Nicola Valley British Columbia Canada including the City of Merritt, Lower Nicola, Quilchena and the surrounding First Nation lands.

Canada Country & Blues Musician 

Canadian “Living the Dream” in country music

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

Crystal Shawanda Canadian Blues Country Music Artist

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

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

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

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

The Younger Years of  Country Music

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

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

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

Music School to Music Capital to No Music 

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

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

The Low Notes of Country and Blues Music

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

The Rise of a Canadian Country and Blues Artist

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

Crystal Shawanda in Nashville

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

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

Dawn of the Day Release Her Inner Country Music

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

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

 Aboriginal Awards 2008

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

Canadian Aboriginal Awards 2008

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

CCMA Awards

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

The Junos

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

Living The Dream

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

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

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

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

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

Country Music Scene and Artists

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

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

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

Blues and/or Country Music Artist

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

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

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

All in With the Blues

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

The Dream Continues To Grow

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

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

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

Crystal Shawanda Merritt BC Mural 

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

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

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

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

However, it was after this performance at the 2009 Merritt Mountain Music Festival that, Crystal had her mural painted by Michelle Loughery as part of the 2005 Merritt Mural Project.  In other words the Merritt BC Murals were part of a successful program called, the “Merritt Youth Mural Project”. A project designed for working with local young artists and “ youth at risk”.  

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

Back To Merritt, BC For The Rodeo

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

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

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

Welcome the Rockin’ River Music Festival

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

For This Reason Follow
Crystal Shawanda Canadian Blues Country Music Artist on:

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Halloween in Merritt BC

Trick-or-Treating in The Nicola Valley

 

Celebrating Halloween Oct 31 in Merritt BC

Halloween in Merritt BC – Halloween is celebrated annually on October 31. While being one of the world’s oldest holidays. The community of Merritt additionally recognizes Halloween as one of the most important nights of the year for children including  many adults.  Although it’s derived from ancient festivals and religious rituals,  Halloween is still widely celebrated today in a number of countries around the globe. In countries such as Ireland, Canada and the United States. Celebrating “Halloween” in Merritt is a memorable experience. 

Halloween Merritt BC

Scary little people! Photo by Tania Stewart.

Merritt BC Halloween

Zombie Night! Photo Tania Stewart.

Ghoul Night is Halloween in Merritt BC

Growing up in Merritt B.C., truly was a child’s dream. To say nothing of the excitement with dressing up in costumes spending the night “Trick-Or-Treating”. Moreover ending the night with a bonfire while watching the fireworks is a great finish to a scary night.  After trick-or-treating, most people attend parties with neighbors and friends.  Furthermore many downtown businesses have treat’s for all the Goblins. What a great way to Experience Nicola Valley

Trick-or-Treat Merritt

Faceless ghouls! Photo by Tania Stewart

Merritt Halloween night

Is that you Batman? Photo by Tania Stewart

Hallows Night

Halloween is celebrated every year on the evening of October 31st. Together being a Celtic historical festival which also marked the division between the time of year when days are longer than nights and when nights are longer than days. Correspondingly believed to be the day when the border between the world of the dead and the world of the living narrows.  Interesting to note is the date of Halloween is almost in the middle of the time interval between the fall equinox and the winter solstice. 

Halloween Merritt B.C.

Scary things will knock at your door!

Take all the candy! Photo by Tania Stewart

Halloween Origin

Halloween evolved from the ancient Celtic holiday of Samhain. Over the centuries, Halloween transitioned from a pagan ritual to a day of parties, costumes, jack-o-lanterns and trick-or-treating for kids and adults.  In addition to dressing up as ghosts, demons and other malevolent creatures, children may perform antics in exchange for food and drink. 

Fun times in Merritt B.C

Carving time! Photo credit Tania Stewart

Get your Pumpkin and carve away. Even if you have to hire a Vampire with sharp teeth.

Vampires bring teeth! Picture by Tania Stewart.

Moreover “Spiders” and “Crows” are always welcome on Halloween night in Merritt B.C.

Nicola Valley Halloween

Spiders are always welcome! Photo credit Tania Stewart

Night for the crows. Halloween Photo credit Tania Stewart

Halloween Folklore 

In Ireland and Great Britain, the first jack-o’-lanterns were turnips or  beets.  Carved with demonic faces that are lit inside by a candle.  Then placed in a window or on the doorstep to scare Stingy Jack and other evil spirits. Irish and Scottish immigrants brought the custom to Canada and the United States. Adapting the jack-lantern to a North American native  vegetable,  the pumpkin. 

Friendly Ghoul. Photo Credit Tania Stewart

Such fun! Photo Credit Tania Stewart

Halloween Party Games in the Nicola Valley

At the parties, many games are played, including “snap-apple,” a game in which an apple on a string is tied to a doorframe or tree and players attempt to bite the hanging apple. In addition to bobbing for apples, parents often arrange treasure hunts, with candy or pastries as the “treasure.” Or try out “Halloween Snack Board” with Jennifer Schell. Children are also known to play tricks on their neighbors, such as “knock-a-dolly,” a prank in which children knock on the doors of their neighbors, but run away before the door is opened. Sounds very familiar. A little warning to all goblins, witches’, ghouls, and monsters. You may never know when a hand or zombie may pop out of a dark corner or behind a tree .

Halloween costumes

Halloween is truly for the young! Photo credit Tania Stewart

Halloween in Merritt B.C

Pumpkin carving competition has been won! Photo credit Tania Stewart

Halloween Safety

Firstly remain safe. Pair up with friends, and younger children with parents or guardians. Secondly stick to one side of the street, not running across the street to other houses. Thirdly, carry a flashlight or go out before it gets dark. Fourth, try to stick to areas you are familiar with. Wear appropriate clothing. Importantly let your parents check your candy haul. Just get out and “Trick-or-Treat.” when enjoying Halloween in Merritt BC Canada.

In Conclusion

Moreover just enjoy Halloween Night in Merritt BC or wherever you live. A little warning to all goblins, witches’, ghouls, and monsters.  It is the one night we can all dress up and be whatever we want with a lot of imagination and creation. I may just dress up as a spider this year. Boo!

Halloween in Merritt BC Canada

Nicola Valley Trick-or-Treating

 

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Summer Art Shows in Merritt BC

Clothing and Body Art Shows Liven Up Gallery

Body Art Shows in Merritt BC

Poster for Body Art Show

Body Embellishments and Wearable Art 

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

Body Art Shows in Merritt

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

The Talent

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

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

Tattoo Artist

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

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

Art of Clothing, Creativity in Merritt BC

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

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

Fires in the Valley, Art anyway…

Art of Clothing Show

Art of Clothing Show. Photo credit: Jano Howarth

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

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

Thank you to Artists and Creative Help

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

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

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

Merritt Art Shows

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

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

What Creativity is Next?

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

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

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

Thanks for stopping by! Remember, express yourself!

Jano Howarth

Nicola Valley Arts Centre Gallery Curator

Visit our Nicola Valley Arts website

Facebook Gallery and Gift Shop

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

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Summer Outdoor Activities in Merritt BC

Summer Adventures and Activities in The Nicola Valley

Outdoor summer activities in Merritt BC , offers a wide range of sunshine fun.  200 lakes, mountain biking trails and more makes the Nicola Valley a great choice for your next destination spot in the summer. Merritt’s  slogan says it all “A Lake A Day For As Long As You Stay”.  And we have rivers too! I guarantee when it comes to experiencing summer outdoor activities in the Nicola Valley,  it will make you wish you planned for more time so to go kayaking, boating, hiking, mountain biking, horseback riding and viewing wildlife.   

“I don’t need therapy, I just need my boat.” Unknown

Summer Activities Merritt BC.

Gone Fishing! Photo by Tania Stewart.

Summer Activities Merritt BC

Outdoor Activities Merritt BC.

Swimming fun! Picture courtesy Tania Stewart.

Outdoor Activities Merritt BC.

Nature’s poolside, were you can find me. Photo by Tania Stewart.

Summer Activities in Merritt BC Includes Lundbom Lake 

Lundbom Lake is truly one of my favorite Summer Activities in Merritt BC. A beautiful lake which is located only 10 minutes from downtown Merritt BC. Moreover  Lundbom Lake  is a great location for camping, fishing and horseback riding. While the surrounding area also provides excellent mountain biking and ATV/dirt bike riding. Along with having sunny and shady sites. Open from Apr 26, 2019 – Oct 14, 2019. Outdoor  

Summer Activities Merritt BC.

Julie Pollard “Is that the big one?” Photo Tania Stewart.

 

Summer Activities Merritt BC.

Enjoying the dock. Photo by Tania Stewart.

Outdoor Activities Nicola Valley.

View of Lundbom Lake. Photo TS.

 

“I camp here until the end of October most years.” Unknown Tourist.

 

Kayaking on Lundbom. Photo by ehCanadaTravel.com.

EhCanadatravel

Fall camping Eh! Photo courtesy ehCanadaTravel.com

 

“Lundbom Lake is very quiet and peaceful. Little noise pollution during all 3 of our visits. That is all we have to base it on. So it works for us.” Eh Canada Travel Website

Outdoor Summer & Fall Activities in the Nicola Valley BC. Canada.

Lake Trout. Photo Greg Girard.

Outdoor Summer & Fall Activities in the Nicola Valley BC. Canada.

Lundbom Lake Fall night. Photo by Greg Girard.

“THE FISHING ROCKS! Had to get that one out.” Greg Girard.

Outdoor Activities Merritt BC

Horse back riding has to be one of the best summer  activities everyone can enjoy. A great opportunity to take in all of Mother Nature’s beauty. Trail riding is truly a Summer & Fall activity everyone can enjoy together in Merritt B.C. Offering a few choices, the Nicola Valley provides a day of adventure with nature in a saddle.  

Horse Camping at Lundbom Lake. Photo by Tania Stewart.

Outdoor Activities Merritt BC.

A-P Guest Ranch. Photo by Tania Stewart.

Fall Fly Fishing in the Nicola Valley

Fly Fishing being a popular sport, Merritt BC has it made with 200 lakes.  There is no wonder to why Corbett Lake Lodge is an anglers dream during the fall months. For all your supplies that you may need, surely drop by Ponderosa Sports located downtown Merritt.  

Summer Activities Merritt BC

Dragon Flies. Photo TS.

Summer Adventure on Nicola Valley’s Lakes

Fishing for bait. Picture by Tania Stewart.

 

Best Fishing Lakes Near Merritt

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, including Garcia Lake, Marquart Lake, Hamilton Lake, Edna Lake, Mathew Lake, Morgan Lake, Roth Lake, Gwen Lake, Lundbom Lake and Lily Lake. Located just outside of Merritt, Marquart Lake is a small, clear lake which offers good rainbow trout fishing, camping and other outdoor activities nearby. 

Were to Start Planning Your Summer Activities

One place to start is our travel website Experience Merritt. 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 visit Ponderosa Sport’s downtown Merritt.

 

Kennedy Lake Hike

Kennedy Lake Hike. Photo Credit: Tania Stewart

Mountain Biking Outdoor Activities Merritt BC

Outdoor adventure mountain biking on the many trails surrounding the Nicola Valley provide endless days of exploring the backcountry.  No crowds. Lots of trails. Mouth-dropping scenery. Therefore to enjoy the trails in our backcountry all you need is a water bottle, the right gear and your ride. Nature and the adrenaline rush provides the rest. In reality the Nicola Valley provides the beautiful backcountry scenery, the wildlife sightings, the remote wilderness lakes and forested rolling hills. A nature enthusiasts dream space. Questions? You can drop a line with Merritt Mountain Biking Association

Mountain Biking Fun

Mountain Biking Fun. Photo by Jordan Pinto.

Mountain Biking - Merritt BC

Scenic trails. Photo by Jordan Pinto.

Moreover Hiking/Backpacking 

Truly enjoying the fall weather while hiking in the Nicola Valley is a must. Making sure to have your compass, water, picnic basket and a camera to capture your adventure. With the City of Merritt being located in a valley surrounded by mountains makes this an ideal destination place for avid backpackers and hikers. Generally having on the average sunny warm fall days makes it a pleasant day of hiking and adventure for the whole family. Reminder to always tell someone were you will be hiking if alone.

merritt bc camping

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

Scenic nature. Photo by Tania Stewart.

Summarizing Outdoor Activities in The Nicola Valley

Outdoor Activities in Merritt BC truly will have you smiling and knowing that you just had the best summer.  While Merritt can boast over 200 lakes with desert-like weather truly makes this your next vacation spot. “ A Lake A Day as Long as You Stay” has been it’s local slogan for decades. Equally making this your next destination place for activities such as kayaking, boating, mountain biking, hiking, paragliding or just lazily strolling lake trails.  Truly making this your next destination vacation spot!

Summer Fun in The Nicola Valley

Come and Experience the Adventure

 

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Easy Strawberry Rhubarb Crisp

Baking Recipes in the Nicola Valley

Everyone needs an easy fruit crisp recipe that they can go to again and again.

Baking recipe in the Nicola Valley : This easy strawberry rhubarb crisp is one I have used for years now. Fruit crisps are a great way to add a dessert to any meal that’s so rustic and tasty its sure to leave any tummy happy. We used what was on hand our garden rhubarb and paired it with some extra strawberries. Creating a stunning, sweet and tart after dinner treat.

Strawberry Rhubarb Crisp

Strawberry Rhubarb Crisp. Photo Credit by Jennifer Schell

Fun Facts About Rhubarb 

Some fun facts about rhubarb. If the idea of eating it makes you wrinkle your nose these might be a way to entice you to eat more of it in the future. Rhubarb is a anti-inflammatory that can help build your bone strength.  It can improve your liver health and is packed with fiber, calcium, vitamin C and potassium. A quick caution however you want to make sure you never consume the leaf of the plant just the stalk. The leaves are very poisonous, wash your hands after you handle. A great way to remove your rhubarb is to twist it with your hands. Never cut it. As that can confuse the plant and it will stop producing stalks for you to enjoy. 

nicola valley strawberry rhubarb crisp

Rhubarb is part of this baking recipe in the Nicola Valley. Photo credit: planet_fox

Baking Recipe in the Nicola Valley : Rhubarb Strawberry Crisp 

The crisp comes together in about 20 minutes or so.  In my experience it has easy kitchen staples of flour, sugar and butter this egg free dish is easy like I said to mix up in a flash. Finally assemble your ingredients and lets get baking.

Ingredients

6 Cups of chopped and washed Rhubarb

2 Cups of chopped Strawberries

Two tsp of Flour 

2 tsp of Brown Sugar 

1 tsp of Cinnamon ( optional) 

In a separate bowl assemble.

3/4 Cups of Flour

1 1/2 tsp of Baking Powder

1/8 tsp Salt

1/3 Cups of Butter

1 Cup of Brown Sugar

1 Cup of Quick Cooking Oats

Directions

Firstly combine fruit, flour and sugar ( and optional cinnamon ) in a greased 9X13 baking dish. Secondly in your second bowl combine your flour, baking powder, salt, cut in your butter until its nice and crumbly. Thirdly stir in your brown sugar and quick oats. Lastly sprinkle over your fruit. Bake at 350 for 30-40 minutes.

In addition

This easy strawberry rhubarb crisp is easy to swap out with so many other filling options. Of course the most popular would be apple crisp, then we have berry crisp. Nectarines or even a peach crisp. You could mix and match kind of like what we did mixing the strawberries with rhubarb. Peach and blueberry.  Try a combo of apples, pecans and caramel drizzle. The ideas and options are endless with this treat once you have a fail safe crisp topping you can trust and know it will never fail. 

crispy rhubarb pie nicola valley

Strawberry rhubarb crisp. Photo credit: Jennifer Schell

Rhubarb Strawberry Crisp Topping Suggestions

I am so curious to know if you would prefer to eat this dessert of easy strawberry rhubarb crisp as is or are you a fan of toppings? Of course I would certainly eat it plain. But I love the extra too sometimes. Not only milk but other toppings I would include could be ice cream, or heavy cream. A caramel drizzle or chopped nuts such as pecans, walnuts or maybe even peanuts. The possibilities are really endless. 

In Conclusion 

If you make this easy strawberry rhubarb crisp be sure to tag us on social media.

You can find us to tag using https://www.facebook.com/experiencenicolavalley/ here on Facebook and https://www.instagram.com/experiencenicolavalley/ here on Instagram.

The Experience Nicola Valley Team is real people, sharing real experiences, we tell stories about our home town.  It is our mission to inspire, educate and share with you our adventures and experiences. And we would love to see yours also. So start with this baking recipe in the Nicola Valley. 

Easy Strawberry Rhubarb Crisp

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Art During Covid in Merritt BC

Creativity Persists, even in the middle of a pandemic

Our art show in February 2021 was full of light, beauty and humour

 

Art during Covid in Merritt BC helped lots of people pass the time during our lockdown and careful year.

Artists and artisans expressed how creativity, theirs and others, made the restrictions bearable. Some came regularly to our Arts Centre, with Gallery shows, a well stocked gift shop, and even our Program Space where we held very respectful events. 

We also provided the public with art classes online, as well as continuing our regular meetings via Zoom.

Special Community Art Show, Art During Covid

Art of Covid

Nancy Ellingsen art, Kim Leclair poster

In February we held a special community show, called The Art During Covid, Creativity Persists. We invited people in our Nicola Valley to submit art they had created during 2020 and early 2021. 

We were excited to see how the show came together, from paintings to pottery. And we were surprised at how positive the show was, overall. Despite the challenging times we were experiencing, and how difficult it was for people to endure, the show was full of light, colour, beauty and humour.

Overcoming sadness and separation with creativity

Art During Covid

Lin Butler Buchanan’s Covid 2020, Open Wounds

Of course there were expressions of trouble and sadness. The year was spent battling separations of family, the disappearance of social gatherings, and job losses. It was difficult for people not to succumb to feelings of loss and separation. 

At the Arts Centre we faced a difficult move, changing locations, and had to juggle all the participation, cleaning, and renos required. We missed several of our key contributing members who couldn’t risk even a bit of contact. 

Mission to stay connected

Art During Covid

Sharon Antoine, leather and beadwork

However, the NVCAC’s overriding mission during this difficult time was to help the community feel welcome, and keep up contact, even with restrictions. We stuck to the protocols so most people felt safe to come in to our Arts Centre and see our Gallery shows, browse in our gift shop, and sign up for an online art class.

The February Art During Covid Show had close to 20 participants. We were not able to hold a reception, but a steady steam of people came during the five week show. We made sure we posted lots of photos online, so extra-careful people could see the submissions.

One of our submissions was a large chalkboard, for people to write about what creativity they were up to during Covid. However, artist and NVCAC president, Mischelle Pierce’s own story, that she wrote to encourage others, was such an inspiration we just chose to leave it as one of the artworks.

Art of Covid

Art During Covid stories

The art show elicited story after story from people in the community, telling how they were keeping up their creative processes with the long hours at home.

They found they had time to do art

Art During Covid

Online classes and respectful in person art sessions

A common theme was how, with the stay at home orders in early spring 2020 that persisted for many, they found they had time to do art they hadn’t done for years. And some began arts and crafts that they had always wanted to do and had never tried.

Even local musicians, who were really missing our live music events like Open Mic, submitted songs they had written or worked on during the year. We played them on our YouTube channel at  the Gallery during the art show. 

Mandala Art

Kathleen Kinasewic Soul Circle Mandalas

An online art class that went over really well was Mandala Art with Kathleen Kinasewich, of Soul Circle Mandalas. Kathleen led a small group for a couple of hours, doing the healing and meditative process of mandala art work.

I am thankful myself, as the Gallery Curator, for the suggestion to do this theme for our regular February Community show. In the past we have presented an Art of Sound Show, an Art for Children, Children in Art Show, and other fun and interesting themes…. 

This show felt very meaningful

Art During Covid

Nona Tickner’s Wash Your Hands

This show felt very meaningful, to acknowledge and honour the way people rise to a difficult situation. Often our difficult times are experienced just in our own circle. But the Covid Pandemic brought us an experience that was felt, and still is, all over the world. And through our Art of Covid show we were able to gather some of the expressions of people in our Nicola Valley, and share them. 

The stories from this Pandemic continue. We hope that creativity and art expressions continue to help people get through this difficult time.

Art expresses our true feelings

Darkness, loss, and sadness to inspiration and light.  Art expresses our true feelings. Thanks to all who shared their creativity during this show with us. 

Express yourself!

And to see what else is happening in our Nicola Valley art community, visit my post Nicola Valley Creativity in Action.

Thanks! Jano Howarth

NVCAC Arts Gallery Curator

Visit us at nicolavalleyarts.com

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Art of Covid

Cindy Trent’s Corvids

Art of Covid

Kim Vizi Carmen’s Collaboration

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Summer In Merritt BC Canada

Experience lazy summer days in the Nicola Valley

“No matter were you decide to spend time outdoors experiencing the Nicola Valley Merritt BC,  you will never be disappointed with all it’s beauty”

 

Destination Vacation in Merritt BC

Summer in Merritt BC in the Nicola Valley is a time to enjoy the outdoors and experience everything that nature has to offer.  Remember that first cold swim of the summer? Furthermore, do you remember your first boat ride, sunburn, eating hot dogs, or having a picnic.  “A Lake A Day For As Long As You Stay” is what we do well with over 200+ lakes,  ideal camping, great fishing and very friendly locals.  

Summer In Merritt BC Canada

Kayaking on Lundbom Lake located 15 min from Merritt BC.

A Lake A Day For As Long As You Stay

Experiencing Nicola Valley during the Spring and Summer months is truly breathtaking. Lundbom Lake located 15min out of Merritt attracts many campers every year who enjoy fishing, mountain biking and horseback riding!  You will truly want to stay and never go home! 

 

Summer In Merritt BC Canada

A 15min drive from Merritt. No need to pack a lunch! Photo by Tania Stewart.

“Most of the sites (Lundbom Lake) are spacious and private, great for large RV’s, tents, and trailers! I have even seen motorcycle groups come and stay for overnighters.” Julie Pollard.

Lundbom Lake in Merritt BC

Picture taken going into Lundbom Lake. Photo by Tania Stewart.

Scenic Beauty Amidst Nature

Kayaking on Lundbom Lake is truly peaceful. Being a smaller lake, Lundbom doesn’t let you down.

Summer In Merritt BC

Easily navigated for beginner kayakers. Photo Tania Stewart.

Kayakers Dream Lake!

Furthermore Lundbom never disappoints.

Lundbom Lake Kayaking

Summer is my season! Photo TS.

Picture Perfect Summer in Merritt BC

Don’t Forget Your Camera. Always a lot of nature to capture with a snap.

Lundbom

Late afternoon bliss on the water.

Bird lovers dream.

Bird lovers dream.

To Sum It Up The Water Can Be Cold!

Kayaking in Merritt BC

Cold but refreshing!

Kayakers Dream Lake

Cool summer breeze.

And There’s Nicola Lake

Located 23km from Merritt BC and 62km from Kamloops BC, Nicola Lake is easily accessible.  Great for kayaking, fishing and boating. 

Nicola Lake

Nicola Lake Fishing Dock.

Dock Fishing

Nicola Lake supports a variety of fish species which include Bull Trout, Cutthroat Trout, Kokanee and Rainbow Trout, Chinook, Coho, and Pink Salmon, and Steelhead Trout. Also watch out for Burbot and Mountain Whitefish. Can get a bit Fishy out there. 

Might be cold, but feels great!

No step ladder provided.

Swimming Allowed Here

 

Beautiful Nicola Lake.

You Don’t Have To Leave Merritt To Cool Off!

Located downtown Merritt BC, the Coldwater River is perfect for cooling off. That’s right, we call it the Clay Banks and many locals enjoy their day swimming here. Looking to camp? Claybanks RV Park Campground offers clean cut grassed sites, and immaculate washrooms along Coldwater River. Not to mention, it is a quick walk to historical downtown Merritt where you can take in all the Country Music murals. Get a picture with George Jones or the Hag. As well, one can venture a walk with the “Walk of Stars”

Searching for River Treasure.

Cooling off!

Check out Merritt BC Rotary Water Park!

Rotary Park is easily accessible due to its location near Downtown Merritt. A day adventure could easily be done with renting bikes from one of Merritt’s local business Breathe Bikes.

Rotary Lake Park in Merritt BC

Cool off under a tree while watching your children enjoy Merritt’s Rotary Water Park.

Beautiful Rest Stop For Travellers 

Located on Voght Street. A perfect spot to enjoy your lunch and stretch your legs.

You might see some Beaver evidence.

Enjoy a peaceful picnic.

Picnic Tables Along With Restrooms

In addition to being easily accessible. Picnic tables and restrooms are available. 

A truly scenic rest spot to enjoy a picnic.

Scenic Driving in The Nicola Valley

Of course you could take a scenic drive along the old highway from Merritt to Kamloops. 

Chances are you may spot an Eagle!

Even horses enjoy lazy summer days.

Petit Creek

Located 28km from Merritt BC this hidden gem is worth the drive.

Duck

Spring Duck.

Camping Allowed

Although these pictures were taken in the Spring. This spot is truly unique with the view of the old railroad bridge. Above all else, always take what you brought in. Leave no “Footprint”.

 

Would love to swim.

Old Rail Road Bridge.

Majestic Mountains

The view of the mountains from this little camp ground. Located only 28km from Merritt.

Anyone want to go for a hike?

And We Were Swinging!

Located 28km outside Merritt BC towards Spencer’s Bridge. Spius Creek Logging Bridge watering hole is surely a delight to all.

Swimming spot at Spius Creek Logging Bridge.

Great River Swimming!

River

Riding the Rapids! Sunshine Vly Rd, Merritt, BC

Lac Le Jeune

Lac Le Jeune is a lake and provincial park in British Columbia, Canada, located approximately 37 kilometers south of Kamloops or 47 kilometers north of Merritt.  A perfect day for a swim. 

Lac La Jeune Dock.

Great Place To Cool Off

Bring your picnic and your kayaks and enjoy this beautiful lake.

Great for water floaties.

Friendly leeches.

Resist jumping in!

Lac La Jeune Lake located 47km north of Merritt BC. Experience Nicola Valley!

Swimming in the Lake

Spending my summer swimming!

Experiencing The Nicola Valley Merritt BC

To sum it all up, no matter were you decide to spend time outdoors experiencing the Nicola Valley Merritt BC,  you will never be disappointed with all it’s beauty. Remember no matter were you go, don’t leave your “Footprint” behind.

 

Just standing by a lake is great!

Summer in Merritt BC in the Nicola Valley

Experience lazy day summers in the valley

Country Music Artist Michelle Wright – Merritt BC Murals

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Is It Me And You - Lisa Brokop

Is It Me And You – Lisa Brokop

Is It Me And You – Lisa Brokop Country Music Singer & Songwriter has released a soulful recording of a hot new love song. It is pretty much guaranteed that Lisa will certainly draw some attention and without a doubt capture the audience where ever and when ever she performs this song.

It is said that Lisa has put out one of the most soulful recordings of her career. Lisa’s career has certainly been a journey and an adventure for her. She credits her life and career  to the music as her motivator.

Lisa Brokop Is It Me And You

In Lisa’s own words she says:

“I love what I do. Every note I sing, whether in studio or on stage, is true. It hasn’t always been an easy road. There has been many curves, bumps and detours. But really, it is the love of the music that motivates each step I take in the business. It keeps me moving forward.” Lisa Brokop

Is It Me And You – Lisa Brokop – Country Music Singer & Songwriter on The Journey to The Merritt Murals

Is It Me And You – Lisa Brokop – Country Music Singer & Songwriter is featured on the walls of  the Merritt BC Murals. Born June 6, 1973 in Surrey, British Columbia, Lisa made her presence known in the entertainment world by the age of seven. It was then she started performing with her mother, who was a seasoned accordion player.

At age twelve, Lisa started sitting in on jam sessions with various country music bands throughout Vancouver, BC. By age fifteen she joined a touring band and was off to the races. It was obvious she was destined to be featured on the walls of our Merritt BC Murals located in the Nicola Valley in the community of Merritt BC Canada.

Sweet 16 And Beyond For Lisa Brokop

1990 at seventeen, Lisa released her debut single, “Daddy Sing To Me”. The song reached the top ten on The Canadian Country RPM Charts. In addition, “My Love”, her debut album, followed in June of 1991.

After graduation Lisa moved to Nashville, Tennessee to further her country music career. While performing at local clubs, Brokop caught the attention of The Nashville Network. The network began to play the video for Brokop’s single “Time To Come Back Home”. As a result they had Lisa make a guest appearance on The Ralph Emery Show. This appearance and a thirty minute showcase resulted in Lisa Brokop getting a record deal with Patriot Records.

Merritt BC Murals Is It Me And You

Melvina White (Experience Nicola Valley) / Mural Painted by Michelle Loughery

Is It Me And You – Singing and Acting in Harmony Cats

Before Brokop began recording her second album, she starred in the 1994 film Harmony Cats, where she played a country singer who leaves home in search of a big break in Nashville. Lisa Brokop contributed to the movie’s soundtrack and her cover of Tammy Wynette’s 1968 number one hit “Stand By Your Man” was issued as a single.

Back On And Off The Winding Road Of Recording

Lisa Brokop’s second album released the single “Give Me A Ring Sometime”, in June 1994. The single made the top 20 in Canada, but unfortunately it only reached No. 52 on the US Billboard Chart. Nevertheless, her first major label album. “Every Little Girl’s Dream”, was released in September of 1994. 

In the meantime ‘Give Me A Ring Sometime’ was charting. However, many Canadian radio stations refused to play Lisa’s music because the Canadian Radio-Television and Telecommunication ruled that ‘Give Me A Ring Sometime’ did not have enough Canadian Content in the song. Nevertheless, Brokop’s album went on to produce two more top 40 singles in Canada with ‘Take That’ and ‘One Of Those Nights’

1995 And Lots Of Change

By 1995, the album was certified Gold by the CRIA, for sales peaking 50,000 copies. Included in 1995 was a nomination for Top New Female Vocalist at the Academy of Country Music Awards. Also in 1995, Patriot Records closed its doors and Brokop transferred to Capital Nashville.

Lisa released her third album ‘Lisa Brokop’ the following year. The album did not do so well. As a result none of the album singles reached the top 40 in Canada or The United States. The failure of the album ended her relationship with Capital Nashville.

Consequently she decided to take some time off and focus on song writing. As a result, some country music stars took notice and started recording tracks she penned, including Reba McEntire, Terri Clark, and Pam Tillis.

Change Brings Opportunity

 Brokop signed with the Nashville division of Columbia Records, in 1998, where she released the single ‘How Do I Let Go’. The song reached the top 20 of The Canadian RPM Country Tracks chart and received a nomination for “Socan Song of the Year” at the 1998 Canadian Country Music Awards Show. 

In July of 1998, Lisa released in Canada the album, ‘When You Get To Be You’. It produced five more singles, including ‘What’s Not To Love’ that peaked at No 21. And, soon later, ‘Better Off Broken’ peaked at No. 8 becoming Brokop’s highest charting single on The Canadian RPM Country Tracks chart in 1999. The album was not released in the US and as a result Lisa Brokop left Columbia Records at the end of 1999.

Undeniable Change

In 2000, Brokop ventured on her own and launched Cosmo Records. It was under this label she released her fifth album, ‘Undeniable’.  Lisa Brokop received in 2001 two Canadian Country Music Association awards for Independent Song of The Year for ‘Something Undeniable’ as well as independent Female Artist of The Year.

The album’s third single, ‘I’d Like To See You Try’, won Brokop Independent Song of The Year as well as Independent Female Artist of the Year in 2002, from The Canadian Country Music Association. 2003 saw her receive another Independent Female Artist of The Year award.

Country Music In The Merritt Mountains

Lisa’s hand print was taken in July 1995 at The Merritt Mountain Music Festival (now the Rockin River Music Festival). Followed soon after by the unveiling of the hand print in Merritt, BC.

Again Lisa returned back to Merritt BC on Sunday, July 8, 2001 for her performance at The Merritt Mountain Music Festival. Followed, soon later, by the 10th Anniversary of The Merritt Mountain Music Festival in 2002. Then again she returned to Merritt at the launch of the Walk of Stars in 2003. Lisa was the main attraction for the gala which was a huge success.

Merritt BC Murals Downtown Walking Tour

Because of her desire, talent, passion, perseverance, and dedication to her music Lisa has definitely earned her place on the Merritt BC Murals. Lisa’s mural is located on the side of the Home Hardware building. There was a special ceremony for Lisa to unveil, and sign her Mural in 2006.

Her mural rests on the side of the Home Hardware building located at 1701 Voght Street. Her hand print is located at 2076 Coutlee Avenue.  

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

Back On The Road And Going Strong

Brokop’s seventh album ‘Beautiful Tragedy’, was released in August of 2008. As a result, it featured a top 20 hit ‘Break It’.

In 2013, Lisa returned to commercial country radio and had success with songs ‘Let It Burn’ and ‘Love Me If You Can’ both of which were produced by fellow Canadian superstar Carolyn Dawn Johnson.

Lisa put together the new musical venture, ‘Lisa Brokop: The Patsy Cline Project’ where Lisa pays homage to one of country music’s greatest ladies. The project features some of Cline’s classic hits like ‘Sweet Dreams’ and ‘Walkin after Midnight’ as well as some of her own material written specifically for the project. 

“I’ve come full circle with this project,” Brokop says. “When I first started singing, I would sing some of Patsy’s songs because I didn’t have any of my own. They are still among some of my favorites today and I am so excited to have the opportunity to honor this amazing lady and the incredible music she gave us!” Lisa Brokop

Is It Me And You – Lisa Brokop 

Is it Me And You or is it just just me or is just you that thinks this new song will be the start of a new chapter in Lisa Brokop’s life and career. Let’s follow her and see where she leads us as her musical journey continues.

You can visit Lisa Brokop on her website, as well as, her Facebook page. 

Merritt Downtown Mural Walking Tour

Canadian Country Music Hall of Fame

Hall of Fame

Experience Nicola Valley Blog

Blog

Experience Nicola Valley

Travel Website

** Information resources includes Lisa Brokop website, Wikipedia page, and social media page.

Nobody's Girl - Michelle Wright

Nobody’s Girl – Michelle Wright – Merritt Mural

Merritt BC Downtown Walking Tour

“My earliest memories of music are singing in the car. Or spending the weekend with my father watching him put on a rhinestone-studded suit to perform in.” Nobody’s Girl –  Michelle Wright

Nobody’s Girl –  Michelle Wright Country Music Artist was born on July 1, 1961 in Chatham, Ontario but grew up in a nearby small town named Merlin, Ontario. The music scene was a heavy influenced throughout her childhood as both her parents were local musicians. 

Nobody's Girl - Michelle Wright

“We were never a family band, but I got a lot of inspiration and encouragement from my mother. That’s where my love of country music really began.” Michelle Wright

Nobody's Girl - Michelle Wright Country Music Artist

Melvina White (Experience Nicola Valley) / Mural Painted by Michelle Loughery

Michelle’s Education In Country Music   

Nobody’s Girl – Michelle Wright Country Music Artist was on her way. In 1980 this love of music grew while in college when Michelle joined a local band where she performed with them until 1983. Then in 1983 Wright started her own band.

But… in 1985,  a solo record deal with Savannah Records came calling. She released her debut single in 1986, “I Want to Count on You”, which peaked at No. 48 on the Canadian RPM Country Tracks Chart. At this time she still was performing with her own band until 1988.  

Time To Go Solo For Michelle Wright

Michelle Wright’s debut album, “Do Right by Me”, was released in 1988. Not only did it produce seven hit singles, including Wright’s cover of the 1974 Andy Kim hit – “Rock Me Gently” – but, more importantly, the album’s Canadian success led to a record contract with Arista Nashville.  Michelle Wright became one of the label’s flagship artists.

Nobody’s Girl – Michelle Wright – Queen Of Canadian Country Music Of The 90’s

The years during the 90’s was a whirlwind of success for Michelle Wright. It started in April 1990 with the release of Wright’s first American single, “New Kind Of Love”… then quickly followed up with a second album “Michelle Wright” in July of 1990. Consequently, Wright became the opening act for Kenny Rogers 1991 tour. The country music album became a huge success in Canada.

A Canadian Super Star Was Born

Michelle Wright immediately became one of Canada’s most widely recognized country music artists and most awarded female country singers. The 1990’s saw a string of awards and accolades for Michelle. 

In 1990 Michelle was awarded Female Artist of the Year by the Canadian Country Music Association.

In 1991 her awards included Album of the Year for “Michelle Wright”,  Single of the Year for her song “New Kind Of Love”, as well as, Female Artist Of The Year by The Canadian Country Music Association. The success of the album and the single encouraged Michelle to move to Nashville Tennessee to advance her career. This move inspired the start of the third album of her career.

 

Take It Like A Man

1992 witnessed the release of Michelle Wright’s third album, “Now and Then”. The album’s first single “Take It Like A Man”, became an instant hit reaching #1 in Canada and #10 in the United States. The song crossed over to the contemporary charts, reaching Number #18 in Canada. The song was awarded Single Of The Year from The Canadian Country Music Association.

The Whirlwind Success Continues For Michelle Wright

1993 recognized Wright as the Top New Female Vocalist of The Year, for the album “Now and Then”, from the Academy of Country Music. In addition CBS featured her on a television special, Women of Country, where she performed “Take It Like a Man”.

The “Now and Then” album went on to produce six more singles including the Canadian number one hits “One Time Around” and “Guitar Talk”. The album also included “He Would Be Sixteen”, which reached #31 in the US and #3 on the charts in Canada. Winning Single of the Year for “He Would Be Sixteen” and The Fans Choice Award completed 1993 nicely for Michelle Wright.

1994 Wright, released the first single from her upcoming album “One Good Man”. Although it didn’t reach the top 40 in the US it became her fourth number one hit in Canada. Wright’s fourth album, “The Reason Why” was released in Canada in September. Cancellation of the release of the album in the US, resulted in the album’s release in Europe after a successful European tour. 

Michelle Wright On A Roll

1995 was a busy year for Michelle. She completed a 40 – city tour throughout Canada. Which at that time was the most extensive tour in the history of Canadian Country Music in Canada.

In August 1996, Wright released her fifth album, “For Me It’s You”, following the release of the first single. “Nobody’s Girl”,  reached Number 1 on the Canadian  Country Tracks and No. 57 on the U.S. Billboard Hot Country Singles . The album went on to be successful in Canada, producing three Top Five singles  “Crank My Tractor”, “The Answer Is Yes”, and “What Love Looks Like”.  

The Winding Down Of A Decade

In 1997 Wright keeps busy behind the scenes focusing on her humanitarian accomplishments such as her international work with the Special Olympics, her successful fundraising efforts for St. Joseph’s Hospital in Chatham, Ontario, as well as, her support for the Manitoba flood relief fund.

Because of her humanitarian efforts Michelle was awarded the C.F. Martin Humanitarian Award by the Canadian Country Music Association. The year came to a close for Michelle at The Canadian Country Music Awards, where she delivered a show-stopping gospel-tinged rendition of the Curtis Mayfield hit, “People Get Ready”, accompanied by a fifty-voice choir. A personal highlight for her career. She reflects:

“I still get goose bumps whenever I hear that version”

1998 saw a collaboration effort with pianist Jim Brickman producing the song “Your Love”.  The song was awarded the Vocal/Instrumental Collaboration Of The Year. In addition the video topped the CMT Canada charts.

“It felt great to be at that point in my career.”

1999 saw the “Greatest Hits Collection”. Michelle provided her listeners a look back at her ten magical years punctuated by hit after memorable hit.  Wright’s “The Greatest Hits Collection”, was released in Canada in October 1999. “I Surrender” and “When I Found You” two new songs, both became Top Ten hits. 

US radio welcomed Wright back after the “Greatest Hits Collection” due to the 1997 duet with pianist Jim Brickman. The song, “Your Love” gave Wright her only American adult contemporary hit reaching #19 on the Adult Contemporary Tracks. Despite the song’s success at AC radio, it would be Wright’s last charting single in the United States.

Successes Of The Next Decade 

The next decade adds to Michelle Wright’s incredible career and keeps her on the move.

The beginning of 2000, Michelle Wright: The Greatest Hits Collection was released. The album contained eleven of her hit songs that helped shape her career and celebrate her ten year anniversary with Arista/Nashville Records. This album was an overview of ten cherished years.

In 2002 Wright released five more CDs, generating more sales and more hits. “Shut Up and Kiss Me” was released in 2002.

Her first Christmas album, “A Wright Christmas”, released in Canada in 2005 and internationally on Savannah Music at Christmas time, 2008.

Savannah Music released the Album, “Everything And More”, in Canada in July, 2006, as well as internationally in late 2008. Savannah Music reissued, the remastered and repackaged edition of “Do Right By Me”, across North America in August, 2010, as well as internationally the following October. 

During 2009 and 2010 Michelle hit the road in Alberta and recorded live, “The Wright’s Songs” featuring a 17 song collection of her many hits on acoustic instruments. Savannah Music released this Album to Canada in 2011 as well as internationally in 2012

Merritt Murals of Canada

As a Country Music performer at The Merritt Mountain Music Festival, and returning to Merritt BC Canada to perform and support the Walk Of Stars as well as the Canadian Country Music Hall of Fame Galas. Michelle Wright earned her place on the wall. 

July of 2004 seen Michelle Wright grace The Main Stage of The Merritt Mountain Music Festival, as well as making her hand print that year for The Merritt Walk of Stars.

In 2006, Michelle again graced The Main Stage of The Merritt Mountain Music Festival. That same year, Michelle became a part of the walls known as Merritt BC Murals. This same year she signed her mural. You can find the Michelle Wright Mural at 1701 Voght Street, among the walking tour of Merritt BC Murals.

Merritt Murals and Music 2.0

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

June of 2009, the sixth annual Walk of Stars Gala set the stage again for Michelle Wright to wow the Country Music fans of Merritt. Michelle delivered a show stopping performance,  once again in June of 2012, for the eighth annual Walk of Stars Gala. 

Michelle recruited a new team in 2016. She continues to record and write songs as well as perform across the Country and around the world. She is still proving to her fans that she won’t be going anywhere anytime soon and that the feisty girl from rural, Merlin, Ontario will be sticking around. There is no doubt that this 2011 Canadian Country Music Hall of Fame Inductee continues to make Canada proud.

Or as she says, “What a way to make a living! I plan on making and playing music for a long time to come.”

Keep up to date and follow Michelle http://www.michelle-wright.com 

Country Music Artist Michelle Wright – Merritt BC Murals

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BUILDING A TERRACED GARDEN

TIPS FOR RESTORATION OF A GARDEN

PART 1 OF 2 PARTS

 

Building a terraced garden is actually a tricky project if you don’t do it right.  You could end up with all your bricks at the bottom of the garden  In order to avoid this problem you can follow along and see how I did it.

The materials you will need for this project are:

  1.  Crush gravel used for the base of the blocks
  2. Drain rock for carrying water away
  3. “Big O” pipe to distribute water
  4. Drain fabric to prevent silt from entering “Big O” pipe
  5. Top soil to fill your new levels

Experience invaluable 

Like I said in my blog on “Gardening in Merritt”

I do not profess to be an expert in this field.  The blog is featured on the Experience Nicola Valley website where it is operated by Tourism Nicola Valley.  The product was developed by Eh!Canada Travel to provide revolutionary marketing for communities and businesses.

Bring in a professional

Therefore due to the complexity of the project I have hired a very experienced contractor who knows the ins and outs of building brick walls.  In fact, he is one who prefers to over build and therefore you will be able to build even higher walls.  Just remember if your plan is for a wall over 4 feet, you will need to get a permit from the City and the wall would have to have an engineer’s approval.

merritt contractor

Our Contractor’s vehicle

ted cederland

Our Contractor-Ted Cederland

Let the Fun Begin in Building a Terraced Garden

This project had its beginnings in Facebook’s Market Place where my wife spotted a deal on bricks.  The deal was so smoking hot that it was worth our while to make two trips to Kamloops to bring them home. However, it was too late in the year to start so we waited until this Spring.

We came up with our ideas, had our contractor in place and were ready to begin.  Our starting point was the original wood terrace garden.  The logs have been in place for at least 25 Years and when you step on them they disintegrate.

Wood Terrace Garden

Wood Terrace Garden

Demolition Day for Building a Terraced Garden

The first thing we had to do was remove all the rotten logs and remove the plants that would be in the way of the new wall.  In retrospect, we should have removed all the plants because we were going from 4 levels to two levels and thus some of the plants would be too low and would have to be moved later.  Anyway we ended up with our plant ICU.

Plant ICU

Plant ICU

Setting the stage for the first row in Building your Terraced Garden

The first row of any wall is the most important because if you don’t get this right your entire wall will be compromised.  So for this row you will need the following tools:

  1.  A Flat Head Shovel
  2. A Regular Shovel
  3.  A Tamper
  4. A Level
  5. A Rubber Mallet
  6. A Wheel Barrow
  7. Concrete Saw 

Your first trench has to be deep enough to allow for your gravel base and your first layer of bricks,  Keep in mind that this layer has to be level or all your other rows will be out of whack.  For example, if your first row is off by one inch by the time you get to the fourth row the error will be very noticeable.

You use the flat head shovel to dig your trench.  Not only do you want to make sure the trench is deep enough, you need to have enough width to receive the brick.  In other words, we had 8″  bricks so our trench was 12″.

The First Trench

The First Trench

Subsequent Rows in Building a Terraced Garden

Once the first trench is in you need to use the tamper to pound the bottom of the trench so it is nice and firm so that you will avoid shifting later on.  Once this is done you add about 2″ of crushed rock to the bottom of the trench, which you need to tamp the rock and make sure the trench is still level.

You are now ready for the exciting part of the project, the laying of the blocks for your first row.  Lay your first blocks in place and use the rubber mallet to tap it in place so that the block is nice and firm.  Check that it is level and then place the next one.  Tap it in place with the mallet and make sure it abuts tightly with the first block and that it is level.

First Row

First Row

Sorry.  You will Have to Waite To Finish Building a Terraced Garden

At the beginning of this blog I mentioned the great deal we got on the blocks from Kamloops.  What we didn’t think about was what would happen if we did not have enough.  With out checking we assumed that we could run down to the Home Hardware Store and pick up our shortfall.  However, what we didn’t think about was that a product made in 1970 may not be available in 2021?

As a result you will have to stay tuned as I will hopefully have a resolution to this problem in the next couple of weeks and we will be able to show you the results.

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