Merritt British Columbia Canada tourism and travel adventures in and around the Nicola Valley.

merritt centennials

MERRITT CENTENNIALS

LONGEST CONTINUOUSLY RUN FRANCHISE IN THE BCHL

THE CENTENNIALS ARE IMPORTANT TO MERRITT

Merritt Centennials: Like many small towns in Canada, hockey is a big deal in Merritt, BC, Canada during the winter.  We have a strong minor hockey system but the crowning glory of our town is the Merritt Centennials Hockey Cub.  In 1973 Pooley Brothers Construction formed a group that purchased the White Rock  Centennials and moved them to Merritt.

“It is simply amazing that this level of  hockey exists in Merritt”  Steve from Vancouver!

A long Tradition Begins

The team has gone through several different types of ownership groups, from private to not-for-profit societies.  Every time it seemed like the club would fold a white knight would appear and save the day.  The Pooley Group ran the club until the 1980-81 season when ownership transferred to a non profit community group.  During the Pooley years the club had some great success.

merritt centennials

Ownership Changes

With the financial struggles the club changed ownership and a group that included Merritt’s own Mr Hockey, Brian Barrett, took over the reins and the club was again in private ownership for the 86-87  season,  Ownership was consolidated for the 89-90 with Brian being a big part of the group.  In 94-95 the Sanders family and others took over the club.  By the 98-99 season the club changed hands again with Frank Biller (Erin Mortgage Corporation) being in charge. This was short lived but then our most famous owner, Tiger Williams, formerly of the Vancouver Canucks stepped in.  And finally, ownership returned to a public entity for the 00-01 season and has remained under this current format for the past 20 Seasons.

The Struggles

The population base for the club is approximately 15,000 people, of which 10,000 are adults.  In order for the club to succeed they need to sell 500 season tickets and have 275 walk ups each game. We need 7.5% of our eligible population to participate.  In contrast the Vancouver Canucks only need .5%.  We therefore need 15 times more of our population to participate.

Our small population also means our business base is not as big as larger centres so this source of funds is limited.  Having said that, the businesses that we do have go above and beyond with their support !

How have the Merritt Centennials survived

In the early years it wasn’t too difficult.  The losses were not too severe, therefore, the owners would kick in the shortfall and things would continue on.  But overtime the operational budgets grew and the losses grew to such an extent that owners could not justify this type of subsidy.

Inside the Arena-Julie Pollard Photo

In the 2000-2001 season a Board of Directors was put in place to guide the team financially.  This was an amazing group who put their heart and soul into this effort.  In 2003, given the expertise of the board, they decided to build a home on Nicola Lake and sell it for a profit. At the time the real estate market was hot and it looked like a large profit could be made.  Unfortunately, the boom did not last and in the end the project lost money.

 

The financial difficulties continued until a new board was elected   This group was made up of people associated with the forest industry.  They borrowed money from some of their members and were able to secure a community forest license which has helped keep the team afloat.

The new reality for the Merritt Centennials

For the Club the forest license has been great but it is not a forever thing, as such, the club needs to find other sources of revenue.  This is where you, the reader, comes in.  The Cents have an internet 50/50 draw that you can participate in.

You can get in on the action because each ticket only costs $2.00 to play.  With your purchase, that becomes your number and it stays in the contest even if you don’t renew it.  If you don’t renew it your number could still be drawn but you won’t get your share of the pot.  The pot as of January 6, 2020 is approximately $3400 of which your share would be $1700.  The draw is every Tuesday.

Currently the split between active tickets and those that have not been renewed is about 50%.  That means the pot has a very good chance to grow.  So if you want to take a whirl at this fun game you need to go to merrittcentennials.com and follow the links.

merritt centennials

Click logo to play

Contact Information

Merritt Centennials Junior A Hockey Club
PO Box 1730
Merritt BC V1K 1B8
Phone: (250) 378-3604

Centennials Game Schedule

FOLLOW US
Facebook
Twitter
Instagram
You Tube

Hockey in Merritt

Merritt Centennials

Merritt, British Columbia, Canada

Culture and Art in Merritt, BC 

The Nicola Valley Arts Gallery Exhibition, with Fred Tomlin – “Fractured Reflections” – Was All About Wood and Mirrors!

“A lot of my ideas come from ordinary day to day things that we see in nature and all around us.” Fred Tomlin

First, a few words about Fred Tomlin…

Fine Woodworking

Fred Tomlin, Artist

Fine woodworking in Merritt BC Canada.  Fred is a retired educator who spent 34 years as a teacher and school principal in BC.

Woodworking has been an interest from early in his life although he has not been formally trained. Upon buying his first house he proceeded to do major renovations on a DIY basis which helped hone some of his woodworking skills. He then went on to build toys and play structures for his children and dabbled a bit in projects that required a finer detail. After moving to Merritt, BC Canada he undertook the construction of his home on which he did all the interior finishing. Doing finer carpentry gave Fred a sense of accomplishment which has lead to fine woodworking and has resulted in his present phase of creating “Functional Art”.

And now, in his own words...

What Inspires Fine Woodworking In Me?

It is the idea of problem solving and the challenge of making something that reflects what I’m thinking about. It is a process of looking at something and then translating my thought image into something I build.

A lot of my ideas come from ordinary day to day things that we see in nature and all around us. There are a lot of patterns, and lines that are right there in front of us if we take the time to look.

I started to use mirror to accentuate the patterns and images around us and further enhance the patterns found in the wood and the lines and angles of the project.

Art in Merritt BC

Fractured Reflections

Do I Have a Favourite Piece?

Each one of my fine woodworking pieces is my favourite while I’m in the process of creating it. Afterwards, some have a very special place in my heart as they now have sentimental attachments. It’s a fun process working through an evolving project.

I mean evolving in the way the project changes from inception to the final product. Grain, texture, color, angles, tone and just feel for the wood often changes the direction the project takes.

As a result there are several pieces that I’m not willing to part with because they have such an emotional and personal attachment.

Where Do I Work?

I have a small 10 x 16 foot workshop in the basement of my home in Merritt BC Canada but I also use the garage to make larger cuts as that is where the table saw lives. It’s small, compact, but it lets me gets the job done.

I do not have a scheduled time for work but rather when the mood strikes. When the weather is good I do not like being in the shop, so I get outdoors for a while. I also do not want the working in the shop to become WORK! It is a pleasure place where I go to relax and escape from the regular day to day things.

I take the time needed to do whatever I have in mind to get the project to the place I feel I can leave it. If it takes me several hours or just a few minutes it doesn’t matter. I’ll invest the time needed to keep it moving along. I have at times climbed out of bed and gone to the shop to complete a task that was wanting to be done. Once this is done I go back to sleep, satisfied.

experience merritt

How Much Time Do My Fine Woodworking Pieces Take?

Time spent varies on the activity and the stage the project is at. In the initial conceptual stage I may spend several hours going over the selection of wood. I think of what angles need to be created to give the desired effect I’m hoping to achieve, and the overall appearance of the project.

When I get into the project I often work in stages such as, making the major cuts and doing a rough assembly, then moving to finer assembly and looking to see what the grains and tones are doing to the piece. It is at this stage that re-imaging often happens taking the project in a totally different direction.

Once I’m satisfied with the direction I work steadily towards final completion, at all times looking to see if I’m on track with what I want to achieve. Finally, it’s sanding, sanding, and more sanding, before the final selected finish goes on. This entire process usually takes several weeks to several months per project to complete.

To help pass the time while I’m in the shop, I’m often in a somewhat ‘meditative state’. I also listen to the radio or put on “Bat Out Of Hell” by Meat Loaf!

Do I Have a Favourite Wood

Fine Woodworking

Fractured Reflections

Way back I started with oak and liked it a lot as it gave good grain character and it was somewhat forgiving to work with. Oak, a hardwood, holds its shape well, doesn’t splinter, and just pops when a finish is applied to it.

Over the years I moved to cherry and black walnut with their more subtle grain patterns and patina as they age. Cherry darkens and walnut lightens.

I’ve also worked with maple, birch, ash, beech, and use exotic woods such as zebrawood, cocobolo, purple heart, ebony, etc for accent pieces.

What About the Mirror?

I do not cut my own mirror. The glass shop works from a template I make, and I just let them do what they do best. I select the tone of the mirror to help accentuate the overall appearance be it a bronzed or silver mirror.

What Are My Challenges?

The main challenge is how to make something that represents the image I have in my mind. How do I use the grain or tones in the wood to accentuate what I’m hoping to achieve. There are many times I’ll change the direction I’m going based on what I see coming together.

My original commitment to the vision has to be compromised in order to create something different. This at times creates a bit of a mind conflict.

Fine Woodworking

Other artists admire Fred Tomlin’s work

What Support Do I Have?

It’s family and friends the give me the greatest support for my fine woodworking pieces. They are very honest in their comments regarding what I’m doing. I’m very pleased that what I have made generally meets with their approval.

Besides My Work, What Do I Enjoy?

I kind of like the older music, 60’s – 90’s, though I listen to all there is playing on the radio today. Beatles, The Who, Fleetwood Mac, Eric Clapton, Great Big Sea, Imagine Dragons, Serena Ryder, IZ Kamakawiwo’ole

I try and read at least one of the Booker Prize Winners every year but I’m usually reading something historical or mystery related. Some of my most recent readings have been I Am Pilgrim by Terry Hayes, Shantaram by Gregory David Roberts, and Wolf Hall by Hilary Mantel. I’m not much of a movie buff, but I’ll go and see a flick from time to time. 

Favourite Things About Merritt

It’s friends and acquaintances that I’ve been fortunate to make during my years here that keeps me here. The climate is ideal for what I’ve now developed as my lifestyle. I like being outdoors and being active.  I golf, cycle, hike, travel, read and spend time with family, friends, and loved one.

The weather here allows me to get outside at any time of year. Just dress for what you see outside and you’re there.

What’s Next For My Art Work?

Fine Woodworking

Fine woodworking and stones

I’ve got about 10 sketches for new projects awaiting me when the mood strikes!

Thanks Fred, for all your work…your art work, your show set up, your answers to our questions!

Fine Woodworking and Mirror, Unique Pieces of Art

As a result of his very successful Art Show, “Fractured Reflections” at the Courthouse Arts Gallery, Fred has received suggestions for getting his beautiful work out there for others to enjoy.

“Because of this local show, I am getting a little friendly encouragement to take my show on the road. I’m entertaining this idea….”

No wonder, Fred! We also want to encourage you to take the next step with your fine woodworking and mirror art!

We are looking forward to hearing what’s next for you!

If anyone is interested, contact the nicolavalleyartsgallery@gmail.com, and we’ll pass on your contact to Fred Tomlin.

For more on Nicola Valley Arts and Culture follow these links:

More shows we’ve had lately at the Nicola Valley Arts Gallery

Nicola Valley Arts Council website

Facebook Page Nicola Valley Arts Gallery

Instagram Nicola Valley Arts Council

Fine woodworking

Fred Tomlin’s Sunset – Jano Howarth Photo

Merritt, British Columbia, Canada bee

Empty Keg Brew House your relaxed, family friendly, and socially responsible place.

Photo courtesy of EKBH.

At some point in our lives, we find ourselves in a situation when a decision is required if we want to move forward.

Empty Keg Brew House – Have you been in a situation that you prefer to delay instead of making a decision because you are not sure of the outcome? In general, it is normal to be concerned when we do not know how things will turn out.

Empty Keg Brew House – Starting your own business.

It is well known that starting a business is not easy nor is it for everyone.  In my opinion, most people have had a business idea in mind at some point in their lives. Throughout my employment as a business analyst, I have learned that every entrepreneur encounters roadblocks that slow them down or completely prevent them from starting their own business. On the other hand, I have dealt with clients that take all these roadblocks as learning opportunities along the way in their entrepreneurial path. Working with Kyle Hall of Empty Keg Brew House has taught me a way to deal with common issues in a more productive way while working on opening a business.

Build a case for Empty Keg Brew House.

Kyle and Kelly Hall are the owners and operators of our newest microbrewery in Merritt, BC, Canada called Empty Keg Brew House. While gathering more information to work on this story, I had the opportunity to learn more about the origins of Kyle’s business, and I am happy to share hoping that Kyle’s story will encourage you to take action and work on that business idea you have set aside. The fact is, there is never a bad time to launch a business if you have identified the need of your product or service.

the Rhubarb and Raspberry patch! Photo courtesy of EKBH.

Where did the idea of starting a microbrewery come from?

About 27 years ago the idea of brewing beer crossed Kyle’s mind. With only making $5.50 per hour to support his family back then, it was all about making cheap beer.  As a beer enthusiast, Kyle had never been to school for brewing, but instead he learned as he went. Kyle moved from extract to partial grain then full grain. Much to the delight of his family, that venture never took off, but his passion for beer continued to blossom. 5 years ago, Kyle remembers sitting around the table with his family and friends when someone suddenly said, “If you ever open a brewery, you will never be able to keep your kegs full”. Hence, the name Empty Keg Brew House.

Questions of a small business?

As any other entrepreneur, Kyle questioned himself: should we open a microbrewery? Could we open a microbrewery? When the opportunity came a few years later; he did not hesitate to seize it. He decided to move forward with his business idea. For that Kyle decided to further his skills in brewing, as a result, he completed the Master Beer Brewing Certificate in 2015.
Kyle envisioned creating a place where locals and visitors could enjoy various types of locally brewed beers made from as many local ingredients as possible.

Photo courtesy of EKBH.

Getting into the Craft Beer industry.

If you think the most difficult part of starting a business is taking the crucial first step, you are wrong. Just wait to learn all the different licenses and regulations you must obtain to move forward within your specific industry. I remember Kyle working hard to get his variance rezoning approved. He also had to apply for his manufacturer and lounge endorsement licenses. It was not just applying for a permit or license; it was starting over and making changes so that your application can move forward to the next phase and waiting to see if there was any other requirement at the end of the day. Many entrepreneurs ask themselves at this phase, how much longer will it take to get their licenses? They always want it to go faster to stay within their milestones.

Grand Opening July 3, 2019

What was your experience at the Grand Opening?

For most people, a grand opening can be a powerful way to launch your new business. It creates awareness and generates a buzz about your new product or service offered in your community. When I asked Kyle about his own experience after all the hurdles he had gone through, his answer was: “We were scared out of our minds.” By the end of the soft opening he recalls asking himself – “What have we gotten ourselves into? It was a whirlwind that seemed so overwhelming. We worked against a tight deadline to be ready for the big date. I was lucky to count on my wife Kelly, my daughter, my nephew and other family members and friends who helped with the renovations until the day prior to the opening.”

experience merritt

My experience during the first months in business.

Before starting your own business, you work on financial projections and cash flow based on market research. As part of this market research, you determine your target market, but it is not until you are running your business you realize how close your projections are to your actuals. While determining his target market, Kyle looked at college age and up to maybe 45-50, but they have a wide range of friends that come in. The typical attitude on presenting the idea of a local Brew House was “we don’t need another bar in town”. But Empty Keg Brew House is a place where you can go and socialize, hang out, play some games while you have a beer, glass of wine or coffee.

‘Give-Back Wednesday’ donation went to NVSSS Housing First. Photo courtesy of EKBH.

What is Empty Keg Brew House 5 year vision?

Kyle would like to continue to do what they are doing now. They have focused on a “Give back Wednesday”, which is a way for the customers and the Keg to give back to local non-profit organizations. It is very well received; it is contributing to help local organizations who are playing a key component for the betterment of our social, economic, environmental, and cultural conditions of the Nicola Valley. As mentioned by Kyle “We would like to continue helping these organizations on a monthly basis. On the first Wednesdays of the month we “Give Back” a portion of our sales to local non-profit organizations. Although, Empty Keg does not have a Kitchen, they do offer appetizers and they support other eating establishments by allowing food from those approved sources to accompany the beers they offer. For example, they have Yaki Joe’s Pizza right next door and clients often bring in food from there and have a beer when they are hanging out with their family and friends.

Photo courtesy of EKBH.

What is your favorite thing about being a business owner?

Running a small business can be very rewarding, but as I said before it’s not for everyone. There are easier ways to make a living. Are all the long hours, hard work and sacrifice worth it? It sounds like it. According to Forbes, 90 percent of survey respondents say they would do it again and 65% say they are better off financially than if they’d remained someone else’s employee.

Kyle and Kelly have worked very hard to be able to open their brew house. They have dealt with parking variance rezoning, manufacturers licensing requirements, inspections and much more. I would not be able to calculate how much sweat equity Kyle and Kelly have put into their business. For every setback they experienced while working on their business, their commitment and dedication became stronger than ever.

Merritt’s Kitchen Party.

As Kyle said “There are so many things to do, we can do whatever we wish to, the two captains (he was referring to himself and his wife Kelly) can steer the ship wherever we want. It is rewarding to see smiles on everyone’s faces when they are enjoying not only the product but the atmosphere. People say this is a great place. We’ve had a lot of visitors from out of town say that our space reminds them of a “Kitchen Party””.

Empty Keg Brew House is a small scale micro Brewery.

Empty Keg Brew House is a small scale micro Brewery located in Merritt. This Brewery has recently opened their doors in our community offering locally made craft beer. A great place where locals and visitors can enjoy various types of in-house brewed beers made from local ingredients.

If you have not visited this place, I encourage you to stop by and enjoy some of their offerings. With more than eight unique beers on tap, Empty Keg offers a variety of options that include Kilt Lifter Scottish 80, Scared the Dark Stout, Blond Ale and many more.

CONTACT INFORMATION

Empty Keg Brew House
2190 Voght St, Merritt, BC V1K 1C1
(250) 315-2337

www.emptykegbrewhouse.ca

Facebook

Instagram

Merritt, British Columbia, Canada bee

Christmas Spirit in Merritt BC. Canada

Experience the Nicola Valley

Merritt “Light Up” in the Nicola Valley

“I took some time and cruised the streets of Merritt seeking out Xmas decorations and Christmas Spirit.” Tania Stewart.

Christmas Spirit in Merritt BC Canada. Tis’ the season for an Experience the Nicola Valley holiday celebration right here in Merritt British Columbia Canada.  Christmas decorations are typically put up in late November or early December, usually to coincide with the start of Advent. In some places Christmas decorations are traditionally taken down on the Twelfth Night, the evening of January 5 or 6. The difference in this date is due to the fact that some count Christmas Day as the first day of Christmas. Whereas some look at Christmas Day as “feast day”, and the first full day of the Christmas Season is December 26.

Christmas Spirit  Merritt BC. Canada.

On account of Christmas in Merritt BC.

Christmas spirit in Merritt BC. Canada includes putting the “Lights” up for many in the valley. It is a welcomed opportunity  to show some “Christmas Spirit” through elaborate decorations. Typical images seen for Christmas decorations include Santa Clause, Reindeer, and Baby Jesus. While others celebrate the winter season with seasonal decorations such as snowflakes, snowmen, icicles, polar bears and those adorable penguins.

Christmas Spirit  Merritt BC. Canada.

“Frosty”

Christmas Spirit  Merritt BC. Canada.

Bear in a Box.

To illustrate Day Time & Night Time Decorations.

Festive Home

Equally Beautiful at Night.

Christmas lights

Beautiful Celebration of Christmas Spirit in Merritt

Merritt BC “Lights Up” the Nicola Valley with Elaborate Decorations.

To many the “Light Ups” show how much they love the Christmas Season. Furthermore, there was a bus tour also provided recently viewing the Merritt Christmas Light Tour for those who did not want to miss one festive house.

Merritt Lights

Fantastic!

Holiday Spirit in Merritt BC Canada

Additionally there is Merritt’s ” Country Christmas” as well. This Xmas spectacle primarily takes place during the last week of November.  Moreover many business and home owners display spectacular “Holiday” lights.

Merritt Lights Up Coldwater Hotel

Experience the Nicola Valley “Holiday Lights” this season with The Coldwater Hotel.

Furthermore a Little Xmas Tree History.

As for the kind of tree people use for the Xmas Tree, they usually select an evergreen conifer, such as a spruce, pine or fir. However, if natural is not your thing and you may like the artificial tree of similar appearance. Notably the Christmas tree was first used by German Lutherans in the 16th century. With records indicating that a Christmas tree was placed in the Cathedral of Strasburg in 1539, under the leadership of the Protestant Reformer Martin Bucer.  In fact traditionally decorated with “roses made of colored paper, apples, and sweetmeats”. By the 18th century, people began to illuminate trees with candles.

Christmas Tree at Spirit Square

Downtown Merritt Spirit Square Christmas Tree.

Additionally Many Pets Decorate with Christmas Spirit.

Let us not forget how our furry friends also enjoy the Holiday Season. Some are dressed up in elf or Santa hats with festive collars. Others drag around the house Xmas decorations as you begin celebrating the holiday season. Then there are those festive pets who like to climb Xmas trees and paw at wrapped up Xmas gifts. All are equally lending a paw to decorate in their own way. The fact that we are able to create special moments with our pets is truly magnificent.

Merritt businesses

Ron & Shelley Sanders puppy “Molly”

adelphi hotel

Spirit of Christmas at the Adelphi Hotel

Specifically “Tis The Season”

Merritt Christmas decorations

City Councillor Melvina White.

Christmas Train

Christmas Train

 

Christmas lights

Lastly “You Better Watch Out! You Better Be Nice!”

Santa

In Conclusion.

Very little during this, and most, winter seasons can be compared to the joy and spirit that goes into decorating your home and/or business. Therefore, maybe it is fair to say, how each of us decorate differently and celebrate this Holiday Season is truly what brings us all together.

Christmas Spirit in Merritt BC. Canada.

“Light Up” the Nicola Valley with “Christmas Spirit” through Decorations.

 

Merritt, British Columbia, Canada

 Nicola Valley Foodbank

 Merritt’s Nicola Valley Food Bank

“For some people life has been too much. They are overwhelmed and just can’t cope any more. It could have been me. It could be you.”  Derlanda Hewton, manager.

Nicola Valley Foodbank ( some say Food Bank) in Merritt BC

In the 1990’s at the Crossroads Community Church, our community opened the Nicola Valley Foodbank.  From this small  beginning, it soon grew to fill the space it uses today. The Nicola Valley Foodbank planners designed it to supplement the diets of children, seniors, low income residents and the working poor.  Today, as when it first opened, the need is overwhelming.

nicola valley foodbank

Derlanda Hewton (left) of the Nicola Valley Foodbank

Why do people use foodbanks?

Derlanda, our Nicola Valley Food Bank manager, became involved with the foodbank by chance. She was struggling to find suitable work because of a disability.  When Work B.C. told her about a client advocate job at the foodbank, she applied and is now the manager. She knows why the food bank is so desperately needed and what causes that need. She sees it daily.

“For some”, she says “it is stress; for others, a job loss; some lose partners or children; still others can’t keep their housing.” For these people,” she says “life has been too much. They are overwhelmed and just can’t cope anymore. It could have been me. It could be you.”

Besides providing food, what else does the foodbank do?

Clients who use the foodbank often need other services too. Many times they are not even aware of the help that is available to them. The Nicola Valley foodbank educates them by putting them in touch with other agencies and services such as Work B.C., Merritt Youth and Families, the Cold Weather Shelter and Ask Wellness.

save on foods Nicola Valley foodbank

Save On Foods and the Nicola Valley Foodbank

Environmentally friendly changes coming

Of course food is the priority for the foodbank, but speaking with manager Derlanda Hewton really surprised me. Not only does the food bank distribute food to those in need, as you would expect, but it is also involved in a number of earth friendly programs to reduce food waste and increase local food security.

The zero waste initiative- No food to the garbage!

No food to the garbage is a big change in the way we use food- and one that is long overdue! The Food Bank Canada initiative plan involves many of our local food stores and farmers. They work with the Nicola Valley Food Bank to reduce waste in a big way. It works like this: the stores donate unsold, but still good, food to the foodbank. When it is not fit for humans, it will be sent to farmers for animal feed or to animal rescue shelters. If unfit for humans or animals, it will be composted and returned to the earth to improve the soil. Humans benefit, animals benefit and the earth benefits. A nice win, win, win situation for all.

Nicola Valley volunteers

Thank you to our Nicola Valley Foodbank volunteers

Long term plans

When I asked Derlanda what the long term plans for the Nicola Valley Foodbank were , she told me it depends on the type of facilities they will  have. Their ideal building would include walk in freezers, coolers, an air conditioned kitchen and an education centre. They want to teach clients how to cook unfamiliar food and how to preserve extra garden produce {canning, drying and freezing fruit and vegetables).  I think this would pair well with a community garden if one were started close by, don’t you?) Now there’s a project for a gardening group.

Does technology help?

When I asked Derlanda this question the answer was a definite, yes! Did you know the Nicola Valley Foodbank can accept donations through the square? And that you can find them on social media and on blogs? In addition,  they are also on the Farmers Market Site? They have their own website too. Here is the link: Nicola Valley Food Bank.

Volunteers- always needed; always appreciated

This summer saw 15 volunteers at our local foodback, including 3-13-year-olds. These ( both reliable and hardworking) young people pitched right in wherever they were needed! There were also 3 part time drivers, 1 summer student and a janitor. The foodbank found them through Open Door and Work B.C. The students are back in school now so if you have extra time, come volunteer.

Fundraising

In addition to volunteers, the Nicola Valley Foodbank always needs both food and money. A rumor made the rounds this summer that the foodbank didn’t need any more garden produce.  And that they just threw away the excess.  NOT TRUE. Our Nicola Valley Food Bank uses all the food it can get!  So gardeners, please know that any extra produce is definitely appreciated.

toy drive

Nicola Valley Toy Drive

Donations

Someone said that since the Nicola Valley Foodbank runs on donated food, they shouldn’t need money. Well, I saw volunteers stocking shelves with diapers, baby food, formula, feminine hygene products, laundry soap and other necessities. I know these things don’t grow in my garden! And in addition to food, how about  gas for that delivery van out back? Also the lights for the building? And not only the heat but also the rent? Yes, the foodbank needs money. They supply very basic needs.  The only “luxury” on the shelves?  Donated chocolate!  Could you go months without a piece of chocolate? Well, if you could, would you want to?

Yes, running our Nicola Valley Foodbank takes cash, serious cash. They are quiet about their need, and don’t talk about it much. But they worry.  As your blogger, I tell it like it is. They just want to keep those shelves filled. So I can say, they really need money! There are donation boxes wherever we have events in Merritt and we Merritonians are generous with food sharing. Let’s try shaking loose some spare cash too. Perhaps we could give up a chocolate bar or two and donate the money.  🙂

Why do they do it?

For the foodbank’s unpaid volunteers the job is often difficult, sad and (sometimes) frustrating. So why do they do it? “To give back to the community”, one says. “It’s knowing we can make a difference”, says another. What does Derlanda say? After all, she is the manager and sees it all. “It’s about food security for everyone in the Nicola Valley.” That, everyone, is the bottom line. We all need to eat.

Merritt Tourism

What did I learn?

My level of ignorance about our local foodbank and the work it does was appalling. Yes, I  am a senior. However I  still go to the store and choose from hundreds of food items. For example, look at my chosen breakfast. Freshly cooked oatmeal with milk and a big, juicy peach. For  lunch I have fresh salad and a tasty sandwich.  In addition to all this, I know I will have dinner tonight. So, I will enjoy my roast chicken, rice and veggies.  Despite a limited budget, I can have chocolate any time I want, if I want it. Most importantly, after my foodbank visit I now remember to count myself among the very lucky!

CONTACT US

Nicola Valley Foodbank
2026 Quilchena Ave, Merritt, BC

(250) 378-2282

Website

Facebook

Nicola Valley Foodbank

Merritt, British Columbia

 

Christmas in Merritt BC – Experience the Spirit

Creating a Float for the Merritt BC Parade

Experience the Building of a Christmas Float for Merritt BC’s Annual Parade.

When ever I think of Christmas in Merritt BC Canada the annual Merritt Christmas parade comes to mind. Ironically this event also marks the time I start my holiday shopping. Many of our local businesses start the shopping season with great roll backs, sales and discounts. Additionally they provide that small town personal service we all have come to enjoy from our community businesses. More importantly the support for our local businesses is paramount to their survival hence the #shoplocalmerritt hashtag on social media supported and promoted by ExperienceNicolaValley.com and ExperienceMerritt.com.

Come along with us as we experience Christmas by building a parade float for the 2019 Country Christmas Parade in Merritt BC.

Christmas in Merritt BC float

Tourism Nicola Valley 2019 Christmas Float

Christmas in Merritt BC – “How” to create a float with ease

Indeed, to some, it may seem easy to create and build a ” Christmas Float”. In all honesty, it takes a lot of time, organization and a bit of preparation work. Furthermore you need a “Theme”.  Celebrating Christmas in Merritt BC includes the weather being a bit frosty so make sure you have a warm dry place on your float. Lucky for us Doug & Norma Mervyn donated one of their warm empty shops to build the float in, as well as, a flat-deck trailer to pull and create our holiday float.

Experience Christmas Float Merritt BC

Trailer for our float.

 

In particular make sure you have a “Handy Man” on duty.

While you may have a grand picture of what the Christmas float may look like, the assembling of the float it is a whole different story. For starters, make sure you have an experienced carpenter to assist you in the construction of your Christmas Float. Importantly I suggest a mild mannered handyman who comes with his or her own tools.

Christmas in Merritt BC float

Handy man Bill Stewart.

Christmas Parade

Hard at work. Coffee break soon?

To illustrate organization is “Key.”

Notably along with a great theme, being organized is crucial. Above all make sure you know what kind of material you will be using. Organic, re-purposing, recycling or decorations purchased from local businesses in the Nicola Valley made up the bulk of our materials.

“A little “Hint” do not underestimate how many lights you will need,” Tania Stewart.

Experience Christmas Float

Warm shop courtesy of Doug Mervyn. Backroads Mini Storage.

“Without “Organization” you may get these expressions!” Tania Stewart

Experience Christmas Float Merritt BC

“You want to do what?”

Building floats is fun not stressful.

We started with Melvina White’s creative image she had for the outcome of the float. We added some very determined helpers to make sure it came together. However when ideas didn’t work out, no worry, we adjusted and worked it out as a team. Remember this is supposed to be fun, not stressful. Designing and constructing a float can be daunting. Gathering materials is one thing. Placement is key. A team of happy elves is essential.

“Design is not just what it looks like and feels like. Design is how it works.”Steve Jobs

Checking it once, checking it twice.

About Xmas

Notably the little touches are important. Historically the concept of “parade” is a direct descendant of the late Medieval and Renaissance revivals of Roman Triumphs. Parades had music and banners. The wagons were filled with the spoils of war.  Santa Claus being a descendant of Saint Nicholas became the highlight of the “parade”. Today we celebrate Christmas in Merritt BC with a Country Christmas Parade.

Merritt BC Christmas Float

It’s all about the Spirit of the Season.

Positioning of decorations is crucial. Experience Christmas Merritt BC

It is important that the spectators of a parade instantly know what organization or business you are representing. Minimize any need for guessing. Furthermore it introduces you to the public and what you have to offer to support the community.

Experience Christmas Float Merritt BCTourism Nicola Valley

Things to do in the Nicola Valley.

Tourism Nicola Valley

Placement of sign.

 

 

Above all make sure all the lights work!

Lights need to shine bright in the night. Notably a Christmas float can not have enough lights. Christmas lights (also known as fairy lights) are lights used for decoration in celebration of Christmas. To many it is symbolizing Christ as the light of the world. Moreover this custom goes back to when Christmas trees were decorated with candles. Borrowed from pagan yule rituals that celebrate the return of the light of the sun as the days grow longer after solstice. Christmas trees were introduced by Christians into their homes in early modern Germany.

Experience Christmas Merritt BC

Checking Lights.

Experience Christmas Float Merritt BC

Melvina White & Ricky making sure everything is in place.

 

 

Finally ready for the “Main Event”. Lining up for the Christmas Parade.

Of course one last check to make sure everything is in working order. Notably checking to see if anything was lost transporting float into town.

Looking Good!

Additionally a sweet car in the parade.

Whats a parade without Merritt’s Local tow truck?

Clean up Time.

Lastly you must clean up. Notably destruction of your float goes a lot quicker. Takes hours n hours to construct your float, while only half a day to dissemble it. Due to using recycled material we kept a lot of it for next year. While burning the cedar branches. Rather than filling our landfills.

Doug Mervyn.

Bill Stewart n Melvina White.

In conclusion.

Above all the spirit of Christmas in Merritt BC Canada can truly be experienced with family and friends. Coming together to create a float for our towns Parade. The true meaning of Christmas in Merritt BC is not what we get or what we spend. No, the true meaning of Christmas is coming together and enjoying each other’s time and creating lasting memories. Priceless!

Furthermore, it takes many people to put a float together including who pulls the float. Thank you to Valley Carriers who came to the rescue and towed our float.

 

Carrie Ware & Company Inc.

Spirit of Christmas in Merritt BC

Creating Float for Merritt BC Parade

 

merritt muralRandy Travis – American Country Music Superstar

Grand Ole Opry Inductee Randy Travis Featured On The Walls Of The Merritt, BC Mural Walk

The First Chapter Of An Extraordinary Life

Randy Travis, is an American country music superstar and Christian country music singer, songwriter, guitarist, and actor.

Travis was born on May 4, 1959 in Marshville, North Carolina, USA as Randy Bruce Traywick. The second of six children  of Harold Traywick (the owner of a construction company and farmer, as well as a substitute teacher) and Bobbie Traywick (a textile factory worker).

 “My dad was always a big country music fan, so we grew up listening to a lot of the old stuff. Hank Williams and Patsy Cline were probably his favorites.”(Ricky Traywick)

Randy Travis and Brother Rick

Randy Travis and Rick

Randy Travis grew up with the family name of Traywick and was the younger brother of Ricky Traywick by two years. Growing up in the Traywick home there were no shortage of musical influences and encouragement. Listening to music wasn’t the only influence he and his brother had. “Actually, their dad took them to guitar lessons together. Afterwards, they would go home and “jam” in the den, learning from each other. They would take turns playing lead and rhythm, always trying to out play each other.“

Learning to play the guitar at the age of 8, he started singing in the Church of Christ choir. For the next 2 years he and his brother Ricky performed as the Traywick Brothers at local clubs as well as entering talent contests. He would become a solo entertainer in 1969.

Randy Travis Early Years

Randy Travis

Troubles In The First Chapter

The next few years would be troublesome for Travis. Although his father encouraged his pursuit of music. The two often quarreled, which in part was a contributing factor in Randy dropping out of school.

Now as a solo singer he would continue to perform. Performing in tough venues where acts would be protected from the audience by chain link fence.

As a teenager Randy’s love of country music was matched only, by his increasing experimentation of alcohol and drugs. Soon Travis was drinking excessively and using drugs. He has been open about his troubled teen years, telling Newsweek that he began drinking at 12 and using drugs at 14.

“Sometimes a lot harder drugs, but at least marijuana every day,” he admitted. “I think all that was part of why I got into so much trouble. Because I drank so much and did so many drugs that it was like it wasn’t me. It was like another person was in control. Nobody can handle that kind of abuse. You go crazy, you’re not mentally in control. I’m just thankful that cocaine wasn’t around when I was going through my bad time. I’d have probably died. I’d have probably killed myself with it.” (Randy Travis to Newsweek)

By this time he had dropped out of school and briefly held a job as a construction worker. Over the next few years. Randy was in and out of trouble. Arrested for assault, breaking and entering as well as other misdemeanor charges.

The Start Of A Slow Turnaround

Randy Travis was a kid with a golden voice and a habit of making trouble when he was discovered in his home state of North Carolina in the late 1970s.

In 1975, Randy won a talent contest in Country City USA a nightclub in, Charlotte, North Carolina. The club owner, Elizabeth “Lib Hatcher” took an interest in the young singer. She hired him as a cook and gave him regular singing gigs at the club.

Still in his late teens, Randy had one more run in with the law. At his hearing, Hatcher seeing promise in his music convinced the judge to let her become Randy’s legal guardian. Hatcher spent the next few years grooming Randy. The two began to focus on his career full time.

In 1978, he recorded a self-titled album, Randy Traywick, for Paula Records. One single from the album, “She’s My Woman”, spent four weeks on the Billboard Hot Country Songs charts.

Travis moved in with Hatcher, which put further strain on her already fragile marriage. She eventually left her husband and, in 1982, she and Travis moved to Nashville, Tennessee. Hatcher became manager of the Nashville Palace, a tourist-oriented club near the Grand Ole Opry. Randy performed as “Randy Ray” in the club as well as worked as their short order cook.

During this time an unlikely romance began to form between Travis and Hatcher. Travis and Hatcher eventually came forward with their relationship. They married in a private ceremony in 1991.

Travis would later comment, “I think we discovered how much we needed each other.” (Randy Travis)

Randy and Elizabeth Travis

Randy and Elizabeth

Chapter Two The Complete Beginning To The Rise Of Fame

Travis was rejected by every major record label in Nashville in the early 1980’s. Labelled and criticized by record executives, he was passed over by Warner Brothers twice as being “too country”. He would become a pivotal figure in the history of country music, including positioning as a major force in the neo traditional country movement.

 Warner Bros. senior vice president Martha Sharp went to the Palace to hear “Randy Ray” perform in 1985 and offered him a contract on the spot.

“I loved his voice,” she told the Los Angeles Times. “But I knew I was going to get a lot of guff. The prevailing opinion at that time was that he was too country, nothing that country would work. Still, my gut told me to go ahead.” (Martha Sharp)

Martha Sharp with Faith Hill

Martha Sharp and Faith Hill (An Older Picture)

The first thing Sharp did was change Randy Traywick’s stage name to Randy Travis. Then she encouraged him to focus on his strengths—especially his robust but edgy voice and the vein of irony that helped temper his more sentimental songs.

After being told he was too traditional, “On the Other Hand” released in 1985 only reached number 67 on the charts. Despite the disappointing review of “On The Other Hand”, Warner released “1982” which became a top ten the same year.  Randy Travis quickly became the hottest young country artist in America. He was adored by fans of contemporary and traditional country.

In 1986, both songs appeared on Travis’s album Storms Of Life, which secured a place at No. 1 for eight weeks and sold over five million copies.

Randy Travis was well on his way of marking a generational shift in country music.

Chapter Three Continuing To The Rise Of Fame Throughout The “1980’s”

In 1986, Warner Bros. re-released “On the Other Hand”, and the re-release became Travis’s first No. 1 single on the chart.

Travis’s first album, Storms of Life, was released by Warner Bros. in June of 1986 with anticipated sales of 20,000 units. By the end of the year it had sold more than a million copies and yielded four hit singles: “1982,” “On the Other Hand,” “Diggin’ Up Bones,” and “Reasons I Cheat. “On the Other Hand”, “Diggin’ Up Bones”, and “No Place Like Home” were all co-written by Paul Overstreet.

Randy Travis

Randy Travis

Storms helped the world recognize, Randy Travis was no longer a secret.  The Album earned him The Country Music Association’s  Horizon Award now known as (New Artist Of The Year Award).

“Diggin’ Up Bones” also won Travis his first Grammy Award in 1986, for Best Male Vocal Country Performance. “Storms of Life” received its highest Recording Industry Association of America (RIAA) sales certification in 1992, when it was certified triple-platinum for shipments of 3 million copies.  The album’s producer was Kyle Lehning, who would also produce nearly all of Travis’s subsequent albums. In December 1986, Travis became a member of the Grand Ole Opry. He was the youngest inductee at the age of 28 to be inducted into the Grand Ole Opry.

When his Storms of Life came out in 1986, country music was still wallowing in the post-urban cowboy recession, chasing elusive crossover dreams. Travis brought the music back to its basics, sounding like a perfect blend of George Jones and Merle Haggard.

The Hits and Awards Keep Coming

He became the dominant male voice in country until the rise of “hat acts” like Garth Brooks and Clint Black, releasing seven consecutive number one singles during one stretch. He won the CMA’s Horizon Award in 1986 and was the association’s Male Vocalist of the Year in 1987 and 1988.

During the early years Travis and his band travelled to concerts in a converted bread truck, equipment was hauled in a van and horse trailer. By the beginning of 1987, the Travis entourage, still managed by Hatcher—traveled in the comfort of a $500,000 bus. Hatcher also found Travis a publicist, who signed the engaging young singer to some unlikely television appearances, including one on the rock-oriented Saturday Night Live.

His second album, Always and Forever, sold well over three million copies and remained at the Number One position on the country charts for a record 43 weeks. The release’s most popular hit single, “Forever and Ever, Amen” was named favorite country single of 1987 by both the Country Music Association and the Academy of Country Music. Always & Forever won Travis his second Grammy for Best Male Country Vocal Performance in 1987.

Randy’s third album, “I Told You So” was issued in July 1988. Its first three singles, “Honky Tonk Moon”, “Deeper Than the Holler”, and “Is It Still Over?”, all reached No. 1 as well, while “Promises” was less successful at No. 17. The album achieved its highest RIAA certification of double-platinum in 1996. This was followed by Travis’s first Christmas album, “An Old Time Christmas”, late in 1989.

Closing Off The Decade Of The 1980’s

In 1989, Travis recorded a cover of “It’s Just a Matter of Time”, which was originally recorded by Brook Benton thirty years prior. Travis cut the song for a multi-artist tribute album titled Rock, Rhythm & Blues which was also released by Warner Brothers, and persuaded the label to include it on what would become his fourth Warner album, No Holdin’ Back.

Travis’s version of the song, produced by Richard Perry (who also provided bass vocals on it), was the lead single to that album, and charted at No. 1 on Hot Country Songs in December 1989.  Two more singles were released from No Holdin’ Back: “Hard Rock Bottom of Your Heart”, which became Travis’s longest-lasting No. 1 single at four weeks in 1990, and “He Walked on Water”, which peaked at No. 3. The album included one other cover song, “Singing the Blues”, along with the track “Somewhere in My Broken Heart”, co-written and later recorded by Billy Dean.

Canadian Country Music Hall of Fame

Randy Travis’s Part In Neotraditional Country

Classic Travis material and carefully crafted vocal delivery, helped bring neotraditionalism to the forefront of country music. New (or “neo-“) traditionalism looked to the elders of country music like Ernest Tubb, Hank Williams, Kitty Wells and George Jones for inspiration, and was a precursor to the more general categorization known as new country.

Randy Travis 2003

Randy Travis

The 1980s and ’90s were the time for a new, yet old, take on country music, neotraditional country. Randy Travis, Alan Jackson, George Strait, Patty Loveless, and Marty Stuart, among others, were all ambassadors of the down-to-earth brand of music. Which drew on traditional bluegrass sounds and down-home themes.

Neotraditional country, also known as new traditional country, is a country music style that emphasizes the instrumental background and a “traditional” country vocal style. Typical instruments – Guitar · Steel Guitar · Dobro · Harmonica · Bass · Fiddle · Drums · Banjo  and the Mandolin.

Travis came from the same neotraditional background as George Straight, especially on his album “Storms Of Life”. The album marked a milestone as the first debut album to sell one million albums.

Like Straight, Travis removed the undesirable elements attributed to the drinking, honky-tonk approach found with the outlaw artists. He was still able to personify a traditional country style.

Along with country pop and country rock, neotraditional country remains one of the veins of country music that holds mainstream popularity in the mid-2010s.

Chapter Four Acting and Music During The 1990’s

In the 1990s, Travis took on an acting career. He won roles in the made-for-TV movies Dead Man’s Revenge (1994) and Steel Chariots (1997). He made appearances on some of TV’s most popular series, including Touched By an Angel, Frasier and Sabrina, the Teenage Witch.  Travis landed supporting roles in the feature films The Rainmaker (1997), T.N.T. (1998) and The Million Dollar Kid (1999).

Randy Travis-Million Dollar Kid

Million Dollar Kid

In addition to his acting efforts, Travis’s music career continued to thrive with the release of Full Circle (1996), You And You Alone (1998) and A Man Ain’t Made Out Of Stone (1999).

Travis’s sixth studio album, Heroes & Friends, consisted almost entirely of duets. It produced two singles: “A Few Ole Country Boys” (featuring George Jones) and the title track, also the only solo cut on the album. Both made top 10 on the country music charts in 1991. Other featured artists included B. B. King and Clint Eastwood. “We’re Strangers Again”, a duet with Tammy Wynette. Written by Merle Haggard and Leona Williams. The rendition by Travis and Wynette later appeared on the latter’s Best Loved Hits compilation for Epic Records, who issued it as a single in August 1991.

More Music In The 1990″s

In 1991, Travis took part in “Voices That Care”, a multi-artist project that featured other top names in music for a one-off single to raise money for the allied troops in the Gulf War.

The project included fellow singers Garth Brooks, Kenny Rogers, and Kathy Mattea. In addition, Travis recorded the patriotic song “Point of Light” in response to the Thousand points of light program initiated by George H. W. Bush.

This song was also the lead single to his seventh Warner album, High Lonesome. This album produced three more singles, all of which Travis co-wrote with fellow country singer Alan Jackson. “Forever Together”, “Better Class of Losers”, and “I’d Surrender All”.

Warner Bros. released two volumes of a Greatest Hits package in September 1992: Greatest Hits, Volume 1 and Greatest Hits, Volume 2. One single from each compilation made No. 1 that year: “If I Didn’t Have You” from Volume 1, and “Look Heart, No Hands” from Volume 2.

Also released from Volume 1 was “An Old Pair of Shoes”, which charted at No. 21. Later in 1992, Travis cut the album Wind in the Wire, a disc of cowboy-inspired Western music intended to accompany a television movie of the same name in which Travis appeared.

Wind In Wire Randy Travis

Randy Travis

This disc was his first not to produce any Top 40 country singles. Due to Wind in the Wire and other TV movies in which he starred, Travis took a hiatus from recording and touring for most of 1993. He later told Billboard magazine that “There seems to be this perception that I’ve completely quit”.

Music Keeps Charting In The 1990’s

Lehning remarked of Travis’s ninth album, This Is Me, that the singer seemed “reinvigorated”, while Travis himself said that the songs on it seemed more “rowdy” than those on previous albums.

Four singles from this album made the charts: “Before You Kill Us All”, “Whisper My Name” (which peaked at No. 1 in 1994), the title track, and “The Box”. His last album for Warner was 1996’s Full Circle. Which featured the singles “Are We in Trouble Now”, “Would I”, and “Price to Pay”. The last of which failed to reach the country top 40.

Also in 1996, Travis covered Roger Miller’s “King of the Road” for the soundtrack to Traveler. This rendition, issued by Asylum Records, spent 15 weeks on the country charts despite only peaking at No. 51.

Travis signed to Dream Works Records in 1998, where he issued “You and You Alone”. For this album, Travis co-produced with Byron Gallimore (best known for his work with Tim McGraw) and James Stroud.

You Alone Randy Travis

Randy Travis You And You Alone

Featured artists on the disc included Vince Gill, Alison Krauss, and Melba Montgomery. Actor Patrick Swayze also contributed backing vocals on the track “I Did My Part”. Its singles were “Out of My Bones”, “The Hole”, “Spirit of a Boy, “Wisdom of a Man” and “Stranger in My Mirror”.

His only other DreamWorks album, A Man Ain’t Made of Stone, followed in 1999. Also co-produced by Stroud and Gallimore, it produced a Top 20 hit in its title track. Three other singles all failed to make top 40.

Balance – The Silver Lining And Inspirational Journey in The 2000″s

Travis’s career from 2000 onward was dominated by Christian country music. His first full album in the genre, 2000’s Inspirational Journey, was issued via Word Records.

One cut from this album, “Baptism”, was originally recorded by Kenny Chesney as a duet with Travis on Chesney’s 1999 album Everywhere We Go. The version appearing on Inspirational Journey, a solo rendition by Travis, charted at No. 75 on the country charts in late 2000. Following the September 11, 2001 terrorist attacks, Travis recorded the patriotic song “America Will Always Stand”, which charted via distribution from Relentless Records.

Travis’s most successful venture in Christian country music was “Three Wooden Crosses”. Released in December 2002 as the lead single to his album Rise and Shine, that song became his sixteenth and final No. 1 single in early 2003. It was followed by Worship & Faith, consisting mostly of gospel standards, in 2003. This album earned an RIAA gold certification three years after its release.

Merritt BC Murals Selfie Photo

“Passing Through”, came next which accounted for his last solo chart entries in “Four Walls” and “Angels”. “Glory Train”, Songs of Faith, Worship, and Praise in 2005 also consisted largely of gospel covers. While his second Christmas album, Songs of the Season, followed in 2007.

“A lot of people don’t pay attention to the fact that his first album sold three million copies,” Ray marvels about Travis. “He’s the first solo male artist to ever sell three million copies in the history of the genre. He single-handedly turned this genre around and he has legends like Garth Brooks, Alan Jackson, George Strait, going, ‘If it wasn’t for Randy Travis I don’t know if I’d be where I am right now.” (Michael Ray)

A Return To The Country Roots

Around the Bend in 2008 returned Travis to a traditional country style, coinciding with a return to Warner Bros. Nashville. Stephen Thomas Erlewine noted of Travis’s career in the preceding years that his turn to Christian music “was fruitful, producing a series of good, heartfelt records. They also included a nice side effect of putting commercialism way on the back burner. The gospel albums were made without the charts in mind. While adding that “Around the Bend “stands apart from trends, not defiantly but comfortably.” In 2009, Carrie Underwood covered “I Told You So” with Travis on duet vocals, and this collaborative version charted at No. 2 on the country charts. Travis released two more cover albums in 2013 and 2014. Influence Vol. 1, “The Man I Am”, and Influence Vol. 2, “The Man I Am”.

Randy Travis and Carrie Underwood

Randy Travis and Carrie Underwood

Merritt Mountain Music Festival Performance July 2006 And The Randy Travis Mural Featured On The Wall Of The Merritt, BC Mural Walk

The crowd is at capacity with high expectations. Randy Travis is one of the most influential voices in country music. When Travis was introduced and walked on stage the entire crowd stood up.

“I am just a good ol’ country boy at heart and down right human”!(Randy Travis)

There just is no other voice quite like Randy’s and as soon as he began to make a sound you knew who it was! Randy is at his most creative, energetic and exuberant. His performance was warm, funny and engaging. He was at home with his audience and performing at his best.

The audience was lively, responsive and engaged in his every move. There was a feeling of genuineness and love that he has for his music and his fans. For Randy, it is not being a star or a performer. It is the flood of love outpouring from his fans and the enjoyment of being able to be with them and entertain them that is the inspiration for him to keep going.

The crowd was attentive and mesmerized throughout the show. However, broke into a roar when he started singing his closing song “Forever And Ever Amen”.

It was a an overall performance delivered in fine fashion. Capturing his wonderful talented voice as well as his boyish charm and appeal. It was definitely a show to remember. (Claude Lelievre-Merritt Mountain Music Festival)

Randy Music Festival

Randy Travis

‘We Can’t Save Him…Pull the Plug’

Randy Travis has sold more than 25 million albums, earned seven Grammy Awards, and toured the world. In 2013 he suffered a massive stroke that left him paralyzed on one side, limiting his speech and ability to do what he loves most: sing and perform.

As a result of the stroke, Travis had lost his ability to speak and had difficulty walking, but in the years since, has been making progress on both counts as well as relearning how to play the guitar and sing.

Earlier in 2013, Travis became engaged to Mary Davis. The couple married in 2015. Six years on from Randy’s massive stroke, Mary says the experience has taught the couple a lot about love, perseverance, and patience.

Randy Travis and Wife Mary

Randy and Mary married

“You learn to love each other and adore each other in a way that was far beyond what you thought was possible. So we learned a lot about love. There wasn’t anything that I feel like was going to tear us apart.” (Mary Travis)

With Randy unable to speak much, Mary does most of the talking for her husband.

He’s highly septic, with a staph infection we can’t get in control and it’s replicating. As well as other hospital born bacteria, collapsed lungs, chest tubes, he was intubated. He had a tracheostomy, and his skull was still off.

“There was just so many things working against him but there was a couple things working for him and that was God Almighty and that was His will.” (Mary Travis)

The Decision

Mary asked Randy if he wanted to keep fighting in a partial comatose state. “That’s when that tear fell. And he squeezed my hand and we hadn’t got that much out of him in weeks. So I knew then that he knew what was going on. I also know that he wanted to fight,” she adds.

Randy Travis Hall of Fame Inductee

Randy Travis at induction in to Country Music Hall Of Fame.

During his induction into the Country Music Hall of Fame in 2016, Randy surprised the audience and fans by performing “Amazing Grace” — his first public performance since his stroke three years earlier.

“I don’t think there was a dry eye in the place. I still get emotional when I think about it.” (Mary says, tearing up)

It was noted in 2017, that Travis had suffered permanent damage. It disabled his right hand and has limited much of his speech and singing ability. Travis continues to make public appearances but no longer sings. Mainly because of his apprehension about his ability to do it as well as he used to.

Randy appeared on-stage with Michael Ray during a cover performance of “Forever and Ever Amen” in June 2017, to which Travis contributed the final “Amen.”

He did the same during his 60th birthday party, thrown by the Grand Ole Opry on May 4, 2019.

Randy Travis A Must See Attraction On The Walls Of The Merritt, BC Mural Walk

Visit downtown Merritt in the beautiful Nicola Valley, Merritt, BC and take part in the Canadian Country Music Hall of Fame, Merritt, BC Mural Walk. The Canadian Country Music Hall of Fame includes Hall of Fame Inductees as well as CCMA Award Winning Artists.

randy travis mural in merritt

Experience Nicola Valley Blogger Melvina White – Mural painted by Michelle Loughery

True country music fans will want to start the downtown mural tour at Merritt’s National Attraction. The Canadian Country Music Hall of Fame, situated on Quilchena Avenue in The Country Music Capital of Canada.

The Merritt, BC Mural Project created in 2005, became a successful program called, the “Merritt Youth Mural Project”. The project, designed for working with local young artists and “ youth at risk”. Merritt Murals were painted by muralist Michelle Loughery.

Randy Travis mural can be found on the wall of The Adelphi Hotel at 2101 Quilchena Avenue.

Travis Forges Ahead, Seeking New Ways to Sustain His Career After Stroke

Randy Travis‘ new memoir, Forever and Ever, Amen: A Memoir of Music, Faith and Braving the Storms of Life, takes readers on a journey through some of the singer’s darkest moments and most difficult challenges.

While Travis admits that parts of the book were difficult to relive, there were also aspects of his past that he loved going back to and revisiting.

“Mary’s commitment to me has been truly astounding,” Travis writes in his memoir. “I was healthy, in fantastic physical condition, and a highly successful country star when we fell in love. But she married me after I had been incapacitated by a stroke, knowing full well what she was getting herself into. That was a major commitment — a commitment of love.”

Travis has enjoyed many “pinch me” moments over the course of his career, earning a star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame to his induction into the Grand Ole Opry. He  has never stopped feeling humble and grateful regarding his accolades, and that humility continues to help his fans relate to him.

“There’s lots of joy,” says Mary. “There’s lots of silver linings, even in the clouds.”

experiencemerritt

The information for this article was obtained from Wikipedia and Randy Travis-Singer, Guitarist, Songwriter-Biography

Follow Randy Travis On:

FacebookWebsite

Downtown Walking Tour Merritt Murals

Canadian Country Music Hall of Fame

Hall of Fame

Experience Nicola Valley Blog

Blog

experience merritt

Travel Website

 

Best Selling Author Trina Hall in Merritt BC.

Let Trina Hall help you take your life to a higher level in all areas of your life.

 Motivational Speaker Trina Hall in Merritt BC.

 

Best Selling Author Trina Hall “Note to Self: Empowerment” along with her seminar called “Elevate Your Life”

Award-winning & best selling author Trina Hall visits Merritt, British Columbia, Canada. Additionally, Trina Hall is a blogger, motivational speaker and intuitive life coach. Firstly, it is important to note she has had a tumultuous life resulting in Trina gaining decades of wisdom and insight. Frequently she was knocked down until, eventually, she hit  rock bottom.  Through her writings, television, radio shows, social media or in-person she has transformed countless lives around the globe. Moreover I am so glad I did not miss Best Selling Author and Motivational Speaker Trina Hall when she was in Merritt BC. 

Best Selling Author Motivational Speaker Merritt BC.

Book signing Trina Hall. Best Selling Author Merritt BC

” Note to Self: Empowerment”
7 Steps to help you find your true self, purpose, and power within.  Best selling author Trina Hall.

(Q1) “What inspired you to write “Note to Self: Empowerment” Trina?”

(Answer) While noticing that several people were asking me the same questions and advice. I asked myself, “would it not be easier  to write a book.” Since I have overcome so many tough obstacles in my life I felt compelled to share my wisdom and insights gained through my experiences to better the lives of others therefore preventing or at least easing the pain and suffering of others. Because so many people are suffering silently while trying to hold it together. By my account I strongly believe that an amazing life starts from the inside out. Consequently I wanted to write a book about self-empowerment because once you get yourself right, your relationships and your entire life will start to fall into place.

Best Selling Author Merritt

Trina Hall Best Selling Author Motivational Speaker in Greece.

“Take Back Your Power and Live the Life “You” are Meant to.” Trina Hall

experiencemerritt

(Q2) Who do you believe is your target audience?

Best Selling Author Motivational Speaker Merritt BC.

Best Selling Author and Motivational Speaker “Trina Hall” in Merritt BC.

(Answer) Primarily mostly women and men between the ages of 40-65 tend to be drawn towards my book. Specifically when it reflects on their lives and asking the deeper questions like, “Who I am” and “What am I put on this earth to do”? All these questions while doing things for others then realizing that they have lost themselves in the process. In fact the book is for the heart-centered amazing people who have been knocked down, taken advantage of, taken for granted and have lost themselves trying to please others.

(Q3) What could a person expect to receive from reading your Bestselling Book Note to Self”

This book guides you on your journey to self-discovery so you can find out who you truly are and want you truly want in life. It will also help uncover your purpose and power within. You will not feel alone. It allows you the necessary time to self-reflect and heal, while feeling like I am there with you every step of the way. You will learn to love, accept and believe in yourself through my inspiring stories and wisdom. It definitely offers you strength and clarity if you are feeling knocked down or have any self-doubt.

“Do not take it personally when others cannot see or appreciated your magnificence. Their eyes are clouded by their own unhappiness”  Trina Hall

 

Best Selling Author and Motivational Speaker Merritt BC.

Trina Hall with Daughter Jasmine Stewart.

(Q4) What insights, purpose and power did you experience and or gain from writing this very self exposing tumultuous life events that most people would feel to vulnerable to share?

Motivational Speaker Merritt BC

Best Selling Author Motivational Speaker Merritt BC.

(Answer) Although I used to think vulnerability was a weakness. Realizing vulnerability is the greatest strength. In regards to taking your power back. After all Comedians make fun of themselves before others can. At the same time being open in my book, worked in a similar way. Completely being unaffected by those who knocked me down freed me. Notwithstanding it was the final step allowing me to be free leaving my past behind.

“YOU ABSOLUTELY CANNOT FAIL AT BEING YOU”  Trina Hall

Best Selling Author Merritt BC.

Trina with her daughter Jasmine at talk show promoting her book.

(Q5) Certainly you provide profound wisdom, incredible insights, valuable tips and simple exercises in order to avoid needless suffering throughout your book. What inspired you to have “Note To Self Exercises” in some of your chapters?

(Answer) Moreover you feel more empowered when you are actively doing something to help a certain situation. Also I find many people resonate with my personal stories. Additionally, I  learn from my mistakes, while others need to physically do the work with a more hands-on approach. As a result, the exercises give an insight to what I did to overcome my struggles. I wanted to include the reader in this process so they could get the most out of my book. The title Note to Self: Empowerment has a double meaning. When you write down your answers to the exercises, they become your “notes to self” leading to empowerment.

“Forgiving others is essential for spiritual growth.”  Dr. Wayne W. Dyer

Merritt motivational speaker trina hall.

DR. Wayne Dyer with Trina Hall.

“Although I love all the 7 Steps in your book “Note To Self: Empowerment”, the 6th Step: Forgive and Take Your Power Back is one of the hardest for myself.” Tania Stewart.

trina Hall elevate your life

“Elevate Your Life” with Trina Hall. Best Selling Author Motivational Speaker Merritt BC.

Trina is looking forward to “Transforming Your Life”. Equally an inspiration for “You” to look at improving your life. Best Selling Author Trina Hall in Merritt BC

“Furthermore as the direction of your path becomes clearer, you will be able to move forward through life with confidence.” Trina Hall

Best Selling Author Motivational Speaker Merritt BC.

Trina Hall.

(Q6) What started you into motivational speaking and your first seminar/event Trina?

(Answer) Firstly, I was always the shy person who hid behind my writing. I was absolutely terrified of public speaking! But back in 2015, someone desperately wanted to buy my book to help out her best friend. Because there are so many steps to writing/publishing a book it took longer than anticipated to publish because of some of the setbacks we faced. I did not want to rush publishing my book either.

Therefore I tried to think of another way to help her friend. I created a seminar called “Elevate Your Life”. Subsequently would be the fastest way to help, as well as a comfortable outing for both of them to enjoy. Funny how your passion to help someone can trump any fear of public speaking!!! The plan was to only do one seminar, but from that one event someone else offered me a speaking engagement and people have continued to need my help. Needless to say, I haven’t stopped.

Best Selling Author Merritt

Best Selling Author Merritt BC Trina Hall.

(Q7) What can people expect from your seminar?

(Answer) Immediately you can definitely expect positivity, growth, inspiration and motivation. Furthermore, you will learn how to get unstuck by getting over past hurts and fears so you can gain confidence and thrive while learning how to continue to grow when you feel like others are holding you back. My seminar is all about elevating all areas in your life and lifting people up to the next level and beyond. Subsequently, you will be given the tools, insights and clarity to help you thrive, live outside of your comfort zone and become the best version of yourself.

Best Selling Author Motivational Speaker Merritt BC.

Trina Hall with daughter Jasmine Ashley.

(Q8) How did your daughter, Jasmine Stewart become a part of Elevate Your Life?

(Answer) We have always been a dynamic mother-daughter duo and she is practically a mini version of me. Jasmine has been around throughout most of my hardships, so she gained a lot of wisdom that way. Together we broke some vicious cycles and other generational destructive patterns, which is an area most people struggle with. Being a registered nurse, Jasmine is qualified to speak about health and healing. Together we can help others with their complete body, mind and soul connection. Moreover Jasmine really wanted to be a part of this particular seminar because she has such a strong tie to Merritt and I feel she will add even more value and inspiration.

“Your time is now to get the love you always desired and the inner peace you long for. Take back your power and live the life you are meant to.” Trina Hall 

mrrogersandme

Mr. Rogers and Trina Hall

(Q9) What made you decide to bring your seminar to Merritt?

(Answer) My dear friend Tania (Jasmine’s aunt) is from there. For the past couple of years after I held my seminar in Ontario, she would suggest that I bring my seminar to Merritt. She felt there is a huge need for what I have to offer since not very many motivational speakers go there. I know how it is like living in a smaller town and always having to travel for concerts and events, so it is nice when people come to them. I used to live in Merritt for a bit and Jasmine’s family is from there so it gave us even more reason to make the trip.

(Q10) Trina how can your seminar help the people of Merritt?

(Answer) I think my style will appeal to a close-knit town like Merritt. It will be pretty intimate so we can maximize growth and transformation. In addition to growing up in a small town in Northern Ontario, I also lived in Merritt for a bit so I understand the challenges, dreams and desires. Jasmine and I have a connection to Merritt and feel the attendees will really resonate with us. Furthermore, I think this will help us make a greater positive impact. I have traveled around the world learning from the top leaders in the personal growth and entrepreneurial industry, as well as, I have gained a lot of wisdom and insights through personal experience which is invaluable. We look forward to sharing all this and more with the people of Merritt.

Trina Hall.

Notably many people have read “Note to Self” more than twice, even 5 plus times.

In fact readers keep it right on their nightstand at all times. This is all crazy for me to hear and seems surreal.  Specifically seeing that it has such an impact!!! “It makes it all worth putting my vulnerability out there.” Trina Hall.

Merritt motivation

Trina Hall with husband Jason Pake.

In Conclusion.

Withstanding adversity and knockdowns, Trina has truly come out on top. She is making a life in helping people going through the same traumas she endured. Furthermore it is a pathway to sharing her life story, her vulnerability along with her strength.

For more information go to: https://www.facebook.com/trinahallauthor

Note to Self: Empowerment is available on Amazon worldwide.

Best Selling Author Trina Hall in Merritt BC

Being The Best Version of You

 

 

Bears in Merritt BC Canada

How to safely live with Bears in Merritt & throughout the Nicola Valley

Hope Mountain Black Bear Committee saves lost black bear cub named “Merritt”

Safely living with Bears in Merritt BC Canada brought to you with the help of Hope Mountain Black Bear Committee. Everyone can live in harmony with the Bears who share our habitat. This fall I was very fortunate to meet Lydia Koot and Cecilia Fraga from the Hope Mountain Black Bear Committee. Coincidentally, these two amazing women are volunteers who are passionate advocates for all wildlife. Recently they both traveled from Hope BC in the early morning hours to rescue a black bear cub we named “Merritt”.  A very adorable cub who was running around on the Bench. Lost and motherless, this little cub probably wouldn’t of survived the winter.

“Bear awareness can save our Bears” Tania Stewart, eco blogger with Experience Nicola Valley

Bears in Merritt BC

Hope Mountain volunteer Cecilia Fraga.

hope mountain black bear

Lydia Koot Hope Mountain Black Bear Committee.

Bears in Merritt BC: How we can reduce human-bear conflicts in Merritt BC Canada.

experiencemerritt

Follow some simple steps from Hope Mountain black bear committee :
  •  Store garbage , including recycle bin in garage or a secure location.
  •  Only place garbage & recycle bins in the morning of pickup.
  •  Remove bird feeders during bear season. ( mid May-to mid November).
  •  Turn compost often. Don’t add any cooked food, dairy, or fish to compost.
  •  Keep pet food inside or in a bear resistant container.
  •  Pick ripe and fallen fruit daily. Remove unused fruit trees.
  •  Clean your barbecues after each use, cover and store if possible.
  •  Keep refrigerators & freezers inside.
  •  Use electric fencing to protect small live stock or fruit trees. Refer to local by-laws for restriction on electric fencing.
Bears in Merritt BC Canada

Little cub named “Merritt”

Important to realize “If you see a Bear”. Living with bears in Merritt BC. Hope Mountain Black Bear Committee. Lydia Koot. 

  •  Stay calm, don’t panic.
  •  Don’t yell. Speak calmly to let bear know you are nearby.
  •  Never approach a bear and do not run from it.
  •  Back away slowly, moving in the direction you came from.
  •  Go indoors with your children and pets immediately.
  •  Warn others about the presence of bear.
  •  Once bear has left area, check your yard to make sure there are no attractions available such as fruit.
Black bears in Merritt BC

Hiding in tree, “Merritt”.

“Problem bears” do not naturally exist, they are created by humans who allow them access to food. Lydia Koot.

Importantly call the Conservation Officer Service.

merritt bc conservation officer

Dedicated Merritt Conservation Officer.

If a bear is threatening please call the conservation officer service at 1-877-952-RAPP (7277) or your local police. The B.C. Conservation Officer Service (COS) is a public safety provider focused on natural resource law enforcement and human wildlife conflicts prevention and response. Our vision is to be a progressive and respected leader in environmental compliance and enforcement, shared stewardship and public safety.

Once conditioned to look for “Easy” food from humans the bear usually becomes a public safety hazard. It is the bear that pays for human mistakes with it’s life. Lydia Koot.

To emphasize.

Whether you are camping, biking, hiking or just enjoying the out-doors. Respect all wildlife and how your footprint impacts your environment. Seeing a bear in its natural habitat can be amazing. A memorable  experience. Above all avoid encounters by making noise, let wildlife hear you. Never hike alone, and always be alert. Look for signs of bears, such as claw marks on trees, scat (fresh that is), logs ripped apart and overturned rocks.

Remember: In B.C. it is an offence to feed or leave attractants available to dangerous wildlife. Lydia Koot.

merritt bear in nicola valley

Remove bird feeders.

Merritt BC Canada wildlife

Pick all fruit trees.

Another key point.

Although a bear cub may look adorable and cute. They are wild and even though small could do a lot of damage if provoked. Importantly to call conservation officer or local police to deal with bear. Additionally knowing “Black Bear” facts. Hope Mountain Black Bear Committee.

  •  Black bears have variations of colors from black, brown, blonde and cinnamon.
  •  Have good eyesight.
  •  Sense of smell is 10x stronger than a bloodhound.
  •  Will stand on their back legs to better identify what is in front of them.
  •  Can run faster than you, and change direction quickly.
  •  Are strong swimmers.
  •  Are highly curious and intelligent.

“If I don’t like my neighbour, I cannot go to the RCMP and tell them, ‘Look, could you please take that neighbour away because I don’t like him,’ ” said Koot. “Well, that’s the same with wildlife. We live in wildlife country, so we cannot just go and shoot any animals that happen to walk to town, or go and build a wall around it.” Lydia Koot.

bears in merritt

Cub in a tree.

In conclusion

Everyone can live in harmony with the Bears who share our habitat.  With some education provided from Hope Mountain Black Bear Committee we can learn to live safely with bears. Firstly, be “Bear” aware and understand “Bear” necessities and “Facts”. Then take the simple steps to prevent “Bears” becoming public safety hazards so they do not pay with their lives because of our ignorance.

A brochure provided by Lydia Kootof Hope Mountain Black Bear Committee helped me understand how to be better “Bear Aware”.

The work provided by the Hope Mountain Black Bear Committee is possible with the financial support provided by:

For more information go to: www.hopemountain.org.

Or contact Lydia Koot at 604-860-4558. lkoot@hopemountain.org

Be Bear Aware

Living with Bears in Merritt BC Canada

Camping in Merritt BC and the Nicola Valley

Harmon Lake in the Kane Valley

My favourite spot for camping in Merritt BC Canada

I have talked about camping in Merritt BC and the Nicola Valley before but this time I want to introduce you to one of my top spots – Harmon Lake in the Kane Valley.  I know we have shifted into winter and camping is probably not high on your list of things to do, but I need to get this down on paper now so you can file this under–“remember for camping season

What do you like to do when camping in Merritt BC?

We like to start our day with a delicious breakfast.  There is nothing better than eating pancakes with homemade blueberry syrup and bacon beside a beautiful lake while camping in Merritt BC and the Nicola Valley! Scrambled eggs and gourmet sausages are pretty good too.

Camping in Merritt BC

Great Breakfast With Family

Post breakfast activities

After breakfast we grabbed our bikes and headed out on a little trip along Kane Valley Road.  There are many lakes to see on this road with wild life on either side, especially birds for people who are into this activity.  Bikes can also be used on the 55 kilometers of x-country ski trails with the added bonus of picnic tables and pit toilets in various places along the trail.  These facilities are not maintained in the summer so please be kind to your fellow adventurers and leave the places clean.

Merritt BC Camping

Game night while camping

We interspersed our activities with some serious reading and outstanding meals.  As well, we filled in our night time with Board Games and sitting around the fire.

Nicola Valley campfires

Nicola Valley Campfires and stories

“There is nothing like sitting around the campfire and reading a good book”–Andrea Reynolds

How to get to Harmon Lake in Merritt

From Merritt, BC you take the Okanagan Connector (Hwy 97C) towards Kelowna for approximately 14 kilometers.  You will see the sign for Harmon Lake (if you missed that sign look for the x-country ski sign–it will get you to the same place). Make the right turn onto Kane Valley Rd and follow it approximately  8 kilometers.  At this point you have a decision to make.  On the left you will see the entrance to the east campground.  If you stay on Kane Valley Rd for about 800 meters you will come to the West Campground. (link to map)

experiencemerritt

Heading west

The west campground in my mind is prettier than the east campground and the sites are further apart.  The down side is that it can be windier than its counterpart.  The east side has more amenities such as the boat launch, the campground host, access to the lake and hiking trails.

What you need when you are camping at Harmon Lake

My family prefers non motorized activities and so we bring our bikes, kayaks and hiking boots

Harmon Lake in Merritt adventures

If you like motorized vehicles there are plenty of places to use your ATV, dirt bike or fishing boat with a small motor.

Harmon Lake in Merritt BC

Looking out from the shoreline trail at Harmon Lake

Hiking in the Kane Valley

Hiking is one of our favourite things to do.  The easiest hike is the shoreline trail that takes you around the lake.  One of the bonuses of this hike is that it is located in a Forestry Recreational Area. It has an interpretive site that provides a lot of information on the eco systems of the lake area.  This is an easy hike and takes about 45 minutes to an hour.

There are 55 kilometers of ski trails with varying levels of difficulty.  They all provide a great forest experience. Times of these hikes vary with length and difficulty.

Kayaking on Harmon Lake

Harmon is great for this activity.  The lake is small so you are usually not far from any edge of the lake so you really don’t have to worry about falling in the Lake!  It is a beautiful lake but it seems even prettier when you are looking on shore from your Kayak

Kayaking in Merritt BC

Cruising on Harmon lake

When all is said and done it is easy to see why one of my favourite places to camp in Merritt and the Nicola Valley is Harmon Lake.

Harmon Lake is camping in Merritt BC

Nicola Valley Campgrounds