BC Fundraiser Ambassador Experience

Experience Nicola Valley Bloggers

Bloggers Share Their Hell or High Water Fundraiser Adventure

Hell or High Water Telethon Ambassadors  – On March 13th, 2022 musicians, celebrities, special guests, dancers and locals came together for the Hell or High Water Fundraiser in an effort to raise, much needed, funds for the displaced families of the BC fires and floods. The event played out over 12 hours on the Experience Nicola Valley website and Facebook page.  Every two hours, an Experience Nicola Valley Blogger from Merritt BC Canada,  joined the Facebook group on social media to enjoy the show with them and to help with any questions. Here is some of their feedback. 

2 Hour Fundraiser Episodes – Hell or High Water Telethon Ambassadors

Hell or High Water Ambassador – Tania Stewart

Many people were reaching out for information, guidance most importantly needing reassurance that they had not been forgotten.  Not knowing if they had a home to come back to or if all was lost, washed down with the river or in the case of the fire’s, dreading but hoping that their home was still standing. What the Hell or High Water Fundraiser has given to so many people is truly amazing. Therefore, it is important to recognize the organizers for putting on such an event in such a short time is incredible. Giving, providing such needed hope to all who have been tragically affected by this shows us how people will stand together in unity and strength. Collaboration, teamwork, and care can make wonderful things happen. The amount of people who stepped up to take part in this event truly shows us how united we are.”

Tania Stewart
Experience Nicola Valley Blogger

Hell or High Water Fundraiser Telethon Ambassador

Bill Henderson – Chilliwack

The Abrams - Telethon

The Abrams

Taylor James

Taylor James

***

Hell or High Water Ambassador – Jen Schell

“I really thought that Hell or Highwater Fundraiser was exceptionally put together. The team took in a tremendous undertaking. Therefore,  I feel represented the situation with compassion and empathy. Conveying the message in a beautiful and heartwarming manner. It was a privilege to experience this telethon. The performances were extremely talented. And we enjoyed it immensely.”

Jen Schell
Experience Nicola Valley Blogger

Bobby Garcia performs at Hell or High Water Fundraiser

Bobby Garcia

Telethon performance by Broadway Crush

Broadway Crush

David Gogo performs at telethon

David Gogo

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Hell or High Water Ambassador – Susanne Snider

“Being the opening Telethon Influencer has been a rewarding experience. However, seeing people from across Canada and beyond joining in was so uplifting. The support and positivity for this event was very encouraging. I am very happy and honoured to have been able to help. Lastly, thank you for the opportunity.

Susanne Snider
Experience Nicola Valley Blogger

Lisa Brokop Live at Grande Theatre in Mission BC

Lisa Brokop

Loverboy

Loverboy

Come Hell or High Water with Sean Hogan

Sean Hogan

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Hell or High Water Ambassador – Carole Leroux

“What a great 12-hours!! First time in a long time since the entire household sat in front of the TV over both lunch and supper so that we wouldn’t miss a minute. Therefore, every performance and every interview just seemed to get better and better at bringing these tragic events and their effects to the forefront. The 2 songs that particularly moved me were 1) When Hell came to Town by Dirt Road Opera and 2) the “Last Chance” song by Kenny Hess.  In addition to supporting the telethon fund, we will most certainly be adding these artists to our home play list.”

Carole Leroux

Dirt Road Opera music

Dirt Road Opera

Kenny Hess

Kenny Hess

Beverley Mahood Hell of High Water

Beverley Mahood

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Hell or High Water Ambassador – Tom Reynolds

“Being on the second shift of this great fundraiser was exciting as the moment began to grow. The music and information was first class. Consequently, the Rick Tippe video was truly amazing. I was blown away when William from Michigan joined our conversation. I think he was an Amber Marshall fan. Being an Ambassador was great fun, especially when surrounded by the hard working and dedicated Rotary Club of Merritt members.”

Tom Reynolds
Hell or High Water Ambassador
Experience Nicola Valley Blogger

***

The Hell or High Water website is still accepting donations until May 13th, 2022.  

Hell or High Water Ambassadors Feedback

#merrittmatters

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BC Flood and Fire Relief

Hell or Highwater Concert Help-a-thon

Donate to help the Victims

BC Flood and Fire Relief – It has been awhile since the disastrous floods and fires in Southern BC.  At this point in time it seems that the plight of the people affected by these events have been forgotten. However there still is a significant need. Provincial disaster relief is slow in coming and in all likelihood will not be sufficient to cover all the costs incurred.  As well, many people who thought they were insured weren’t.

BC Fire and Floods a Reminder

They say a picture is worth a thousand words so I want to remind everyone what happened in Merritt, Lytton, Princeton, and Abbotsford. 

Merritt Flood Nov 2021

Merritt Flood Nov 2021  – Photo Courtesy of  Global News

Abbotsford Floods – Photo Courtesy of Lindsay Lockhart

Lytton Fire 2021

Lytton Fire 2021 – Photo Courtesy of CTV News

Recovery from these events is a long ways away but the people need your help now.

Hell or Highwater Concert Help-a-thon

The Hell or High Water concert/help-a-thon is a massive undertaking. The organizing  group has put together an amazing group of artists to entertain you and to encourage you to help out.  For the 12 hour period, starting on March 13, 2022 at 10:00AM there will be appearances of over 50 Artists and another 25 or so dignitaries. To see where you can tune in to watch the Hell or High Water Fundraiser please go to the website. You can follow along and donate on participating websites, social media and, maybe even, TV. 

The great thing about this concert is that the overhead has been kept as low as possible so your donation goes to the fire  and flood relief victims.  The organizers  are donating their time and expertise, the artists are donating their performances and all prizes have been donated.

You may want to know who is behind the fund raiser for fire and flood relief. The “Brothers of Tourism” at EH Canada Travel, Kenny Hess (Founder of Rockin’ River Music Festival), the Citxw Nlaka’pamux Assembly, Tourism Nicola Valley, Experience Nicola Valley and the Rotary Club of Merritt are all proud to step up and present the “Hell or High Water Fundraiser”.

Hell or Highwater Entertainers

Obviously with over 50 performers I won’t be covering them all but you can be sure that everyone is a top caliber performer and you will enjoy every minute of it.

The lineup includes musicians from all genres with a large tribute to Country and Western.  This is not surprising because this fire and flood relief concert originated from the Country Music Capital of Canada, Merritt BC.  For the full list of Artists you can go to www.hellorhighwater.ca .

Just to get you excited here is but a few people performing for you, George Canyon, Patricia Conroy, Big and Rich, Kenny Hess, Karen Lee Batten, David Gogo, Jackson Hollow, Lisa Brokop,  Duane Steele and Beverley Mahood.  If old time rock and roll is more your thing then you can stay tuned for Chilliwack or Loverboy.

Fire and Flood Relief Prizes

To encourage you to donate to the fire and flood relief concert, Hell or High Water, you can win a valuable prize.  When you donate you can pick the prize that you want to win. You will automatically get 3 chances at the draw and then you get to earn other chances at your draw.  So it is actually better to donate early so your chances of winning become a little bit better.

What can you win?  There are prizes for every taste from Canucks tickets, Rockin River Tickets or a stay at a beautiful cabin on Glimpse Lake near Merritt, BC.

I am an art fan and have to say there is an amazing painting by Canadian Artist, David Langevin that has a retail value of over $8,000. So this will not only be a great addition to your home but also be a great investment in one of Canada’s foremost artists.

Melting at Moraine

Melting at Moraine-David Langevin Art

The Flood and Fire Relief Victims Need Help!

The crisis is not over!  The victims of the fire and flood need your support. The Hell or High Water Concert help-a-thon is the perfect place to provide that support.  You are not only helping your neighbours but you’re a getting a great day of music.  Also you will be entertained plus have the chance to win a great prize.  You can also direct your donation to a specific community.  Let’s all get on board.

 

Flood and Fire Relief

Hell or Highwater Concert Help-a-thon

Donate to help the Victims

 

 

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The Good. The Bad. The Ugly And the Kind.

“Sharing some acts of kindness and hoping for more.”

2021 Merritt Flood in British Columbia Canada – The community of Merritt BC Canada, has witnessed devastating forest fires, and floods in the last year. It seems this year, 2021, Merritt, and parts of the Nicola Valley, have gone through a merry-go-round of evacuation alerts, and evacuation orders. Some residence left. Some stayed behind. All have their reasons. The end result is a population in a community who are tired, worn out, confused, scared, or optimistic and, yes, some are angry too.

The 2021 Merritt Flood

During the 2021 Merritt Flood and Forest Fires, tragedy happened on all levels of devastation. There is no ignoring that. There are no benefits in comparing one heartache to another. They all hurt. Some more than others. Some life changing. I wish I could turn back time. Make this all go away. I wish my friends had their homes back. Smiling and laughing again would be another wish. I wish living in Merritt was like it use to be. Unfortunately I am no Genie. No lamp to rub just a water bottle to fill. All I have are big wishes with little answers. But I do have hope.

My Super Power

I take pride in my listening and observation skills. So, let me share my take on that. We are all our own master on what we decide to listen too and observe. We can take it all in, flip it upside down, make what we want of it. Some of us process the positive and spit out the negative or vice-versa. But what you process is up to you. Hence why, with all the sadness, I have decided to share some “warm and fuzzy” stories,  sending out some positive vibes to the community of Merritt, Princeton, Abbotsford and to our First Nation friends. I would like to share some of the kind and positive gestures I witnessed along this ugly road we travelled called the 2021 Merritt Flood in the City of Merritt BC Canada. 

8 Acts of Kindness

Because of the nature of my work online globally, and locally with Experience Nicola Valley, I see the good, the bad and the ugly of the internet. There are many sources online of nasty, negative with a big dose of nasty conversations. We all have a choice of which lens we choose to look through for every situation life presents us. Me? Well… when it comes to the Merritt Flood I choose hope. We need more stories of good people doing good things during these challenging times. Hence, why I am going to focus on the positive stories and share some “acts of kindness” I and my friends experienced during the 2021 Merritt flood.

“No act of kindness, no matter how small, is ever wasted.”
Aesop

(1) ESS and Red Cross

The evacuation had problems on many levels. Remember, no one saw this coming. Yes, there were warning signs and reports and white papers. But…  no one saw it coming on November 15th, 2021. No meteorologists, engineer, politician or scientist told us to buckle in for a massive rain storm and possible flooding. Many of us went to bed the night before expecting to wake up to another normal Monday. Well that didn’t happen. The evacuation order caught us all by surprise. Therefore people slipped through the cracks. Communication was suspect. Volunteers were stretched at ESS and the  Red Cross.  Should I stay or should I go? Yes, the process was not perfect by any means. News flash! Nothing is perfect in a blender of chaos.  

(2) Volunteers

I know why it is tough to get volunteers at times. Just watch how some people treat them, like it was their fault. All they are doing is following direction or the lack of.  A big thank you to the volunteers for taking care of us with the best tools at their disposal. I know you did your best  and you did not design the system nor the process. I also know you are a volunteer, on your time, to make our challenges as comfortable as possible. So thank you to all the volunteers in Kelowna, Kamloops, Salmon Arm, 100 Mile House, Sicamous, Penticton and those in Merritt helping the community get back on its feet again. And if I missed anybody, my apologies. But thank you again! 

Merritt volunteers

Lining up for ESS. Photo credit: Greg Girard

(3) Let Me See The Light

The 2021 Merritt Flood was a sight I would not wish on anyone. Everything changed in a blink of an eye. Before we knew it, we were evacuated and in a hotel room. Everything was new again including an Optometry Office and a LensCrafters, next door in Orchard Park Mall in Kelowna BC Canada. I needed glasses for the first time and I did not have my prescription with me. But I did have time.  Dr. Keevn Otte heard I was an evacuee from Merritt and booked me in and redid my prescription at no charge! Then Ben, at LensCrafters, set me up with my new lens and frames and he too gave me a break on price, on top of the Black Friday Special. I was seeing with my eyes, the kindness of people. 

(4) Green Plate of Hospitality

Not sure of the back story on this one but it goes something like this. Someone at our hotel, the Kanata, was out in public one day sharing how eating out all the time was getting old. Someone, was listening in. Who we do not know? The next morning 50 trays of vegetables and dip arrived at the lobby in our hotel from an unknown source, someone who did not want to be recognized, but did it out of the goodness of their heart. To that mystery person if you are reading this – thank you for your kind gesture.  Loved the mini tomatoes and green peas.

merritt flood 2021

Vegetable tray surprise. Photo credit: Melvina White

(5) Class is in Session

Have you heard of the story of Ewa Olguin, an early childhood educator in Merritt, BC, Canada? If you have not, Ewa was evacuated from Merritt like many of us. At her hotel she recognized many of the kids were from the “Strong Start” Program back in Merritt. Her place of employment I believe. In seeing the children, away from a regular routine and their homes, Ewa decided to start a 3 hour class every morning with the kids reading, playing and learning.  Thank you Ewa!

(6) Is That To Eat In or To Go?

As we stated at the beginning of this list, the littlest gesture can make a difference. How about just smiling. When you eat at one spot for days on days they get to know you. In our case it was Boston Pizza. It did not take a lot of time for them to recognize our orders and to begin greeting us with smiles, and conversations when we ate in or picked up. Thank you for feeding many of us from the 2021 Merritt flood. 

(7) Experience Nicola Valley Pivot

When people are scared, and living in a mist of confusion, information is the currency of choice. I watched as councillors were inundated daily with phone calls, text and emails numbering in the hundreds asking questions and seeking answers. Being on the front lines of the evacuation, mixed in amongst the local population, every day and hour, your sleeves get tugged on a lot.  And yet, the questions were often 2 steps ahead of the answers available to councillors. They could only share what they knew and as information was being released. But they knew communication is the currency of choice during a disaster. So they stepped up. First to video, Experience Nicola Valley was proud to pivot their platform, so they could bring daily video updates, as need be, from Councillor White, Luck and Etchart. And then… some councillors met with the evacuees in the hotel lobby daily for briefings and updates as well. It took some guts to put their face out there. But they were humble, caring and doing what was right updating us the best they can. Thank you!

(8) Friends, Family and Business Partners

When the news hit all over Canada of the 2021 Merritt Flood, I could not believe the emails that flooded my in-box from people checking in on us from all around the world. Some I have not heard from in years and a few in decades. It was a moment-of-truth to see so many people checking in on my Brother and I.  We are so fortunate to have good people surrounding us and supporting us. Thank you and we are grateful for your kindness, support and friendship. 

brothers of tourism merritt flood

Colin and I on Evacuation Order in Kelowna BC. Photo credit: Greg Girard

Social Media

If social media is your only go-too for information, well then there might be issues with that? Working in that field, I  understand the pros and cons of a platform with little rules and high engagement. It is a platform which makes its rules on the fly based on all sides of human nature, good and bad. And there is good and bad. Do not get me wrong, social media, is a beautiful thing. I have seen lives changed for the better when social media is used positively.  Social media is a treasure for small businesses to get their message out. To me it is an art form. However, at times, it is also a bloody battlefield where communication is won or lost. There is one big caveat to the social media battlefield :

“Bad news travels at the speed of light; good news travels like molasses.”
Tracy Morgan

Together, when we start commenting, and sharing and posting and tagging each other with positive stories, good news will travel faster. It takes a movement, to create a message. 

Winter Adventures coming soon to the Nicola Valley. We are open for winter. 

I Choose Hope

I have witnessed how the community is divided along many lines because of the 2021 Merritt floods and forest fires. A disaster will do that to any community. Emotions will run rampant. Loses are off the map. But I have hope because the overall dominating factor in this conundrum are the people of Merritt. They are my baseline in the equation of building back better. Many are my friends. I have been around Merritonians long enough to know they are a strong and good people. Merritt will be back. I will do everything I can to be part of that re-awakening.  

Stay safe. Be kind. 

#merrittmatters

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Homes in Merritt BC Canada

A House for Everyone In The Nicola Valley

The history of housing in Merritt in the Nicola Valley

Homes in Merritt BC Canada vary greatly and are impacted by the various stages of its development when non indigenous settlers arrived in the Nicola Valley in the last 1800s.  The primary focus was on ranching.  However, when the turn of the century arrived the discovery of coal brought an increase demand for housing.  As a result the village of Merritt was established in 1911.

In this blog you will see pictures of many styles of homes that have appeared in the Nicola Valle over the past 120 years or so.  None of the homes pictured are for sale but they will give you a good idea of what is available.

Small Homes in Merritt BC Canada

The discovery of coal resulted in the need for housing for the miners and their families.  As was the case in most mining towns this need was met by building small economical homes.  The downtown area of Merritt BC still has many of these homes today.  They are generally around 90 Square meters (800 sq ft). They are mostly 2 bedrooms and one bathroom.  As well, they are usually on a good size city lot.

 

Small Homes in Merritt BC Canada

Small Cottage #2-Tom Reynolds Photo

small cottage #1

Small Cottage #1-Tom Reynolds Photo

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Housing styles change in the Nicola Valley

Coal mining had a short period of activity from the turn of the 20th century to the 1950’s.  However the decline started in the 30’s.  While coal mining was fading out, forestry began to become more important.

Unfortunately there was a problem in the early going and the City of Merritt decided to bail out one of the mills and provided a significant loan.  This created a difficulty for the City as the United States put up tariffs on lumber that forced the mill into a bankruptcy that took the City with it.  Therefore, growth was slow during this period with the housing remaining small and simpler in design.

Bigger Homes were on the way

While forestry was becoming more important to the city during the 40’s, the actual boom started in 1958 when the Craigmont Mine opened in 1958 and was followed in 1962 by Highland Copper Mine (current mine name).  This period saw the opening of the “Bench” subdivision which sits above downtown on a hill.  At first the homes in Merritt BC Canada at this time were not fancy but were bigger than downtown.

 

Bench Homes in Merritt BC Canada

Bench Housing-Tom Reynolds Photo

The Coquihalla Highway Arrives

In the mid seventies growth was slow.  However, the announcement in the early eighties of a new highway connecting the lower mainland (Vancouver BC) to the interior generated a lot of excitement in the area beyond any previous period.  Expansion of subdivisions on the “Bench” were complemented with others in the south and east.

Bench Home

Bench Home-Tom Reynolds Photo

South Area homes in merritt bc canada

South Area Home-Tom Reynolds Photo

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Homes in Merritt BC continues to grow

Not much happened after 1996 as the area’s growth stalled.  There was some subdivision activity in the early 2000’s but not much building took place.  However, by 2018, house prices in the Vancouver area was making it difficult for young families to afford a home. Also at that time it was a great opportunity for seniors to cash in and get affordable homes in Merritt BC as well.

This pressure from the lower mainland has created a huge demand which has spurred on a major building frenzy.  Unfortunately it also has driven prices up to a point where Merritt has lost most of its price advantage.  For example, the million dollar home was not known in this area, but now there are lots of them, particularly along the riverside.

This is the type of home that is being built now.

New Home

New Home-Tom Reynolds Photo

Riverside Home

Riverside home-Tom Reynolds Photo

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Other Nicola Valley Housing styles

This article has focused on the single family market but there are many other homes in Merritt BC for consideration such as condos, rental apartments, townhouses and mobile homes.  Perhaps another time I will discuss these options.

This blog is brought to you by Tourism Nicola Valley as part of their award winning program-Experience Nicola Valley.  

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Remembrance Day in Merritt BC Canada

Nicola Valley Remembers November 11

Canadians observe a minute of silence and visit Canadian memorials around the world to honor the soldiers who sacrificed their lives for our country.

Remembrance Day in Merritt BC Canada  has been observed since the end of the First World War to remember armed forces members who served in the line of duty.  November 11th is truly one of our most important days of the year. Therefore with the challenges we are facing today makes this a more memorable time to take a minute of silence.   “Lest we forget” is a day of Remembrance  in Merritt BC. Canada. Communities throughout Canada will hold ceremonies honouring our veterans and the fallen.  Moreover this is a time of giving homage and respecting our past while looking forward. 

 

 
Remembrance Day in Merritt BC

“Lest we forget” Photo Credit: Tania Stewart

Celebrating veterans in Merritt BC

Generations will not forget. Photo Credit: Tania Stewart

“Lest We Forget” We remember the more than 2,300,000 Canadians who have served throughout our nation’s history and the more than 118,000 who made the ultimate sacrifice.

Remembrance Day in Merritt BC Canada

Remembrance Day in the Nicola Valley and throughout Canada has been observed since the end of the First World War in 1931.  Therefore, on November 11th, in Merritt BC Canada it is important to remember the members of our army, navy and air force and all who died in the line of duty.  Together, since I can remember, communities gather in memorial parks, community halls, workplaces, schools and homes to stand and observe all who have fallen.  Accordingly every year, at the eleventh hour of the eleventh day of the eleventh month, we gather in memorial parks, we Canadians mark the occasion every year with a “moment of silence”.  Firstly, and most importantly, it is an opportunity to say “thank you” to the soldiers who have protected our way-of-life, our freedoms and our system of democracy. Make an effort and come and Experience Remembrance Day in Merritt BC. 

Remembrance Day Merritt BC.

Remembrance Day in Merritt BC. Canada. Photo credit Tania Stewart.

Thus on Remembrance Day in Merritt BC.

On this day, when we honour those who have fought for our country and our freedom, it’s hard to find the words to express just what they have given each and every one of us.

In Addition 

Remembrance Day is also called “poppy day” on November 11th in Canada. Many other countries of the world celebrate this day on the same date. Around the world people give homage and decorate the graves of their heroes who sacrificed themselves for their country. Many Canadians spend Remembrance Day with their family and friends. There are many of us who attend the local Remembrance Day  ceremony in our home towns as a family.   

 

 “We only need to look at what we are really doing in the world and at home and we’ll know what it is to be Canadian.” Adrienne Clarkson

Civic Centre Merritt

“The dead soldier’s silence sings our national anthem.” —Aaron Kilbourn . Photo credit: Tania Stewart

Remembrance Day is a day for all Canadians to remember the men and women who served and sacrificed for our country. It is a day we encourage every individual, young and old, to pause, to give thanks and to remember. Legion.

Remembrance Day in Merritt BC. Canada

Members of the Masonic and appendant body Oder of the Eastern  Star.  Brian Stewart along with his wife Lily Stewart laying a wreath. Photo credit: Tania Stewart

But the freedom that they fought for, and the country grand they wrought for, is their monument today, and for aye.” Thomas Dunn English

A Day of Remembrance 

Remembrance Day isn’t just about war and those we’ve lost, but about ideals and what we stand for. It’s about respecting our past and looking forward, and more than anything, thanking those who have served our country.

Remembrance Day in Merritt BC. Canada

Laying a wreath. Photo credit: Tania Stewart.

History of Canadian Veterans Service.

Canadian Veterans have served throughout history in a broad range of conflicts and situations – from world wars to peacekeeping missions to crises on the home-front.  The Royal Canadian Legion, including the Merritt BC Chapter, is committed to honouring and remembering all Veterans, whether they served in theatre or on Canadian soil, whether they kept the peace or fought for peace, whether they found themselves in combat or in support of operations.

Remembrance Day in Merritt BC. Canada

Respecting our past and welcoming our future. Photo credit: Tania Stewart

 “Whether we live together in confidence and cohesion; with more faith and pride in ourselves and less self-doubt and hesitation; strong in the conviction that the destiny of Canada is to unite, not divide; sharing in cooperation, not in separation or in conflict; respecting our past and welcoming our future.” Lester Pearson

Remembrance Day in Merritt BC. Nicola Valley

“Patriotism is not dying for one’s country, it is living for one’s country. And for humanity. Perhaps that is not as romantic, but it’s better.” —Agnes Macphail . Photo credit: Tania Stewart

Remembrance Day in the Nicola Valley

“The legacy of heroes is the memory of a great name and the inheritance of a great example.” Benjamin Disraeli. Photo credit: Tania Stewart

The Poppy Campaign.

A great Canadian tradition is wearing a “red poppy” on your lapel between the last Friday of October to November 11. Tens of millions of Canadians put on a Poppy as a visual pledge to honour Canada’s Veterans.  And did you know the first poppy is presented each year to the Governor General of Canada. Furthermore, in local areas the Royal Canadian Legion presents their first Poppy to either a veteran, member of the military or dignitary.  

Remembrance Day in Merritt BC. Photo by Tania Stewart.

Feature Maj. Thor Toms.

Beginning as a cadet himself, Major Thor Toms, joined the Navy League at the age of 10.  Later joining the air cadets,  followed by the Canadian Army. “Our youth are faced with so many influences in their lives and many of those influences don’t offer them the best choices for positive decisions.” Furthermore “The cadet program helps to guide our youth.” Maj. Thor Toms

Additionally my Grandfather Charles Stewart.

My Grandfather. L/CPL Charles M Stewart. Photo credit: Tania Stewart

Honouring and Remembering Canada’s Veterans.

It is important to know that the Legion acknowledges the end of conflicts and does not commemorate the start of conflicts.  The most sacred day is Remembrance Day. Every year, on November 11, the Legion recognizes all of Canada’s Veterans, serving and retired, commemorates our Fallen, men and women of the Canadian Armed Forces, RCMP, Peace Officers, Merchant Navy, and Reserves. Honouring families and their losses. 

“I am a Canadian, free to speak without fear, free to worship in my own way, free to stand for what I think right, free to oppose what I believe wrong, or free to choose those who shall govern my country. This heritage of freedom I pledge to uphold for myself and all mankind.” —John Diefenbaker

The National Remembrance Day Ceremony.

On Remembrance Day, at the National War Memorial in Ottawa, tens of thousands of people assemble to honour and remember those who have fallen to protect our freedoms. Contact your local legion. Merritt Royal Canadian Legion Branch 96.

Courage is the first of human qualities because it is the quality which guarantees the others. ~ Aristotle.

Remembrance Ceremonies across Canada.

Royal Canadian Legion members take pride in organizing Remembrance Day Ceremonies in over 1,400 Branches across Canada and abroad. Through each Branch, the Legion continues the traditions of Remembrance so that Canada ‘never forgets.’

Never Forget.

Veteran 35yr Legion

Norman Phillips 1951. On his way to the Korean war. Proudly Served in the Korean War. Melvina White‘s father.

The Act of Remembrance
They shall grow not old, as we that are left grow old;
Age shall not weary them, nor the years condemn.
At the going down of the sun and in the morning
We will remember them.
We will remember them.

How We Advocate.

Veterans served to protect the rights and freedoms we enjoy today, and The Royal Canadian Legion is committed to ensuring they receive the care and support they deserve. The Legion advocates for Veterans’ benefits and for the well-being of Veterans and their families. To find out more about this process, contact your Branch or Provincial Command.

 

In Flanders Field

LT,-Col. John McCae (1872-1918)

“In Flanders Fields” written by John McCrae 

Canadian soldier John McCrae penned the famous poem, “In Flanders Field”. He served in the Second Battle of Ypres in Flanders, Belgium. The poem was written in remembrance of a fallen comrade who’d died in battle and was buried with a simple wooden cross as a marker.  He observed how throughout the fields of Flanders, once alive with red poppies, was now filled with the bodies of dead soldiers.  

Comparatively it highlights one of the ironies of war—that soldiers must die so that a nation of people might live. Remembrance Day in the Nicola Valley November 11th. In Flanders Fields poem. John McCrae .

In Remembrance on November 11th. 

On Remembrance Day, take a moment to salute those patriotic men and women who served their nation. On this day, when we honor those who have fought for our country and our freedoms, it’s hard to find the words to express just what they have given each and every one of us.

Contact Information

Royal Canadian Legion Merritt Branch 096
1940 Quilchena Ave
Merritt, British Columbia
(250) 378-5631

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Remembrance Day in Merritt BC, Nicola Valley

Wear a Poppy in Canada

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Canada Country & Blues Musician 

Canadian “Living the Dream” in country music

Crystal Shawanda is a Canadian Blues and Country Music Artist who grew up on the Wiikwemkoong First Nation, Manitoulin Island, Ontario.  However, today, Crystal is also producing Indigenous music, or as she likes to refer to them,  storyteller songs. That suits us just fine, as we are storytelling bloggers who have deep roots in country living and the country lifestyle.  No wonder we proudly celebrate Crystal  Shawanda with a Merritt Mural in Downtown Merritt BC Canada.  

Crystal Shawanda Canadian Blues Country Music Artist

The Beginning of Crystal Shawanda as a Canadian Blues and Country Music Artist

Little do people know that Shawanda was surrounded by country and blues music throughout her childhood. Often, she was sitting back as a child  observing her family singing and playing instruments. However, as she aged Crystal’s parents noticed her keen interest in singing and instruments. Therefore , there were little options available but to teach her to sing and play guitar from her home on the lands of an Wiikwemkoong First Nation

Shawanda used to go with her mother when she cleaned houses. To make the time pass, she would be the DJ.

“I would spin the records while she cleaned and we would both sing at the top of our lungs,” Crystal Shawanda. I remember holding up a Loretta Lynn record and saying, ‘Whatever she does, that’s what I want to do.”

The Younger Years of  Country Music

Crystal Shawanda is a Canadian Blues and Country Music Artist who started singing on stage when she was 6, and getting paid gigs by the time she was 10. Consequently, this was the beginning of  touring with a theatre company when she was 9.

When Crystal was 12, because her dad was a truck driver, she started taking frequent trips to Nashville. As a result she would walk through downtown Nashville, by all the honky-tonks.

“I’d get up to sing at everyone of them and then we’d get back in the truck and leave. It always kept me wanting more.”

Music School to Music Capital to No Music 

After dropping out of music school, Crystal moved to Nashville. Even though, she did not know a soul, and was all alone, she was determined to make something happen. She met a well respected music executive, who told her there was no room for her in country music. She tried to find a positive in the critique as well as take it with gracefulness, but the words stung too much which resulted in her moving back home, and giving up on her dream.

“I just don’t know if Native Americans make sense in country music, I don’t know if fans would be receptive, and I wouldn’t even know how to market you” (respected music executive)

The Low Notes of Country and Blues Music

She started travelling down a dark road on a self destructive path. Somehow that road always had enough light to lead her back to the stage and microphone. Albeit, it was blessing that would help her see and come to terms with what she was dealing with.

The Rise of a Canadian Country and Blues Artist

All things considered, Crystal moved back to Nashville in 2008, with a mission, and a purpose. She played at Tootsie’s Orchid lounge 6 days a week, 3 shifts a day. She created a buzz and landed a production deal with Scott Hendricks. After hearing Crystal cover B.B.King and Janis Joplin a record deal was landed with RCA records by Joe Galante. It was the beginning of Crystal Shawanda Canadian Blues Country Music Artist.

Crystal Shawanda in Nashville

Tootsie’s Orchid Lounge in Nashville. Photo credit: iStock Photos

Crystal Shawanda burst onto the country music scene with her hit single, “You Can Let Go,” and her debut album, “Dawn Of A New Day”. September 6th, 2008 marked the Grand Ole Opry debut of this Canadian First Nation songstress.

Dawn of the Day Release Her Inner Country Music

Shawanda’s first album, “Dawn of a New Day”, was released in Canada on June 24, 2008. It would release on Aug 19, 2008 in the United States. The album would chart at number 2 on the Top Country Albums in Canada, and number 16 on the Billboard Top Country Albums Chart in the United States. Her album was released in stores internationally, resulting in a top 16 song on the American Billboard Chart.

Her story,  female artist who travels to Nashville with a single suitcase, is a common one. However big dreams, and even a bigger voice struck a chord and landed her a ton of success. Following the path of many females before her, Shawanda did not give up. 

 Aboriginal Awards 2008

  • Artist of The year
  •  Album of The Year (Dawn of A New Day)
  •  Best Single of The Year (You Can Let Go)

Canadian Aboriginal Awards 2008

  •  Artist of The year
  •  Album of The Year (Dawn of A New Day)
  •  Country Album of The Year
  •  Music Video of The Year (You Can Let Go)
  • Best Single of The Year (You Can Let Go)

CCMA Awards

She won Female Artist of The Year at the 2008 Canadian Country Music Awards as well as Best New Country Artist at the Canadian Radio Music Awards.

The Junos

Crystal Shawanda Canadian Blues Country Music Artist, was nominated for a Juno Award,  five consecutive years since 2009, winning Aboriginal Album Of the Year.

Living The Dream

“I want to inspire people to just take chances, “she said. “It’s not about being perfect, if you love something, go after it.” (Crystal Shawanda)

CMT documented Crystal Shawanda’s, rise to fame in a six-part series Crystal: Living the Dream, which aired in February 2008.

The music scene loves Crystal Shawanda. The realization of how far she’s come, manifested when her feet touched down on Nashville’s country music epicentre- the Grand Ole Opry. “It was definitely the highlight of my whole journey,” she said.

Phyllis Ellis, writer and director of Crystal Shawanda: Living the Dream, said working with Shawanda and visiting her First Nation roots was a benefit to her work and life. “When I first heard her sing, I almost fell over. She is one of the most talented artists I think I’ve ever heard.”

Ellis believes Shawanda is a role model for all young people- Aboriginal and non-Aboriginal alike. She said the songs provoke insight, experience and humour. “Her music is direct. It is not obscure. She addresses things.” Calling Shawanda an “old soul,” Ellis described her as having the “knowledge of a 80-year-old. She is complex, honest and has integrity.”

Country Music Scene and Artists

In light of everything, Shawanda said, it was at the CMT Music Awards, when she shared the stage with such country stars as Martina McBride, Brooks and Dunn and Carrie Underwood, that she realized she had reached her Country goals and dreams. 

From time ot time Shawanda toured with various artists across Canada and the northern United States in 2008. She toured Canada and the United States with Brad Paisley and Dierks Bentley as a special guest on the Paisley Party 2009 Tour.

In spite of her success on the country music scene, she released one more country album “Just Like You” in 2014 that resulted in a Juno Award, and a top 20 hit in Canada. In addition the opportunity to perform for millions in New York City for the Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade, televised internationally.

Blues and/or Country Music Artist

As the format of country music started to change Crystal found the feedback to be a resounding “your too bluesy”, and this had her chasing her sound.  For this reason, while working on her third country album, she made the decision to abandon the project and take some time off.

“You’re too bluesy. I so wanted to be what everyone wanted me to be” (Crystal Shawanda)

One day during her hiatus while watching the news and feeling overwhelmed by the headlines, she wrote “The Whole World’s Got The Blues”. Finally, this was the inspiration to her first blues album. Furthermore it was a modern take on the blues, but deep rooted. It captures the resilience of the human spirit, much like the way Crystal does.

All in With the Blues

The album garnered a Juno nomination, and received mixed reviews, with moderate airplay, but it opened a whole new world to Crystal. During this time some of the feedback was that Crystal was a country music artist, and couldn’t know the blues. This had her feeling like a fish out of water, which would result in being the inspiration behind her second blues album “Fish out of water  in October 2016. Consequently the album was nominated for a Juno award, and  received some of the best reviews from the critics since her debut album.

The Dream Continues To Grow

“Voo Doo Woman”, produced by Crystal and her long time guitarist and husband Dewayne Strobel, was released in October, 2017. To clarify Voodoo Woman is Crystal’s third blues album – and the first to be released outside of Canada. This album was a declaration, an affirmation, Crystal Shawanda is a true blues singer.  

Crystal Shawanda is a soulful little powerhouse, and will make you feel every word. In particular, she has a voice that’s not like anyone you’ve ever heard, it’s pure and precise, yet at the same time gritty and gutsy .

“I can’t help but feel like I’m home, no longer holding back.” (Crystal Shawanda)

Crystal Shawanda Merritt BC Mural 

Crystal Shawanda Canadian Blues Country Music Artist, sometimes referred to as the next Shania Twain, tops the Canadian country music charts with “My Roots are Showing”, and at that time also graced the main stage of The Merritt Mountain Music Festival in 2009.

“I was just blown away and touched.” (Crystal Shawanda)

I was worried because it was starting to get cold and starting to rain right before our show. My band thought, oh no, they’re all going to start heading to their campers and their motorhomes, and to my surprise I came out — at this point it was pouring rain — and everybody was just sitting in their seats.

Smiling Crystal  called out if everyone was feeling rowdy tonight? Not so much. They were getting soaked out there. The result was her biggest ovation for her “You Can Let Go Now Daddy” hit. 

However, it was after this performance at the 2009 Merritt Mountain Music Festival that, Crystal had her mural painted by Michelle Loughery as part of the 2005 Merritt Mural Project.  In other words 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”.  

The Crystal Shawanda mural is included on The Canadian Country Music Mural Walk in downtown Merritt, BC. Hence, Crystal’s mural can be found in Spirit Square on the corner of Granite Avenue and Voght Street, in a row of murals near the stage.  

Back To Merritt, BC For The Rodeo

Shawanda came back to play The North America’s Richest Indian Rodeo held in Merritt at the Nicola Valley Rodeo Grounds on May 22, 2010

While she was keeping busy on a North American radio tour, she said she was excited to be playing Merritt again, where she will be able to meet up with old friends and hopefully make some new ones.

She played songs from her albums as well as songs she loves to sing from what she calls her heroes.  “I’ll cover Prince, Tina Turner, Johnny Cash, Hank Williams. In other words, it’s just like, what do I feel like singing tonight?”

Welcome the Rockin’ River Music Festival

Crystal Shawanda’s show at the 17th annual Merritt Mountain Music Festival in 2011 was a treat as she played Prince’s Little Red Corvette. Lastly, Crystal has left her mark in Merritt and did return  for the 2017 Rockin River Music Fest held every August long weekend in Merritt, BC.

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

Summer Art Shows in Merritt BC

Clothing and Body Art Shows Liven Up Gallery

Body Art Shows in Merritt BC

Poster for Body Art Show

Body Embellishments and Wearable Art 

Summer Art Shows in Merritt, BC, at the Nicola Valley Arts Gallery, brought out the creativity of different artists in our community. They were just another great example of how resilient artists are during Covid

Body Art Shows in Merritt

For our Body Art Show in July, our tattoo, airbrush, and henna artists displayed their work with flair and personality. The hair stylists and makeup artists pushed the boundaries even further which just upped the level of fun in the show.

The Talent

During our fun opening reception several guests had hand henna art done by Prianne Dhesa, or temporary body art by Amy Maclaren. Photos of celebrities, famous people, and locals with tattoos and wild hairstyles livened up the gallery as well. And of course we had art by several of our Nicola Valley creatives.

We enjoyed music by guitarist Steve Atlas of the local group Stratosphere. Steve had an impressive and enjoyable two hour playlist and also chatted with the art show guests. (Photo of Steve Atlas below)

Tattoo Artist

Brian Wheeler of Sin on Skin Tattoos Merritt. Photo credit: Jano Howarth

Thanks to local tattoo artists Brian Wheeler of Sin on Skin Tattoo, and Marco Merulla of Mom’s Tattoos. Beautiful, thoughtful, and fun work! I now have tats in progress from both of these tattoo masters…. (Photo of Marco Merulla below)

Art of Clothing, Creativity in Merritt BC

For our Art of Clothing Show that followed, well over a dozen local weavers, clothes designers, embroiderers, upcyclers and artists provided us with a creative display, from trench coats to hats to felted vests. We had lots of OOAK (one of a kind) pieces of clothing as well as art pieces depicting fashion. 

Wearable art for the people of the Nicola Valley and for all the visitors who stopped in to see the show.

Fires in the Valley, Art anyway…

Art of Clothing Show

Art of Clothing Show. Photo credit: Jano Howarth

From the beginning of the summer art shows in Merritt BC, until the end of our Art of Clothing show, the Nicola Valley and surrounding areas were under threat from wild fires, out of control. Artists of our two shows, our workshop instructors and Gallery volunteers were on alert and many were evacuated from their homes for days and weeks.

But we had lots of visitors through the Gallery! Despite the danger of fire and heavy smoke people traveled to the Interior of BC, risking road closures and extended stays.  People enjoyed the distraction of our local creativity and these unique shows. 

Thank you to Artists and Creative Help

Thanks to our Art of Clothing artists! Several created work just for our show. 

Thanks to our student volunteer, artist Olivia Nendick. She helped with our shows, or kids art events, and submitted pieces herself. (Photo of Olivia below)

And special thanks to our stellar summer worker, just graduated and an artist also, Karianne Kroeker. Kari tackled any job given to her, from mundane to creative.

Merritt Art Shows

Karianne Kroeker, Artist and Clothing Upcycler. Photo credit: Jano Howarth

Kari put together photo collages for the Body Art show, submitted pieces she had sewn, painted, and blinged for the Art of Clothing show. She came made up and dressed ever day for our creative space, chatted with guests and visitors, and participated in Kids Art classes. 

What Creativity is Next?

The summer art shows in Merritt BC have come to a close, but there’s no stopping creativity. In hard times or good, creativity flows. We are happy at the NVCAC to inspire and be inspired. What’s the next inspired show?

Watch here for a blog post or read a bit about it and our other art shows this year on my site on creativity, learning, and journaling Meme Dreams

Click to my blog here on Experience Nicola Valley about our move to a new location last fall, and art in Merritt, BC.

Thanks for stopping by! Remember, express yourself!

Jano Howarth

Nicola Valley Arts Centre Gallery Curator

Visit our Nicola Valley Arts website

Facebook Gallery and Gift Shop

Merritt Gallery ShowsArt of Clothing, Cindilla Trent’s felted vest Summer Art Shows MerrittArt of Clothing, Olivia Nendick Tattoo ArtistBody Art Show, Marco Merulla of Mom’s Tattoos
Body Art Show MerrittBarb Tomkinson, Maureen Lisle at Body Art Show Body Art  Steve Atlas MusicMusic Steve Atlas, Body Art Show Art of Clothing Show MerrittRichard Lepinsky Music, Art of Clothing Show
All photos provided and credit goes to Jano Howarth

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.  Contact us today to bring this award winning community program to your region. 

Living in Merritt BC

Exploring Near Merritt in the Nicola Valley

Living life in the Shuswap Lake region of British Columbia Canada

Living in Merritt BC  – For the better part of two years Experience Nicola Valley has been providing an amazing amount of information on what Merritt and the Nicola Valley has to offer.  Do you want to know about camping in the area?  We have many stories that will spike your interest in our local camping such as Harmon Lake in the Kane Valley or Paska Lake off of Hwy 97D.

With so much to do when living in Merritt BC I could not possibly cover it all in this article.  However the good news is that you came to a key document that will provide you access to all the great things going on.  After you have read this story you can zip over to Experience Nicola Valley for more information.

For booking information and other information on events, etc visit Experience Merritt.

Other Reasons for Living in Merritt BC

Besides all the great things to do in Merritt and the Nicola Valley you are only a hop, skip and jump away from many great tourist destinations.  For example, the Okanagan is only one hour away or Kamloops is only 45 minutes away. Whereas other destinations such as the Shuswap (2 hours), the Cariboo (3 hours) or Vancouver(3 Hours) are within a comfortable reach.

The North Shuswap

This summer we spent our vacation in Magna Bay.  This area is on the north side of the lake at the west end.  We were very lucky and scored the best value in all of the Shuswap. We were able to rent a cabin for a very reasonable price.

Magna Bay Cabin - Living in Merritt BC Canada

Magna Bay Cottage- Photo credit: Magna Bay Vacations

Like wise, the inside of the cabin was very comfortable as well.

Cottage Living Room at Magna Bay Vacations

Cottage Living Room- Photo credit: Magna Bay Vacations

The place was very clean and the kitchen was reasonably equipped.  However it was not the ritz.  Some upgrades to the wall paper and some of the painted areas would help.  However these minor imperfections did not stop us from enjoying our stay.

Things to Do in the Shuswap

We were visiting the Shuswap during the height of the forest fire season and encountered a great deal of smoke.  However, this did not deter us as we made the best of the various breaks in the smoke and did the following things:

The Beach

The beach was just across the street which made it  just a short walk of about 200 meters.  Therefore we were able to  enjoy the warm lake with swimming and using our floaties.

Ross Creek Community Park

Ross Creek Community Park – Photo credit: Magna Bay Vacations

Hiking

There are many places to hike in the North Shuswap.  Of the many choices we did three spots.  The first one was at Tsutswecw Provincial Park.  This park is home to the viewing for the famous Adams River Salmon Run.

Tsutswecw Provincial Park

Tsutswecw Provincial Park – Photo credit Tom Reynolds

Adams River

Adams River – Photo credit Tom Reynolds

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Our second choice was Scotch Creek Provincial Park where we walked the lake shore trail.  The Beach at this park is a real treat.

Scotch Creek Provincial Park

Scotch Creek Provincial Park – Photo credit Tom Reynolds

Golfing

The North Shuswap is home to the Talking Rock Golf Course.  The course is actually on the shores of Little Shuswap Lake at the Quaaout Lodge.

The setting is truly spectacular and the course provides a nice challenge.

Golf at Talking Rock

Golf at Talking Rock. Photo credit – Tom Reynolds

Besides a regular golf course we took in the Mini Golf at Scotch Creek.  While we had fun the course was in need of some serous repair.

Mini Golf at Scotch Creek

Mini Golf at Scotch Creek – Photo credit – Tom Reynolds

Quality Cabin Time

We actually spent most of our eating at the cabin.  Each of the five adults took a turn cooking a meal.  Therefore if you did the cooking you didn’t have to clean up.  This way the work load was spread out.  It made for great meals that were not burdensome on one person.

However, we did go out twice.  The first time to the Hub Pub in Scotch Creek.  We were entertained by the Dueling Keyboards while eating delicious unique pub food.

The second time we actually didn’t go out for dinner but ordered pizza from Roosters Pizzeria in Anglemont BC.  We expected the shop to be on the main road but it actually was high up the hillside in a residential subdivision.  The drive was well worth it as the pizza was delicious and it went well with watching the BC Lion’s game.

Good Things Come to an End

Despite the smoke we had a great time and were sorry to be leaving.  On the other hand we are thankful for living in Merritt BC Canada because we have quick access to many fun locations.

Living in Merritt BC

Exploring Near Merritt

Shuswap Lake BC

The blogs are part of a comprehensive marketing program sponsored by Tourism Nicola Valley.  The program was developed by Eh! Canada Travel . 

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.  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

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Nicola Valley Travel and Tourism Guides

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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. 

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.