People in Merritt and the Nicola Valley

Culture and Art in Merritt, BC 

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

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

First, a few words about Fred Tomlin…

Fine Woodworking

Fred Tomlin, Artist

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

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

And now, in his own words...

What Inspires Fine Woodworking In Me?

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

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

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

Art in Merritt BC

Fractured Reflections

Do I Have a Favourite Piece?

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

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

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

Where Do I Work?

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

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

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

experience merritt

How Much Time Do My Fine Woodworking Pieces Take?

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

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

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

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

Do I Have a Favourite Wood

Fine Woodworking

Fractured Reflections

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

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

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

What About the Mirror?

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

What Are My Challenges?

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

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

Fine Woodworking

Other artists admire Fred Tomlin’s work

What Support Do I Have?

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

Besides My Work, What Do I Enjoy?

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

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

Favourite Things About Merritt

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

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

What’s Next For My Art Work?

Fine Woodworking

Fine woodworking and stones

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

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

Fine Woodworking and Mirror, Unique Pieces of Art

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Nicola Valley Arts Council website

Facebook Page Nicola Valley Arts Gallery

Instagram Nicola Valley Arts Council

Fine woodworking

Fred Tomlin’s Sunset – Jano Howarth Photo

Merritt, British Columbia, Canada bee

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

Photo courtesy of EKBH.

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

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

Empty Keg Brew House – Starting your own business.

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

Build a case for Empty Keg Brew House.

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

the Rhubarb and Raspberry patch! Photo courtesy of EKBH.

Where did the idea of starting a microbrewery come from?

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

Questions of a small business?

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

Photo courtesy of EKBH.

Getting into the Craft Beer industry.

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

Grand Opening July 3, 2019

What was your experience at the Grand Opening?

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

experience merritt

My experience during the first months in business.

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

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

What is Empty Keg Brew House 5 year vision?

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

Photo courtesy of EKBH.

What is your favorite thing about being a business owner?

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

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

Merritt’s Kitchen Party.

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

Empty Keg Brew House is a small scale micro Brewery.

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

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

CONTACT INFORMATION

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

www.emptykegbrewhouse.ca

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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

Bears in Merritt BC Canada

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

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

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

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

Bears in Merritt BC

Hope Mountain volunteer Cecilia Fraga.

hope mountain black bear

Lydia Koot Hope Mountain Black Bear Committee.

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

experiencemerritt

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

Little cub named “Merritt”

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

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

Hiding in tree, “Merritt”.

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

Importantly call the Conservation Officer Service.

merritt bc conservation officer

Dedicated Merritt Conservation Officer.

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

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

To emphasize.

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

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

merritt bear in nicola valley

Remove bird feeders.

Merritt BC Canada wildlife

Pick all fruit trees.

Another key point.

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

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

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

bears in merritt

Cub in a tree.

In conclusion

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

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

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

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

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

Be Bear Aware

Living with Bears in Merritt BC Canada

George Jones

Country Music Legendary Icon Mural In The Nicola Valley

George Jones Featured On The Walls of The Merritt BC Downtown Murals

Merritt BC Canada Murals

George Jones’ career began in 1954. During his six decades as a professional singer-songwriter, he achieved international fame for his long list of hit records, as well as his distinctive voice.

Jones was frequently referred to as the greatest country voice in the history of country music. He had the ability to immerses himself completely into the lyrics, and convey many emotions while drawing in the listener,  letting them feel the emotions like they were living them. He could make you cry with a single note or a simple phrasing.

“It’s never been for love of money. I thank God for it because it makes me a living. But I sing because I love it, not because of the dollar signs.” (George Jones)

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George Jones and Some Hard Times

George Jones Born on Sept 12, 1931 in a log cabin, on an oil patch settlement in a remote Texas region known as the Big Thicket and was raised in Saratoga Texas.

Jones was the eighth child of George Washington Jones, a pipe fitter and shipyard worker who played guitar and harmonica. Clara Jones his mother a church pianist, played piano in the Pentecostal Church on Sundays.

The sounds of gospel and country music dominated the modest household — and the abusive rages of George’s father, who turned to alcohol to drown his pain when his sister died from a fever.

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“We were our Daddy’s loved ones when he was sober, his prisoners when he was drunk,” the singer wrote in his 1996 autobiography, “I Lived to Tell the Tale.”

First Step To A Journey

Born in to poverty he became one of the most financially successful country music artists ever. George got his first guitar from his father at the age of nine. He learned to play it at church.

From poverty beginnings and playing on street corners to Nudie Suits and sold out shows. George never ceased to amaze those listening.

 At 11-years-old, Jones started making money as a guitar player and singer in front of a local church.

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The influence of Hank Williams’ songs, heartache as well as  joy, and the honky-tonk songs of Ernest Tubb became a major source of inspiration for George.

Hank Williams and Lefty Frizzell, heavily influenced George in his formative years. Jones quickly adopted the twisting and turning of syllables, words and phrases, of Lefty Frizzell.

Second Step To The On Going Journey

After his divorce to Dorothy Bonvillion whom he had a daughter with. George did a stint in the United states Marine Corp from 1951 – 1953. He was inactive 1954 –  1956 and officially discharged in 1956.

Merritt BC Murals Selfie Photo

During his Military service he was stationed in in San Jose California. He was able to satisfy his passion by singing and performing in all the local bars.

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Discovered by “Pappy Daily”, co-owner of Starday Records Jones signed with the label in 1953. A partnership that lasted for years, Daily also became Jones producer and manager.

Jones first single “No Money In This Deal” released in 1954 received no attention. Three more singles released that year failed to gain any notice.

Shirley Ann Corley became George’s second wife in 1954, with whom he had two sons. The marriage endured ups and downs until it fell apart for good in 1968.

George Jones – The Voice Of An Angel

“George Jones was an imperfect man with a perfect voice. He lived like a devil and sang like an angel.” (Ian Crouch New Yorker)

“Why Baby Why” hit the charts in 1955. This was the beginning of Jones positioning himself as one of the most influential singers in country music history. He would become the master of romantic disillusionment that would become his artistic signature.

Jones was on the road to success. Daily secured him a spot on “The Louisiana Hayride”, where he was co-billed with “Elvis Presley” and “Johnny Cash”.

Louisiana Hayride

George Jones and Johnny Cash

He would never leave the top of the country charts, even though his personal life and professional life would suffer continual turmoil.

After joining The Grand Ole Opry in 1956. He would produce a number of hits in the next decade, including “White Lightning,” “She Thinks I Still Care,” and “The Race Is On.”

George released “White Lightening” in May of  1959. It would be his first number-1 single of his career. Staying at number-one for five weeks the song remained on the charts closing out the decade.

Travels Of The Singing Angel Continue

A part of Jones career that is often overlooked is his success as a songwriter. He wrote or co-wrote many of his biggest hits. Jones most favourite song writing collaborator was his childhood friend “Darrell Edwards.”

Famed artists recorded songs written or co -written with George Jones. “Window Up Above” was a smash hit for Mickey Gilley.

“Seasons of My Heart” written by Jones and Darrell Edwards (a hit for Johnny Cash, and recorded by Willie Nelson as well as Jerry Lee Lewis.

Canadian Country Music Hall of Fame

“You Gotta Be My Baby” and “Don’t Stop The Music” on his own and co-wrote “Color of the Blues” ( by Loretta Lynn and Elvis Costello), “Tender Years” and “Tall, Tall Trees” (co-written with Roger Miller). (Wikipedia)

Jones signed with United Artists in 1962 and scored one of the biggest hits of his career, “She Thinks I Still Care”. His voice had grown deeper during this period and carved the singing style that became uniquely his own.

George cut an album of duets with Melba Montgomery, including the hit “We Must Have Been Out Of Our Minds”. Jones was also well on his way to gaining a reputation as a notorious hell-raiser. (Wikipedia)

On tour Jones was always backed by the ‘Jones Boys’. Johnny Paycheck was the ‘Jones Boys’ bass player in the 1960’s before going on to his own stardom in the 1970s.

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In 1964, Pappy Daily secured a new contract with Musicor records. For the rest of the 1960s, Jones would score only one number one (1967’s “Walk Through This World With Me”) but he practically owned the country music charts throughout the decade.  A number of significant hits include “Love Bug”, 1964’s “The Race Is On”, as well as the 1969 duet album with Gene Pitney.

Nearing The End of The 60’s Decade

Jones’ binge drinking and use of amphetamines on the road caught up to him in 1967 and he had to be admitted into a neurological hospital to seek treatment for his drinking.

Jones would go to extreme lengths for a drink. The most famous drinking story concerning Jones occurred while he was married to his second wife Shirley Corley.

Jones recalled Shirley making it physically impossible for him to travel to Beaumont, located 8 miles away, to buy liquor. Because Jones would not walk that far, she would hide the keys to each of their cars. She did not, however, hide the keys to the lawn mower. Upset, Jones walked to the window and looked out over his property. He later described his thoughts in his memoir:

“There, gleaming in the glow, was that ten-horsepower rotary engine and under a seat, a key glistening in the ignition. I imagine the top speed for that old mower was five miles per hour. It might have taken an hour and a half or more for me to get to the liquor store, but get there I did.” (George Jones)

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 Jones closed out the 1960’s decade with  solo efforts as well as collaborations receiving enthusiastic responses. He married Tammy Wynette and was ready for the next decade and what a decade it would be.

George And Tammy The Reigning King And Queen of Country

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Jones wrote: “I felt rage fly all over me. I jumped from my chair, put my hands under the dinner table, and flipped it over. Dishes, utensils, and glasses flew in all directions. (Auto Biography)

Jones and Wynette met because their tours were booked by the same agency and their paths sometimes crossed.  Wynette was married to songwriter Don Chapel, who was also the opening act for her shows at the time. The three became friends.

Jones went to their house for supper and while she was fixing the meal Wynette and Chapel got into a heated exchange with Chapel calling his wife “a son of a bitch”. See quote.

“After the table flip, Don and Tammy’s eyes got about as big as the flying dinner plates.” Jones professed his love for Wynette on the spot and the couple were married in February, 1969.

Nearing The End With Musicor

At about the same time George and Tammy married. George was unhappy with the sound of his Musicor records and tensions were building between Jones and producer Pappy Daily. Jones blamed Daily for his sound and left Musicor. He had to fulfill his contract with Musicor before they would let him sever all ties.

Pappy Daily Manager

Pappy Daily and George Jones

In the middle of 1971 Jones severed all ties with Musicor and Daily. He signed away all his rights to the Musicor recordings and signed with Epic in October 1971. Billy Sherrill at Epic Records became Jones producer.

Jones and Wynette became known as “Mr. & Mrs. Country Music” in the early 1970s, scoring several big hits.

Kicking Off A Successful Career At Epic

Sherrill and business partner Glenn Sutton are rumored as the defining influences of the countrypolitan sound. A smooth mix of pop and country music that was popular during the late 1960s and throughout the 1970s. A far cry from George’s honky tonk roots.

Billy Sherrill was known for his string-laden productions and his precise, aggressive approach in the studio. Under his direction, musicians were there to obey his orders and that included singers. Jones was accustomed to the relaxed style of Dally, the complete opposite of Sherrill. As a result, they got off to a shaky start. The pair soon developed a fruitful working relationship. Sherrill turned Jones into a full-fledged balladeer.

Billy Sherrill Producer

Billy Sherrill-George Jones Producer

In Sherrill, Jones found the producer capable of creating the weepy arrangements his voice deserved and his torment demanded…He summoned for Jones the sighing strings that almost made the misery of albums like 1974’s The Grand Tour and 1976’s Alone Again sound better than happiness could possibly feel.

Unlike most singers, who might have been overwhelmed by the string arrangements and background vocalists. Jones’ voice, with its frightening intensity and lucid tone, could stand up to anything.

The success that Sherrill had with Jones proved to be his most longest-lasting association.

Jones and Wynette’s Turbulent Years

In October 1970, shortly after the birth of their only child Tamala Georgette, Jones was committed to The Watson Clinic in Lakeland, Florida. He was kept there to detoxify for 10 days before being released with a prescription for Librium.

Jones managed longer stretches of sobriety with Wynette than he had enjoyed in years. However, as the decade wore on the erratic behavior worsened.

One time I woke up at one o’clock in the morning to find George gone: “I got into the car and drove to the nearest bar 10 miles away. When I pulled into the parking lot there sat our rider-mower right by the entrance. He’d driven that mower right down a main highway… He looked up and saw me and said, ‘Well, fellas, here she is now. My little wife, I told you she’d come after me.”

Prior to his relationship with Tammy. Over the years, George earned his drinking and drugging reputation by living his songs. His personal life continued to spin out of control. His previous reputation as “No show Jones”, or showing up drunk would once again be his reputation until he quit drinking for good in 1999.

George and Tammy Early Years

George and Tammy Early Years

Jones and Wynette’s marriage started out with promise. They had great success with a number of their duets reaching the top ten. They both continued to do well on their own with Jones releasing several top charting singles. Tammy gave birth to their daughter at this time and by all appearances, all seemed to be well.

However behind the scenes George continued his battle with drugs and alcohol. The marriage was in trouble and would end once and for all on March 21, 1975.

Late 70’s Dark Times For Jones

In the late seventies, Jones spiraled out of control, falling apart both physically and mentally. A manager named Shug Baggot introduced him to cocaine before a show because he was too tired to perform.

Despite the severe abuse George continued to make interesting music. He began flirting with Rock and Roll, covering Chuck Berry’s “Maybellene” with Johnny Paycheck as well as recording a duet with James Taylor.

By February 1979 he was homeless, deranged, and destitute, living in his car. He weighed under a hundred pounds. It took him more than two years to complete My Very Special Guests, an album on which Willie Nelson, Linda Ronstadt, Elvis Costello, and other famous fans came to his vocal aid and support.

In June 1979, he appeared with Waylon Jennings on Ralph Emery’s syndicated radio program and at one point Jennings cracked, “It’s lonely at the top.” A laughing Jones replied, “It’s lonely at the bottom, too! It’s real, real lonely, Waylon.”

"Waylon

Despite his unreliability, Jones was still capable of putting on a captivating live show. On Independence Day, 1976, he appeared at Willie Nelson’s Fourth of July Picnic in Gonzales, Texas in front of 80,000 younger, country-rock oriented fans. A nervous Jones felt out of his comfort zone and nearly bolted from the festival but went on anyway. He wound up stealing the show. The Houston Post wrote, “He was the undisputed star of this year’s Willie Nelson picnic…one of the greatest.”

Jones began missing more shows than he made, including a highly publicized date at the Bottom Line club in New York City. When he finally played the Bottom Line in 1980, the New York Times called him “the finest, most riveting singer in country music.”

The 80’s Comeback And Life Turnaround

It’s no secret that Jones had a long history of alcohol and cocaine abuse, as well as broken marriages that were punctuated by episodes of violence. After an enormous run of early success, by the late ’70s he was virtually washed up, having earned the nickname “No Show Jones” for his penchant of simply not showing up for planned performances.

In 1980, a 3-minute song changed his life. His long time producer, Billy Sherrill, recommended he record “He Stopped Loving Her Today,” a ballad by Curly Putnam and Bobby Braddock.

The song took more than a year to record, partly because Jones couldn’t master the melody, which he confused with Kris Kristofferson’s “Help Me Make it Through the Night,” and partly because he was too drunk to recite a brief, spoken interlude (“She came to see him one last time/And we all wondered if she would/And it kept running through my mind/This time he’s over her for good.”)

The last words Jones said about “He Stopped Loving Her Today” was “Nobody’ll buy that morbid son of a bitch”.

Although he had disliked “He Stopped Loving Her Today” when it was first offered to him, Jones ultimately gave the song credit for reviving his flailing career. Stating that “a four-decade career had been salvaged by a three-minute song”.

Love Conquers

His life changed after he met Nancy Sepulveda in 1981. After they married in 1983, the straight-laced Nancy Sepulvado Jones righted his messy finances, helped him address his drinking, kept his drug dealers at bay, and helped revive his ailing music career.

“I saw a lot of good in a man who was being totally destroyed.”

I’d heard the horror stories,” Nancy Jones disclosed to PEOPLE, “but I’m of the opinion you don’t believe it ’til you see it. I ended up seeing plenty of it, but we just clicked. I saw a lot of good in a man who was being totally destroyed.”

“They say love can change the world,” the country legend continued. “I’m here to testify that it changed one man. 

 

Thanks to Nancy’s love and guidance, George enjoyed career success once more with duets “Hallelujah, I Love You So” with Brenda Lee and “Size Seven Round (Made of Gold)” with Lacy J Dalton. As a solo recording artist, he enjoyed multiple popular singles from his 1985 album Who’s Gonna Fill Their Shoes and his last solo Top 10 country hit came with 1989’s “I’m a One Woman Man.”

Despite George’s career rebound, his still wrestled with his personal demons. “George was the sweetest man you could meet. But when George would drink, there was a devil that jumped inside of him,” Nancy admitted.

Ridding The Demon

In 1999, an impaired George Jones ran his SUV into a bridge near his home, suffering a lacerated liver and a severely bruised lung. After spending 13 days trapped in the hospital, he made a lasting deal with God.

“He said, ‘God if you let me get over this, I’ll never touch a cigarette or liquor again,’” Nancy reminisced. “I was warm all over. This time he meant it.”

That experience shook him enough to remain sober until his death from hypoxic respiratory failure on April 26, 2013. George and Nancy Jones celebrated 30 years of marriage before his passing at age 81.

“God put me with him to help him get the devil out of him,” his widow concluded. “God put me there to do a job and I did it.”

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Quotes about George Jones:

“When you look at all formats of music, George Jones is the most unique stylist, bar none” – B.B. King

“He is a true icon of country music. George Jones is to country music what Spencer Tracy is to movies. He is a true American folk-hero and we all love him.”

 –Burt Reynolds

“If we could all sing like we wanted to, we’d all sing like George Jones.” –Waylon Jennings

“Most people’s voices are a gift from God. With George Jones, I think it started out as a gift from God and then they built a body around it because anybody who has ever wanted to sing country music wants to sound like George Jones” – Garth Brooks

“I bask in the glow of having worked (read played) with George Jones. Gram Parsons must be smiling.” – Keith Richards

Jones Love of Traditional Country Music

“I sing top songs that fit the hardworking, everyday loving person. That’s what country music is about,” Jones said in a 1991 AP interview. “My fans and real true country music fans know I’m not a phony. I just sing it the way it is and put feeling in it if I can and try to live the song.” (George Jones)

Jones tirelessly defended the integrity of country music, telling Billboard in 2006. Jones also went out of his way to promote younger country singers that he felt were as passionate about the music as he was. “Everybody knows he’s a great singer,” Alan Jackson stated in 1995, “but what I like most about George is that when you meet him, he is like some old guy that works down at the gas station…even though he’s a legend!”

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Summing Up The Life Of George Glenn Jones A Country Music Legend

Battling his personal demons along the way, Jones amassed an impressive musical legacy that earned him a 2012 Grammy Lifetime Achievement Award, among many other honors. He died in 2013, at the age of 81.

Jones recorded over 900 songs, and charted more than any other music artist, almost exclusively on the country charts; Jones never charted a hit in the general top 40 of the Billboard Hot 100 or any equivalent all-genre chart. As a solo artist, Jones had just three hits make the Billboard Hot 100, the highest-charted of which, “White Lightning”, peaked at number 73. A duet with Gene Pitney also made number 99 for one week. On the country charts, Jones (either solo or as part of duet) placed nearly 150 songs on the charts, including thirteen number 1 country hits.

Merritt Murals

George Jones – Country Music Blogger Melvina White. Painted by Michelle Loughery. Merritt Murals

There is no doubt that GEORGE JONES helped set the standard for modern country music. It is impossible to overstate his impact as one of the architects of the country music sound. 

George Jones Merritt Mountain Music Festival 1993

Thousands of country music fans were subjected to stormy, rainy conditions on the first and last day of the First Annual Merritt Mountain Music Festival in Merritt, BC.

Legendary country singer George Jones wrapped up the Merritt Mountain Music Festival on Sunday night, July 11, 1993, in front of thousands of die hard country fans who managed to stick it out through the rain.

The legend didn’t disappoint. He performed a show in Merritt, BC Canada that could have been on the stage of The Grand Ole Opry. George Jones was a real true hard core country entertainer and legend.

Merritt, BC Canada Mural Walk and Attractions

Visit downtown Merritt in the beautiful Nicola Valley, Merritt, BC Canada and take part in the Canadian Country Music Hall of Fame Mural Walk. Although the Canadian Country Music Hall of Fame includes Canadian Hall of Fame inductees as well as CCMA Award winning artists. The Hall of Fame is also the host of the Merritt, BC Mural Walk which also includes artists from Canada’s neighbours that have performed in Merritt at the infamous Merritt Mountain Music Festival.

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

George Jones Mural can be found on the wall in Spirit Square, situated on the corner of Voght Street and Granite Avenue.

The Walk of Stars Murals really added to the character of the small town of Merritt, BC. Makes the town feel like country music. (

The information for George Jones was obtained through Wikipedia and George Jones Biography.

Featured Country Music Musician : George Jones

Canadian Country Music Hall of Fame

Hall of Fame

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Merritt Winter Attractions and Adventures

Top Winter Things To Do and Activities in Merritt BC

“… we have learned that Merritt BC Canada could very well become a top winter adventure destination in Canada!”

Merritt Winter Attractions! Yes, Merritt has many. As a result we have highlighted 5 Merritt winter attractions and adventures worthy of your time this season. In fact, Merritt winter adventures, is a hidden gem in British Columbia. However, people are beginning to take notice more and more with the increased search engine presence educating travelers on the first-class winter adventures available here in the Nicola Valley. Haven’t you heard?

“Merritt BC Canada is “Adventure Ready”!

Powder Winter Attractions

The Nicola Valley – with its vast wilderness backcountry forests, network of gravel roads and hundreds of lakes – is an ideal playground for enjoying snow and ice winter adventures. Most noteworthy our snow is generally light powder snow. What does that mean? It means it is easy to maneuver around in the snow making for good winter adventure conditions. As a result many regions in British Columbia experience fog, rain and clouds during the winter months… Merritt tends to see sunshine more than most.

“Merritt is a hidden gem for winter attractions and adventures. When the world learns what Merritt has to offer, winter enthusiasts will converge on this small winter wonderland in a heart beat.” Greg Girard

Experience Community Program

For just under 2 years I have had the opportunity to work with the many good people at Tourism Nicola Valley and in the community of Merritt, BC, Canada. Together we are building a stronger and more versatile 4-season tourism industry under the “Experience” brand. The “Experience Community” program is a very successful small and rural content marketing program we here, at eh Canada Travel, have introduced to the community on Merritt. Hence, now we have a group of positive and passionate locals participating in the marketing of their community through story telling and experiences via a living website and community blogsite.

“This has been the best thing that has happened in Merritt in the last 10 years!” Shelley Sanders – Canadian Country Music Heritage Society.

experiencemerritt

Creating Jobs In Merritt

We have learned that Merritt BC Canada could very well become a top winter adventure destination in Canada! Bold right! Well I believe it and many around me believe it too. A stronger Merritt winter attraction and adventure season has many benefits including establishing a consistent flow of new money into the community therefore supporting the current stores, accommodations, and restaurants… as well as, attracting new stores and services to the community. Consequently, there is that “creating jobs” thing too. That is pretty important. Where is the bad in that? There is none.

Learn Through Positive Partnerships

In working with the front line businesses in the community we have met so many good people and key stakeholders who have taught us so much about the Nicola Valley. Some of the associations we have been fortunate enough to work with include Tourism Nicola Valley, Vision Merritt,  Community Futures, Canadian Country Music Hall of Fame, and Chamber of Commerce. Therefore, these are the groups we would recommend working with on any Merritt BC decision making process. It has been a positive experience working with them. They are really, the true ambassadors of Merritt BC Canada!

What To Know About Merritt Winter Attractions

The top winter things to do in Merritt BC, based on my humble opinion, are listed below. I have selected 5 Merritt winter attractions and adventures which will “Wow” your socks off. Included below are links which connect you to maps, tips, photos, videos, contact information and plenty of descriptive text. The links to the preferred Merritt resources below provide you everything you need to know to plan and book one of Merritt’s first-class winter attractions and adventures.

5 Merritt Winter Attractions and Adventures

merritt snowmobiling adventures

Another great snow day snowmobiling in the Nicola Valley

MERRITT SNOWMOBILING / SLEDDING

Throughout the Nicola Valley snowmobiling is getting a lot of positive press lately. Therefore more and more people are finding out about their little snowmobile retreat. In fact, Merritt sledding has made a few top magazines in British Columbia for snowmobiling.

“Sledding around Merritt is an adventure worth seeking out.” Snoriderswest.com 2016

The Merritt snowmobiling adventure destination most noteworthy in this region is the Coquilhalla back country. You have heard of the Coquihalla Highway but did you know the backcountry is a hot spot for snowmobiling? Likewise there are other sledding destinations in the region as well. Stoyoma, Honeymoon Lakes, Hooshum Ridge and, near by, Thynne Mountain (Brookmere) are considered worthy sledding destinations as well. If you want to ride steep and deep or enjoy a day of boondocking, you’ll find plenty of sledding action in and around Merritt and the Nicola Valley.
CLICK TO LEARN MORE ABOUT SLEDDING IN MERRITT.

merritt cross country skiing - kane valley

Cross country skiing on the Kane Valley Trails

MERRITT CROSS COUNTRY SKIING

First of all remember these 2 words – Kane Valley. That is all you have to do to get your next xc ski fix in the Nicola Valley. Why is this important? Because cross country skiing in the Nicola Valley starts and ends on the Kane Valley xc ski trails. The valley has over 50 kilometres of groomed trails ideal for wilderness Nordic skiing. Consequently, the trails are well marked with signage, decorated with shelters (warming huts) and there are washrooms on site too.
CLICK TO LEARN MORE ABOUT CROSS COUNTRY SKIING IN MERRITT.

merritt snowshowing

What a great day to go winter hiking (a.k.a snowshoeing) in Merritt

MERRITT SNOWSHOEING

In our minds snowshoeing has always been a winter version of summer hiking. It is in many ways winter hiking. Likewise snowshoeing involves exploring the same summer trails but provides a winter perspective to the scenery. Personally, there is nothing more satisfying than seeing your adventures through a seasonal lens. Finally snowshoeing trails are available in the Kane Valley region of the Nicola Valley. Plan properly, and one can also snowshoe the vast network of hiking trails and gravel roads available in the backcountry.
CLICK TO LEARN MORE ABOUT SNOWSHOEING IN MERRITT.

merritt ice fishing

Enjoy the solitude ice fishing in the Nicola Valley

MERRITT ICE FISHING

If you are new here, there is one thing you should know. Throughout the Nicola Valley there are over 200+ lakes! Yes, you heard me right, 200. As a result the word is getting out that you can ice fish, “A lake a day for as long as you stay” when visiting Merritt BC. Merritt ice fishing season starts in mid-December as the colder weather sets in and 6 inches of hard ice covers the lakes. And… do not forget to get your fishing licence.
CLICK TO LEARN MORE ABOUT ICE FISHING IN MERRITT.

courthouse gallery merritt

Paintings on display at the Courthouse Gallery in Merritt

MERRITT WINTER ENTERTAINMENT

After the days filled with enjoying our first class Merritt winter attractions and adventures you deserve some quality down time. What better way to enjoy the nights than by attending some of our great entertainment venues and dining establishments. Certainly one of the many pubs, restaurants, open mics, spas, junior hockey game, live music, art galleries, and/or community events will entertain you and your group. Hence why Merritt is a good host day and night. Therefore the community will keep you active and entertained during your winter vacation here in the Nicola Valley.
CLICK TO MEET OUR ENTERTAINMENT ATTRACTIONS IN MERRITT.

Top Winter Things To Do In Merritt BC Canada

Best Merritt Winter Adventures

Coffee Shops in Merritt

Mandolin’s Bagel & Coffeehouse in Downtown Merritt BC

“No matter your eats and coffee needs just order and Mandolin’s will look after the quality and service.”

When it comes to coffee shops in Merritt BC Canada Mandolins Coffee Shop is a frequent stop for this coffee connoisseur. There are many coffee stops to select from too throughout the Nicola Valley. All have their pluses and unique style from the chain store coffee shops to the privately operated family owned and operated coffee shops in Merritt. But what makes a favorite coffee shop? That is a tough question? It is a question usually answered based on personal preferences.

Enjoying a “cup-of-joe” at Mandolin’s Bagel & Coffeehouse in Downtown Merritt BC

Coffee With Mandolin’s Bagel & Coffeehouse

When I talk about the types of coffee shops in Merritt I mean the taste, smells, strength and purpose of the coffee. Purpose you ask? Well yes of course. You see, in my line of work you have coffee for different purposes. There is the road coffee. “Coffee to go” for short. This is huge for me, as I travel a lot. Then there are coffees while I am staying in communities like the work coffee, morning coffee, night coffee, stay awake coffee and then there is the hide in the corner booth coffee. This last one is my work escape so I can get some projects done, spread my papers out and get some work in. Each coffee has a purpose. Mandolin’s Bagel & Coffeehouse satisfies most of my coffee urges.

Coffee Shops In Merritt

Being that I have had the opportunity to spend some quality time in the community of Merritt BC I have had a chance to enjoy many coffee shops in the Nicola Valley. Mandolin’s Coffee Shop is one of the establishments I frequent often for many different reasons including good service, “yum-yum” baking, positive conversations, friendly patrons, location and of course, the coffee.

The Patrons of Mandolin’s Bagel & Coffeehouse

Smile Included With Your Coffee

I really enjoy the conversations and connections I enjoy with the owner of Mandolin’s Bagel & Coffeehouse, Cheryl. She greets me with a hello every visit, and always has a thought to share. Bottom line she makes me smile.

She attributes her success to,

“Customer service, fast service. The hours myself and Laurie put in and a lot of hard work.”

I would like to add the upbeat environment, and positive attitude to her list of attributes. She always has something to say that makes me go “hum”.

Cheryl, owner of Mandolin’s serves her patrons with a smile.

I have traveled the country for over a decade in my work. In doing so I have sat in many coffee shops. Looking back, the good ones, my coffee shops of choice, all had good people running the show. It just goes to show that a happy demeanor and positive conversations will win over customers. Mandolin’s Bagel & Coffeehouse is one of the coffee shops in Merritt which makes my  “Coffee Shop Bucket List”.

experiencemerritt

Lastly, I have always enjoyed a good cup of coffee in the company of many good people during my visits. Add in a comfortable positive environment and I am a sucker for a coffee moment.  Therefore Mandolins is, in essence, “Greg Approved”.

Coffee shop in Merritt

Me having a coffee moment at Mandolin’s Bagel & Coffeehouse

Coffee Tri-Vecta In Merritt BC

I cannot say enough of how appreciative I am when I pop into Mandolin’s Coffee Shop in-between appointments to have a “cup-of-joe”.  Because the coffee at Mandolins jives with my palette nicely, one cup of java is usually not enough. I usually do a tri-vecta and gobble down a few more cups of coffee before I dash out the door for an appointment. As I get up to leave I say my goodbyes. Cheryl often echoes back hers.

Hockey Night In Mandolin’s Bagel & Coffeehouse

coffee shop

Hockey Night in Mandolins

The environment at Mandolin’s Coffee Shop created by Cheryl and her daughter, Laurie, is enhanced by the numerous number of NHL (National Hockey League) and local hockey jerseys hanging from the ceiling and walls. Many are autographed. All are interesting. Therefore, if you are a hockey fanatic like myself, you are captivated by the display of hockey memorabilia.

Mandolins and History

Complimenting the hockey atmosphere on the walls of Mandolin’s Bagel & Coffeehouse are photos of times gone by in the Nicola Valley. It is a cowboy story book of history told through the lens of time.

Experience Nicola Valley asked Cheryl, “What makes your coffee shop unique?”

“(Our) keto and gluten free menu. Big hockey fans so the jerseys hanging up and all the cowboy pictures (hanging) on the walls. The customers love them.”

Coffee Shop In Merritt Homemade Baked Goods

Something which is very refreshing is that all the baked goods are made from scratch. They are not pre-made, frozen, nor brought in from another source. No, this is all about homemade and always fresh. How yummy is that!

Homemade baked goods

Behind the counter is a menu board with a good selection of eats. Eat in or take out, that is your call. Go big and contact Mandolins to cater for your Nicola Valley events and functions. No matter your eats and coffee needs just order and Mandolin’s will look after the quality and service.

“Soup, sandwiches, bagels, salads (budda bowls), specialty drinks, smoothies and more… “

menu board

Mandolin’s Bagel & Coffeehouse menu board full of eats

Merritt Coffee Shop And More

When coffee is on your mind and you want to get in some additional shopping without driving from parking lot A to parking lot B then this coffee shop in Merritt is the ticket. Located in Railyard Mall in Downtown Merritt there are other services operating on the premises. There is a large grocery store (Save on Foods), liquor store (BC Liquor Store), pet store (Pet Value), adventure clothing company (Work And Play), fitness outlet, real estate office, auto parts (Lordco), Nicola Valley Museum & Archives and more.

CONTACT INFORMATION
Mandolin’s Bagel & Coffeehouse
1700 Garcia Street
Merritt, BC, Canada
V1K 1B8

Telephone: (250) 315-0007

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Coffee Shops in Merritt BC Canada

Mandolin’s Bagel & Coffeehouse in Downtown Merritt BC

Remembrance Day in Merritt BC, Nicola Valley

Remembrance Day in Canada

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 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 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 in honour of all who have fallen.  Accordingly, we Canadians mark the occasion every year with a “moment of silence” at the eleventh hour of the eleventh day of the eleventh month. 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.The Act of

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.

Nov 11th Vet day.

“We come, not to mourn our dead soldiers, but to praise them.” Francis A. Walker

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.

experiencemerritt

 “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

For the Purpose of Nov 11th

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.

 

Merritt BC Remembrance

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

 

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

Importantly.

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. Experience the Nicola Valley.

History of 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.

Respecting our past and welcoming our future.

“And they who for their country die shall fill an honored grave, for glory lights the soldier’s tomb, and beauty weeps the brave.”Joseph Drake

 “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

“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

“The legacy of heroes is the memory of a great name and the inheritance of a great example.” Benjamin Disraeli

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. This year in Merritt the honor went to Maj. Thor Toms. Remember those who sacrificed the freedoms we enjoy today. The Legion gratefully accepts donations to the Poppy Fund.

 

Remembrance Day in Merritt BC.

Moreover 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.

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. Legion.

“Never part without loving words to think of during your absence. It may be that you will not meet again in this life.” Jean Paul

“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

“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.” Laurence Binyon

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.

“I cry all the time. Remembrance Day in particular. In fact, anything to do with veterans makes me sob.” Diana Rigg

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

 

Elizabeth Barrett Browning “And each man stands with his face in the light of his own drawn sword. Ready to do what a hero can.”

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.’

Lest We Forget.

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.

 

“In war, there are no unwounded soldiers.” Jose Narosky

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 honour 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

Remembrance Day in Canada

Growing Up and Living  in Merritt BC

Living in the Nicola Valley, BC

“… the childhood I am so grateful to have lead, I can proudly say I am who I am because of this community!”

Hey everyone! Life is good living in Merritt BC. I am very excited to join the Merritt Bloggers
team, and to share with you everything about health and beauty in and around Merritt BC!
But first, I’d love to share a little about my background to shed some light on my love for this
community.

Living in Merritt motorbiking

Family day motorbiking

My “Living in Merritt BC” History

I’ve been a Merrittonian since 2000, when my family moved to this gorgeous little community
from the small town of Port Alberni on Vancouver Island. I grew up on a ranch that was half an hour outside
of town (and out of service), so you could say I was raised in the boonies. My childhood was
filled with many local sports, such as figure skating, hockey, and horseback riding, as well as
taking advantage of being outdoors as much as possible.

Merritt to QWhistler adventure

Zip lining in Whistler BC with friends

Memories of Growing Up in Merritt

As a very young child, I remember we were always driving down an old back road, or going
for a hike up the mountain side. My father was an avid hunter, and so it was not out of the
norm to be driving down dirt roads on the hunt for the next big buck. I think this is where my
love for the outdoors truly began. I could never get enough of being surrounded by mother
nature right from a young age. Whether it was observing the views from the top of a mountain, watching the
pine trees pass by out the window of a truck, or just taking in the sights and
sounds as we hiked down a trail.

Parenting in the Nicola Valley

 hockey merritt bc

As a parent now, I appreciate so much more the driving and planning my mother did for
us kids (I had one brother and two sisters). With the help of my grandmother (who also lived
with us), she would stop at nothing to make sure that those 5 am figure skating practices
were executed, that I was able to attend each out of town hockey game, and that we would
have dinner ready before attending my horseback riding lessons – talk about Supermom!

Living In Merritt With Mom

My mother has always been an outdoorsy lady as well. I remember just the two of us riding
our horses for hours down an old dirt road, or on a trail twisting through the pine
trees. Sometimes we talked and chatted about everything, other times we would both be in
our own worlds, silently riding our noble steeds through the tall grass. The
squeaking of our leather saddles and the clomping of hooves into the earth would echo as
we ventured on – they were such tranquil moments.

Raising a family in Merritt BC

Being a mom to my 8 year old son, I love the fact that he is involved in some of the same
local sports that I was as a kid, and to see the same volunteers working brings it
full circle – how cool is that! My son, Ryder, plays hockey on our local Merritt Minor Hockey league. He has made many friends and fun memories on the ice, but his real passion is on the seat of his dirt bike. Whether its on gnarly trails scattered on the outskirts of town or a track, this kiddo is sending it. We don’t realize how lucky we are to be surrounded by such beautiful back country for so many various activities.

It takes a community to raise a child

Our community is amazing, and I am so grateful to be a part of it. The saying comes to mind, “It takes a community to raise a child”, and that could not be more true. I had so many phenomenal influences growing up, and because of that and the childhood I am so grateful to have lead, I can proudly say I am who I am because of this community! I feel so thankful that I get to share with you my love for this community, and I am ecstatic to be able to share with ya’ll some insight on not only health and beauty, but the lifestyle we get to live!

Join me on my blogging journey, while I walk you through what healthy living inside and out means to me, and how you can incorporate it into your daily life
in the Nicola Valley too. Lets do this!

 

living in merritt bc

My son Ryder  getting ready to dirt bike in Merritt BC

Living in Merritt BC Canada

Growing up in the Nicola Valley

Petit Creek Lavender Farm

Petit – which is pronounced “petee” Creek, Merritt, BC, Canada

“… remember the girl who grew a whole big country dream because she loved the smell of her Grandmother’s suitcase.”

Petit Creek Lavender Farm isn’t just about farming. It is about friends, it is about family, it is about fun, and it is about “following your heart”.  When I asked Judy-Sue Suzuki why she started the Lavender Farm in the Nicola Valley she said,

“ I started the Lavender Farm because I love it, and it gives me wonderful memories of my Grandmother’s luggage. When she would visit it smelled of Lavender”. 

Dreams Of Petit Creek Lavender Farm

Judy -Sue had a dream and since 2010 Judy-Sue and her entire family, her parents, her husband, her children, and her grandchildren have all played a valuable role in the production of Lavender buds, sachets, honey, creams, soaps, wreaths, and so much more. Everyone  is happy to pitch in to help with the acres of Lavender, over 300 rose bushes, gardens, rock beds, small quaint sitting areas and sweet cozy cottages. Every single inch of this property is touched by love. 

Petit Creek Lavender Farm

Everyone loves the Petit Creek Lavender Farm. Through the years the flowers and family grew.

Judy-Sue offers classes to teach others how to use Lavender in many ways, the farm has provided more than one wedding couple an amazing place to share their vows and start their new life together. But it is not all about making things pretty at the Petit Creek Lavender Farm. It is about work, hard work, long days and the only reward Judy-Sue is guaranteed to get is knowing she has done her best for her family and her animals, and for her that is more than enough. There are over 3200 photos on the Petit Creek Lavender Farm Facebook Page, I chose this one to share on my blog. Why? Read on!

experiencemerritt

Praying or Thanking?

Praying or Thanking.

Nothing To Waste

I looked at this photo and it said so much. At first I thought Judy-Sue was looking up and saying a prayer, but then I also thought she could be looking up and saying “Thank You”, for the blessings she has in her life.  24 hours a day Judy-Sue watches over her farm in Merritt, BC Canada, hundreds of animals and birds are in her care. She also raises sheep, bunnies, and goats for fibre which she hand dyes and makes wool.  Nothing is wasted on the Petit Creek Lavender Farm, no land is left bare and unused, food is grown and preserved for the long winter. Birds lay eggs and provide meat, even the tiniest of creatures are trusted in Judy-Sue’s care.

Lavender Farm in Merritt BC

Baby Birds in the Nest

Lavender And Heaven

It is so much more than Lavender, everyone shares photos of Lavender, we all know what it looks like and smells like. We love Lavender of course, but spending the day at the lavender farm in Merritt, BC, Canada is so much more. It is an experience your heart will remember forever. When you pull up to the front gate you will know you have arrived at a small piece of Heaven.

Petit Creek Lavender Farm

Arriving at Heaven’s Gate

Merritt Country Dream

When you meet Judy-Sue Suzuki you will understand what I mean. You will see a beautiful women with a heart the size of her 54 acres of flowers, fruits, family, and friends. Her smile will stay with you always. When you think of the sweet Petit Creek Lavender Farm in Merritt, BC, Canada you will always remember the girl who grew a whole big country dream because she loved the smell of her Grandmother’s suitcase.

Merritt BC cottage

Cozy Cottage at Lavender Farm

CONTACT INFORMATION

Facebook Page

Sunflower Farm

Merritt BC Lavender Farm

Petit – which is pronounced “petee” Creek, Merritt, BC, Canada