People in Merritt and the Nicola Valley

Art Show in Merritt BC

Artist Shirley Reynolds

Home is Where the Art Is

Show Poster

Show Poster-Merritt Printing design

 

 

Colour Personified

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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

Artist Shirley Reynolds

Shirley Reynolds

Shirley Reynolds-Tom Reynolds Photo

Shirley Reynolds Art Show in Merritt

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

Landscapes in the Art Show in Merritt BC

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

Tree at the lake

Reynolds Photo

Harmon Lake

Harmon Lake-Tom Reynolds Photo

 

 

 

 

 

 

“Still lifes ” in the Art show in Merritt BC

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

Flowers in Pot

Flowers in Pot-Tom Reynolds Photo

F

Flowers-Tom Reynolds Photo

 

Abstracts in the Art Show in Merritt BC

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

Geometric abstract

Geometric Abstract-Tom Reynolds Photo

movement abstracts

Movement Abstracts-Tom Reynolds photo

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Impressionism Style is at the Art Show in Merritt, BC

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

Fall Colours

Fall Colours-Tom Reynolds Photo

Fall Tree

Fall Tree-Tom Reynolds Photo

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Painting is not all she does

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

Mosaic Globe

Mosaic Globe-Tom Reynolds Photo

 

 
Mosaic Tea Cups

Mosaic Tea Cups-Tom Reynolds Photo

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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

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

Support the Art Show in Merritt BC

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

 

Art Show in Merritt BC

Artist Shirley Reynolds

Home is Where the Art Is

 

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

 

 

BC Fundraiser Ambassador Experience

Experience Nicola Valley Bloggers

Bloggers Share Their Hell or High Water Fundraiser Adventure

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

2 Hour Fundraiser Episodes – Hell or High Water Telethon Ambassadors

Hell or High Water Ambassador – Tania Stewart

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

Tania Stewart
Experience Nicola Valley Blogger

Hell or High Water Fundraiser Telethon Ambassador

Bill Henderson – Chilliwack

The Abrams - Telethon

The Abrams

Taylor James

Taylor James

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Hell or High Water Ambassador – Jen Schell

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

Jen Schell
Experience Nicola Valley Blogger

Bobby Garcia performs at Hell or High Water Fundraiser

Bobby Garcia

Telethon performance by Broadway Crush

Broadway Crush

David Gogo performs at telethon

David Gogo

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Hell or High Water Ambassador – Susanne Snider

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

Susanne Snider
Experience Nicola Valley Blogger

Lisa Brokop Live at Grande Theatre in Mission BC

Lisa Brokop

Loverboy

Loverboy

Come Hell or High Water with Sean Hogan

Sean Hogan

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Hell or High Water Ambassador – Carole Leroux

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

Carole Leroux

Dirt Road Opera music

Dirt Road Opera

Kenny Hess

Kenny Hess

Beverley Mahood Hell of High Water

Beverley Mahood

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Hell or High Water Ambassador – Tom Reynolds

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

Tom Reynolds
Hell or High Water Ambassador
Experience Nicola Valley Blogger

***

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

Hell or High Water Ambassadors Feedback

#merrittmatters

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

2021 Natural Disasters in the Nicola Valley Affect Artists

Fires and Floods in Merritt BC

2021 Natural Disasters in the Nicola Valley

Joan Jennings Facebook account of the flood event

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Hell or High Water BC Fundraiser

Hell or Highwater. Donate!

Hell or Highwater

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

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

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

2021 Natural Disasters in the Nicola Valley

Amanda Pryzner-Dunn of Pink Room Crafts

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

BC Flood Victim

Amanda Pryzner-Dunn, Merritt Artist

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

Then this, in Amanda’s words….

November 15/2021

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

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

One of these containers held all the craft supplies

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

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

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

Going back to our home was devastating

Natural Disasters in the Nicola Valley

Amanda’s house, in flood zone affected in 2021

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

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

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

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

BC 2021 Flood Event Art Show

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

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

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

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

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

Computer Digital Artist – Amrit Ahuja

Computer Generated Imagery Artist

Computer Generated Imagery Artist – Amrit Ahuja

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

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

His texts to me…

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

I believe we got the red flag, so unfortunately not

BC Floods 2021 Merrritt BC

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

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

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

And then there were stories of property theft…

So now we are stressed about looting too

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

And he sent a video of his basement…

Bad news mixed with good news

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

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

BC Flood Event Good News

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

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

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

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

Joan Jennings, Mixed Media Textile Artist

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

2021

Joan Jennings, Textile Artist

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

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

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

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

A few excerpts, in Joan’s words…

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

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

BC Wildfires 2021 Merritt

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

 

Coquihalla Highway Closed Flood Event 2021

Coquihalla Highway closed for major repairs, November 2021

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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

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

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

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

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

But it took weeks for me to unpack my car.

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

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

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

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

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

 

Remember, no matter what, Express Yourself

Jano Howarth

NVCAC Arts Centre Gallery Curator

Nicola Valley Arts

Creative Community Facebook 

Natural Disasters in the Nicola Valley

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

Natural Disasters in the Nicola Valley

 

#merrittmatters

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BC Flood and Fire Relief

Hell or Highwater Concert Help-a-thon

Donate to help the Victims

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

BC Fire and Floods a Reminder

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

Merritt Flood Nov 2021

Merritt Flood Nov 2021  – Photo Courtesy of  Global News

Abbotsford Floods – Photo Courtesy of Lindsay Lockhart

Lytton Fire 2021

Lytton Fire 2021 – Photo Courtesy of CTV News

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

Hell or Highwater Concert Help-a-thon

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

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

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

Hell or Highwater Entertainers

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

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

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

Fire and Flood Relief Prizes

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

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

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

Melting at Moraine

Melting at Moraine-David Langevin Art

The Flood and Fire Relief Victims Need Help!

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

 

Flood and Fire Relief

Hell or Highwater Concert Help-a-thon

Donate to help the Victims

 

 

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

 

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

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

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

The 2021 Merritt Flood

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

My Super Power

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

8 Acts of Kindness

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

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

(1) ESS and Red Cross

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

(2) Volunteers

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

Merritt volunteers

Lining up for ESS. Photo credit: Greg Girard

(3) Let Me See The Light

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

(4) Green Plate of Hospitality

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

merritt flood 2021

Vegetable tray surprise. Photo credit: Melvina White

(5) Class is in Session

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

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

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

(7) Experience Nicola Valley Pivot

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

(8) Friends, Family and Business Partners

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

brothers of tourism merritt flood

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

Social Media

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

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

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

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

I Choose Hope

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

Stay safe. Be kind. 

#merrittmatters

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Remembrance Day in Merritt BC Canada

Nicola Valley Remembers November 11

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

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

 

 
Remembrance Day in Merritt BC

“Lest we forget” Photo Credit: Tania Stewart

Celebrating veterans in Merritt BC

Generations will not forget. Photo Credit: Tania Stewart

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

Remembrance Day in Merritt BC Canada

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

Remembrance Day Merritt BC.

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

Thus on Remembrance Day in Merritt BC.

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

In Addition 

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

 

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

Civic Centre Merritt

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

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

Remembrance Day in Merritt BC. Canada

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

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

A Day of Remembrance 

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

Remembrance Day in Merritt BC. Canada

Laying a wreath. Photo credit: Tania Stewart.

History of Canadian Veterans Service.

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

Remembrance Day in Merritt BC. Canada

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

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

Remembrance Day in Merritt BC. Nicola Valley

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

Remembrance Day in the Nicola Valley

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

The Poppy Campaign.

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

Remembrance Day in Merritt BC. Photo by Tania Stewart.

Feature Maj. Thor Toms.

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

Additionally my Grandfather Charles Stewart.

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

Honouring and Remembering Canada’s Veterans.

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

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

The National Remembrance Day Ceremony.

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

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

Remembrance Ceremonies across Canada.

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

Never Forget.

Veteran 35yr Legion

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

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

How We Advocate.

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

 

In Flanders Field

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

“In Flanders Fields” written by John McCrae 

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

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

In Remembrance on November 11th. 

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

Contact Information

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

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Remembrance Day in Merritt BC, Nicola Valley

Wear a Poppy in Canada

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Art During Covid in Merritt BC

Creativity Persists, even in the middle of a pandemic

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

 

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

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

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

Special Community Art Show, Art During Covid

Art of Covid

Nancy Ellingsen art, Kim Leclair poster

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

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

Overcoming sadness and separation with creativity

Art During Covid

Lin Butler Buchanan’s Covid 2020, Open Wounds

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

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

Mission to stay connected

Art During Covid

Sharon Antoine, leather and beadwork

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

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

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

Art of Covid

Art During Covid stories

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

They found they had time to do art

Art During Covid

Online classes and respectful in person art sessions

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

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

Mandala Art

Kathleen Kinasewic Soul Circle Mandalas

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

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

This show felt very meaningful

Art During Covid

Nona Tickner’s Wash Your Hands

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

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

Art expresses our true feelings

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

Express yourself!

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

Thanks! Jano Howarth

NVCAC Arts Gallery Curator

Visit us at nicolavalleyarts.com

Facebook Nicola Valley Arts Gallery

Facebook Nicola Valley Arts Council

Art of Covid

Cindy Trent’s Corvids

Art of Covid

Kim Vizi Carmen’s Collaboration

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Merritt Planet Hair & Spa Re-Opening Covid 19 Style

Planet Hair & Spa’s Grand Re-Opening

Were You Go To Get Your Locks On!

Up-date on Planet Hair and Spa in celebration of their 25th Anniversary. 

Planet Hair has persevered by adapting and growing during these troubling times. All the while keeping their fundamental values, “Customers are #1”.  Planet Hair and Spa has re-positioned itself with a fresh new look.  While most people don’t consider the impact our clothes have on our environment, Kathy has truly thought of this. She understands, that more people are becoming aware of Textile Waste and its damage to our environment. Re-cycling with some re-thinking is what Kathy Castro is bringing to her spa! Additionally, as you are getting a great hair style, you can update your wardrobe with Vintageretro  clothes. 

Planet Hair and Spa serving the Nicola Valley, BC

Take your time, impressive selection. Photo by Tania Stewart.

Planet Hair and Spa Merritt BC.

Beautiful prom gowns! Photo Tania Stewart.

Planet Hair and Spa serving the Nicola Valley.

These “Boots” are made for walking.

 

Vintage clothing offers a chance to explore personal style. Tania Stewart.

 

Planet Hair and Spa serving the Nicola Valley, BC

My personal fav! You need to see this beautiful dress!

Accessories are a must!

 

Vintageretro fashion is still going strong in terms of clothing, footwear, and accessories. 

According to the Canadian Lock-down Orders

Due to Covid 19 Kathy Castro owner and operator of Planet Hair & Spa located in Merritt British Columbia had to close her doors . As a result many loyal clients have to suffer through a time of “nasty bedhead hair”.  Due to circumstances out of Kathy’s control, little options were available, but to try and turn a negative into a positive. Hence the re-vamp, re-decorate,  and re-paint of her salon. Having known Kathy for many years, one thing is for sure when talking about Kathy Castro, she rarely lets bad news take her down. 

 

Merrittplanethair

Kathy Castro in the Trenches!

It is important to note that Planet Hair and Spa is truly an Experience Nicola Valley venture and has always been my personal favourite place to get my “do” done.  However, what really makes my haircut experience so special is the opportunity to connect and socialize. Incidentally, I was also blessed to have Kathy as my first guest on the “Nicola Valley Talk Show“.  

WATCH NICOLA VALLEY TALK SHOW INTERVIEW

Merritt Planet Hair & Spa Re-Opening Covid 19 Style

Not only was I very fortunate to have Kathy as my first guest on the “Nicola Valley Talk Show”, I was able to see first hand the work and time that was put into re-decorating her business.  I applaud Kathy and her husband Paul for taking on this massive undertaking. Despite having to close its doors, with little warning, Planet Hair and Spa has re-positioned itself with a fresh and new look for opening day.  

Nicolavalleyplanethair

Our stations are ready for you!

Additionally re-vamping Planet Hair & Spa beauty products display 

When speaking about beauty products Kathy has traveled the world and has done her research. In all honesty, I can say that with all of Kathy’s years of experience she is able to seek out the best beauty products. The fact that Planet Hair stands by their products is just another way they stand behind their service. Kathy understands that hair care is important hence the large selection of products her shop has on display. However, Kathy does ask that all clients do not touch the products because of the COVID 19 safety protocols and, instead, ask to see them. Look, inquire but do not touch.  

Not only does Planet Hair and Spa provide haircuts, colours, and streaks. They also provide some of the best “products” to keep your hair healthy”, Tania Stewart.

To illustrate the vast range of products available 

The products available are many. Too many to list here. But, since summer is coming, they do have some suntan lotion made from hemp that is gaining some good reviews. Then there is the line of AG hair products on her shelves which will take care of your hair. Some of the brand names lining the shelves include “Designer Skin”, “Fiesta”, “Rusk“, “Reuzel” and “Nioxin“.  Whenever you are wanting to tame or inspire your curls then take a look at “DevaCurl“.  Planet Hair & Spa has many of things a person would want for hair and skin care. 

merrittplanethair

Nails are important!

bcplanethair&spa

Comfort is important.

Planet Hair & Spa product wall. “Teetree” is available.

Additionally Planet Hair & Spa offers a wide range of styling items

Equally important are the styling items available like straighteners. For you newbies those are the hot curling devises we use to keep our hair style going. In fact Planet Hair & Spa is a one stop shopping place to purchase everything your hair desires. Not to mention that a coupon or beauty product would make for a great gift!

 

planethairnicolavalley

Taking your appointments serious.

When re-opening social distancing is key 

Kathy has made sure your health is number one when visiting her shop in the Nicola Valley. She has her staff well trained and equipped with all the protective equipment including masks, and head visors. Social distancing will also be respected in her shop with only 3 hair stations operating at one time, which is every second chair in operation.

The separation of the chairs will provide safe social distancing. Truly making sure all clients are safe Kathy has all work stations social distanced as well as in client’s waiting room space. Moreover making your experience stress-free, relaxing while providing assurance for every one’s safety. While giving her clients the needed care and beauty treatment they have been waiting for. 

It is always a Great Experience!

planet hair and spa

Kathy Castro – Planet Hair & Spa

Everyone I talk to about Planet Hair & Spa tell me that Kathy has a way of making you feel like you are their favorite client. Whether it is your first time in her chair or your five-hundredth time having your hair done Kathy makes you feel comfortable and welcomed. What makes this hair salon and spa stand out is truly how gracious Kathy and her team are for having you as a client. 

Without a doubt Kathy is one of the most determined business minds I have been fortunate to know. A fashionista, trend setter, entrepreneur and let us not forget an amazing hair stylist.

 

CONTACT US:

Planet Hair & Spa

2040 Granite Ave,
Merritt, BC V1K 1P3

(250) 378-5558

WEBSITE

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Nicola Valley Creativity in Action

Creatives in the Nicola Valley Gather, Carefully

What local creative projects do you know are happening?

Nicola Valley creativity is in action. The community is buzzing with creativity. As the curator at the NV Arts Gallery I have my finger on the pulse of arts happening in and around the town of Merritt.

At least that’s what I wish. Beyond my mandala of gallery action and the programs we run, there is a lot going on out there. Just like our recent exhibition, The Art of Covid, showed, creativity persists in our Nicola Valley inhabitants. No matter what the conditions. 

And I can’t keep up with all the arts action in the community. Visual arts like paintings, pottery, and fabric arts are happening everywhere.   Dance seems to be alive and kicking. Online possibilities are taking the place of in person, and inaction. Creativity persists.

Music in the Valley

Some community art expressions, like music events, have dropped off. But I know music is being made…You Tube, Facebook, Spotify all have local music happening. 

Bobby Garcia musician

Bobby Garcia singing I Remember When

Open Mic music is kept up by Al and Denise. Robert Bertrand posts music, and Bobby Garcia lets us know about his latest releases on Facebook. Richard Lepinski writes an original song a month, and posts them to his You Tube channel, along with cover songs. Lilly Parks hooked us up to her channel and we’ve got her on our playlist.

Covid protocols

Meet up with Denise Kearney

I miss our weekly Open Mic Night at Kekuli Cafe, but local musician Denise Kearney and I stay in touch, talking about how and when the music action in town will open up.

What Creative Projects are happening?

I can’t tell you everything that’s happening arts wise here in the Nicola Valley, but I get to talk to, and hear about, people who are immersed in creative projects.

I enjoy it because inspiration is often a part of the conversation. If inspiration is present then commitment and action are usually not far behind.

Since I am committed to taking action, almost monthly with new shows, I wanted to flesh out two upcoming summer shows with working titles Body Art and The Art of Clothing

Meet Up for  Summer Inspiration

Merritt BC Artists

Kelly and Olivia discuss art shows

I called Kelly Reid for a meet up. Kelly manages her son Joel’s art which we carry in our Gift Shop. Kelly is a creative herself, turning Joel’s art into bags, Tshirts, and cards. And she is full of art appreciation and ideas.

I knew we could generate some ideas for the summer shows. We invited Olivia Nendick, an artist still in high school who has just applied for a Gallery art show for next fall. She had told us that she hunts down one of a kind fashion.

Besides the of-course! summer tie dye outdoors event we had already come up with, our trio decided to gather thrift store finds for artists to creative-up, and keep an eye out for mannequins. Got one we can use?

We figure we’ll plan an early workshop to get creative with articles of clothing (think beads, embroidery, patches, fabric paint). Stay tuned.

Creative Circles

Leonard George Artist

Leonard George and Blue Bear Painting

We like the idea of local artists’ works printed on silk scarves (imagine Jean’s red post office or Leonard’s blue bear. Or Herta’s flowers). 

We’ll hunt down the leather workers, bead makers, hair, tattoo and henna artists, and see if Colleen Waddell will do some fun air brush make up on a July Saturday afternoon.

Fashion design drawings, sketches of hairstyles, photos of tattoos for our Gallery walls.

And Olivia is going to take on a mannequin for the Art of Clothing show. Can’t wait.

Got ideas? Want to participate?

Know a local you think could contribute to either of these shows?

The Body Art Show is by invitation, but we are looking for body artists so get in touch. And the Art of Clothing is a community show, so get busy! We have limited space but we love to fill it.

More Shows

Before those summer shows happen there are three shows in the works. MSS is putting on a show “Unmasked”. Then the Clubhouse group is going to show all the art they’ve been doing during sessions with several NVCAC artists. 

And in June we are welcoming long time artist Judy Young, once involved with the Valley Visual Artists. Judy always contributes something amazing to our community shows so I’m looking forward to her one-person show coming up.

Following Covid protocols

We are Covid careful, but we are still in action with the arts, learning mad Zoom skills, planning Gallery shows, manning the Gift Shop, having socially distant meetups, putting on workshops. 

And… I just heard that the Farmer’s Market will accept artisan vendors as well as the produce essentials. Art is essential! Will we participate? Or just head over to enjoy what other locals are setting up? 

At the NV Gallery and Gift Shop, we know a lot of what’s happening in the arts in our community. And when you read our Experience Nicola Valley blogs,  the paper, as well as, watch Facebook and listen to our friends and colleagues like I do, it is easy to see Nicola Valley creativity in action. 

 

Kids Art

Susan and Fiona, Fabric Art Fun

Indigenous Art

Cliff McDougall Powwow photography

Merritt BC Artists

Artists Herta and Shirley

Artisan Covid masks

Artisan Angela Ho designs clothes

Artist Cindilla Trent

Cindy Trent setting up her “Looking Forward” Art quilt show

Art Program with Covid Protocols

Clubhouse Art Program

The arts are alive and well in the community! I’m inspired….

Jano Howarth 

NV Arts Gallery Curator 

Arts and Culture Blogger for Experience Nicola Valley

Artists Merritt BC

Artist Pat Tombe burns a design into one of his fab wooden bowls

Banjo

Watching Richard Lepinski on Youtube

Nicola Valley Creativity in Action

 

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Award Winning Nicola Valley Travel and Tourism Guides

nicola valley talk show

“Experience Community Program” is a small and rural community authentic content marketing program. It is a product of the EH? Canada Marketing Group

Merritt Outdoor Summer Adventures

Summer Adventure on Nicola Valley’s Lakes 

“Lake a day for as long as you stay”

Truly “a lake a day for as long as you stay” bodes well with Merritt outdoor summer adventures in the Nicola Valley. Whether you are looking for a Provincial inclusive campground or wanting a more rustic adventure, the Nicola Valley has it all. To begin with you may want to just pull off the beaten path and hitch your tent alongside a river. Or you may want to dive deep into the backwoods that only a 4×4 can reach. Another possibility for the Merritt BC adventurists is to kayak to a hidden private campsite. 

merritt summer adventures

Camping. Photo Tania Stewart.

merritt outdoor summer adventures

Our Camp for the summer. Photo Tom Reynolds.

Monck Park is a Merritt Outdoor Summer Adventure Destination

The 118 hectare Monck Provincial Park campground is located just outside of the community of Merritt on the shores of Nicola Lake. There are 120 campsites. These campgrounds provide a range of sites from powered campsites with water to bare tenting campsites with no services. Additionally you can bring your powerboat for tubing or skiing! Located 23km from Merritt BC and 62km from Kamloops BC, Nicola Lake is easily accessible.  Great for kayaking, fishing and boating.

Adventure outdoor Merritt BC.

Water skiing is a must. Photo by Robert Neill.

Adventure outdoor Merritt BC.

Like a Pro she is! Photo courtesy of Robert Neill.

Camping Adventure in the Summer in Merritt BC 

Whether you are wanting to just relax, swim, or just enjoy the outdoors…. or wanting to tube, water ski or just boat around, the Nicola Valley offers a wide range of camp grounds.  Be sure to check out all our campgrounds listed on our Experience Merritt website and what lakes allow speed boats, non-motorized or smaller trolling boats. 

Summer outdoor Merritt BC.

Nicola Lake. Photo by Tania Stewart.

Water Safety!

Firstly,  it is important to be safe when around water when enjoying Merritt outdoor summer adventures. Never underestimate the power of currents. A boater, swimmer or wader in open water can be swept away instantly. Always swim with a buddy never alone. Check weather conditions before venturing into the water. “Lifejackets are like seat belts – they only work if you wear them, and wear them properly.”  For further information go to Canadian Red Cross.

Summer outdoor Merritt BC

Photo courtesy of Robert Neill.

Summer outdoor Merritt BC.

Lake Island. Photo by Robert Neill.

A Lake A Day As Long As You Stay

Experiencing Nicola Valley during Spring and Summer months is truly breathtaking. Lundbom Lake located 15min out of Merritt attracts many campers every year. Besides it’s beauty, Lundbom offers  fishing, horseback riding, mountain biking, ATVing and camping. To read more about Lundbom read Julie Pollard’s blog about  Lundbom Lake 

Horseback riding at Lundbom. Photo by Tania Stewart.

Lundbom Lake Reflection

Evening at Lundbom.

Need Fishing Gear?

Did you forget your fishing tackle or your fishing license? No worries, Merritt has a few locations that supply top notch fishing lures and supplies. Finding the right fishing gear is easy in Merritt, BC.  Expert information on your ideal fishing spots and camping areas can be found in the below sporting stores. 

“I was told the three best places to get lures in Merritt and the Nicola Valley were from Ponderosa Sports , Gun Fishing located in Merritt. As well,  Lucky Bug Lures, is a BC produced lure which works magic in our waters.”  Melvina White.

 

Outdoor Summer Adventure around Merritt BC.

Kiss the Fish! Photo Tania Stewart.

 

Priceless memories. Photo courtesy of Tania Stewart.

Summer fun! Photo by Robert Neill.

Summer Outdoor Adventures in Merritt BC

With lakes as dark as coal and lakes as blue as the sea. Deep or not so deep. Warm lakes and some very cold. The Nicola Valley has over 200 hundred lakes to pick from. You may even spot a lake monster here and there as part of your Merritt outdoor summer adventures. 

Local lake monster? Photo from Tania Stewart.

Kentucky-Alleyne Provincial Park 

Kentucky-Alleyne Provincial Park is located just off Highway 5A between Merritt and Princeton. Ideal for families who want to enjoy these two pristine lakes. Also both lakes will amaze you with sparkling turquoise water that draw anglers from near and far. As well as, both lakes have hiking trails for avid hikers. For more information about these two lakes go to Kentucky-Alleyne Provincial Park.

Kayaking on Kentucky Lake. Photo from Tania Stewart.

Alleyne lake. Photo by Tania Stewart.

Paska Lake near Logan Lake BC 

It is a 45 minute drive north of Merritt to Paska Lake. The turn off to the lake on Hwy 97D between Lac Lejeune and Logan Lake. Furthermore, the lake’ campground  contains around 50 sites many with lake views. 

Paska Lake is just one of almost two hundred lakes that are within an hours drive from Merritt. This is one of the reasons I love living in Merritt.” Tom Reynolds.

Paska Lake

Paska Lake-Shirley Reynolds Photo

Breakfast at the camp

Tom Reynolds – Photo Credit: Shirley Reynolds

Summer Adventures on Nicola Valley’s Lakes 

Here is a few lake’s that you may be interested in for planning your next outdoor summer adventures in Merritt BC. Consider these lakes for summer fun like Garcia Lake, Marquart Lake, Hamilton Lake, Edna Lake, Mathew Lake, Morgan Lake, Roth Lake, Gwen Lake,  and Lily Lake.

Photo courtesy of Robert Neill.

Summer outdoor Merritt BC.

Photo courtesy of Robert Neill.

Wildlife Outdoors. Summer outdoor Merritt BC.

Most importantly, while in the backcountry,  we all need to take action and become “Bear Aware” more and more in Merritt BC. Notably, because our habit’s are contributing to the increase in bear conflicts. Once bears start equating humans with food, they are conditioned and lose their natural fear of us. Hence bear and human conflict.  The bear is put down and not rescued in many circumstances. Make sure you store all food in a safe area as well never leave food out overnight on stove or picnic tables. Lesson your footprint! 

Summer outdoor Merritt BC.

Mountain goat. Photo by Robert Neill

Summer outdoor Merritt BC.

Photo by Robert Neill

Picture Perfect Summer in Merritt BC

Don’t forget your camera. Always a lot of wildlife to capture with a snap of a finger. If you are lucky you may see a mountain goat too! At the same time bird watchers will experience the wide variety of bird species within there habitat. As a result the Nicola Valley can boast a wide range of bird species. Truly a bird watchers dream!

AdventureMerrittBC.

Nesting. Photo courtesy Tania Stewart.

Staycation Merritt BC.

Bald eagle. Photo Tania Stewart.

Hiking while Camping is Another Outdoor Summer Adventure

Albeit being on the lake is sublime. Taking a short or lengthy hike is truly paramount for exploring the region within the outdoors. Surrounding most lakes and rivers in the Nicola Valley are many hiking trails that are easily accessible. Trails that offer an easy hike or a more extreme hike that may be a day trip.  Surely, which ever trail you choose, the view will be breathtaking.

Photo courtesy of Robert Neill.

Photo courtesy of Robert Neill.

Family Fun Times in the Nicola Valley

Assuredly, nothing can compare with the fun and memories that the outdoors has on people. Getting down with nature with your family is something that is unique, bonding, and creating many future adventurists. To be sure we all want to preserve nature we make sure to leave as little footprint as we can.

Summer outdoor Merritt BC.

The gangs all here! Photo courtesy of Robert Neill.

Priceless memories for everyone! Picture by Tania Stewart.

As previously stated “Outdoor Summer Adventure” around Merritt BC. is truly an experience. Canadian summers are brief, every day is an adventure to enjoy. Tania Stewart.

Summer Adventure on Nicola Valley's Lakes.

Summer fun. Photo courtesy of Robert Neill.

Summer Adventure on Nicola Valley's Lakes.

Water skiing. Photo courtesy of Robert Neill.

 

Photo courtesy of Robert Neill.

Summer Adventure on Nicola Valley's Lakes.

What fun. Image by Robert Neill.

The big question to ask yourself when coming to the Nicola Valley is which lake are you going to explore? The Experience Nicola Valley blog and Experience Merritt website is a good place to start,” Greg Girard.

In Conclusion!

Truly a lake a day is Merritt’s slogan. Albeit staying for a few days or just having a staycation this is were you will find it.

Merritt Outdoor Summer Adventures

Nicola Valley is home to over 200+ lakes and endless adventures

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Award Winning Nicola Valley Travel and Tourism Guides

nicola valley talk show

“Experience Community Program” is a small and rural community authentic content marketing program. It is a product of the EH? Canada Marketing Group