborator to work with during the International Women’s Day promotion. We wound up having a huge success over on the CFNV social media; but I could tell there was a larger story at hand and I wanted to investigate for myself. Luckily, I write a series of articles about Nicola Valley entrepreneurs on Experience Nicola Valley!

Merritt Medi Spa Owner Entrepreneur

Photo Credit: Anastaszia Cash. Before moving into the beauty industry, Anastaszia held a number of careers, including training career dogs!

Merritt’s Desert Divas and Dons – The Beginning

Upon request for an interview, Anastaszia made arrangements quickly and easily. I got a sit-down interview spanning about an hour, as well as a guided tour of the Medi Spa! During our interview, I learned more about both Anastaszia and her husband Wes, who helps run this Merritt Medi Spa. They had an unreal story to tell, and I was honoured to be given the opportunity to hear it.

Meet Wes and Anastaszia 

Wes and Anastaszia’s career moves led to bicoastal American opportunities in New York, LA & San Jose. Wes was in international demand as a body builder and a fire suppression technician. Anastaszia had made a name for herself as an international gospel preacher, martial artist and master in the beauty industry.

A Long Road Leads to the Nicola Valley

A string of back to back, multiple car accidents, however, would interrupt their plans with countless surgeries. Wes, in particular, endured a broken neck & back. Anastaszia with a severe brain injury, two back to back heart attacks and kidney issues.  Anastaszia and Wes found their previous lifestyles unsafe to continue to pursue, so bottom line – things had to change. A relocation from the Vancouver area felt like a fresh start because the couple found the big city was lacking a personal touch.

Community: The Missing Ingredient

During my interview it became clear, time and again, just how much the Desert Divas couple value community. For example, since opening, first responders and military personnel receive 20% off all services. Anastaszia works closely with members of Kids Play Foundation to provide scholarships for youth in need, and she’s even networked with shelters and care centres across the BC interior to provide restorative services for people who may be bearing the scars of abuse.

And There is More Too!

As I was wrapping up this article, Anastaszia contacted me about another initiative she has taken on. In response to the growing reports of dangerous activity in BC, she wanted me to inform readers of a secret “menu item” when it comes to a “desert facial”.  Anastaszia prides her patrons somewhere safe and secure to wait if they’re concerned that they might be being followed or harassed.  Desert Divas staff will contact authorities if requested. 

It’s a lifestyle centered around bringing good to those around you – and I found it very inspiring on a personal level.

A Desert Diamond in the Valley

This commitment to community is inspiring! But how does the Medi-Spa itself stack up? Admittedly, I felt a little out of my depth here; as a rural twenty-something boy, writing about spa life. But where familiarity fails, research prevails, so I hit the web and studied as much as I could in advance of my interview. As far as my newly enriched understanding could tell, Desert Divas and Dons represents a world class experience!

Technology At Work

The technologies at work here are huge, international names; treatments like OxyGeneo and DermaStamp are available at a price point that Anastaszia says leaves enough savings for her coastal clientele to commute down and see her. The medi-spa itself is Health Canada certified, with a massive emphasis on safety, sanitization and professionalism.

A Passion Stemming from Personal Experience

Anastaszia has spent several years working in what is considered the beauty industry. However, there is significant stigma against the industry. One point in case, vanity can lead to body issues and negativity. Admittedly, I used to see things from that angle myself. Anastaszia however, relates the procedures she performs back to her own life and previous experiences with abuse. She sees opportunity for people to find a fresh start by healing wounds and erasing pain – both physically, and emotionally. In her own life, aesthetician work has helped her find confidence and start again.

Anastaszia also provided this picture of herself, on duty as a chaplain.

A Learning Experience

I came to the Merritt medi-spa feeling a bit out of my depth. Someone with my lifestyle, I had figured, is going to be a pretty unlikely client. But the experience I found here was surprisingly genuine, deeply sincere and honestly kind of moving. I wound up specifically appreciating the joie-de-vivre on display here at Desert Divas.  Anastaszia and Wes have lived a tremendous story together, and while pain has been a significant part of their story, they refuse to let it be a story of pain. It’s a huge distinction, and it’s one I don’t know if I understood before having this meeting. 

In Conclusion

Anastaszia got in touch with me a few more times after the initial visit to see if I needed any help with the article? Anastaszia, also let me know she has taken more steps  to becoming a community leader. For example, Cash EDU, an education program for aestheticians that she developed herself is off to a great start. Her work with Kids Play Foundation is developing more and more each day, and she continues to seek local youths to provide mentorship at her spa, offering the opportunity to get Merritt residents a foot in the door on a valuable career opportunity. 

Merritt Medi-Spa: My Takeaways

For my own part, I got to make two great new friends! Wes and Anastaszia are welcoming and open, and their commitment to community is inspiring. Stigma is often attached to smaller towns like the idea that if you’re not born here or raised here, you won’t be given the chance to belong. Anastaszia and Wes admitted that upon first opening their business, some people were hesitant, but with time Merrittonians have come to appreciate that it’s the real deal! 

I left personally inspired to be more positive in my day to day interactions, as well. We’re rarely given the opportunity to change the hand we are dealt, but we’re always in charge of whether we accept it with a smile or choose to let it beat us. Thanks for the chat, and the words of wisdom, Anastaszia and Wes!

CONTACT US:

2101 Quilchena Ave, Merritt, BC V1K 1R6

(250) 936-9200

info@desertdivasanddonsspa.com

Facebook / Instagram

***

Award Winning Nicola Valley Travel and Tourism Guides

nicola valley talk show

“Experience Community Program” is a small and rural community authentic content marketing program. It is a product of the EH? Canada Marketing Group

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 –

Street Art in Merritt BC

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

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

Street Art Merritt BC

Merritt BC Street Art Show

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

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

Merritt is already known as a mural town.

Most of our murals have a country music theme.

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

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

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

Street Art Joel Reid

Joel Reid Street Artist

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

Street Art Carving

Pat Tombe Carving Design

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

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

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

Street Art Mosaics

Ellen Miller Mosaics

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

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

Street Art in Merritt BC from Indigenous artist Leonard George

Street Art Leonard George

Leonard George Mural Artist

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

Thanks to all artists and creatives!

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

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

Street Art in Merritt

Phyllis Laage Street Art

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

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

The submissions are starting to come in…

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

Covid Protocols in place…

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

Jano Howarth, Arts Gallery Director

Express Yourself!

Nicola Valley Arts Council

Get in touch! nicolavalleyartsgallery@gmail.com

Street Art in Merritt BC

Twin Willows Street Art Poster, Nicola Valley Arts Gallery

 

Artisans in Merritt

Nicola Valley Travel and Tourism Guides

nicola valley talk show

 

“Experience Community Program” is a small and rural community authentic content marketing program. It is a product of the EH? Canada Marketing Group. In other

Tire Shop in Merritt – Nicola Valley BC Canada Mechanics

Fountain Tire Merritt – Tire Service in the Nicola Valley

Tire shop and mechanic service in the valley of Merritt

Fountain Tire is a preferred tire shop in Merritt BC Canada. This local mechanic automotive service station takes care of commercial and light car and truck automotive repair. And of course Tires, lots of tires. Fountain tire Ltd (Merritt) opened in Merritt in 2008 by Larry Ruttan.

tire shop in merritt

Fountain Tire New Owners

In 2021 Jamie and Sheila Hatch will become the new owner/operators of Fountain Tire (Merritt) in British Columbia Canada. Jaime moved to Merritt from Drayton Valley, Alberta in 2018. He worked as assistant manager. Soon after Sheila and the kids followed.

Jaime is a red seal journeyman mechanic and has been in the industry for over 23 years. However, when he is not at work, he enjoys fishing, hunting and spending time with family. Therefore they have settled nicely into the Nicola Valley, so much so, they are members of the Merritt Speedway. Subsequently, their daughter, Megan, is a race car driver.

Merritt Speedway Stock Car Racing is well know in the Nicola Valley for its sense of community and family for over 30 years. The speedway is looking forward to when we can race again.

Sheila says, “The advantages of operating a tire shop in Merritt are that you meet so many different people from many walks of life. This community has a sense of family, everyone looks out for each other.”

fountain tire

Sheila continues with, “And for us, because Merritt has several highways coming into it, we are able to assist those who need help when travelling through our beautiful valley. We have had the pleasure of helping out the travelling talent that come for various music festivals that run each year. Never a dull moment and Oh ..the weather!”

tire man in merritt

Brandon Hatch of Fountain Tire Merritt Photo Credit: Sheila Hatch

Meet the Owners

Sheila and Jamie Hatch, the owner of Fountain Tire Shop in Merritt, and their son Brandon, are like most of us, surviving Covid-19 by planning to get involved in community events. In other words they are really putting themselves out there expressing that we are all on this road together.

Fountain Tire Staff

Communities need to stick together to survive hard times. There is strength in numbers. At the tire station they have 7 staff in addition to 2 more red seal journeyman mechanics. 

Tires For All Seasons

Whether you need tires for the highway, bush, logging truck or racing they have a wide assortment of quality tires. Tires for a range of budgets that best suit their customers. Fountain Tire in the community of Merritt BC is known to go the extra mile for their customers. Most importantly get them back on the road safely and in a timely manner.

Who is Fountain Tire?

Fountain Tire Ltd. is a Canadian company, founded in Wainwright, Alberta by Bill Fountain. The first store opened in 1956. As a result they have stores from B.C. to Ontario.

Contact Information

website: www.fountaintire.com
facebook: merrittfountaintire
email: f132@fountaintire.com
Phone: 250-378-2442

Tire Shop in Merritt

Nicola Valley Mechanic Station

“Experience Community Program” is a small and rural community authentic content marketing program. It is a product of the EH? Canada Marketing Group. In other words contact us for more information on how to start this program in your community. media(at)ehcanadatravel(dot)com

Art in Merritt BC

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

Let’s get artistic in Merritt 

Art Gallery in Merritt BC

2051 Voght St, Merritt BC

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

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

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

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

"Twin

1st Art Show in the New Space on Voght Street

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

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

Art and Music Reception

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

Music in Merritt BC

Art Show Reception with Paul Mozin and Desiree Dunbar

Shop local!

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

Winter Art Show, Merritt BC

Winter Artisan Show

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

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

Who’s who at our Arts Council?

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

Thanks everybody!

Active Arts in Merritt BC, 2021

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

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

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

Sunday 12-4pm

NVAC Facebook and Instagram

NVAC Gallery Facebook

Thanks for stopping by! Jano Howarth

Remember…Express yourself!

Art Gallery in Merritt BC

Merritt BC Art

Art Show “Art for the Love of It”

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 Merritt, BC, Canada

Nicola Valley Bloggers

 

Merritt British Columbia Canada Top Travel & Adventure Guides

“Experience Community Program” (small and rural community authentic content marketing program) is a product of the EH? Tourism Marketing Group. Contact us for more information on this program at media(at)ehcanadatravel(dot)com.

Circle Tours from Merritt BC

Similkimeen Okanagan-Part One

One of many tours starting from the Nicola Valley

 

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

The American Plan

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

Planning Circle Tours from Merritt BC

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

The First Leg-Circle Tours from Merritt BC to Princeton

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

Circle tours from merritt bc  - great rainbow trout

Fishing at Corbett Lake

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

Lake Near Aspen Grove

Lake Near Aspen Grove

Kentucky Lake Hike

Kentucky Lake Hike

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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

AP Guest Ranch Circle Tours from Merritt BC

Experience Nicola Valley Bloggers visit AP Guest Ranch

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

BCThe Town of Princeton is upgrading its look

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

Princeton Circle Tours from Merritt BC

Princeton Entrance

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

Ulpgraded Facade

Upgraded façade

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

Other Activities in Princeton.

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

 

Pedestrian bridge

More of the Circle tour from Merritt, BC to come

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

Circle Tours from Merritt BC

Similkimeen Okanagan-Part One

Nicola Valley Bloggers

 

Merritt British Columbia Canada Top Travel & Adventure Guides

nicola valley talk show

“Experience Community Program” (small and rural community authentic content marketing program) is a product of the EH? Tourism Marketing Group. Contact us for more information on this program at media(at)ehcanadatravel(dot)com.

Arts in Merritt on the Move

New Location for the Nicola Valley Community Arts Council

The Arts Will Grow

After 15 years at the Old Courthouse Gallery on Nicola Ave (Hwy8), the Nicola Valley Community Arts Council and the Old Court House Gallery have the arts on the move in Merritt, BC.  In 2005 the Old Courthouse was purchased by a local doctor  with the idea of  turning it into a cultural space,  which would provide a home to the Nicola Valley Community Arts Council, a music society and a dance studio.  However the Council has decided it is time to move on.

Old Courthouse Gallery

Old Courthouse Gallery – Bev Veale Painting

The Old Court House Gallery

The Old Court House was a major step forward for the Arts Council because for many years they had no permanent home.  At this time,  their major project was the Performing Arts Series which brought many great musical concerts to town. The visual arts were handled by the Nicola Valley Visual Artists where Community art displays were generally relegated to their annual Art Show which was held at the Merritt Civic Centre. It was therefore, not necessary to have a permanent home Fortunately the Courthouse allowed the Community Arts Council to have a bigger presence in the community.  For example, the current Arts Gallery Director, Jano Howarth gives a summary of the many activities carried out at this venue.

Arts in Merritt BC on the Move

The Courthouse building was sold and so that made the future use of the building uncertain. Consequently the Arts Council determined that the time was right to investigate a new location. Ultimately they were looking for a space that had high visibility, in the downtown core and large enough to provide gallery space, program space and an artisan shop.  As a result their search led them to the Jackson Building (for the old timers, the Post building for us newbies) at the corner of Voght and Nicola. 

Arts in Merritt BC

Arts on the Move – New Home of Nicola Valley Community Arts Council

The New Home Fits the Bill for Arts in Merritt

Location was one of the primary considerations in the move.  As such this makes  the building on the corner of the main

entrance to downtown at the corner of Voght and Nicola, the perfect location.

Gallery Space, Program Space and an Artisan Shop

The New Gallery

The new gallery is bright and airy and therefore is a great space for showing  off the Artists’ work.

The New Gallery for arts in merritt bc

The new Gallery

 

Program Space

Space for programs was important as this is an area that the Council wants to expand on.  Currently the picture shows the size of the room that will be used for programs but does not reflect the current condition of the space as this was taken before the move was complete.  However,  you can see that there is ample space.

New Activity Room

New Activity Room

Artisan Shop

The Artisan Shop has benefited from the new location.  While in the Old Courthouse it was tucked away in a back room and was out of site, in the new space it is front and centre and therefore, has more space to display the contributions of over 20 Nicola Valley artisans and crafters.

Artisan Shop for arts in merritt bc

Artisan Shop

Therefore the new location looks like it will be a great success for the community at large and in particular our local network of artists.

Arts on the Move – The First Show

Consequently, the opening show in the new space features Jean Kiegerl and Twin Willows Glass Arts.

Meet Jean Kiegerl

Jean Kiegerl

Because of  her leadership and with a strong group of volunteers the Arts Council has flourished. Currently, her legacy is  being carried on by the new Arts Council president, Mischelle Pierce.

 Jean is also a family friend, as  my wife and her spend many hours together painting and collaborating.  As a result, I like her work so much I have one of her originals hanging in my hall.

Quiilchena Falls-Jean Kiegerl Painting

Quilchena Falls – Jean Kiegerl Painting

 

Jean has produced work in water colours, acrylics and now oils which she prefers.

“I love the vibrant colours you can get with oil paints”—Jean Kiegerl

Clearly this can be seen in her painting of the red sports car that is on the poster for the show.

Red Car

Red Car-Jean Kiegerl Painting

Twin Willows Glass Arts

Glen and Susan Parkinson are the creative minds behind Twin Willows Glass Arts. They have been producing great work out of their studio for more than eight years.  Incidentally they work in a variety of styles which includes, leaded stained glass, fractured glass on glass mosaics and fused glass.

Panda-Twin Willows Glass Arts

Panda-Twin Willows Glass Arts

Arts on the Move in Merritt, BC will be a Success!

Lastly, with this new location, a heightened enthusiasm by the volunteers and with a high visibility location the future looks bright.

Old Courthouse Gallery Contact Info

Nicola Valley Arts Gallery

2051 Voght St, Merritt, BC

New Hours Wednesday to Saturday

12 noon to 6 pm

Sunday 12-4pm

(beginning Oct 21st)

nicolavaleyartsgallery@gmail.com

Phone 250-315-3437

Or text 250-315-3437

 

Arts in Merritt BC

Nicola Valley Art Gallery is Born

 

Merritt British Columbia Canada Top Travel & Adventure Guides

“Experience Community Program” (small and rural community authentic content marketing program) is a product of the EH? Tourism Marketing Group. Contact us for more information on this program at media(at)ehcanadatravel(dot)com.

Estate Planning in Merritt BC

A Holistic View on Estate & Insurance Planning in Merritt – Kamloops -Logan Lake 

The Second Pillar of Financial Planning

Estate Planning in Merritt, BC – Life is full of unexpected turns and twists. Because of that, we need to have a plan in place. Here we focus on developing comprehensive strategies that protect, preserve and provide for those that we care about. What is in place to protect our income and wealth? On our passing, is there enough liquidity in our estate? Is our will up to date? Is the executor and power of attorney we selected up to the task? If we could no longer work and were not an ideal retirement age, how would our retirement look?

familyinsurancemerritt

Great care needs to be taken to ensure the needs are all protected and fulfilled.

A Quick Disclaimer…

Some of the strategies that I will discuss are not to be taken as advice for your unique needs. I strongly suggest that you speak to a qualified professional.  These are complicated issues and not to be taken lightly. Being dually licensed in Mutual Funds and Insurance, I look at the big picture when it comes to making recommendations. 

Some Basic Assumptions to Begin Financial Planning

To begin, every financial plan looks at a couple main points. We start with a desired retirement date and a projected date of passing. For some, this number may be larger than others. Family history and current health are indicators of potential life expectancies. For the most part, I look at tables and project that way. A truth we must face, some of us will live to be 90 and even 100 years old.

A Shocking Canadian Statistic

Protecting Our Income and Our Wealth

Play along with me for a moment. Imagine yourself 45 years old. You are in the prime earning years of your life.  With possibly 20 years to go until retirement, many things are on your mind. Funding our children’s future education goals, paying off that mortgage and investing for retirement most likely top that list. You receive a call, letting you know your spouse was in a serious car accident. They unfortunately will not survive their injuries. I know this may seem grim, however, this is a part of life for some. This event was one of two things, planned or unplanned. Having a policy in place to protect against such an event will make all the difference for that surviving spouse and those children. 

Estate Liquidity Needs

When an individual passes, expenses come up out of no where that need to be covered by someone. Assets like a primary residence or an investment account will not be available right away to help cover some of these expenses. If there is no will in place, your loved ones may have to cover your expenses for months to come before the courts will actually grant someone the ability to simply act as your administrator. With accounts frozen, these expenses will have to be paid out of pocket by someone else. Not exactly the lasting memory we wish to leave behind. However, a simple beneficiary designation in the correct direction or a life policy could change this whole story.

Estate Planning in Merritt and Trust Advisory (Wills/POA)

Your last will and testament is an important thing to have in place. However, just as important is who you name to carry out your last wishes. Is this executor or executrix up to the task? With your passing, could you see them being mentally and physically able to carry out this task? Not exactly something we want to take lightly. Trusts are a complicated topic as well and the situation needs to warrant having something like this in place. Split families and second marriages bring a level of complexity to the estate planning process also. The wording needs to be very accurate to ensure your wishes take place. 

Living Benefits (Disability/Critical Illness/Long Term Care)

What would happen to our family if we were injured before retirement? This can have a massive impact on an individual or a family. What happens when one no longer has the ability to meet our current expenses, possibly even having expenses increase? What if a medical diagnosis or disease left us unable to earn a living for ourselves? There are so many situations that can be planned for. Ensuring we have proper coverage at different parts of our life is vitally important. Would our significant other be able to live comfortably if we needed long term care?

Ensure Your Plan Prepares You For The Unexpected

Experience Nicola Valley Financial Blogger

 

Estate Planning in Merritt BC

 

Merritt British Columbia Canada Top Travel & Adventure Guides

“Experience Community Program” (small and rural community authentic content marketing program) is a product of the EH? Tourism Marketing Group. Contact us for more information on this program at media(at)ehcanadatravel(dot)com.

Merritt Hotels –  Motels and Inn Accommodations In The Nicola Valley

Hotel places to stay in Merritt BC Canada

“When your community is a central base camp for year round adventures in the region it sure helps that you can provide hotel accommodations servicing all price points. And Merritt Hotels do just that.” 

 

Merritt hotels, motels and inns are just some of the accommodations available to visitors who come to explore the Nicola Valley for adventure, business, events and/or just to connect with family. However, we must also mention the complimenting accommodations in Merritt BC including the campgrounds, vacation homes, cottages, fishing resorts, guest ranches and bed and breakfasts. Many of which, already, have an Experience Nicola Valley blog written about them. That was then. This is now. As a result, today,  we are discussing some of our larger Merritt hotels and motels suitable for events, corporate events and pipeline workers.

Merritt BC Hotels , Motels , and Inns

Times have changed. Therefore, the rules for operating a hotel, motel and inn have changed because of COVID 19. Consequently, hotel accommodations have to adjust to the changing environment they are now in. Merritt hotels have to practice and encourage physical distancing, as well as, put in place a solid game plan when it comes to safety and cleaning protocols. Moreover, many of the Merritt BC hotels have implemented safety protocols and physical distancing measures. Most importantly, it is always best to phone or visit the website of your selected hotel destination to check in on the exact measures they are taking. However we are not here to discuss safety protocols. We are here to share with you the selection of  larger hotels and motels operating in and around Merritt, BC, Canada for your next visit to the valley. 

We Have the Bed for You

Merritt hotels, inns and motel accommodations are unique in their own way. Therefore is is easy to come to the conclusion that there is a pretty good selection of hotel rooms and/or self contained suites in the Nicola Valley. In short there are economical, as well as,  high end suites where comfort, amenities and luxury are your selling features. No matter your needs and wants, the Nicola Valley is able to satisfy your comfort levels and pricing preferences.

Above All It Is Location 

When it comes down to price point, Merritt has you covered. And if it comes down to amenities… the Nicola Valley has got that one covered too. Location? Got it covered as well. In short we can find you the right room in the right spot. For example there are hotels and motels at the top of the hill within walking distances to restaurants, coffee shop, liquor store, a pub,  and big box stores.  On the other hand, down the hill, there are Merritt hotels and motels near Downtown Merritt shopping, restaurants, pubs, retail stores and coffee shops. See… we got you covered. 

A List of the Merritt Hotels and Motels To Clarify My Point

Firstly click this link for quick access to a full list of Nicola Valley hotels and motels with description, website links, booking features,  and more

Merritt bc hotel

Best Western in Merritt BC Canada

Best Western Plus – Merritt

3969 Crawford Ave.
Merritt, British Columbia, Canada
V1K 1C4
Phone: +1 250-378-0700

Featured Merritt Hotel : https://experiencenicolavalley.com/best-western-plus-merritt-accommodation/
Photo Credit: Laurie Turmel

comfort inn merritt british columbia

Comfort Inn and Suites – Merritt

3713 De Wolf Way
Merritt, British Columbia, Canada
V1K 1C4
Phone: 1 250 315-0237

Featured Merritt Hotel : https://experiencenicolavalley.com/hotels-in-merritt-bc-comfort-inn/
Photo Credit : Julie Pollard

Ramada Hotel – Merritt

3571 Voght Street 
Merritt, British Columbia, Canada
V1K 1C5
Phone: 1 250 378-3567

Featured Merritt Hotel : https://experiencenicolavalley.com/places-to-stay-in-merritt-bc-ramada/
Photo Credit: House Member

Consequently, I have had the pleasure of staying with this hotel accommodation on my visits to the region for work and research. As a result I was fortunate to meet the manager, Gurpreet, who is one of the nicest people you will ever meet in town.  Lastly, the hotel accommodation is clean, quiet and serves up some morning breakfasts! There is also a swimming pool with a huge slide for kids. 

intown suites
Intown Inn and Suites

2201 Voght Street
Merritt, British Columbia, Canada
V1K 1B8
Phone: 1 250-378-4291

Photo Credit:  ehCanadaTravel.com


Super 8 – Merritt

3561 Voght St
Merritt, British Columbia, Canada
Phone: 1 250-378-9422

Photo Credit:  Johanne Schmidts


Quality Inn – Merritt

4025 Walters St
Merritt, British Columbia, Canada
V1K 1K1
Phone: 1 250.378.4253

Featured Article – https://experiencenicolavalley.com/indian-restaurants-in-merritt-bc-mughal-gardens/
Photo Credit:  ehCanadaTravel.com

merritt hotel accommodations
Merritt Desert Inn

2350 Voght Street
Merritt, British Columbia, Canada
V1K 1B8
Phone: 1 250 378 2254

Photo Credit:  ehCanadaTravel.com

Consequently, I have had the pleasure of staying with this Merritt hotel accommodation on some of my first visits to the region for work and research. However, it is now under new ownership, of which our team has not stayed with. Moreover, the accommodation includes a restaurant, conference room and pub. 

quilchena hotel

Quilchena Hotel and Resort

Planet Mine Rd
Quilchena British Columbia Canada
V0E 1S0
Phone: 1 250.378.2611

Photo Credit:  ehCanadaTravel.com

Merritt Hotels and Motels in the Nicola Valley

ExperienceMerritt.com

 

Nicola Valley BC Canada

 

Nicola Valley Hotels, Motels in and around Merritt British Columbia, Canada

Merritt British Columbia Canada Top Travel Guides

Merritt Mountain Biking in the Nicola Valley

Mountain Biking Trails and more in Merritt British Columbia Canada

It is easy to get outdoors and go mountain biking in the Nicola Valley

 

Outdoor Extreme Merritt Mountain Biking – Along with getting some quality time outdoors, mountain biking in the Nicola Valley provides the best type of mountain biking. No crowds. Lots of trails. Mouth-dropping scenery. Therefore to enjoy the trails in our backcountry all you need is a water bottle and your ride. Nature and the adrenaline rush provides the rest. The Merritt Mountain Biking Association gets all the credit in the Nicola Valley for our trails and for creating such extreme rides.  The Nicola Valley provides the beautiful backcountry scenery, the wildlife sightings,  the remote wilderness  lakes  and the many forested rolling hills. It is here in British Columbia Canada where mountain biking is free, wind in your hair, exploring. It is a secret mountain biking adventure destination. 

merritt mountain biking

After the final climb on Swakum Mountain. Photo Jordan Pinto.

Obviously the Nicola Valley Offers Some of the “Best” Terrain in BC for Avid Mountain Bikers 

While being centrally located, Merritt mountain biking offers a wide range of biking trails for newbies and extreme mountain bikers alike. In addition, Merritt tends to experience mild winters with little snowfall and warm, dry, sunny summers making Merritt a year round mountain biking destination most years.  The best thing about Merritt British Columbia is it is a great base camp for mountain biking nearby areas like the trails in  Kamloops, Kelowna, and the Fraser Valley. A fact that adds to the shine that Merritt is a great destination for multiple mountain biking adventures within BC. But it all starts here. Experience the Nicola Valley on a mountain bike!

Town of Merritt, BC, Canada

Town of Merritt, BC, Canada

Hoodoos Merritt BC Moonshadows Rv Park Coldwater River

Hoodoos Merritt BC Moonshadows Rv Park Coldwater River.

 

Outdoor Extreme Merritt Mountain Biking

Merritt Mountain Biking Accusation. Photo courtesy of Jordan Pinto.

Outdoor Extreme Mountain Biking

Photo by Jordan Pinto President of MMBA.

Become One With Nature

Isn’t it amazing how the power of nature and spending time outdoors can change your mood and your mental health. The nature, the smells and the wildlife have such a huge impact on how you perceive the world and how you feel on any given day. In the midst of this trying and difficult time, everyone needs to feel less stress. It might be time to just enjoy some nature by participating in some Merritt mountain biking.

Outdoor Extreme Mountain Biking in Merritt BC

Photo by Jordan Pinto

Nicola Valley Mountain Biker

Photo by Experience Nicola Valley.


There are something like 220 kilometres of mountain biking trails in the Nicola Valley with 3 main trail riding destinations – Swakum Mountain , Coutlee Plateau and Iron Mountain.
Coutlee Plateau primary trail type is cross-country. Iron Mountain is an all-out mountain & downhill trail network. Check out Trailforks and Experience Merritt for more information about the Nicola Valley. It is not all extreme.

Many are trails which challenge the most experience rider. But not all. There are some great family riding trails in the region. Some are trails which can last for hours and connect to some of our beautiful scenery. Your family will not be disappointed.  

Mountain Biking - Merritt BC

Mountain Biking trails – Merritt BC. Photo Trailforks Jordan Pinto

Extrememountainbikingnicolavalley

Mountain trails. Photo by Jordan Pinto.

 

What Now?

After your great day of mountain biking and exploring our backcountry why not visit one of our outdoor patios for a cool beverage of your choosing. For a small town we have a good selection of restaurants and pubs. Now…  we all know one day will not be enough to explore hundreds of kilometres of trails and over 200+ lakes, so lucky you we have a good selection of hotels and motels. Of course if you prefer to stay exploring the outdoors then check out a park like Monck Park  just 22 km north of Merritt, and then 12 km off Hwy 5A via narrow paved road. The park rests on the shores of one of our lakes. It just happens to be called Nicola Lake.  Moreover there are many lakes to choose from if in need of a cool off.

 

Merrittbc

Lundbom Lake. Photo courtesy of ehCanadaTravel.com.

Mountainbiking

Claybanks Merritt BC. Photo by Tania Stewart.

outdoorswimming.

Alleyne Lake. Photo by Tania Stewart.

Nicolavalley

Monck Park. Photo by Tania Stewart.

jordan pinto

Jordan Pinto – Merritt Mountain Biking Association

The MMBA (Merritt Mountain Biking Association) came into existence in the spring of 2000.

Jordan Pinto, the President, shared with us that their intentions are to make the riding in the Nicola Valley a great experience. Therefore, one of their primary goals is to advocate for long term trail access by working with Government.

Consequently, the MMBA was one of the first groups in the province to have an agreement with the crown to manage the trails we ride. The MMBA has signed a new agreement with the Province in 2012. Contact Jordan Pinto, the President of the Merritt Mountain Biking Association in Merritt BC Canada, for more information. 

Including the breathtaking and amazing scenery, Merritt has much more to offer. 

Of course during your down time you could take some enjoyment in checking out our downtown shopping. Notably Merritt’s downtown core offers a wide variety of hidden gems.  Truly take the time and stroll downtown Merritt BC.

 

Coldwater Hotel

Thanks to the Coldwater hotel.

 

Nicolavalleytrails

Walking the Trail. Photo by Tom Reynolds.

The best time to visit Merritt BC, Canada is in the summer, fall, winter and the spring. With it’s dry climate through-out the year make it an ideal “Destination Place” year-round . Unknown tourist from the coast.

Whether you are a beginner or a pro mountain biker, Merritt BC provides trails for every-one, every-category and skill level. We have the services to make your stay rock.  Numerous Hotels, Motels, B&Bs as well as campground and RV parks.  The Nicola Valley has it all. Importantly you can leave the hustle and stress behind of the big city and enjoy our small town hospitality. That is truly enjoyable.  Come and join us and explore!

Merritt Mountain Biking in the Nicola Valley, BC. 

 

Nicola Valley BC Canada

 

Nicola Valley Mountain Biking Adventures

Merritt British Columbia Canada Top Travel Guides