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

Art Shows in Merritt BC

Nicola Valley Arts Gallery: Show of Shows 

Art Shows in Merritt BC at the Gallery for the last five years

Art Shows in Merritt BC

Nicola Valley Arts Gallery: Show of Shows Photo Credit Kim Leclair

Art Shows in Merritt BC and on the walls of the Nicola Valley Arts Gallery is the Show of Shows exhibition, the posters from 55 art shows since May 2017.  That was when I became the Gallery Director in Merritt BC and began curating art from the valley in a variety of exhibits, featuring all local artists. All local except the artists in two 2017 shows. 

Showing the creativity and art from our own Nicola Valley is one of the missions of the Nicola Valley Community Arts Council. And that mission is a passion of mine, to gather a diversity of art expressions in a variety of art shows.

Art shows in Merritt BC from young and old…

The 55 shows have brought the art of all ages to our small Gallery. We recently had clay sculptures and paintings from an after school art class with children as young as seven years.

And two of the many shows featured Bev Veale, who is still painting and drawing as she turns 86 years old. And Bev is not the only artist in the area who continues to create well into their retirement. Some retirees are just beginning their artistic path! 

Posters as art…

Bees in the Nicola Valley

The Bee Show, Poster by Kim Leclair

For each show, except one, local artist Kim Leclair has put together images provided her to create a poster that is art itself. Kim uses her digital skills to promote art shows in Merritt BC in posters which are printed to post around town, and in digital form to use in all our social media. 

The posters for each show are now on display on the walls of our small town Gallery, framed informally with bright wooden and metal frames. As people enter the Gallery the show posters take them on a sequential journey down memory lane around the four walls. 

We have put on about ten shows a year, each about five weeks, some longer and some shorter. Each art show has a story about its inspiration, the artists and submissions, and its time in the community.

Winter Art Show

6th Winter Artisan Show at the Nicola Valley Arts Centre Photo Credit Kim Leclair

Our month long Winter Artisan Show, since 2016

One corner of the Gallery is filled with the Winter Artisan posters, a popular yearly event since 2016. Artists and artisans, who are not already a part of our adjoining Gift Shop, are invited to display their art and wares for the local and traveling public. From local honey, to hand spun scarves, to art on the wall, there is something for everyone during the festive season.

The artists and artisans who participate have often already been a part of one of our Gallery shows.

We feature individual artists, two person shows, invite shows with several artists, and community shows where everyone in the Nicola Valley can submit a piece or two for the show. 

Art Show Stories

Each show curated has stories of its inspiration, its execution, and the personal accounts of the artist(s) and the art…

Some shows are touching in their topics, like the Memories and Mandalas Show, honouring over 30 artists and creatives who have passed in our valley. Hearing the stories of the submissions for this show was both emotional and fascinating. It was a very personal show for me, as I set up a display for my thirty year partner, a creative writer well known in our community, Gordon Cockle. Gord was a writer, a journalist, and a natural comedian and poet. I held his memorial during this show, a quiet affair in the middle of our Covid shutdown.

Another, The Murray Church Show, lamented the burning of a well know historic church a few kilometres out of town. The show acknowledged the memories of so many people in the community and beyond

This was a community art show in Merritt BC, by the community, and about our community. And the stories were from far and wide. We had Murray Church art on display: oils, pastels, watercolours, and sketches, both recent and from long ago. We had lots of photos of the church: inside and out, past pastors, and events, as well as art photography. There were collages, storyboards, stories, newspaper clippings, brochures, and past posters.

Linda Baird of the Trinity United Church, along with Amrit Samra, gathered much of the historical material for this wonderful show. We held a story telling evening…

This is a favourite poster of mine, because of Kim Leclair’s depiction of the church, gone…

Murray Church Art Show Poster

Murray Church Art Show Poster. Photo Credit Kim Leclair

The church has since been rebuilt, complete with stained glass by local artists Susan and Glenn Parkinson.

Art During Covid, Inspiring

Art During Covid

Art During Covid: Creativity Persists Photo credit Kim Leclair

Our Art of Covid: Creativity Persists Community Show was surprisingly beautiful. We held this show in early 2021, during our months of careful protocols. We weren’t sure what to expect but the creativity that people brought forward was full of beauty and inspiration, as well as art expressing unsurprising frustration.

Soon after our 2021 fires and floods, causing wide spread evacuations and regional, community, and personal devastation, we put a call out for a show about our pets and creatures, Creature Comforts. I heard so many stories about the care that our people took to save their pets and their livestock in our ranch and rural community. The stories were harsh, or sweet, and once again, inspirational. The art submitted gave people an opportunity to tell their stories of  flood and fire experiences when they came in to see the show. 

Those stories are still going on. Lasting effects.

Youth Art in Meritt BC

Coming Home Show, Youth Art. Photo Credit Kim Leclair

Our Merritt High School Seniors Art Shows in Merritt BC

The Youth POV…

Every year now, the local High School, Merritt Senior Secondary has a spring show with us, put together from their art class projects with teacher, Shannon Dunn.

This year the show, Coming Home, was a poignant mix of art and writing, expressing the experiences of the students during the fires and floods of 2021, most experiencing weeks-long evacuations and many the destruction of their homes. Still ongoing displacement…

Quotes from the students, about their art, and life…

“There is whimsy in everyday still life…”

“Children shouldn’t have to sacrifice their childhoods to survive.”

“I enjoy drawing simple things that bring me joy and peace.”

“People can feel isolated from each other even when being surrounded.”

“…to fly without boundaries, to explore without obligations.”

“Look closely, can you see starts on the window of her eye? They represent calmness and curiosity.”

“…that nostalgic feeling which envelops you in a warm blanket of comfort and reminiscence.”

Art Show Fun

We love to include the creative expressions and talents in different areas that are not always recognized in a small town gallery. 

Like the shoe show, Shoe Fabulous! Fun! It was inspired by Jean Kiegerl and her fab collection of shoes. We learned, during the call out for that show. who in our community has amazing shoe collections! Gorgeous and fun displays of shoes as well as shoe paintings, 3d mixed media on the paths we take, bronzed baby shoes, and firemen’s boots. We even had a little shoe shop in the back… Unforgettable!

Our Body Art: Living Art of Tattoo and Body Adornment art shows in Merritt BC displayed the work of our two tattoo artists in town, as well as airbrush, hair and makeup art. We posted body art images from around the world. I was inspired to take the plunge and designed arm band tattoos for myself that summer. Definitely fun!

Showcasing Different Talents in our Community

Art Shows in Merritt BC

Artof Sound Poster by Kim Leclair. Photo
by Jano Howarth

We enjoyed putting on a show, Wild! Flies, Skins, and Skulls, for the amazing fly tie artists in our fishing community. The beautiful work of internationally known fly tier Peter McVey (now past) of Corbett Lake Lodge, and others, brought in a whole different audience to our art show. We combined the fly tieing submissions with a bit of local taxidermy and skulls from a variety of creatures found in our surrounding valleys. We held a skull painting workshop around Halloween for that show! Fun!

Another fun show was our Art of Sound. We asked artists, musicians, creatives to express this theme in a variety of ways. So besides art of painting and drawings, we had Amrit Ahuja’s sound wave of the phrase “I love you.” framed. People brought interactive instruments and the Gallery was filled with sound, visual and literal.

I brought in a record player to play our fav LP’s. And I traded artist Robert Moretti my Janis Joplin vinyl for his jukebox painting. A great trade…

Jukebox Art

Got this in trade for a Janis Joplin vinyl Photo Credit Jano Howarth

Individual Artist Shows

My first individual artist show, in June 2017, was Leonard George, a very creative indigenous artist I had known for years. It was a retrospective show, with work he had done over the years collected from various private collections, with a few new works mixed in for purchase.

Art Shows in Merritt

Local Artist Jean Kiegerl and Twin Willows Photo Credit Kim Leclair

Other shows featuring a single artist: Wyatt Collins, a young artist working on big canvases, Libby Dybikowski, whose Sun. River. Mountain piece takes up a big space on one of my home walls, and Fred Tomlin, who’s stunning wood and mirror work surprised the community. Most of it.

Artist Michelle Lonsdale, with her show Wondernatural, also plays for us at Open Mic Nights and has taken up delicate tattoo art.

 And Jean Kiegerl, Cassandra Dolen and Shirley Reynolds, all experienced and dedicated artists we are fortunate to have in our community. 

So many I have been fortunate to work with. Inspiring artists in our small town community…

Living Legends…

Art Shows in Merritt BC

Living Legends Art Show. Photo credit Kim Leclair

A fav young graffiti style artist, Joel Reid, helps me put up a lot of the art shows. At 6′ 4″ if he’s there, I don’t need a ladder. He named one of our art shows in BC Merritt, when I told him who was coming, Living Legends. Long time artists instrumental in guiding our arts community for years, Pius Chong, Evelyn Armstrong, and Doug Strand were joined by inspired music and art supporter and artist in her own right, Jackie Stibbards. 

Living Legends for sure, in any community. And I know that many of our up and coming artists, expressing their creativity and sharing their art with our community, will take their place as well known inspirations in our Nicola Valley.

Gratifying. It’s a blessing to pull together the fun, thoughtful, inspired work of the many artists who have participated in all of these 55 shows over the last five years.

And we are almost booked for the next two years, art shows we can all look forward to, from community themed shows to feature artists to interactive and challenging shows. 

List of  55 Art Shows in BC Merritt below, May 2017 to August 2022.

What’s happening in the Arts Council?

Jano Howarth, Arts Gallery Curator and talent fan.’

Facebook and Instagram: Jano Howarth

Facebook: Creative Community 

Website: Meme Dreams 

55 Art Shows in Merritt BC from May 2017 to August 2022

2017

1. May 6- June 3  The Poetic Language of Landscape with Patricia Peters…

2. June 8- 24   In the Siege of Roots: A Retrospective with Leonard George

3. July 5-July 31 Art Walk with Bruce Walter and Ellen Miller

4. Aug 3- 31   Art Walk Artist’s Show 

5. Sept 1- 23   Bev Veale: A Retrospective

6. Sept 28- Oct 28   Ekphrastic: The Fibre Art Network

7. Nov 3- 18   Shoe Fabulous: A Collection from Collections Community Show with Jean Kiegerl

8. Dec 1- Jan 13   2nd Winter Artisan Show

2018

9. Jan 18- 27   Lifestyle: Clothes and Colours Community Show

10. Feb 1- Mar 3   Form, Figure, Faces Community Show

11. Mar 15-Apr 7   Wyatt’s World: An Abstract Expressionist’s Unique Perspective in Fluid Imagination with Wyatt Collins

12. Apr 19- May 12   Our Story: SD 58 Arts Festival 2018 with MSS Seniors

13. May 24- June 16   Into the Valley: Spirit, Energy, and Life with Pauline Ouelette and Natalie Rostad-Desjarlais

14. July 3- 31   Art Walk 2018 with Cindilla Trent and Pat Tombe

15. Aug 2- Sept 1   Art Walk Artists’ Show Community Show

16. Sept 6- 29   Merritt to Marrakech with Libby Dybikowski

17. Oct 11- Nov 4   Wild! Flies, Skins & Skulls Community and Invite Show

18. Nov 8-24   Wabi Sabi: Art in Imperfection with Vickie Strom

19. Nov 30- Dec 22   3rd Winter Artisan Show

2019 Art Shows in Merritt BC

20. Feb 1- Mar 2   Art of Sound: The Creative Expression of Sound Through Sound and Art Mediums

21. Mar 8- 30   Living Legends: Four Nicola Valley Artists with Pius Chong, Evelyn Armstrong, Doug Strand, Jackie Stibbards

22. Apr 5- 27   Wondernatural with Michelle Lonsdale

23.   Apr Joel Reid Art Show

24. May 2- 11   Create-Communicate-Connect with MSS Seniors

25. May 17- June 22   Forever West: A Lifestyle That Gas Never Changed with Faye Gustafson

26. June 27- July 31   Murray Church Show Community Show with Linda Baird and Peter Samra

27. Aug 9- Sept 7   Upcycle: Have Some Fun! Get Inspired! Save the Earth! Community Show

28. Sept 13 -Oct 5   Swing Into Fall Community Show

29. Oct 11- Nov 9  Fractured Reflections: The Art of Fred Tomlin

30.  4th Pop Up Winter Artisan Show and Shop

2020

31. Feb 7- Mar 14   Children in Art, Art for Children Community Show

32. Apr 5- June 13   I Love Painting! The Robert Moretti Show

33. May28 -June 13   Landscapes of the Nicola Valley with Dave Barber

34. June 19 – July 11   From the Earth Invite Show

35. July 17- Aug 22   The Bee Show Community Show with local apiarists

36. Sept 4- 26   Memories and Mandalas NVCAC Members Invite Show

37. Oct 15- Nov 14   Art for the Love of It with Jean Kiegerl and Twin Willows

38. Nov 20- Dec 4   5th Annual Winter Artisan Show & Sale

2021

39. Jan 13-31   Street Art! Community Show

40. Feb 3-Mar 7   Art During Covid: Creativity Persists Community Show

41. Mar 10- Apr 11   Looking Forward Now with Cindilla Trent and Kim Leclair

42. Apr 14- May 2   Unmasked: MSS Graduating Show

43. May 5-23   Clubhouse Art Show with Members of CMHA

44. May 26- June 27   Pencil Paintings with Judy Young

45. June 30- Aug 1   Body Art: Living Art of Tattoo and Body Adornment Community Show

46. Aug 4- Sept 5   Art of Clothing: Creative Fashion Community Show

47. Sept 8- Oct 10   Merritt Naturally: Discover Nature at Our Doorstep with Frank Ritcey and Bruce Walter

48. Oct 13- Nov 7   Baskets and Bowls with Evelyn Armstrong and Andrew Ruigrok

49. Nov 13- Dec 24   6th Annual Winter Artisan Show & Sale

And this year, 2022 Art Shows in Merritt BC

50. Jan 26- Mar 13   Creature Comforts Community Show

51. Mar 16- Apr 10   Kevin Griffiths: Flora, Fauna, Facility

52. Apr 13- May 1   Bev Veale: Reminiscences

53. May 5- June 5   Shirley Reynolds: Colour Personified

54. May 8-26   Coming Home with the MSS Seniors

55. June 29- Aug 7   Food for Thought Community show

56. Aug 11 – Sept 11   Show of Shows Curated by Jano Howarth, Posters by Kim Leclair

Art Shows in Merritt BC

Artists, Artisans, Art Gallery in the Nicola Valley

Nicola Valley Travel and Tourism Guides
nicola valley talk show

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

 

Nicola Valley Food Bank

Not Just  a Food Bank

Serving the Community on Merritt BC Canada

One of the more important social services in Merritt is the Nicola Valley Food Bank.  Therefore this organization is instrumental in filling a gap where people have to decide between shelter or food.  There are many people in the Merritt area who do not have enough financial support or low paying jobs that can’t make ends meet and therefore rely on the Nicola Valley Food Bank located in Downtown Merritt BC Canada.

 

Nicola Valley Food Bank Shelving

Nicola Valley Food Bank Shelving–Tom Reynolds Photo

The Program of the Nicola Valley Food Bank

Of course the main function of the Nicola Valley Food Bank is to provide nutritious food to those in need.  However, there is more to the food bank than just the delivery of food.   The food bank has created many successful partnerships in both the non profit sector and the business sector. It is these alliances that  go along way to make the system work.

Sharing with other organizations

One of the organizations the Food Bank works with is Ask Wellness  which is a national program to help improve the lives of people.  One of their major focuses in Merritt is the housing component.  Many of Ask Wellness’s clients also are those of the Nicola Valley Food Bank.  By working together the two groups can see that the clients are properly fed with nutritious food.

The Merritt Soup Kitchen is another group that the Food Bank Deals with.  Sometimes one organization or other will get a donation of food that is greater than can be used immediately and therefore there is an exchange of the excess so nothing goes to waste.

School District 58 and Strong Start work with the  Food Bank to provide food for the Strong Start Program.

The Business Community is on Board

Certainly, the major grocery stores are on board with the food bank.  When Wal Mart, No Frills and Save-on-Foods have products that are reaching their “best before date” they send them to the food bank.  While these items are ending their retail life they still are OK to eat.  While these big companies are contributing greatly there are a number of other businesses that chip in such as Starbucks, Dollar Tree, Pharmasave, A&W an now Mr Mikes.

No Frills Supports Food BsankNo Frills Supports Food Bank
Dollar Tree Supports Food Bank

Dollar Tree Supports Food Bank

A&W Supports the Food BankA&W Supports the Food Bank Mr Mikes Supports the Food Bank
Save on foods supports Foo Bank

Save on foods supports Foo Bank

 
Walmart Supports Food BankWalmart Supports Food Bank Starbucks supports Food BankStarbucks supports Food Bank Pharmasave Supports the Food BankPharmasave Supports the Food Bank

Nicola Valley Food Bank Staffing and Volunteers

The success of any not for profit is in its staff and volunteers and the Food Bank is no exception.  Derlanda Hewton is the General manager and her enthusiasm and vision have filtered to the staff and volunteers.

At the time of my visit to the Food Bank, the following were the staff and volunteers.  Vanya Beck was the Administration assistant and intake person.  She has a reassuring personality that works well with the clients.

Keith Walliser is on the food desk and he brings a world of knowledge to the Nicola Valley Food Bank because of his many years in the grocery store business.  Also on staff are Edwin Feldman, inventory Clerk and Henry Krause, Driver.

Volunteers are Georgina Johnny, driver and on call, Brenda Fahlman and Rosemary McNeil, both portion control.  Finally, we have Ashley Davey.

Fund Raising

Like most non profits fund raising brings a significant amount of money (or food) for the operation of the  Food Bank.  Therefore community groups such as the Merritt Centennials put on food drives during their season.  Out right donations from people are also greatly appreciated

This year the Food Bank participated in a national fund raising event called the “Coldest Night of the Year”.  Consequently this fund raiser is catching on and should be bigger next year. The Centennials supported this event in a big way.

21-22 Merritt Centennials

21-22 Merritt Centennials-Tom Reynolds Photo

Future Plans for the Nicola Valley Food Bank

The current location of the Nicola Valley Food Bank is strategically located to serve its clientele but unfortunately it is too small to meet the needs of the organization and therefore are looking for a larger space.

They wish to add an education centre to teach things such as selecting nutritious foods, cooking nutritious foods and household budgeting.

In addition they need more space for preparing the Christmas hampers.  Each year they have had to go and find a space that is large enough for this task and be reasonably priced (free is best).

Lastly, these are ambitious goals and if you want to be apart of that apply to be on the Board of Directors or take all the action in by volunteering at the Food Bank.  Call Derlanda Hewton at 250.378.2282.

Nicola Valley Food Bank

Merritt British Columbia Canada

Nicola Valley Travel and Tourism Guides

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

Campsites and Campgrounds in the Nicola Valley

Tips That Will Improve Any Merritt Campground  Trip

Campground Summer Adventures in Merritt, Canada

When  visiting Campsites and Campgrounds in Merritt BC Canada, make your next outdoor adventure easier with these simple camping tips. Moreover, with good planning anyone can make camping a memorable outdoor experience in the Nicola Valley. Knowing that camping connects you with nature, allows you to recharge your batteries while relaxing with family and friends. Experiencing camping in Merritt BC with these useful tips will improve your any camping trip.

Campsites and Campgrounds in Merritt BC Canada

Family Camping. Photo by Robert Neil

Water skiing in Merritt BC

Water skiing. Photo by Robert Neil.

Safety In Our Campsites and Campgrounds in Merritt BC Canada

Albeit, I love to camp around Merritt BC for all the mountains, scenery and activities we will experience. But safety is always my priority while out in the backcountry. The likelihood to observe all kinds of wildlife is truly a magical experience which I encourage. However,  I ask that you treat wildlife with the respect they need and deserve. My motto is that I am a guest in their home, and very privileged to be welcomed. Moreover, try and do some research on the campground you will be visiting.  A good source of information is the Experience Merritt website for campsites and campgrounds.

Summer Adventure on Nicola Valley’s Lakes

Dream summers. Photo by Tania Stewart.

Family campgrounds in the Nicola Valley

Memories are made camping Photo by Tania Stewart.

Carry bear spray, ensure it is accessible, and know how to use it before heading out on the trails. 

BC wilderness camping

BC Camping. Photo by Tania Stewart.

Stay respectful of the “Wilderness and Others”

It is important to always be considerate of all backcountry environments when visiting our campsites and campgrounds in Merritt BC Canada. Please… always keep your campsite clean. Leaving food out will attract all kinds of wildlife, including unwanted pests such as wasps, bears and more. Importantly, wildlife is also attracted to items that have an odor such as garbage, unwashed dishes, stoves, coolers, dog dishes, and toiletries. My toothpaste even? Yes, and shampoo, deodorant, skin cream, shaving lotion, suntan lotions, and baby diapers (especially used) will attract wildlife. Very important to always wash, and put away dishes, pots, and all garbage while storing your toiletries in air-sealed containers.  

Camping in Merritt BC Canada

Bear aware. Picture by Tania Stewart.

Wildlife in Merritt BC Canada

Wildlife Goat. Photo by Robert Neil.

Bear Aware in Our Campgrounds in Merritt BC Canada

If you knew how many bears are put down every year due to our lack of understanding and carelessness, you would cry.  It is important to know that carelessness can be a death sentence for a bear and its cubs. Did you know that much of our human-sourced food is rich in calories and that it is on a bear’s wish list to sustain itself hibernating in the winter months.  Therefore, garbage foraging for a bear is like us ordering take-out. It is easy and they lose their fear of us, associating us with food. Unfortunately, eating these foods brings bears and people closer together. Over time, bears lose their natural fear of people and start to associate people with food. Save our Bears by being wildlife aware.

Campsites in Merritt BC

Summer camping! Photo by Tania Stewart.

Family campground and campsites

Camping & Kids! Photo Tania Stewart.

“WHILE OUT IN THE BACKCOUNTRY, STAY RESPECTFUL OF ALL WILDLIFE!” TANIA STEWART

Wildlife Law

Do not feed the BEARS!  Furthermore, this applies to all animals.  And did you know that feeding wildlife in a national park or historic site will get you charged under the Canada National Parks Act? Whether feeding them directly or indirectly by leaving unattended food or garbage for them to sniff out and find. So put away your food. 

Merritt fishing in the Nicola Valley

Wes David and the Fishing the Wild West TV Show. Photo credit Wes David.

Campsites in the Nicola Valley

Alleyne Lake. Photo Tania Stewart.

Wildlife Photo’s

Albeit it is exhilarating to see a moose, bear, deer, or even a fox while visiting our campsites and campgrounds in Merritt BC. Capturing that photo or video can make your day. It has made mine on many occasions. Distance and respect for wildlife are key, this is their home. Make sure to share your amazing shots to on our websites or tag us on Facebook at @experiencenicolavalley!

Birdwatching in Merritt BC Canada

Wildlife capture. Photo by Tania Stewart.

Nature Walking/hiking

Hiking on the trails while camping is the best. Being aware that the best time to set out on a hike or picnic is best served after breakfast and before the supper bell rings. Equally, just like us, wildlife/animals are active early morning and around sunset.  Furthermore, never go alone, carry a lot of water, make noise, bear spray, bug dope, and know your surroundings. 

Sightseeing in Merritt BC Canada

Hiking Trail. Photo by Robert Neil.

Give wildlife space-Stay alert and be aware of your surroundings-travel in groups

Campfires while Camping in the Nicola Valley

Always check and be up-to-date on fire bans and restrictions when visiting our valley. Call or google wildfire gov for updated information.  British Columbia is a large geographically diverse province. Therefore, decisions on when and where to implement fire bans and restrictions are made by B.C.’s six regional fire centers. Wildfire prevention starts with us and one little match could ignite our backwoods. So be mindful of your fires, cigarettes and other flammable items.

Report Fires

Important to always make sure your campfire is out. And in some cases put out a negligent camper’s fire. Always report any fire. Therefore we can continue to enjoy our great outdoors and bask in its tranquility, 

“There’s no wi-fi in the mountains, but you’ll find a not better connection.” Unknown

Mosquitoes 

Campsites and campgrounds in Merritt BC Canada are truly one of the best ways to take a vacation. But the Mosquitoes! Take along a few bundles of sage the next time you go camping. Then, when the sun is setting and the campfire is going, burn a bit of sage with your fire. Or for a longer-lasting effect, set the stage on fire and let it smolder and smoke by the edge of the campfire. Moreover, mosquitoes are repelled by sage smoke and are a lot healthier than bug spray. 

Organizing Skills

Keeping your food secure and organized is important while camping. Organizing with storage is life-saving not to mention less stressful. Using bins, and sleeping bags for storage in tents,  Keeps your site organized and odor-free. Important leave no trace you were there. 

How to Find Amazing Camping Spots

Simply go to Experience Nicola Valley  and for all the information you will need to plan your camping trip to your specific summer adventure. Looking for a fishing adventure, speed boating one or a kayaking drift. Choosing the right campsite is the first step, getting there is the fun part, and the rest is just a load of memories. 

Campgrounds in Merritt BC Canada

Camping, campsites in the Nicola Valley Canada

Merritt BC Gardening

Canadian’s Love to Garden in the Nicola Valley

Gardening Tips in Merritt BC 

Gardening in Merritt BC is about finding the right combination of sunlight, fertile soil, and water to make your plants thrive. It’s also about fulfilling your passion for life and nature, so select plants wisely, especially ones you can love back. Use available community resources if you can. Give life to our Merritt BC Canada stores like they are to your garden. Garden local as they say, and in no time you’ll have a beautiful garden, filled with colors, and smells no matter what level of gardening experience you have.   

Gardening in Merritt BC Canada

Sell your produce at a local farmer’s market. Photo by Tania Stewart.

Make Gardening in Merritt BC Enjoyable

Therefore, a good rule of a green thumb, is to not be intimidated by the process of how to start a garden and care for it successfully. Although,  there is a lot of groundwork involved, it is not work. It is quality time outdoors for body and mind. Deciding to the garden is the easy part, but the biggest decision is going ahead with the project. The benefits of “reaping what you sow” will lift you to the highest level of calling yourself a “Master Gardener” 

Gardening in Merritt spectators

Invite friends over! Photo by Tania Stewart

Advice for Essential Gardening in Merritt 

Do not overthink it. Planting and deciding to start a garden is easy, the upkeep is the hard part, but the result is truly magical.   

Gardening Merritt BC

Gardening In the Nicola Valley. Photo by Tania Stewart

Gardening In the Nicola Valley

It’s all about the dirt! Picture by Tania Stewart

Garden Location in the Nicola Valley

Starting a garden is just like real estate. It’s all about the location. Knowing where to plant, what to plant, and most importantly when to seed is crucial. Start by paying attention to the sunlight, where is it in the morning and where it goes in the evening. Secondly, how to space your seeds and what should be near what? Should your carrots be neighbors with lettuce or spuds?  Moreover, know your zone. This means, that the higher the zone number, the warmer the climate. If a plant is for zone 4, and your garden is zone 2, that plant will not survive. Most edible plants, including many vegetables, herbs, and fruits, need at least 6 hours of sun to thrive.

 

A Local Tip: “Never plant if there is snow on Iron Mountain, or before May long weekend,” Tania Stewart.

 

Invest in Good Gardening Tools

I cannot state enough how the right tools make working in your garden a pleasure instead of a chore. Here is some basic gardening equipment to get you going. 

  • Garden hoe
  • Scuffle hoe
  • Dirt rake
  • Leaf rake
  • Garden Shovel or D handle Shovel
  • Hand tools
  • Rototiller

Water Source

The best gardening tip you’ll ever get is to plan your new garden near a water source. Make sure you can run a hose to your garden site, so you don’t have to lug water into it each time your plants get thirsty. Fact, the best way to tell if plants need watering is to push a finger an inch down into the soil (that’s about one knuckle deep). If it’s dry, it’s time to water.

Birds Merritt BC

Water well. Photo by Tania Stewart

Flowers in Merritt BC

Bee’s love flowers. Photo by Tania Stewart

Do Not Forget To Plant Flowers

Bees need flowers. Throughout the world, people have taken on the fight for the survival of our “Bees”.  Merritt BC Canada is no different. Every day more and more people are becoming more aware of how important these hard-working honey makers are to our survival. Not to mention, without bees, the availability and diversity of fresh produce would decline substantially, and human nutrition would likely suffer. For more information on this subject,  Bee/honey makers Experience in the Nicola Valley

Flowering plants in Nicola Valley

Some flowers block pests. Photo by Tania Stewart

Sunflowers and Bees

Sunflowers are essential for gardens. Photo by Tania stewart

It Is All In The Soil

What do you really know about your garden soil? If you can try to invest in nutrient-rich soil. Test your soil to see if it’s acidic, alkaline, or neutral PH. Is it rocky, sandy clay, or just a mix of all? Does your soil have a good amount of basic nutrients?  This is something my avid gardening father takes seriously. 

Gardening as a family

Watching the garden grow. Photo by Tania Stewart

Learn your frost dates

Planting too early (or late) in the season can spell disaster for your garden. You need to know the last average spring frost date for your area so you don’t accidentally kill plants by putting them out prematurely. It’s also good to know your first average fall frost date so that you get your plants harvested or moved indoors before fall frost damages them.  

Gardening plot in merritt bc

Tomato plants. Photo by Tania Stewart

Tomato plants in Merritt BC

Safe Tomato plants. Picture by Tania Stewart

 

One can not stress the importance of your “Planting Groundwork!” Take extra care in the beginning, and the result is what you reap.

 

The result.

Planting with Care

Once you have done the groundwork, next is planting. Do not hesitate to ask neighbors where to purchase your seeds. Albeit the rule of thumb when planting seeds is roughly 3 times deep as the size of the seed. Unless otherwise directed on the package. When transplanting, usually you will plant at the same depth as they were growing in the pot. Important to note, that tomatoes can be planted deeper.

Gardening and lawn care

Garden maintenance. Photo by Tania Stewart

Preparing a garden in BC Canada

Preparing your garden. Photo by Tania Stewart

 

Consider containers when gardening Merritt BC.

When space is at a premium, look to containers. You can grow many plants in pots, including vegetables, herbs, flowers, fruit trees, berries, and shrubs. Planting tomatoes can be tricky. Using potting containers is sometimes ideal for small spaces as well as maturing them enabling their survival. Strawberries can also thrive well in containers. 

 

Strawberry net. Photo by Tania Stewart

Warning!

Every garden, may want to cover and protect from winged bandits! Birds love the sweetness of the berry, covering them will protect your plants and keep deer from eating the flowers and destroying the growth. Most important this is a safe non-chemical deterrent to natural pests. If you spray it, you will eat it!

 

Bird Bandits. Photo by Tania Stewart

Mulch is Great

Weeds suck the life out of plants, mulch helps reduce these nasty veg killers. Apply a layer of mulch that’s 2 to 3 inches deep around each plant. Help reduce weeds by blocking out the sun and reduce moisture loss through evaporation, so you have to be waterless.  

 

Gardening Merritt BC.

Reap what you sow. Photo by Tania Stewart

Reaping mounds of veggies

Nurture your garden in the Nicola Valley

Take it from me, my father is the best fertilizer, he is the garden’s shadow. Most important is to be prepared to make time to tend to your plants. Depending on the size of your garden, time requirements may range from a few minutes of weeding, and watering, to a full-time day job. Watering your plants, as a rule of thumb need around one inch of water per week. 

 

Be proud of your endeavors. Picture by Tania Stewart

Potato salad?

 

Gardening Merritt BC.

Truly the first fruit is the Strawberry. Moreover, being the first and the sweetest. June welcomes this favorite berry.  British Columbia has native strawberries throughout, just waiting for you to pick and enjoy their a burst of sweet flavor.  

Starting with great soil, with regular water, will make your plants very happy. Bill Stewart.

 

berry picking merritt bc

Strawberry delight. Photo by Tania Stewart

pie, home made, strawberry custard

Completely homemade strawberry custard pie.

Bugs and Disease 

When gardening in the Nicola Valley beware of bugs. Moreover, bugs are more attracted to plants that are stressed or in some way deficient. If you have healthy, well-nourished plants, your pest problems should be minimal. Noteworthy, for most problems, there’s an organic solution. If you’re going through all the effort to grow your food, why would you want to put toxins on it? Overwatering is almost more harmful than underwatering. 

 

Happy times! Photo by Tania Stewart

What’s up! Photo Tania Stewart

In conclusion Gardening Merritt BC.

 Extra produce from your garden? Try selling produce at your local farmers’ market or donate to the food bank.

Gardening in Merritt BC Canada

Nicola Valley Gardens, Gardening, and Gardeners 

 

#merrittmatters

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

Fishing Derby in Merritt, British Columbia, Canada

2022 Fishing Tournament in the Nicola Valley at Peter Hope Lake

Special Guest Wes David of Fishing The Wild West TV Show

The May 14th Merritt Fishing Derby held at Peter Hope Lake in the Nicola Valley was a testament to our motto, “a lake a day for as long as you stay”.  The first derby of the year in these parts was hosted by the group at Tourism Nicola Valley – Experience Nicola Valley.  

 

Merritt Fishing Derby – Spirit of Merritt

Considering what we have gone through in the last 2 years as a community, it was, in essence, a day of reckoning. It was good to see  the “Spirit of Merritt” that we have all grown to learn and love. Now more will know how good we have it here.

Nicola Valley Draws People From Across BC To Fish

Approximately 50 fishermen and fisherwomen registered for the Tourism Nicola Valley – Experience Nicola Valley fishing tournament. Many from out of town. Some coming from areas like Kamloops, Richmond, Abbotsford, Langley, Chilliwack, Hope, Lac Le Jeune and other BC communities. Therefore, it was a few days of welcomed revenues to our local pubs, restaurants, grocery stores, gas stations and others.

merritt fishing derby

People gather for sharing some fishing tales. Photo Credit Wes David.

trout fishing

Measuring fish for prizing. Photo Credit: Greg Girard

Day Of Fishing Starts

The fishing enthusiasts started arriving at the derby base camp on Peter Hope Lake at 5 am on May 14th. Some stayed in town , while others camped out at one of our many wilderness campgrounds. Consequently, they fished until 5pm in the sun, most of the day.

Fishing Sun Or Rain Is Fun

In the evening the rains moved in, just in time for the award ceremony announcing the winners. Special guest Wes David presented the winners with their prizes. Many took advantage of his truck and boat on display for photos and selfies.

Wes David

Wes David and cameraman Chuck. Photo Credit: Greg Girard

Fishing Celebrity – Wes David

Wes David is the host of the Fishing the Wild West TV Show. The show generates 33 million viewers a year across many specialty and fishing networks. Wes, and his cameraman, Chuck, both avid fishermen, spent 4 days fishing the lakes of our valley for an upcoming TV show about fishing the Nicola Valley. A well deserved accolade celebrating our lakes and the natural outdoors. Country lakes is what we do well. Country anything is what we do always when it comes to adventure and music. 

 

First Class Lake Fishing Opportunity

Merritt fishing

Wes David and the Fishing the Wild West TV Show. Photo Credit: Wes David

Tourism Nicola Valley strongly believes, Merritt should benefit from and grow a responsible and productive recreational fishing season in the valley to assist in generating new money for the community. “BC residents spent $102 per fishing day! Canadian non-residents spent over $181 per fishing day, and International non-resident anglers spent over $334 per fishing day.” 

What Does Fishing Mean To The Valley

Average it out at $204 a day, add 100 new fishermen a month who fish our lakes and each one stays for a 3 day weekend… and when you add it all up it equates to $61,200 of new money invested into our community in one month. 

“There is no end to the rainbow trout in the Nicola Valley BC. Merritt & Nicola Valley BC is truly a trout anglers’ paradise! I spent 2 days fishing 2 of the 200+ lakes in the area for rainbow trout and I’ve never caught and released so many rainbow trout in a single day in my life”

Merritt Fishing Derby Winners

merritt fishing derby winners

Winners pose with Wes David. Photo Credit: Greg Girard

At the end of the day, the prizes were announced with first prize going to Derek Poitras, second prize to Colin Mitchell and 3rd prize was awarded to Nathan Lewis. In the youth category the prize went to Skylar Vilac.

All in all, the winners of the day, were all of us who came together, in sun and rain, to laugh, smile and share fishing tales. Thank you to all who attended and may the fishing Gods be with you. Come back soon.

Merritt Fishing Derby

2022 Fishing Tournament in the Nicola Valley at Peter Hope Lake

#merrittmatters

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

Art Show in Merritt BC

Artist Shirley Reynolds

Home is Where the Art Is

Show Poster

Show Poster-Merritt Printing design

 

 

Colour Personified

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

An Art Show in Merritt BC will be held from May 5, 2022 to June 5, 2022 at the Nicola Valley Arts Centre.  

Artist Shirley Reynolds

Shirley Reynolds

Shirley Reynolds-Tom Reynolds Photo

Shirley Reynolds Art Show in Merritt

Shirley got her art career off to a great start when she was just a toddler.  Her dad had painted her bedroom but apparently it was a little too boring for her so she took an indelible pencil and drew on the wall.  As you can imagine Shirley’s father was not impressed but took the time to explain to her that drawing on the wall was not appropriate. After this discussion he repainted the offending wall. However, awhile later he came back to find that his artist daughter had “improved” the wall again. From that point on she was hooked with painting and has spent over six decades perfecting her craft.

Landscapes in the Art Show in Merritt BC

Many artists over the years tend to develop a signature style that is associated with them.  While her paintings have grown in complexity over the years she has not settled into a specific style.  Each painting is unique, just like the artist, herself.  When we go camping she loves to bring paints so she can capture the scenery where ever we may be.

Tree at the lake

Reynolds Photo

Harmon Lake

Harmon Lake-Tom Reynolds Photo

 

 

 

 

 

 

“Still lifes ” in the Art show in Merritt BC

As I said before, Shirley’s style is different for nearly every painting.  However, there is one aspect to her paintings that is consistent and that is the use of brilliant colours.  This definitely comes out when she does a “still life” as you can see in the examples below.

Flowers in Pot

Flowers in Pot-Tom Reynolds Photo

F

Flowers-Tom Reynolds Photo

 

Abstracts in the Art Show in Merritt BC

As I said earlier Shirley does not have just one style that identifies her work.  I believe her paintings come from her soul so you never know what you are going to get until she puts her inspiration to paper.  While she does a large part of her work on landscapes she has begun to dabble in abstracts.  However her use of colour flows through these as well.

Geometric abstract

Geometric Abstract-Tom Reynolds Photo

movement abstracts

Movement Abstracts-Tom Reynolds photo

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Impressionism Style is at the Art Show in Merritt, BC

Sometimes the inspiration for a subject matter requires that the objects are less defined but you get the sense of the painting.  Below are examples of Shirley using this style.

Fall Colours

Fall Colours-Tom Reynolds Photo

Fall Tree

Fall Tree-Tom Reynolds Photo

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Painting is not all she does

While her primary artistic endeavor is painting, her creativity is expressed  in almost everything she does. On several occasions she has set her hand to doing mosaics.  Apparently it is handy to save your broken cups and saucers because you never know when the need to do a mosaic will come. Also you may come across something that would make a great base for your project such as a ball.

Mosaic Globe

Mosaic Globe-Tom Reynolds Photo

 

 
Mosaic Tea Cups

Mosaic Tea Cups-Tom Reynolds Photo

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

She still hasn’t finished  experimenting with different mediums as she and her daughter, Andrea are going to try their hand at pottery.  

Her artistic talents have also stirred her interest in interior decorating.  Along with the items she is displaying, she has upped the ambiance of the show by providing colourful props that support the art work.

Support the Art Show in Merritt BC

Supporting the art show is one way of ensuring that the arts will be alive and well in Merritt.  When you sign the register this provides evidence to the funding partners that the activity is valued by the community and tourists alike. While you are at the show you can browse the gift shop and help support local artists and the Arts Council.  It is also a good time to check out the programs that are offered.  

 

Art Show in Merritt BC

Artist Shirley Reynolds

Home is Where the Art Is

 

Nicola Valley Travel and Tourism Guides

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

 

 

BC Fundraiser Ambassador Experience

Experience Nicola Valley Bloggers

Bloggers Share Their Hell or High Water Fundraiser Adventure

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

2 Hour Fundraiser Episodes – Hell or High Water Telethon Ambassadors

Hell or High Water Ambassador – Tania Stewart

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

Tania Stewart
Experience Nicola Valley Blogger

Hell or High Water Fundraiser Telethon Ambassador

Bill Henderson – Chilliwack

The Abrams - Telethon

The Abrams

Taylor James

Taylor James

***

Hell or High Water Ambassador – Jen Schell

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

Jen Schell
Experience Nicola Valley Blogger

Bobby Garcia performs at Hell or High Water Fundraiser

Bobby Garcia

Telethon performance by Broadway Crush

Broadway Crush

David Gogo performs at telethon

David Gogo

***

Hell or High Water Ambassador – Susanne Snider

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

Susanne Snider
Experience Nicola Valley Blogger

Lisa Brokop Live at Grande Theatre in Mission BC

Lisa Brokop

Loverboy

Loverboy

Come Hell or High Water with Sean Hogan

Sean Hogan

***

Hell or High Water Ambassador – Carole Leroux

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

Carole Leroux

Dirt Road Opera music

Dirt Road Opera

Kenny Hess

Kenny Hess

Beverley Mahood Hell of High Water

Beverley Mahood

***

Hell or High Water Ambassador – Tom Reynolds

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

Tom Reynolds
Hell or High Water Ambassador
Experience Nicola Valley Blogger

***

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

Hell or High Water Ambassadors Feedback

#merrittmatters

Nicola Valley Travel and Tourism Guides

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

2021 Natural Disasters in the Nicola Valley Affect Artists

Fires and Floods in Merritt BC

2021 Natural Disasters in the Nicola Valley

Joan Jennings Facebook account of the flood event

Fires and floods in Merritt BC have changed the lives of artists and so many people.

2021 Natural Disasters in the Nicola Valley affect artists and the whole communities that were hit by forest Fires and floods. People who were affected and displaced, some permanently, will never forget this year of crises.

A heat dome in June, forest fires all around during the summer, and then severe river flooding in November kept communities in action while people, animals, crops, and properties were threatened. Immediate action was required from so many people during the 2021 Natural Disasters in the Nicola Valley 

It was shocking to experience, and shocking to know the damage that has been done, during these natural disaster events. The after effects are massive, and taking all the efforts of individuals, businesses, companies, and organizations to handle the effects and get back to functional lives.

2021 Natural Disasters in the Nicola Valley – Arts Community wants to help

In the Nicola Valley, the Arts Council is focused on the members, artists, artisans, and musicians who actively contribute to our arts community. So many were impacted by one or more of these disasters, some losing everything they had to create the art and music they share with us. Some lost their studios, their homes, their way to travel to the Nicola Valley, their pets, and livestock, their businesses.

The Nicola Valley Community Arts Council is looking for ways to support the artists and help get their creativity going again.

One initiative is a t-shirt design by local artist Joel Reid, which will be printed and available at our Nicola Valley Arts Centre Gift Shop. The proceeds will go to helping the artists affected by the fires and floods.

Hell or High Water BC Fundraiser

Hell or Highwater. Donate!

Hell or Highwater

This blog site Experience Nicola Valley, and its affiliation associates like Eh Canada Travel and Rockin River Fest are organizing an amazing fundraising initiative. “Hell or High Water“, with many musicians ready to perform for a March 13 concert from 10 am to 10 pm, with a telethon happening to invite and accept donations. Art, sports, music, travel prizes included!

We hope that some of the funds raised will support the creative community, here and in other affected communities. 

Here are a few stories of the affects the 2021 natural disasters have had on our artists and community members….

2021 Natural Disasters in the Nicola Valley

Amanda Pryzner-Dunn of Pink Room Crafts

Amanda has been a part of our arts community, contributing her lovely paper crafts for sale in our shop for several years. We

BC Flood Victim

Amanda Pryzner-Dunn, Merritt Artist

knew she had bought a home with her husband, Kevin, and heard about all the renos as the months went by. A while back, Amanda shared that her studio was done! She had it all set up and was ready to create, and give classes to share her art.

Then this, in Amanda’s words….

November 15/2021

We were awoken by a bang on the door at 4:30am on the morning of the flood. When I looked out the window, I remember just seeing the house surrounded by water. My husband went out front and someone yelled that the river broke it’s banks. We just couldn’t believe it. When I got to the other end of our home, I saw that our living room (lower than the rest of the house) already had a foot of water and it was pouring in through the gaps in the doors. Panic set in and we started to try and move things out of the living room, having the sense to shut off the power as the plugs were already immersed.

It was then that I realised I should probably go outside to the garage to move my car. Once I got the garage door open, items started to float out and were taken away by the current, which was picking up speed very quickly. The water was just about level with the footboard of my car but boxes and storage containers were blocking my access to the driver’s door.

One of these containers held all the craft supplies

One of these containers held all the craft supplies for my upcoming wreath making class. I pushed it out of the way only to see it taken by the current and float down the street. I was able to move my car to safety, and collect a few more items from inside the house before the fire rescue and police arrived at our door and said there was no time left and we had to leave. A police officer carried my dog to safety and my husband and I carried a few bags of belongings.

We evacuated to Kamloops along with my mom and dad and their 2 dogs. We were fortunate to be offered a place to stay through my employers, Interior Community Services. They had a youth shelter with a basement that were we able to use.

Just before the flood, I had resigned from my position at work as I wanted to embark on my own arts and crafts business full-time. I had several Christmas orders and was set to teach a handful of crafting classes at the NVCAC.

Going back to our home was devastating

Natural Disasters in the Nicola Valley

Amanda’s house, in flood zone affected in 2021

Going back to our home was devastating. The smell was terrible, it was thick with mud inside, and the water had reached 4 feet in parts of our little rancher. We had support from the Samaritan’s Purse to empty out our home but I remember putting off and putting off going into my craft room; in fact it was the last place we cleared.

It was so hard picking through items caked in mud, looking for what could be salvaged in the dark and cold. Seeing over a decade of supplies and tools having to be thrown away was hard. I miss the different papers, cardstock, and paints that I had; I know they are just “things” but all were carefully acquired and represented something to me.

Letting go of doing arts and crafts full-time was challenging at first, but I am hopeful that it might work out again one day.  If I am honest, I have found it hard to start creating again, and not just because of lacking supplies. It’s kind of like going through a period of grieving and I am just not fully through it yet. I made a few gifts for family and friends over Christmas and I enjoyed painting a portrait of my dog, Jeff, for the Creature Comforts show.

Sometimes in life you have to be okay with asking for and receiving help

BC 2021 Flood Event Art Show

Amanda submitted artwork of her dog for our show “Creature Comforts” (bottom right) Photo Jano Howarth

I have been so thankful for the support of family and friends and we are grateful to be able to stay at my parent’s home right now. What I have learned is that sometimes in life you have to be okay with asking for and receiving help. There are seasons of our lives when we are the ones doing the giving, but there are also times when we need to accept support; not always a comfortable thing to do.

I am not sure we will be able to rebuild our home but I know in time, things will be pieced together. For now, I am taking each day as it comes, trying to stay active, enjoying time with loved ones, and I am ready for when the next creative spark hits.

After several weeks of work on her home, Amanda contributed a story and a painting she did of their dog, Jeff, to the community art show we have on, “Creature Comforts: We Love Our Pets and Animals”. It is a touching story and the painting is a beautiful depiction of a beloved pet.

Amanda gives classes as a part of our Arts Programs. She is leading a Kids Art class in February 2022, during our Creative Comforts Art Show. She will take the kids through the Gallery to see work from our artists and photographers, about the pets and animals we love and care for. Then she’ll lead an art activity and give the children time to share their stories of the disasters and their animals.

Computer Digital Artist – Amrit Ahuja

Computer Generated Imagery Artist

Computer Generated Imagery Artist – Amrit Ahuja

Amrit is the sound guy for Open Mic night, and does videography work for the community. But Amrit Ahuja is known most now for his Computer Generated Imagery work with global artists. He worked from his studio in the family home, immersed, and and posted what he was doing on Facebook now and then, so we could keep up with the very current career he has chosen.

On November 15th, 2021, Amrit’s life changed because of the natural disasters in the Nicola Valley …

His texts to me…

Our house flooded completely. But we’re safe.  Just wanted to check in with you. I imagine you’re ready to evac, yes?

… I think I lost all of my gear and work, with no insurance. Just devastated today

I’m just at a relative’s house right now, but we are thinking of going to Kamloops or something. I dunno. It’s just so overwhelming. But doing okay. Keeping my head up.

I asked Amrit if he had the bulk of his work in the cloud? 

Unfortunately not. I’m 90% sure I’ve lost all of my work and gear. I did put my computers up on a top shelf, so I’m HOPING the water or moisture doesn’t get to them.

Then I asked him if he could continue with some work because I knew he was involved in an exciting project.

I did purchase a laptop to do more work but I just feel too exhausted to do so. How are you holding up?

We shared stories of living away from home, in someone else’s house, while we wondered what was happening in our evacuated and devastated town. Our town was divided into sections, getting coloured flags, with  the worst news…red. I asked him if he knew he could return to his home.

I believe we got the red flag, so unfortunately not

BC Floods 2021 Merrritt BC

Amrit Ahuja returns to his flood damaged home. Screenshot from Amrit Ahuja’s video

I think we’ll be looking for a place to rent, until the house is repaired, which may take months and the fact that we can’t go out and clean will make things worse as the water sits.

This issue of waiting to get back to properties that needed  immediate attention was very difficult for people. They had to wait until useable water was restored for the whole community, with the whole sewer system compromised by the flooding.

And then there were stories of property theft…

So now we are stressed about looting too

My response…”So traumatic to be on hold AND knowing you are in for a world of pain. So sorry…”

And he sent a video of his basement…

Bad news mixed with good news

When Amrit was able to come back to Merritt, he settled in with family with months of work ahead. But good news…

I have all my gear salvaged and set up! A bit hard getting my focus back to it. But thankful I still have all my files and such

BC Flood Event Good News

Good news! Amrit’s Mustang was in the shop getting fixed

And because my Mustang needed repairs, it was in a shop in Lower Nic and was safe. So one bad thing turned into a good thing, as our house garage was flooded and wrecked our main vehicle.

Such good news to hear Amrit’s work and livelihood was okay! But as with so many of these disaster stories, bad news was mixed with good news. One of the very tough things while enduring this flood experience was not knowing, day after day. Being in touch with Amrit and several others, personally through messaging and emails, and so many more friends, colleagues, and community members through Facebook kept us informed about all the ups and downs people were experiencing.

Amrit is continuing with his exciting CGI project, collaborating with people far and wide. I’m so glad he has something creative to engage him. Art heals the artist, as well as those experiencing it.

Joan Jennings, Mixed Media Textile Artist

One artist friend spent part of her November evacuated days journaling about her flood experience, and posting to Facebook. It was a fascinating, frustrating, heartbreaking, and heartwarming read, almost every day. And she’s still journaling, because these flood and fire disaster effects are ongoing.

2021

Joan Jennings, Textile Artist

Joan is a fabulous fabric artist, creating both wall hangings and bags. She has been a part of our community for years. I met her in 2017 when she was a part of Art Walk and followed her travels until she was Covid grounded. She lives in a small historic home with her partner who has done extensive and beautiful work on the home over the years. Everything with personal, handcrafted details. One of a kind.

The fires in the summer didn’t make it down into Merritt. They stayed just over the hill, but we were ready. I can’t imagine what Joan chose to get pack up, with all her fabric, materials, and memories.

But the floods were a different story. Joan and Roget had to evacuate, with very little notice. Their home was in one of the areas devastated by the river overflowing its banks.

While I evacuated to friends in the Shuswap, I read Joan’s accounts of their experiences, day by day. What hurt! Loss! And stories of handling all the effects of the evacuation orders and returning to the community.

A few excerpts, in Joan’s words…

I’m just writing up Joan’s stories now. A new blog post coming and I will provide a link… Please check back.

Merritt BC Experiences Fires and Floods, and each of us has a story

BC Wildfires 2021 Merritt

Summer 2021. Fires cresting the hills over Merritt BC
Phot from Facebook

 

Coquihalla Highway Closed Flood Event 2021

Coquihalla Highway closed for major repairs, November 2021

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

I was affected by the fires and floods this year, along with every other person, artist, senior, biz guy, rancher, child…

My experience of the fires was experiencing the thick smoke, feeling empathy for others affected and evacuated, and helping by taking over for the artisans who couldn’t take a shift at the gallery. And while others put up whole families and hundreds of livestock, I took in one cat for a friend. I felt the fear of fire when the skies just over our hills turned black from smoke, and red from flames. 

I was as ready as I could be, to pick up and go

When our whole community went on fire alert, I was as ready as I could be, to pick up and go. Three of our four highways were shut down from the surrounding fires. 

The firefighters worked hard, rain came, and the fires were backed off enough to breathe a sigh of relief.

But it took weeks for me to unpack my car.

Then, in November, the rivers flooded and I had a few hours to pack up again and this time had to leave the community.

Broken highways made the choice of where to go difficult. For days, I waited to hear if my home was okay. And, as one of the lucky ones, I was able to return to it after 3 weeks. All okay. But all around me were friends and colleagues in various states of distress.

Our artists, musicians, and creatives here are doing their best to get their lives back to normal.

But feelings of uncertainty and being ready to pick up and go are a part of “normal” now, after the fires and floods here in Merritt, BC.

We are all hoping for a better year, this year, in the Nicola Valley…

 

Remember, no matter what, Express Yourself

Jano Howarth

NVCAC Arts Centre Gallery Curator

Nicola Valley Arts

Creative Community Facebook 

Natural Disasters in the Nicola Valley

Merritt BC under evacuation alert, as the forest fires light the sky over the town.
Photo credit Shirley Lindgren

Natural Disasters in the Nicola Valley

 

#merrittmatters

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

BC Flood and Fire Relief

Hell or Highwater Concert Help-a-thon

Donate to help the Victims

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

BC Fire and Floods a Reminder

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

Merritt Flood Nov 2021

Merritt Flood Nov 2021  – Photo Courtesy of  Global News

Abbotsford Floods – Photo Courtesy of Lindsay Lockhart

Lytton Fire 2021

Lytton Fire 2021 – Photo Courtesy of CTV News

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

Hell or Highwater Concert Help-a-thon

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

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

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

Hell or Highwater Entertainers

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

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

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

Fire and Flood Relief Prizes

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

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

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

Melting at Moraine

Melting at Moraine-David Langevin Art

The Flood and Fire Relief Victims Need Help!

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

 

Flood and Fire Relief

Hell or Highwater Concert Help-a-thon

Donate to help the Victims

 

 

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

 

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

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

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

The 2021 Merritt Flood

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

My Super Power

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

8 Acts of Kindness

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

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

(1) ESS and Red Cross

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

(2) Volunteers

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

Merritt volunteers

Lining up for ESS. Photo credit: Greg Girard

(3) Let Me See The Light

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

(4) Green Plate of Hospitality

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

merritt flood 2021

Vegetable tray surprise. Photo credit: Melvina White

(5) Class is in Session

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

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

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

(7) Experience Nicola Valley Pivot

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

(8) Friends, Family and Business Partners

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

brothers of tourism merritt flood

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

Social Media

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

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

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

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

I Choose Hope

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

Stay safe. Be kind. 

#merrittmatters

Nicola Valley Travel and Tourism Guides

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