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

Destination Merritt in the Winter
Tourism Nicola Valley.

Merritt BC Canada in the Winter

“Go were no man have hardly gone before.” Tania Stewart, eco blogger with Experience Nicola Valley

Merritt in the Winter can become a top destination point for Tourism in Canada. 

Make Merritt in the winter your destination. Why not? There are no crowds. Outdoor winter adventures are plentiful like xc skiing, snowmobiling, ice fishing and snowshoeing.  Why not make the Nicola Valley your “New” winter spot during the snow season.  Merritt is alive and well in November, December, January and even into March in the mountains. Indeed just ask Jason Pake and his wife Trina Hall along with daughter Jasmine Ashley who Experienced the Nicola Valley in November.

merritt in the winter months

The Nicola Valley under some Living Skies

Albeit The Nicola Valley it so Beautiful!

Taking part in winter activities has so many benefits. For example, a good winter activity can help ease the winter blues while boosting your body’s immune and respiratory systems.  And… if you have children, you already know that winter adventures tires them out so they go to bed sooner and sleep better during the night. The result is a quieter, more romantic and peaceful cuddle around a fire with your other half.

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Make Merritt your destination. Photo Credit: Tania Stewart

In fact take a look!

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Your winter backcountry awaits you. Photo Credit: Tania Stewart.

To clarify, Merritt is an ideal base camp, for day tripping.

Destination Merritt in Winter

Jason Pake with Trina Hall.

Make Merritt BC your base camp when exploring the region. Merritt sits at the junction of 4 major highways heading north, south, east and west. Ideal for winter day trips. For instance leave early and spend a day hiking in Whistler BC. It is a 4 hour or so drive to Whistler from Merritt BC.  Plus image the time and money saved with restaurants , accommodations and convenience when Merritt is your base camp.

Accommodations in Merritt, like the Best Western Plus , Comfort Inn, and others in the Nicola Valley provide top amenities and services at a fraction of the price.  (Here is a link to a full list of accommodations and contact information)

Additionally taking in Merritt’s Activities.

Bowling in Merritt

Friday Night’s in Merritt BC can be a lot of family fun too at the local Bowling Alley. Bring your “A” game though! As a matter of fact Merritt’s Bowling Alley has provided decades of “Fun” for many generations. There are 8 lanes  5-pin bowling along with the venue being fully licensed. 

Nicolanes Bowling is open everyday of the week for a lot of fun with friends, family, or colleagues. For instance, go bowling for staff parties, birthdays, family reunions, or just a night out on the town.  That is come meet new people while being active.Truly “Bowling is fun for ALL ages!”

Explore Merritt in the Winter

Before making Merritt your winter destination, plan out your Nicola Valley winter activities – outdoors and indoors.  This includes day-tripping Merritt’s neighbouring communities, visiting our art and culture venues and events, as well as, exploring any of our top notch xc skiing, snowmobiling, snowshoeing and ice fishing destinations.

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Enjoy the solitude ice fishing in the Nicola Valley.

It is All in the Attitude

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Sharing nature with your family!

Plan a winter adventure and then the after party. After a winter hike, skiing cross country trails, shredding snow in a snowmobile or sitting back in your ice shack ice fishing why not finish your day around a cozy campfire sharing stories. Or… a bonfire like our photo.

“Winter activities, like snowmobiling, xc skiing and snowshoeing will release some of that pent-up energy, and cause your body to burn fat.”

You should know… one of BC’s top snowmobiling destinations is just up the road from Merritt BC. Snowmobiling around Merritt is truly spectacular. It is

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Outdoor winter activities for kids!

called “The Coke” which is short for Coquihalla Highway. I am going on a limb and say, “Merritt is the “Powder Capital of Snowmobiling in BC”.

Consequently, just south of Merritt are the Kane Valley XC Ski Trails. “Cross Country Skiing” at Kane Valley is a must for all lovers of the winter backcountry. Bring a camera for the picturesque scenery along the trails and, yes, there are warming shelters along some of the xc ski routes as well.

Even more impressive, is our four-pronged approach to winter adventures here in the Nicola Valley. Rounding out at #3 is the  “Ice Fishing” opportunities in the region. We enjoy over 200 lakes in the area. Many are ice fishing lakes. And #4 is snowshoeing. Pick a backcountry road or head to Kane Valley.

“Before heading out for a winter activity, be sure to dress accordingly — ideally, in layers, and let someone know where you are going and always carry emergency back up supplies, ” says me, Tania Stewart.

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Destination Merritt Exploration in the Winter. photo Tania Stewart.

Make The Nicola Valley your Destination Home Base.

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Cross country skiing on the Kane Valley Trails.

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Winter snow time! Photo credit – Experience Nicola Valley.

Just So You Get It.
Merritt BC is centrally located.

Accommodations are affordable in the Nicola Valley compared to many of the surrounding bigger cities and communities.  Merritt has “Base Camp” written all over it.  Enjoying sightseeing day trips without the hassle or added expense of moving from one accommodation to another is a big plus when exploring from Merritt. Spending a lot of your time unpacking and packing up, over and over again, can be a big time waster on any vacation.

Day Trip Destinations

Nearby Kamloops is 87 km with one hour travel time from Merritt. Here is the plus. There are 2 main roads leading to Kamloops from Merritt. The quick and fast Kamloops connector (Highway 5). It is an up-and-over highway through the mountains. The other route (Highway 5A), is a little bit longer, many say more scenic, cuts and snakes its way around the mountains passing by lakes, ranches and grasslands. It makes for a perfect day trip with two routes of scenery.

Kelowna Day Trip

Sun Peaks Resort.

Kelowna, best accessed from Highway 97C,  is just over the mountains to the south of Merritt BC. The distance to Kelowna is 127 km and about only 1 hr 36 minutes away. In Kelowna there are 2 ski resorts to enjoy as a winter day trip – Big White Ski Resort and the other is Silver Star.

Feel the Need to Ski?

Sun Peaks Resort and Harper Mountain.

Beyond is Hope BC.

Othello Tunnels

While the drive is spectacular. Its only 120 km – 1 hour drive from Merritt to Hope BC. Incidentally Hope has many attractions. Many with no crowds and most are very outdoorsy. Take the Othello Tunnels. It is a series of tunnels through mountains over a gorge providing scenery and some history. You know what tunnels mean right? They can be enjoyed in sun, rain and snow and you stay dry.

Winter in Merritt BC

Notably the Nicola Valley is becoming a better recognized winter destination for the region. The secret is out.  November, December, January or February are home to many outdoor winter attractions as well as many indoor ones.

|Some of the indoor venues to visit during the winter months include Merritt’s Aquatic Center with a pool, 2 x hot tubs, a sauna and a fully equipped fitness room. For all avid shoppers, Merritt boast’s a downtown hub full of shop’s, cafe’s, historical pubs, gift stores, services, and nail salons.

Time your visit right, and you can come a enjoy a local hockey game with a Junior Hockey Team – the Merritt Centennials . So… the question is, “What are you going to do in Merritt in the winter months?” The answer better not be a “Couch Potato”.

Check out further information at Experience Nicola Valley.

Winter in Merritt BC

Nicola Valley and Merritt Winter Attractions and Day Tripping

Merritt British Columbia Canada Top Travel Guides

Blogger Awards Gala FREE TICKET Give-away.

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

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

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

How to Win Tickets
(entry rules posted below)

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

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

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

Rules and Claiming Prize

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Where to Buy Tickets ($20 per person)

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

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

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

A Tourism Nicola Valley Event

Merritt British Columbia Canada Top Travel Guides

Merritt BC Sewing Services
Nimble Thimble Creations

Merritt BC sewing services for hemming pants, skirts, re-pairing zippers, replacing buttons and so much more… like quilting too.

“Repairing my customers clothing has enabled me to help many people,” Sharon McRae.

Merritt BC sewing and tailoring services – Nimble Thimble provides the people of the Nicola Valley with traditional sewing needs. Specifically, the shop, is a very unique business that most people do not know exists in Merritt British Columbia. Therefore, when asked, Sharon McRae defines her quaint little shop as a much needed necessity for the community. Most importantly, Nimble Thimble provides a crucial service for hemming pants, skirts, re-pairing zippers, replacing buttons and more.

merritt bc sewing services

Nicola Valley artisan seamstress tools

Equally important is having access to a seamstress.

Furthermore, in a tight spot, before your event or presentation, and you require a touch up or mending of a dress or suit then this Merritt BC sewing service is your first phone call. Additionally, with no time to waste, Nimble Thimble is a place to go to for last minute hems, broken zipper, lost buttons, or a needed style adjustment.

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Sharon is always coming up with these super fabulous yet simple sewing projects.

“Repairing your favourite jacket, Sharon can do it!” Tania Stewart

Moving to Merritt BC.

My husband and I moved to the Nicola Valley near Merritt BC Canada. We looked at a map.  Saw that Merritt was  not far from the lower mainland and close enough to visit family when we wanted. Additionally, we also moved to Merritt  because it was just the right size. The community was equally big enough to satisfy all our needs but not too big to be overly congested.

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Merritt BC Nimble Thimble

Bringing Merritt BC sewing services to Merritt BC.

Consequently, I started my business after my marriage fell apart because I needed an income to support my kids and myself. That is to say I only knew how to sew and I had been working at the local Dry Cleaners for a few years. Naturally, working for myself gave me the freedom to be available for my children as they have special needs. Additionally, I  really enjoy helping people. At the same time repairing my customers clothing has enabled me to help many people. As a result I have made many friends due to my business through the years.

Merritt BC Nimble Thimble

And more and more material can be found

Merritt BC fabrics

Besides sewing, my store also carries fabrics for quilting, sewing notions, threads, and yarns made of wool, bamboo, and cotton. I also have access to suppliers for things I don’t have on hand and can order things in. There are even a few quilted items for sale and a few used clothes to sell as well.

Patchwork quilt

Patchwork quilt at Nimble Thimble

To illustrate Sharon’s talent. “Quilt” is derived from the Latin word “Culcita”, which means “stuffed sack.”

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Zip it up!

Traditionally a quilt is made of three layers: a quilt top, batting, and a bottom layer. The top and bottom layers are made of fabrics stitched together. Batting (usually made of cotton or something similar) is the insulation that makes the quilt warm. None the less, a quilt takes time and dedication.

Patchwork quilts were common in areas where women had few resources to make them. Using leftover fabric from earlier projects, old clothing, or other cheap materials was very common.

Moreover sewing essentials needed!

In addition to a selection of beautiful materials, you will also find all your sewing essentials at Nimble Thimble in Merritt BC.

merritt bc sewing essentials

Merritt BC Sewing essentials.

“I am certain that a Sewing Machine would relieve as much human suffering as a hundred Lunatic Asylums, and possibly a good deal more.”
Margaret Atwood, Alias Grace

MerrittBC

Variety of thread. Nimble Thimble

Creative colors at this Merritt BC sewing store.

To demonstrate Sharon’s sewing room.

The sewing room, where creativity is surrounded by colors, is a  special Artisans Haven.

“Nimble Thimble has the most amazing craft and sewing room ever,” Tania Stewart!

sewing tools of history

Sewing tools from history

Quilting is an Art form.

“Moreover having a love for “Sewing”, I truly love and appreciate the dedication Sharon has for her business,” Tania Stewart.

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Beautiful selection of material.

merritt sewing services

Have I mentioned the material enough times or what.

In conclusion Merritt is truly lucky to have “Nimble Thimble Creations”

Together with providing repairs, Nimble Thimble Creations carries fabrics for quilting, sewing notions, threads, yarns made of wool, bamboo, and cotton.  There are even a few quilted items for sale and a few used clothes as well. In addition to an arraignment of beautiful material, you will find all your sewing essentials at Nimble Thimble in Merritt BC. Whether you live in the Nicola Valley or are one of our many visitors in need of a special garment repair this is the Merritt BC sewing shop to visit.

CONTACT INFORMATION

Nimble Thimble

2058A Granite Ave,
Merritt, BC, Canada
V1K1B8

Phone: (250) 315-2340

FACEBOOK

Merritt British Columbia Canada Top Travel Guides

Merritt BC Flower Shop

Miss Vicki’s Petals and Plants Flower Shop

“Opening and running a flower shop feeds my soul,” Miss Vicki.

The Merritt BC Flower Shop called Miss Vicki’s Petals & Plants is located in downtown Merritt BC Canada. The flower shop serving the Nicola Valley opened on October 20, 2018. Equally as important, Vicki, calls the Nicola Valley her home. When asked, “Why open a flower shop in Merritt,” Vicki adamantly replied, “I wasn’t going anywhere, this is my home.” Thank goodness because Miss Vicki’s Petals & Plants is truly a welcomed delight and is surely is an appreciated ambassador for Downtown Merritt.

“The timing was right. I used to work in the florist department at Save on Foods here in Merritt,” Miss Vicki.

Merritt flower shop

Vicki’s attention to detail makes giving flowers that much more special.

Miss Vicki’s Petals & Plants in Merritt BC. being very picturesque.

The sights and smells make any visit to Miss Vicki’s Petals & Plants a special experience. The colorful blooming flowers and plants covering the walls and floors of her shop is a journey of rainbow colors and fairy tale scents. Go ahead, visit this Merritt flower shop and take a deep breath. Along with all the vibrant colors you are always welcomed with a warm smile from “Miss Vicki”, the stores proprietor.

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Colors, care and flair all part of the Miss Vicki’s experience

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That extra touch and personal service goes a long way

Further more, Miss Vicki gives back to the Nicola Valley Community. 

As a result of Miss Vicki’s passion for the Nicola Valley, she is constantly donating to many organizations, charities, non-profits, and fundraising events through-out Merritt. One such example of Miss Vicki’s fundraising efforts is her commitment to improving patient rooms at Nicola Valley’s Gillis House. Secondly, she also donates to our very own Merritt Centennials with a free give away at every game. Thirdly,  this flower shop in Merritt has donated towards many organizations in lieu of silent auctions, the Nicola Valley Food Bank, Winter Solstice Powwow, Lower Nicola Indian Band Christmas Tree, and countless others.

“I believe in Merritt and our Downtown Businesses,” Miss Vicki!

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The colorful bird is an added touch of passion often given to her customers

Recycling is key for this Merritt flower shop..

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A treasured Rubber Ducky.

Vicki and Dee are very adamant about “Recycling“. They are aware of the damage and added pressures people can cause on our eco-system and environment. They are working  to decrease landfills by recycling, reusing, and continually creating beautiful works of flower-art by recycling clients favourite or personal objects. In fact, Vicki encourages her customers to bring in a personal sentimental object to be the focus of their flower arrangement.  For example, a special favourite tea pot can turn into a floral center piece.

Shopping for a Single Rose or Planning your Wedding?

In fact Miss Vicki’s Petals and Plants in Merritt BC can accommodate just about every occasion the Nicola Valley offers. Along with a vast selection of smaller flower arrangements, Miss Vicki’s is able to also provide larger beautiful centerpieces for their customers.  Specializing in their customer’s needs clearly indicates that Miss Vicki’s Petals and Plants will go beyond what your needs are including a last minute bouquet of flowers, a handcrafted gift or a floral arrangement for your event.

“Over the Moon with the support we have received from the community,” Dee.

merritt bc canada flower shop

Miss Vicki’s Petals and Plants delivers when it comes to the finished floral arrangement

As a result of curiosity.

Dee, who works with Vicki,  joined the Merritt flower shop team two years ago. In fact, while browsing in Miss Vicki’s shop one day she turned to Vicki and asked if she was hiring part time? Dee has 35 years of experience creating and arranging beautiful flower art work. While both are talented flower-ologists (not a real word) there is no hiding the respect and unity between these two very personable ladies.

Merritt Miss Vicki's flower shop

“Over The Moon!” Dee explains how they cater to their customers.

The behind the scenes of a flower shop

Dee is often found in the back, creating beautiful flower arrangements. Her specialty, since Dee brings a lot of knowledge and talent to the floral business. Having lived in the Nicola Valley for the past 13 years her love for the community shows through her talent with outstanding floral creations. Truly exemplary!

Furthermore every Friday while listening to Q 101 radio in Merritt, contestants can win a bouquet of flowers from Miss Vicki’s. Tune into Q101 for more details.

Q 101 flower contest

Q101 contestant winner Marg.

Additionally Miss Vicki’s Petals & Plants showcases a wide variety of local artists.

This Merritt flower shop is also a big supporter of the local art scene in the Nicola Valley.  The fact that Miss Vicki’s shop has numerous one of a kind hand-made artifacts is a testament to how special this shop really is. Additionally, you will be amazed at the number of local artisans within our community who’s works are on display in her shop. Consequently I found myself perusing through Miss Vicki’s shop finding an abundance of treasures.

“There is so much talent within the Nicola Valley. It is truly amazing and wonderful,” Miss Vicki.

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Detailed Tiny Cabin.

artisan works in merritt bc

Painted Wooden Houses.

first nation nicola valley smudge kit

Smudge Kit.

missvicki's plants

Body Haven Soaps. Made with Natural ingredients.

Furthermore schedule enough time to take in everything.

Indeed Miss Vicki’s Petals & Plants in Merritt BC Canada could be your one stop shop for floral and art. You will find cards handcrafted by Denise Weisse. There are custom built wood projects from Steamer’s Junk. A wooden bowl crafted by Reece. And the list goes on and on.

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Miss Vicki’s own Artisan craftsmanship.

Next you will be enchanted with an array of glass birds & gorgeous flower pots.

Betty Pockrant flower pots.

Spice up your home or garden with more color.

Kay Schlosser Butterfly’s.

 

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Lavender is in the air at this Merritt flower shop

Understand that flowers can spark creativity.

Did you know that Van Gogh and Manet were inspired by flowers!? Miss Vicki and Dee every day create masterpieces. In fact Miss Vicki and Dee explained to me that on many occasions someone has come into the shop to help clear their anxiety or depression. Additionally it has been shown that indoor plants can help reduce stress levels. Makes sense!

Desk Buddy perfect for your office or bedside.

To clarify flowers can improve your mood.

Here is another fact for you to digest. Did you know that flowers & plants in your bedroom helps people get a better sleep because of the natural aroma and their release of oxygen.  Subsequently, the time I spent in Miss Vicki’s shop made me feel exhilarated and a calmness came over me, as if I  just had a mini vacation in a spring garden.

 

Accordingly having Plants & Flowers in your home.

Plants help purify the air reducing harmful chemicals throughout your home. Additionally, flowers help save money by having no need for air fresheners. Also flowers are environmentally friendly while purifying your air.

Merritt Miss Vicki's

An assortment of plants.

In fact the number of local artisans crafts that are displayed throughout is magnificent & numerous.

For instance you can find Twin Willows Glass Arts, Bev’s Baggage Denim, Vicky’s Whimsical Yarns, Squirrels New Chapter, Electric Art by Andy, Creations by Irene, Don Loewen, Twin Willows Glass Arts, and countless more.

Merritt Vicki's Flower Shop

Warez Du Bees. Raw & Creamy Honey.

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Gifts can make a flower arrangement

 

Furthermore plants & flowers improve productivity.

Without a doubt people (animals) are more productive and have a higher level of concentration if they’re near plants. It is said that having plants in your home or work space will allow you to be more focused throughout the day.

Missvicki's

“Kumma” Teddy Bear in Finish. Shop dog.

 Contact Us

MISS MISS VICKI’S PETALS & PLANTS FLOWER SHOP

Address: 2052 Quilchena B,
Merritt BC, Canada
V1K 1A4
Phone: 250-378-5575

Facebook

Experience Merritt Page

Merritt British Columbia Canada Top Travel Guides

Be Bear Aware in Merritt BC

Saving a Black Bear Cub in Merritt BC.

Black Bear Cub saved in The Nicola Valley, Merritt BC.

Bear Aware in Merritt BC Update: Remember I wrote a story about “Merritt” the black bear cub who was lost and confused wandering our city  a while back. Well, it is time for a “Bear Aware in Merritt” update.

Being Bear Aware takes a team

As a result of the joint efforts of the Northern Lights Wildlife Society, Hope Mountain , and the Conservation Officer Jordan Stewart – a  bear cub was saved and rescued in Merritt BC not too long ago.  This little “Cub” was wondering around for a week on the Bench in Merritt. Motherless, lost and alone the cub was surviving by eating from a tree full of fermenting berries by night. During the day the cub was sleeping high up in the branches of a local pine tree.

“Bear” awareness will come to you” Tania Stewart.

black bear cub saved merritt BC.

Black Bear Cub rescued in Merritt BC.

Be Bear Aware in Merritt BC & “Who To Call?”

I remember “Wild Bear Rescue” which was a TV show based outside of Smithers BC Canada. Being an avid fan of the show my automatic response was to call and see if they could help. My call was immediately answered by Angelika Langen. She, along with her husband Peter, and their grown children Langen/Landry’s dedicate their lives to saving wildlife.

 

black bear cub merritt BC

Meet “Merritt”, orphaned cub rescued in the Nicola Valley.

There is a Conservation Hot Line?

Angelika informed me to call the Conservation Hot Line and save this black bear cub in Merritt BC.  During my call with Angelika she told me that the conservation officer has to first determine if the “cub” has not been taught to scavenge food from garbage bins. This being a learned behavior which can be a death sentence for a bear. Therefore, it is important to never leave garbage bins outside during a Canadian bear season.

 

Nicola Valley

Alone, motherless but surviving.

In effect after due diligence.

Respectively the Conservation Officer spent a great amount of time with this black bear in Merritt BC.   After determining that the cub had not learned any bad behaviors, she was free to move forward with rescue and rehabilitation. This is were “Hope Mountain Black Bear Committee” became involved. It pays to be bear aware in Merritt BC when we can save a cub from harm.

merritt bc black bear cub saved

Scared and alone.

“Merritt the Cub” was designated for rehabilitation.

Angelika Langen contacted me, letting me know that a volunteer from Hope, BC would contact me and make arrangements to come and rescue the “Cub”. Indeed there is no way to explain the joy, happiness, exhilaration I felt receiving that call from Angelika that this little lost “Cub” was going to be rescued. There are no words to describe how I felt.

Hope Mountain Rescue team.

Conservation officer saving black bear cub merritt bc

Merritt Conservation Officer.

Notably within hours the rescue of a “Cub” was underway.

In fact I received  a call from Lydia Koot from the Hope Mountain Black Bear Committee asking me the exact location and area were the “Cub” has been last seen. Help was on its way. She let me know Lydia Koot and Cecilia would be in Merritt at 7:30 am. And they were exactly on time.

Black bear cub saved in merritt bc

Lydia Koot.

Black bear cub merritt BC.

Searching for the motherless “Cub”

In this case we needed to locate the black bear “Cub”

Although the day before, the cub was up in the tree. I swear. But when dusk arrived, the “Cub” had disappeared. So much for being Bear Aware in Merritt BC. Therefore, despite everything, we were all determined to locate the motherless “Cub.”  After a bit of searching, and talking with community members. We were directed to a new area were the “Cub” had been sleeping and foraging. Be Bear Aware in Merritt BC was back on track.

black bear cub merritt bc

Snug as a “Bear” in a tree.

As a result of  some very caring people we were able locate this cub.

Trapping this frightened orphan is another story. Because of his fear and mistrust of humans, capturing the bear unharmed became a waiting game. However I was told this is a good sign. The cub’s actions indicated that this cub was keeping its wild side.

What there are two cubs?

Tragically this cub had a twin. After losing their mother both cubs found a safe tree in the back yard of a Merritt home. At least, in light of being orphaned, they had each other. The owner of this home observed both cubs sleeping together in his backyard tree. However, sad things happen, and one of the cubs was tragically hit by a vehicle and was found by someone walking their dog.

trap to save black bear merritt bc

Trap n rescue.

Lydia Koot setting trap.

In Hope everything goes smoothly.

 

Lydia Koot making sure.

black bear cub merritt

With the help of community!

Without the help of many Volunteers.

Consequently everything came together. Diligence and perseverance is key. In spite of how tragic one feels and the overwhelming compassion one has for the mother and the other siblings death, there is still the hope of rescuing the orphaned cub.

 

saving black bear cub merritt bc

Cecilia Fraga volunteer.

Bear Cub saved in Merritt BC.

With a bit of patience, stinky food and a precisely placed cage. This little black bear cub was captured around 7 PM. A bear cub was rescued and given a chance to live a long healthy life. Importantly we all need to take action and become “Bear Aware” more and more in Merritt BC. Notably realizing our habit’s are contributing to the increase in bear conflicts. When bears start using the community as a foraging area for food we are in trouble. Unfortunately bears will lose their lives unless we correct behavior.  Leaving garbage out during bear season is a no no. Allowing fruit to ferment on trees is a bear trap. Once bears start equating humans with food, they are conditioned and lose their natural fear of us. Hence bear and human conflict.  Hence the bear is put down and not rescued in many circumstances.

Cub rescue

“Merritt” cub healthy.

“Merritt” the black bear cub is a boy. The update is he is doing very well in his recovery and is settling in very well. He has a healthy appetite and seems alert.” Northern Lights Wildlife Society.

Be Bear Aware in Merritt BC

Merritt British Columbia Canada

Culture and Art in Merritt, BC 

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

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

First, a few words about Fred Tomlin…

Fine Woodworking

Fred Tomlin, Artist

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

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

And now, in his own words...

What Inspires Fine Woodworking In Me?

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

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

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

Art in Merritt BC

Fractured Reflections

Do I Have a Favourite Piece?

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

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

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

Where Do I Work?

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

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

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

experience merritt

How Much Time Do My Fine Woodworking Pieces Take?

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

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

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

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

Do I Have a Favourite Wood

Fine Woodworking

Fractured Reflections

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

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

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

What About the Mirror?

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

What Are My Challenges?

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

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

Fine Woodworking

Other artists admire Fred Tomlin’s work

What Support Do I Have?

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

Besides My Work, What Do I Enjoy?

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

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

Favourite Things About Merritt

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

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

What’s Next For My Art Work?

Fine Woodworking

Fine woodworking and stones

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

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

Fine Woodworking and Mirror, Unique Pieces of Art

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Nicola Valley Arts Council website

Facebook Page Nicola Valley Arts Gallery

Instagram Nicola Valley Arts Council

Fine woodworking

Fred Tomlin’s Sunset – Jano Howarth Photo

Merritt, British Columbia, Canada bee

Christmas Spirit in Merritt BC. Canada

Experience the Nicola Valley

Merritt “Light Up” in the Nicola Valley

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

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

Christmas Spirit  Merritt BC. Canada.

On account of Christmas in Merritt BC.

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

Christmas Spirit  Merritt BC. Canada.

“Frosty”

Christmas Spirit  Merritt BC. Canada.

Bear in a Box.

To illustrate Day Time & Night Time Decorations.

Festive Home

Equally Beautiful at Night.

Christmas lights

Beautiful Celebration of Christmas Spirit in Merritt

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

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

Merritt Lights

Fantastic!

Holiday Spirit in Merritt BC Canada

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

Merritt Lights Up Coldwater Hotel

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

Furthermore a Little Xmas Tree History.

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

Christmas Tree at Spirit Square

Downtown Merritt Spirit Square Christmas Tree.

Additionally Many Pets Decorate with Christmas Spirit.

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

Merritt businesses

Ron & Shelley Sanders puppy “Molly”

adelphi hotel

Spirit of Christmas at the Adelphi Hotel

Specifically “Tis The Season”

Merritt Christmas decorations

City Councillor Melvina White.

Christmas Train

Christmas Train

 

Christmas lights

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

Santa

In Conclusion.

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

Christmas Spirit in Merritt BC. Canada.

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

 

Merritt, British Columbia, Canada

 Nicola Valley Foodbank

 Merritt’s Nicola Valley Food Bank

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

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

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

nicola valley foodbank

Derlanda Hewton (left) of the Nicola Valley Foodbank

Why do people use foodbanks?

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

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

Besides providing food, what else does the foodbank do?

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

save on foods Nicola Valley foodbank

Save On Foods and the Nicola Valley Foodbank

Environmentally friendly changes coming

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

The zero waste initiative- No food to the garbage!

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

Nicola Valley volunteers

Thank you to our Nicola Valley Foodbank volunteers

Long term plans

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

Does technology help?

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

Volunteers- always needed; always appreciated

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

Fundraising

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

toy drive

Nicola Valley Toy Drive

Donations

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

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

Why do they do it?

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

Merritt Tourism

What did I learn?

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

CONTACT US

Nicola Valley Foodbank
2026 Quilchena Ave, Merritt, BC

(250) 378-2282

Website

Facebook

Nicola Valley Foodbank

Merritt, British Columbia

 

Christmas in Merritt BC – Experience the Spirit

Creating a Float for the Merritt BC Parade

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

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

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

Christmas in Merritt BC float

Tourism Nicola Valley 2019 Christmas Float

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

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

Experience Christmas Float Merritt BC

Trailer for our float.

 

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

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

Christmas in Merritt BC float

Handy man Bill Stewart.

Christmas Parade

Hard at work. Coffee break soon?

To illustrate organization is “Key.”

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

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

Experience Christmas Float

Warm shop courtesy of Doug Mervyn. Backroads Mini Storage.

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

Experience Christmas Float Merritt BC

“You want to do what?”

Building floats is fun not stressful.

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

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

Checking it once, checking it twice.

About Xmas

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

Merritt BC Christmas Float

It’s all about the Spirit of the Season.

Positioning of decorations is crucial. Experience Christmas Merritt BC

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

Experience Christmas Float Merritt BCTourism Nicola Valley

Things to do in the Nicola Valley.

Tourism Nicola Valley

Placement of sign.

 

 

Above all make sure all the lights work!

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

Experience Christmas Merritt BC

Checking Lights.

Experience Christmas Float Merritt BC

Melvina White & Ricky making sure everything is in place.

 

 

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

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

Looking Good!

Additionally a sweet car in the parade.

Whats a parade without Merritt’s Local tow truck?

Clean up Time.

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

Doug Mervyn.

Bill Stewart n Melvina White.

In conclusion.

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

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

 

Carrie Ware & Company Inc.

Spirit of Christmas in Merritt BC

Creating Float for Merritt BC Parade

 

merritt muralRandy Travis – American Country Music Superstar

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

The First Chapter Of An Extraordinary Life

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

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

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

Randy Travis and Brother Rick

Randy Travis and Rick

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

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

Randy Travis Early Years

Randy Travis

Troubles In The First Chapter

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

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

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

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

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

The Start Of A Slow Turnaround

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Randy and Elizabeth Travis

Randy and Elizabeth

Chapter Two The Complete Beginning To The Rise Of Fame

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

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

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

Martha Sharp with Faith Hill

Martha Sharp and Faith Hill (An Older Picture)

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Randy Travis

Randy Travis

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

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

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

The Hits and Awards Keep Coming

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

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

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

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

Closing Off The Decade Of The 1980’s

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

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

Canadian Country Music Hall of Fame

Randy Travis’s Part In Neotraditional Country

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

Randy Travis 2003

Randy Travis

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

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

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

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

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

Chapter Four Acting and Music During The 1990’s

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

Randy Travis-Million Dollar Kid

Million Dollar Kid

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

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

More Music In The 1990″s

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

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

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

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

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

Wind In Wire Randy Travis

Randy Travis

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

Music Keeps Charting In The 1990’s

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

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

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

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

You Alone Randy Travis

Randy Travis You And You Alone

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

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

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

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

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

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

Merritt BC Murals Selfie Photo

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

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

A Return To The Country Roots

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

Randy Travis and Carrie Underwood

Randy Travis and Carrie Underwood

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Randy Music Festival

Randy Travis

‘We Can’t Save Him…Pull the Plug’

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

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

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

Randy Travis and Wife Mary

Randy and Mary married

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

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

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

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

The Decision

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

Randy Travis Hall of Fame Inductee

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

randy travis mural in merritt

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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