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

Craft Beer Merritt BC

Merritt British Columbia Canada

Empty Keg Brew House is the home of craft beer in Merritt BC Canada

 

Where or where does one go for craft beer in Merritt BC Canada? We just happen to know exactly where you can go to enjoy a cool glass of craft beer in a brew house in the Nicola Valley. After all how amazing is it to have our very own brewery here in Merritt BC. We just have to let you all know.  Therefore I am proud to share with you the story of the “Empty Keg Brew House” located, right here, in the Nicola Valley. It may be a smaller scale micro brewery but it sure can serve up some naturally clear, unfiltered beer that captures the essence of the craft beer industry. 

Empty keg brew house merritt bc

Kyle Hall ringing the bell. Photo by Tania Stewart

Welcome Craft Beer in Merritt BC – Empty Keg Brew House 

Established in 2019, the brew house is a place where locals and visitors can enjoy locally brewed beers, brewed on site, on tap, and straight from the kegs. Hence why the story of Kyle and his wife Kelly – the owners of the brew house – is such a great story to tell.  It is a story about a dream and bringing it to life. 

craft beer in merritt bc

The Brewery – Photo by Tania Stewart

craft beer in merritt bc canada

Were all the work begins. Photo by Tania Stewart

“Empty Keg Brew House is an experience truly enjoyed in the Nicola Valley,” Tyler S

Empty Keg & Brew Nicola Valley

The selection. Photo by Tania Stewart

The Craft Beer Experience at the “Empty Keg Brew House”

Not sure on the type of craft beer to enjoy? Then just ask. Let the friendly staff at the Merritt brew house help match you up with the right beer based on your preferred taste. Tell them how you do beer and they will suggest your ale. Surely you will not be disappointed! However, be advised, there is no rush too. You can always take a seat and try a sampling of beers in their mini pints.

Empty Keg Craft Beer in Merritt BC

Love this menu! Photo by Tania Stewart

Beer, Snacks or Order In

Despite having their own snacks on hand, Empty Keg Brew House allows patrons to order out and bring it in. How cool is that! Yes, you can bring your lunch or dinner from another restaurant with you to the brew house and eat there plus order a beer. Having a pizza delivered to a place you are having a couple of drinks is a good example of community support at its finest. To boot,  Yaki Joe’s Pizza along with “Subway” are right next door.

Empty Keg & Brew

House Snacks. Photo by Tania Stewart

Empty Keg & Friends

You have the craft beer. You ordered in some food. Now, the icing on the cake, the company you keep! Primarily Kyle, and Kelly along with their staff work hard to provide a lively atmosphere, full of laughs and therefore creating memories. It is an atmosphere ideal for friends to gather together for good times. 

Merrittkegbrew
Great family n friends. Photo by Tania Stewart

Empty Keg & Brew Nicola ValleyAlways a “Fun” time!. Photo by Tania Stewart.

Merrittnicolavalleyemptybrew

You never know who you may run into. Good people always make it better. photo by Tania Stewart.

More the Merrier

Fun Fact – Research has shown communicating with people face-to-face, one to one makes us more resilient to stress factors in the long run. Therefore, for me, surrounding myself with good friends and family has always made me feel grateful and lucky to have such good people in my life. 

enjoying a craft beer in merritt bc

Fun times with fun friends! Photo by Tania Stewart

Empty Keg & Brew here in Merritt BC.
Fun games to play! Photo courtesy of Tania Stewart

Bring the whole family for a fun time!

Children are permitted at the brew house. In fact, this may be the time to show your kids a real game! A game that you may have played in your childhood years. This is a place to have a family fun night out, order a pizza and play a board game, arcade game or even air hockey. After all who does not remember “Pac Man” and “Centipede?”

Emptykeg
Playing “Centipede” 80’s style. Photo by Tania Stewart
Brewhouse
Ricky trying to beat my score! Photo courtesy of Tania Stewart

 

Empty Keg & Brew Nicola Valley

Any takers? Challenge! image courtesy of Tania Stewart.

 

Merrittemptykeg
Board games for everyone. Photo courtesy of Tania Stewart

Chess or Pac Man anyone? Photo courtesy of Tania Stewart

 

Hockey Night in Empty Keg Brew House! Photo courtesy of Tania Stewart

Last Word

After all,  how amazing is it to have our very own brewery here in Merritt BC. Bring your family call your friends and leave your phone off. Just enjoy!  Kyle or Kelly also cater to private parties.

Drink Responsibly 

Empty Keg Brew House is a member of the BC Ale Trail. Part of the membership is ensuring their beers are promoted and enjoyed responsibly by those adults who choose to consume them for the continued prosperity of the craft beer industry in British Columbia.  

craft beer in merritt bc canada

Join the Fun! Photo by Tania Stewart

CONTACT US

Empty Keg Brew House

2190 Voght St, Merritt, BC V1K 1C1

1 (250) 315-2337

www.emptykegbrewhouse.ca

Facebook

 

Craft Beer in Merritt BC

Nicola Valley BC Canada

 

Nicola Valley Brew House

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Merritt BC Outdoor Activities Covid 19 Style 

Social Distancing Outdoor Activities with Family & Friends in The Nicola Valley

Here are 5 outdoor activities in the Nicola Valley to be enjoyed while physical distancing

 

Merritt BC outdoor Activities throughout the Nicola Valley and in Merritt BC Canada. As a result of Covid19 we have spent months on end in our homes. Undoubtedly this is trying on the nerves and sanity. However, there is a glimmer of hope as Canada B.C is restarting the economy and loosening the travel restrictions. Now, with safety and respect in mind, we can now enjoy certain activities. Therefore here are “5” Activities we can all enjoy while safe distancing Covid19 Style around Merritt BC.  The following activities can be enjoyed during the upcoming summer and fall!

Merritt BC Outdoor Activity 1 : Horseback Riding 

Click for a complete list of horseback riding ranches, tours and guides in the Nicola Valley

Absolutely one of my favourite outdoor activities! Truly practicing social distancing while being outdoors taking in the beautiful “Nicola Valley”. Could it get any better than this! Playing cowboy / cowgirl in the wilderness backcountry of British Columbia. There are many options when it comes to horseback riding in the Nicola Valley.

Merritt BC Outdoor Activities

Horseback riding with our friends at AP Ranch. Photo courtesy of Tania Stewart.

Exploring the Nicola Valley on Horseback

Horseback riding is great exercise for the horse, and somewhat for yourself. The Merritt adventure offers a number of health and fitness benefits including the development of leg muscles, as well as, improving balance & posture. Most importantly, horseback riding reduces stress and refreshes your inner self. That is my take on the healthy benefits of horseback riding in the Nicola Valley. 

Outdoor Activities Covid19 Style. Photo courtesy of Tania Stewart.

“What better way to enjoy the wilderness” Photo courtesy of Tania Stewart.

 

Outdoor Activities Covid19 Style in Merritt BC.

Riding with a friend, Experience Nicola Valley Blogger Melvina White. Photo courtesy of Tania Stewart.

Merritt BC Outdoor Activity 2: Lake Fishing

Click for a complete list of fishing resorts in the Nicola Valley

It should be noted that the Nicola Valley boast’s some of the best fishing in the World! There are over 200+ lakes in the region. Many are prime lake fishing destinations. Some are even ideal ice fishing destinations as well during the winter season. During the spring, summer and fall,  Corbett Lake Lodge is one of the fishing resorts and lodges in the Nicola Valley. 

Outdoor Activities Covid19 Style

Corbett Lake Lodge, Merritt BC. Photo courtesy of  Corbett Lake Lodge.

Fishing Outfitter Store in Merritt BC     

Whether you are looking to catch that elusive “Big One” or just trolling, enjoying the outdoors, dropping some lures in a lake or riverbed.  But stuff happens! Oh no… you forgot your favourite fishing lure. Maybe the fish are biting but you do not have the right fly? Or the scorching sun is so hot, you need a good fishing hat? What ever your fishing needs drop into Ponderosa Sports downtown Merritt BC.  The outfitter shop specializes in trout flies & lures, and much more! 

MerrittBC

For that “Big One”. Photo courtesy of Tania Stewart.

 

Outdoor Activities Covid19 Style

Everything you may need. Photo courtesy of Tania Stewart.

“Best” Fishing Holes

Many arrive in the valley to fish… but where to fish is the biggest challenge? We do have over 200+ lakes. One place to start is researching using the most complete and largest Nicola Valley adventure website. Once you have your bearings than check out some of the fishing experiences on this blog site. Last, but not least, ask a local or contact us.  First hand information as well as the right lures are essential.  

Merritt BC Outdoor Activity 3 & 4 : Camping & Water Sports

(kayaking, canoeing, boating and swimming)

For a complete list of kayak and canoe activities in the Nicola Valley  and for paddle boarding too

Without a doubt “The Nicola Valley” offers some of the best lakes for every avid outdoors person. The valley is home to so many water activities for all ages. Come visit the valley for a day of fun or a week or two of camping in Merritt at one of our privately operated campgrounds or at one of our forestry wilderness campsites.  

“My favourite spot for camping in Merritt BC Canada, Harmon Lake in the Kane Valley,” Experience Nicola Valley Blogger Tom Reynolds

 

merritt bc camping

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

Outdoor Activities Covid19 StyleMerritt BC.

We also have a beautiful Provincial Campground Park located 22 kms north of the community of Merritt, BC, Canada. The park? The park is called Monck Park

The Nicola Valley Provincial Park offers a wide assortment of recreational activities including camping, picnicking, swimming, fishing, boating, water-skiing, wind-surfing and hiking.

Covid19 Stylemerrittbc

Summer Boating can u beat it? Photo courtesy Tania Stewart.

Merritt kayaking

Kayaking on Lundbom Lake. Photo courtesy Tania Stewart.

 

Absolutely Beautiful Alleyne!

Nicolavalleycovid19

Alleyne Lake. Photo courtesy of Tania Stewart.

Merritt BC Outdoor Activity 5: Mountain Biking

Merritt Mountain Biking Association 

Located here in the Nicola Valley, the Merritt Mountain Biking Association is truly a great resource for mountain biking when you have arrived in the community.   Incidentally one of their primary goals is advocating for long term trail access by working with Government and community groups. Consequently, the MMBA was one of the first groups in the province to have an agreement with the crown to manage the trails they ride.  Get a hold of Jordan Pinto for more information. And dare to ride! 

 

Photo courtesy of  Jordan Pinto.

“Our intentions are to make the riding in the Nicola Valley a great experience,” Jordan Pinto.

Watch Video 

Filmed by Jordan Pinto going down the “Willow”

In Conclusion

Physical distancing refers to staying away from group gatherings and large public spaces where a virus can be easily spread, and keeping a distance of around two metres. Moreover we all must practice safety and “Wash your Hands”. Even though our country is opening up again, we all need to stay aware while enjoying our outdoor activities we love so much. Play safe. Play often. 

 

Merritt BC Outdoor Activities in the Nicola Valley

Merritt British Columbia Canada Top Travel Guides

Merritt Dance Studio

The Love To Dance Academy in the Nicola Valley

In these times, we “bring the joy of dance into homes”.

 

The Merritt dance studio, Love to Dance Academy, contributes to the art and culture in our Nicola Valley.

Love to Dance Academy

Love to Dance Academy Photo Courtesy of Jano Howarth

I invited dance teacher, Lizette Nel, to talk about her work when we connected here in Merritt BC Canada

How and when did your Merritt Dance Studio start?

I took over the local dance studio in December 2012 as the previous ballet teacher here in Merritt, Linda Sanford, was looking forward to retirement. The name, Linda’s Dance Studio, was changed to Love To Dance Academy in January 2013.

I started teaching in 2012. We had only 12 little ballet students in a lovely compact dance studio on the top floor of the beautiful old Courthouse in Merritt, BC.

Since then a strong dance program has been developed and the Love To Dance Academy now offers classes in four different dance genres to dancers of all ages.

There are recreational classes for those who want to dance for fun and exercise as well as classes for the more serious dance student who would like to do dance exams and participate in in dance festivals and competitions. 

Therefore, at the end of 2018, there was an opportunity to move to bigger premises and with the help of volunteers a second hand shop was converted into a spacious and fully equipped dance studio downtown.

 

Dance Studio Merritt BC

Lizette Nel, Head Dance Instructor, Love to Dance Academy Photo Courtesy of Jano Howarth

Who is a part of Love to Dance?

The Love To Dance Academy is a project of the Merritt Dance Society, which is a non-profit organisation. The Merritt Dance Society consists of a wonderful, supportive Board of Directors.

I am the Head Dance Instructor and I developed and manage the dance program for the Merritt Dance Society.

Vanessa van Rensburg, regularly teaches Spanish Flamenco and jazz dance classes.

However, from time to time guest teachers are invited to do short courses and workshops or teach during dance camps.

 And of course, there are the many children, youth, and adults who come to the studio to dance!

How is the Merritt dance studio supported in the community?

It is very well supported by the Merritt community who loves attending our classes and our twice a year recitals.

Love To Dance fundraisers are well supported by the community and we are fortunate to always have enthusiastic volunteers to help whenever they are needed.

Tell me about the different dance genres you offer.

Currently our main dance genres are Ballet, Modern Jazz, Spanish Flamenco, and Latin Line Dance.

From time to time Love To Dance offers workshops or short sessions of other dance styles such as Hip Hop, Tap, Musical Theatre/Broadway, Contemporary, Highland Dancing, Bollywood and Country Line Dance.

You put on twice yearly performances. A lot of the dances are choreographed by you, Vanessa, and your Love to Dance dancers.

Merritt Dance Studio concerts

Love to Dance Winter Concert Photo Courtesy of Jano Howarth

LTD Display

Love To Dance Poster Display of Dancers Photo Courtesy of Jano Howarth

Ballet Shoes

LTD Red Ballet Shoes Photo Courtesy of Jano Howarth

What are your inspirations for the themes and performance?

Life and what is going on around us… sometimes fun and sometimes deep and meaningful. We choose themes showing that we are different, but the same.

Your dance recitals are so enjoyable for the community!

Not only do we watch a themed story unfold onstage, but the Civic Centre is always full of beautiful displays focusing on the dancers and the culture of dance….

Merritt Dance Studio Instructor

Lizette Nel, Head Dance Instructor Photo Courtesy of Jano Howarth

Can you share your dance background with us, Lizette?

Training:  I was introduced to the world of dance at age 5, in Johannesburg South Africa.  I did not like it, but fortunately my mom did not give up and reintroduced me to dance a year later.

In the beginning I was very shy and could not face an audience, but I loved the dancing and movement to music. However, I did all my dance exams and in my final year of school, I decided to become a dance teacher.

Work Experience:  Before coming to Canada, I owned and operated a successful dance studio in South Africa , where I successfully trained hundreds of young dancers and prepared them to enter exams, festivals and competitions with confidence, always striving for excellence.

 In addition to teaching and running a studio, I also provided mentorship for some dance instructors in South Africa. Consequently, I created an online dance network as a resource and networking tool for dance teachers, and was a founding organizer of the national “Eisteddfod of the Performing Arts”, a prestigious dance event of its kind in South Africa

It continues to this day, attracting thousands each year.

I was also a judge for the National Society on Dance Teachers as well as a lecturer in the Movement Science Department of the University of Pretoria in South Africa.

 It was a journey for you to be here with us in the Nicola Valley. Can you tell us a little about that journey?

When I became aware of the possibility of teaching in Merritt BC Canada, I started the process of obtaining a work permit, a very long process.

I started teaching in the dance studio in the old Courthouse in December 2012. After teaching for a year, there was a delay in the renewing process of my work permit, and I had to return to South Africa for a few months.

The local students and their parents were very disappointed that we had to leave. The community wrote petition letters and did fundraisers. Fortunately everything got sorted out and we returned in August 2014, just in time for the new dance year to start.

What inspires you?

Young Dancers at Merritt Dance Studio

LTD Young Dancer Photo Courtesy of Vanessa van Rensburg

I’ve had five dance teachers. Two of them, Janet King and Dorothy de Witt still inspire me. Also the smiling faces and chuckles in the dance studio inspire me.
Our Merritt dance family’s dedication and strong will to succeed inspires me even more.

Every new day and the fact that God’s loving kindness starts fresh each day inspires me.

What support do you receive in your role in your Merritt Dance Studio?

Non Profit Volunteers

Love To Dance Volunteers Photo Courtesy of Love to Dance

I have strong support from the Merritt community.  I am very grateful for the many volunteers involved in the many Love To Dance activities. They make it possible for us to successfully present many extra dance opportunities and related activities.
My children in South Africa support what I do and always encourage me.


Without Herman, my husband, keeping things together in the background and the assistance and hard work of Vanessa, my daughter, the Love to Dance Academy will not be able to exist

How do you relax, and give yourself a break?

Gardening.

Favourite things about Merritt?  

Four definite seasons in a year!

Favourite Music?

Classical harp

What role does dance have in society?

I am particularly conscious of the benefits of dance and I promote my programs as a holistic tool for physical fitness, and mental, emotional and social health. We promote character building for youth and motor planning for seniors and people with disabilities.
In addition, dance develops physical strength, co-ordination, and good posture.
Dance improves self confidence and positive body image. Dance builds self discipline
.

Ballet Dancing

Love To Dance Ballet Photo Courtesy of Jano Howarth

Dance Concert

Participants in a Love to Dance Recital! Photo Courtesy of Jano Howarth

What effect do you feel Love to Dance has on our community?

Community Dancers

LTD Dancing in the Community Photo Courtesy of Jano Howarth

Our young students learn to take charge of their lives by being responsible for scheduling and costumes and by managing their time wisely. They take pride in work well done, show leadership with younger dancers, and experience the value of teamwork and supporting others.

They are growing into mature, confident adults and they set an example which has a positive influence on younger dancers.

These positive effects are felt around our community.

Love to Dance brings together all ages, and the different ages interact and dance together in the recitals. It is a joy to see the older students take the young ones by hand and include them in the specially choreographed dances! I can feel and hear the pleasure in the audience around me at this collaboration of ages and levels of dance.

Community Dance

Love to Dance Valentine’s Tea Photo Courtesy of Jano Howarth

For the older dancers of 55 plus, in the program, “Dance for Lifelong Wellbeing,” the benefits of dance include brain agility, fitness, improved balance and reduced stress. This contributes to their independent longevity, and their ongoing participation in the community.

 In this Covid 19 pandemic, we taught our students (and their parents) to be grateful, and to not give up. We taught them to not wait for it to pass, but to accept it and make the best of it. We put new things in place. Our students made it through 10 weeks of doing things differently and they’ve learned many new skills.  It was hard, but we all survived and we’ve all become stronger.

We hope that this will spread wider and have a positive influence on our community.

What challenges does your dance studio, Love To Dance, face?


We are challenged with how to catch up the three months during covid – recovery of financial loss over three months with little income, continued rental and utility, and other commitments.

The whole world is currently turned upside down and inside out. But we see these obstacles as stepping stones, not mountains.

Street Dance

LTD Street Dance in Merritt Photo Courtesy of Jano Howarth

In this time of Covid 19, how is Love to Dance managing to stay connected with the dancers and the community?

SET UP VIRTUAL DANCE STUDIO

When we had to close our physical doors at the end of the day on March 16, after just one day of Spring Dance Camp, we decided to explore the possibility of changing from a brick and mortar dance studio to a virtual dance studio.

We attended many webinars presented by four different dance associations and got ourselves set up for Zoom classes and coaching by video.

To keep the interest in dance going, we lowered our class fees to encourage attendance.

BALLET

Ballet Dancer

LTD Ballet Dancer Photo Courtesy of Vanessa van Rensburg

To give our Royal Academy of Dance ballet students and parents hope, we continued to practice as if our exams, which were scheduled for April 29, were going to take place. 

Students could attend our Zoom ballet classes once per week and they could also make use of our private coaching by video option. 

This worked really well for some students, who had the full support of their parents. But as always happens, we unfortunately also had some dropping out (“stopping dance until the brick and mortar studio re-opens”)…. 

Most dancers have lots of self-discipline and keep up their daily practice while they are placed under movement restrictions, but we notice that they still needed to see each other to feel connected and to be motivated. The weekly Zoom dance classes really help to create some sense of normalcy. 


SPANISH  FLAMENCO

Thirteen of our Spanish Flamenco dance students successfully completed their exams by video at the end of April. 

 

Dance Studio

Herman Nel, Technical Expert for Love to Dance Photo Courtesy of Jano Howarth

SENIORS

We also set up ZOOM exercise classes for our seniors to help improve their balance, posture and flexibility and also improve your sense of well being – physical, emotional and mental. Payment for classes is by donation.

None of this would have been possible without Herman, my husband. To set all of this up, was a steep learning curve and involved some expenses.

What is next for Love to Dance?

We want to expand opportunities and restructure the dance program to accommodate what is currently happening all over the world.  It will be a constant dynamic situation going forward.

Keep an eye on Love To Dance’s current initiative that the members of Love to Dance Society can participate in.

Ongoing MEDAL TESTS

To further keep the interest in dance going we started having Medal Awards by video during the months of May and continue for June. This is open to everyone in Merritt and the Nicola Valley. Participants can enter Ballet, Jazz, Spanish and Folk/National dances – set dances and/or own choreography and interpretive dancing.

We noticed how the fun element and dancing with family members can bring the joy of dance into homes, so we added a section in which you can partner up with a sibling or parent or grandparent to dance a duet. 

Video submissions must happen before June 26 and participants will each receive a bronze, silver or gold certificate and medal in the beginning of July.

Merritt Dance Studio

Thank you, Lizette, for telling us all about the Love to Dance Academy! Many of us in the community are grateful to have an inspired dance studio here in Merritt.

Just one more advantage to living here in the Nicola Valley!

Support our art and culture in our community!

We hope to see the doors of the Love To Dance Studio open soon!
Merritt Dance Studio

Love To Dance Studio, still closed Photo Courtesy of Jano Howarth

Artist Cassandra Dolen

Dance in the Nicola Valley Photo Courtesy of Jano Howarth

Dance Teacher

LTD Head Dance Instructor Lizette Nel Photo Courtesy of Jano Howarth

CONTACT LOVE TO DANCE

1976 Quilchena Avenue, +1 250 378 9898

www.lovetodanceacademy.com

LTDADANCE@GMAIL.COM

Facebook Love to Dance Academy

Instagram Love to Dance Academy, The Merritt Dance Teacher

Art and Culture Blogger, Jano Howarth

Merritt British Columbia Canada Top Travel Guides

Remembering Merritt BC Summer Music Events 

Nicola Valley Summer Time Fun Will Be Back

COVID19 may have postponed our Merritt BC summer music events but it will never take away our memories. 

 

The COVID 19 pandemic has cancelled our Merritt BC summer music events. And, boy, do we have some music classics here in the Nicola Valley like Bass Coast, Rockin’ River Music Festival, Open Mic Night and Gary Copper at the Adelphi Hotel to mention a few. However, it would not feel right to write a blog about remembering summer music events without mentioning Spirit Square, music in the park, and the Old Time Fiddlers playing at our local street market. As a result, no country music event blog would be complete without mentioning our very own cowboy crooner Bobbie Garcia,  who may just pop up at any of our music events at anytime.

merritt bc summer events

Bobbie Garcia – Photo courtesy of Bobbie Garcia

Take the time to check out “Cooper Country” post COVID 19 

Merritt BC’s oldest heritage Hotel, the Adelphi Hotel, is home to one of Canada’s and Merritt’s country icons, Gary Cooper. The group plays weekly to a growing collection of avid fans while welcoming their friends from all over the world to get up on stage and jam along with them. Therefore, it will especially be nice to witness some good ole’ country music again sometime in the future.  

merritt bc summer music events

Gary Copper – Photo courtesy of Tania Stewart

To say nothing of Gary Cooper’s amazing talent to make that guitar dance with such mind blowing movements. Albeit I may be a little biased, but I can honestly say Gary Cooper is one of the best performers I have ever witnessed.” Tania Stewart

 

merrittcoopercountry

Cooper Country invites all friends to join on stage – Photo courtesy of Tania Stewart

“Cooper Country” Gary Cooper with his 2 son’s Cory & Jason, along with friends at the Adelphi Bar in Merritt BC

 

nicolavalleycoopercountry

Millie playing with her favourite band! – Photo courtesy of Tania Stewart

When we get pass this pandemic, be sure to attend “Open Mic” at Kekuli Café and support local artists

Whether you live in Merritt or stopping for gas at the Seven-Eleven across the street from the Kekuli Café, there is nothing that connects more with locals than locals sharing their love for music. We hope, soon, weekends at the Kekuli Cafe will open up again and fill the air with music.  Furthermore, the many Open Mic Music fans like Doug, Donna and Mary Dickie (who is in her 90s) cannot wait to pick this up again.  

Open Mic Nights

Open Mic Nights Audience – Photo courtesy of Jano Howarth

“As with all events like Open Mic Nights, our audience is what makes it ongoing.” Jano Howarth

WATCH VIDEO

Remember when we could take a stroll in the evening in Downtown Merritt BC 

Merritt’s Spirit Square was built for sound. Located in the heart of Downtown Merritt in the Nicola Valley, it is the sight of many open-air performances during the summer months. Because of the abundance of talent in the Nicola Valley there is never a lack of talent to grace the stage. The Nicola Valley is blessed to have so many talented musicians. 

MerrittNicolavalley

Coquihalla Coyotes  – Photo courtesy of Coquihalla Coyotes

One such local band which has played venues throughout the Nicola Valley are the Coquihalla Coyotes. The boys are a 3 piece rock and blues band for hire living in Merritt BC
Band Members: John-Henry Ramsey- Lead guitar/ Vocals, Paul Thompson- Bass guitar/ Vocals, Mark Schuitema- Drums/ Backup vocals

merrittspiritsquare

The J.S Garcia Band. – Photo courtesy of Tania Stewart

 

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Summer music in Spirit Square – Photo courtesy of Tania Stewart

Nicolavalleymusic

Merritt’s own Old Time Fiddlers – Photo courtesy of Tania Stewart

“Bass Coast” 

They sure made an impression. How it has grown. Then Covid 19 hit and it too paid a big price with cancellation. What was going to be July 10 – 13th, 2020 is now ?? ??.   Bass Coast is a collective that showcases both local and international talent in a safe, supportive space. It is a place where artists are encouraged to display and share their hard work without fear of judgment. 

Merrittbcsummermusic

Andrea Graham with Liz Thompson Bass Coast co-founders – Photo courtesy of Tania Stewart

“Bass Coast is built on the dreams and visions of a huge collection of people that will lead us to things Andrea and I would never have imagined. It’s not just us anymore, it’s everyone.” Liz Thompson

 

Merritt BC Summer Electronic Music

Bass Coast 2019 – Photo courtesy of Tania Stewart

Post COVID 19 , this is one festival I cannot wait to attend again

Co-founders Andrea Graham and Liz Thomson are the architects of the event. The Librarian, Andrea, is a celebrated Canadian DJ, producer, and curator. She is the co-founder and music director of Bass Coast Music Festival. The festival is known internationally for its innovative music programming and installation art.  Andrea’s reputation as an inclusive community-builder in the electronic world has brought her a legion of fans and industry followers across the globe.

“I feel like in our community we have people who listen to different music, dress differently and are into different things, but that duality is also what creates a bond—our differences unite us.” Liz Thomson

Bass Coast 2019  - Merritt BC Summer Music

Country Music will be back in full force post COVID – Photo courtesy of Tania Stewart

Remembering Merritt BC Summer Country Music Events

Due to your love of Country, the Rockin River Fest was scheduled again for Jul 30 – Aug 2 this year of 2020. The headliner this year was Keith Urban. However, things have changed since COVID 19 arrived in full force. Now there is a pent up energy for country music again and so we believe next year it is going to be epic. The Rockin’ River Music Fest is a B.C. family-owned and operated country music festival that takes place annually, on the BC Day long weekend, in Merritt, BC. See you in 2021!

Merritt BC Summer Country Music

Enjoying Rockin at the River – Photo courtesy of ehCanadaTravel.com

Kenny Hess 

Kenny Hess is the architect behind the Rockin River Music Festival.  From the age of 4, he knew he was going to be a country music singer. Therefore, by the time Kenny was a teenager he had already set in motion his musical journey that he is still on today. Lastly, Kenny Hess has now been a part of the music industry since the 80’s.  He has come a long way since standing on the kitchen table singing at the top of his lungs hoping someone would listen.

WATCH VIDEO

 

With this in mind be sure to check out this amazing fun event in 2021.

 

Merritt BC Summer Music

Rockin River Music Festival – Photo courtesy of Tania Stewart

In a word

Obviously Merritt in the Summer offers an abundance of music events year after year, except for this year.  Regardless which event you choose to partake in the future the value is always there. Count yourself lucky! In conclusion, it is obvious that summer music events in Merritt BC are bountiful and will be back again. 

Merritt Summer Music Events

Follow Experience Nicola Valley for the latest in event listings coming back online. 

Merritt, British Columbia, Canada


Merritt British Columbia Canada Top Travel Guides

Merritt Planet Hair & Spa Re-Opening Covid 19 Style

Planet Hair & Spa’s Grand Re-Opening

Were You Go To Get Your Locks On!

 

Accordingly to Canadian Lock-down Orders

Due to Covid 19 Kathy Castro owner and operator of Planet Hair & Spa located in Merritt British Columbia had to close her doors . As a result many loyal clients have to suffer through a time of “nasty bedhead hair”.  Due to circumstances out of Kathy’s control, little options were available, but to try and turn a negative into a positive. Hence the re-vamp, re-decorate,  and re-paint of her salon. Having known Kathy for many years, one thing is for sure when talking about Kathy Castro, she rarely lets bad news take her down. 

 

Merrittplanethair

Kathy Castro in the Trenches!

 

It is important to note that Planet Hair and Spa is truly an Experience Nicola Valley venture and has always been my personal favourite place to get my “do” done.  However, what really makes my haircut experience so special is the opportunity to connect and socialize. Incidentally, I was also blessed to have Kathy as my first guest on the “Nicola Valley Talk Show“.  

WATCH NICOLA VALLEY TALK SHOW INTERVIEW

Merritt Planet Hair & Spa Re-Opening Covid 19 Style

Not only was I very fortunate to have Kathy as my first guest on the “Nicola Valley Talk Show”, I was able to see first hand the work and time that was put into re-decorating her business.  I applaud Kathy and her husband Paul for taking on this massive undertaking. Despite having to close its doors, with little warning, Planet Hair and Spa has re-positioned itself with a fresh and new look for opening day.  

Nicolavalleyplanethair

Our stations are ready for you!

Additionally re-vamping Planet Hair & Spa beauty products display 

When speaking about beauty products Kathy has traveled the world and has done her research. In all honesty, I can say that with all of Kathy’s years of experience she is able to seek out the best beauty products. The fact that Planet Hair stands by their products is just another way they stand behind their service. Kathy understands that hair care is important hence the large selection of products her shop has on display. However, Kathy does ask that all clients do not touch the products because of the COVID 19 safety protocols and, instead, ask to see them. Look, inquire but do not touch.  

Not only does Planet Hair and Spa provide haircuts, colours, and streaks. They also provide some of the best “products” to keep your hair healthy”, Tania Stewart.

To illustrate the vast range of products available 

The products available are many. Too many to list here. But, since summer is coming, they do have some suntan lotion made from hemp that is gaining some good reviews. Then there is the line of AG hair products on her shelves which will take care of your hair. Some of the brand names lining the shelves include “Designer Skin”, “Fiesta”, “Rusk“, “Reuzel” and “Nioxin“.  Whenever you are wanting to tame or inspire your curls then take a look at “DevaCurl“.  Planet Hair & Spa has many of things a person would want for hair and skin care. 

 

merrittplanethair

Nails are important!

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Comfort is important.

Planet Hair & Spa product wall. “Teetree” is available.

Additionally Planet Hair & Spa offers a wide range of styling items

Equally important are the styling items available like straighteners. For you newbies those are the hot curling devises we use to keep our hair style going. In fact Planet Hair & Spa is a one stop shopping place to purchase everything your hair desires. Not to mention that a coupon or beauty product would make for a great gift!

 

planethairnicolavalley

Taking your appointments serious.

 

When re-opening social distancing is key 

Safe while having your hair washed.

Kathy has made sure your health is number one when visiting her shop in the Nicola Valley. She has her staff well

Social Sitting!

trained and equipped with all the protective equipment including masks, and head visors. Social distancing will also be respected in her shop with only 3 hair stations operating at one time, which is every second chair in operation.

The separation of the chairs will provide safe social distancing. Truly making sure all clients are safe Kathy has all work stations social distanced as well as in client’s waiting room space. Moreover making your experience stress-free, relaxing while providing assurance for every one’s safety. While giving her clients the needed care and beauty treatment they have been waiting for. 

It is always a Great Experience!

planet hair and spa

Kathy Castro – Planet Hair & Spa

Everyone I talk to about Planet Hair & Spa tell me that Kathy has a way of making you feel like you are their favourite client. Whether it is your first time in her chair or your five-hundredth time having your hair done Kathy makes you feel comfortable and welcomed. What makes this hair salon and spa stand out is truly how gracious Kathy and her team are for having you as a client. 

Without a doubt Kathy is one of the most determined business minds I have been fortunate to know. A fashionista, trend setter, entrepreneur and let us not forget an amazing hair stylist.

Planet Hair & Spa in Merritt BC

Were You Go To Get Your Locks On!


Merritt British Columbia Canada Top Travel Guides

Hair Cut During COVID-19

Hair Styling in Merritt BC Canada

What you need for a good hair cut in the Nicola Valley during COVID19

Hair styling during Covid-19 has been none existent in Merritt BC Canada.  Normally I can go to my stylist every six weeks.  I have been self isolating for twelve weeks so my locks have gotten a little too long for my liking.

Tom's Long Hair

The sides are just about over the ears

Tomscovid19hair

Hair styling during Covid-19

Merritt Hair Salon during Covid-19 is self administered

Hair dresser

Kari, she’s the best

I have a great hair stylist who always makes me feel good about my hair when I leave her shop.  I have been going to her for many years now and she has never let me down.  While I like my hair short (I’m lazy), my wife likes it longer.  Kari did a great job in satisfying us both.

She works for a beauty parlor in downtown Merritt called Kruse ‘N Style.  The owner has a unique set up as she not only provides the necessary beauty treatments she also sells clothes.  My co-worker used to tell me she was going to get her $150 hair cut.  I asked why they charged so much, she said the hair cut was an OK price but she couldn’t pass up on the clothing!

A reluctant volunteer?                                                                             

When my wife and I got married back in 1972 we were as poor as church mice, so we did many things to cut down on expenses.  We bought cheaper cuts of beef, upped our chicken and pork quantities and ate a lot of pasta.  At one time we switched to eggs to get our protein but alas, you can eat only so many omelettes and souffles.

experience merritt

 

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So in an effort to save money we decided my wife would cut my hair.  My wife is talented in many ways and I’m sure if YouTube existed back then I would of ended up with a great cut.  But unfortunately there was no YouTube and my hair style ended up being a little bit off.

Based on that experience I have been gun shy about having anyone work on my hair except a proper stylist.  However, as my hair got longer my wife again tried to get me to let her cut it.  Well that wasn’t going to happen.  However, my son decided he new what was best for dear old Dad and sat me on a chair out on the back lawn. (I guess we can’t afford a broom to sweep up the hair if we were inside.)

Merritt Hair Salon opens for business in my backyard during Covid-19

My son has this very fancy clipper that comes with various heads which allows him to control the length of the cut. 

For the short sides he chose a specific head and voila my sides are cut to a very short  even length.  Now he has to tackle the top which apparently has to be longer than the sides.  After a few minutes and adding some hair goop he declares that he is finished.  Here is the result.

 

Not happy

The finished product

Bring in the back up Hair Stylist

Merritt hair salon open for business

The “professional” arrives

As you probably guessed this is not the look I was going for.  We had to bring in some assistance, armed with her YouTube video my wife joins the fray.  Look at the way she is handling the scissors.  Looks really good.

Just Kidding

The job is finished and it doesn’t look anything like the electric socket style above.  In fact I can now say I have a modern up to date style.  I applaud my son and my wife for the great hair styling during Covid-19 but  must say that Kari will not be out of work.

just finished - merritt hair salon

Hair Styling During Covid-19-Finished Product

My Merritt Hair Salon during COVID-19

Nicola Valley hair cuts


Merritt British Columbia Canada Top Travel Guides

Merritt Canada Stories Celebrated At The Blogger Awards 2020!

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

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

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

merritt canada stories blog awards

The Experience Nicola Valley 2020 Blogging Awards Gala

A fun evening celebrating Merritt Canada stories!

colin and greg girard

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

Celebrating Experience Nicola Valley story tellers

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

Melvina White-Blogger and Event Coordinator

Nicola Valley Bloggers Telling Merritt Canada Stories

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

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

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

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

Community and Blogger Nominations

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

bloggers of nicola valley

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

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

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

Put the Bloggers to Work!

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

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

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

Tania Stewart-Blogger and Photographer

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

Tom Reynolds-Blogger

Greg Interviews the Nominees

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

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

jano howarth - arts blogger telling merritt canada stories

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

2020 Blogging Award Categories and Nominees

 

merritt event blogging awards

People’s Choice Nominees

(Individual/Event)

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

People’s Choice Nominees
(Business)

Game On Sports
Boston Pizza
Mary’s Corner Cafe

People’s Choice Nominees
(Non Profit)

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

Top Guest Blogger Nominees

Amber Papou
Meagan Preston
Manuel Olguin

Best Picture Nominees (Blogger)

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

Top Story Nominees (Blog)

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

Story Teller of the Year Nominees (Blogger)

Tania Stewart
Tom Reynolds
Melvina White
***

Socialize and Network About Merritt BC Canada Stories

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

 

Networking before dinner – Tony and Wanda Luck

telling merritt canada stories at our table

My table at the Experience Nicola Valley Blogging Awards Gala

Community Involvement from Open Mic

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

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

Open Mic table

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

WATCH VIDEO

 

Amrit Ahuja-Videographer and Open Mic Sound Guy

Then the Awards!

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

boston pizza merritt bc

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

Guest Speaker on Social Media

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

matthew bailey

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

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

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

Arts in the Community

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

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

nicola valley arts council

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

And Live Music from Stuart and Tammy

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

 

Tammy and Stuart live music

Story Telling Songs Fitting For The End of the Gala

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

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

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

A Lot of Fun, and Doing Good in the Community

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

Fun at the Blogger Gala event!

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

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

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

And for now… #staysafe #stayhealthy #flattenthecurve

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

Jano Howarth 

Art and Culture Blogger

 

Blogging in Merritt, B.C.

Creating your Merritt Canada stories and experiences for the world


Merritt British Columbia Canada Top Travel Guides

Blogger Awards Gala FREE TICKET Give-away.

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

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

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

How to Win Tickets
(entry rules posted below)

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

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

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

Rules and Claiming Prize

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Where to Buy Tickets ($20 per person)

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

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

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

A Tourism Nicola Valley Event

 

Merritt British Columbia Canada Top Travel Guides