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

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

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Hell or High Water Ambassador – Jen Schell

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

Jen Schell
Experience Nicola Valley Blogger

Bobby Garcia performs at Hell or High Water Fundraiser

Bobby Garcia

Telethon performance by Broadway Crush

Broadway Crush

David Gogo performs at telethon

David Gogo

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Hell or High Water Ambassador – Susanne Snider

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

Susanne Snider
Experience Nicola Valley Blogger

Lisa Brokop Live at Grande Theatre in Mission BC

Lisa Brokop

Loverboy

Loverboy

Come Hell or High Water with Sean Hogan

Sean Hogan

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Hell or High Water Ambassador – Carole Leroux

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

Carole Leroux

Dirt Road Opera music

Dirt Road Opera

Kenny Hess

Kenny Hess

Beverley Mahood Hell of High Water

Beverley Mahood

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Hell or High Water Ambassador – Tom Reynolds

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

Tom Reynolds
Hell or High Water Ambassador
Experience Nicola Valley Blogger

***

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

Hell or High Water Ambassadors Feedback

#merrittmatters

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

 

 

Nicola Valley Travel and Tourism Guides

nicola valley talk show

Nicola Valley Talk

“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

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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. 

Remembrance Day in Merritt BC Canada

Nicola Valley Remembers November 11

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

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

 

 
Remembrance Day in Merritt BC

“Lest we forget” Photo Credit: Tania Stewart

Celebrating veterans in Merritt BC

Generations will not forget. Photo Credit: Tania Stewart

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

Remembrance Day in Merritt BC Canada

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

Remembrance Day Merritt BC.

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

Thus on Remembrance Day in Merritt BC.

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

In Addition 

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

 

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

Civic Centre Merritt

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

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

Remembrance Day in Merritt BC. Canada

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

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

A Day of Remembrance 

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

Remembrance Day in Merritt BC. Canada

Laying a wreath. Photo credit: Tania Stewart.

History of Canadian Veterans Service.

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

Remembrance Day in Merritt BC. Canada

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

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

Remembrance Day in Merritt BC. Nicola Valley

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

Remembrance Day in the Nicola Valley

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

The Poppy Campaign.

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

Remembrance Day in Merritt BC. Photo by Tania Stewart.

Feature Maj. Thor Toms.

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

Additionally my Grandfather Charles Stewart.

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

Honouring and Remembering Canada’s Veterans.

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

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

The National Remembrance Day Ceremony.

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

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

Remembrance Ceremonies across Canada.

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

Never Forget.

Veteran 35yr Legion

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

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

How We Advocate.

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

 

In Flanders Field

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

“In Flanders Fields” written by John McCrae 

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

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

In Remembrance on November 11th. 

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

Contact Information

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

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Remembrance Day in Merritt BC, Nicola Valley

Wear a Poppy in Canada

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Canada Country & Blues Musician 

Canadian “Living the Dream” in country music

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

Crystal Shawanda Canadian Blues Country Music Artist

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

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

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

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

The Younger Years of  Country Music

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

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

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

Music School to Music Capital to No Music 

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

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

The Low Notes of Country and Blues Music

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

The Rise of a Canadian Country and Blues Artist

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

Crystal Shawanda in Nashville

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

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

Dawn of the Day Release Her Inner Country Music

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

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

 Aboriginal Awards 2008

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

Canadian Aboriginal Awards 2008

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

CCMA Awards

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

The Junos

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

Living The Dream

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

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

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

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

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

Country Music Scene and Artists

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

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

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

Blues and/or Country Music Artist

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

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

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

All in With the Blues

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

The Dream Continues To Grow

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

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

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

Crystal Shawanda Merritt BC Mural 

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

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

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

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

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

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

Back To Merritt, BC For The Rodeo

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

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

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

Welcome the Rockin’ River Music Festival

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

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

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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

 

Nicola Valley Travel and Tourism Guides

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