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merritt centennials

MERRITT CENTENNIALS

LONGEST CONTINUOUSLY RUN FRANCHISE IN THE BCHL

THE CENTENNIALS ARE IMPORTANT TO MERRITT

Merritt Centennials: Like many small towns in Canada, hockey is a big deal in Merritt, BC, Canada during the winter.  We have a strong minor hockey system but the crowning glory of our town is the Merritt Centennials Hockey Cub.  In 1973 Pooley Brothers Construction formed a group that purchased the White Rock  Centennials and moved them to Merritt.

“It is simply amazing that this level of  hockey exists in Merritt”  Steve from Vancouver!

A long Tradition Begins

The team has gone through several different types of ownership groups, from private to not-for-profit societies.  Every time it seemed like the club would fold a white knight would appear and save the day.  The Pooley Group ran the club until the 1980-81 season when ownership transferred to a non profit community group.  During the Pooley years the club had some great success.

merritt centennials

Ownership Changes

With the financial struggles the club changed ownership and a group that included Merritt’s own Mr Hockey, Brian Barrett, took over the reins and the club was again in private ownership for the 86-87  season,  Ownership was consolidated for the 89-90 with Brian being a big part of the group.  In 94-95 the Sanders family and others took over the club.  By the 98-99 season the club changed hands again with Frank Biller (Erin Mortgage Corporation) being in charge. This was short lived but then our most famous owner, Tiger Williams, formerly of the Vancouver Canucks stepped in.  And finally, ownership returned to a public entity for the 00-01 season and has remained under this current format for the past 20 Seasons.

The Struggles

The population base for the club is approximately 15,000 people, of which 10,000 are adults.  In order for the club to succeed they need to sell 500 season tickets and have 275 walk ups each game. We need 7.5% of our eligible population to participate.  In contrast the Vancouver Canucks only need .5%.  We therefore need 15 times more of our population to participate.

Our small population also means our business base is not as big as larger centres so this source of funds is limited.  Having said that, the businesses that we do have go above and beyond with their support !

How have the Merritt Centennials survived

In the early years it wasn’t too difficult.  The losses were not too severe, therefore, the owners would kick in the shortfall and things would continue on.  But overtime the operational budgets grew and the losses grew to such an extent that owners could not justify this type of subsidy.

Inside the Arena-Julie Pollard Photo

In the 2000-2001 season a Board of Directors was put in place to guide the team financially.  This was an amazing group who put their heart and soul into this effort.  In 2003, given the expertise of the board, they decided to build a home on Nicola Lake and sell it for a profit. At the time the real estate market was hot and it looked like a large profit could be made.  Unfortunately, the boom did not last and in the end the project lost money.

 

The financial difficulties continued until a new board was elected   This group was made up of people associated with the forest industry.  They borrowed money from some of their members and were able to secure a community forest license which has helped keep the team afloat.

The new reality for the Merritt Centennials

For the Club the forest license has been great but it is not a forever thing, as such, the club needs to find other sources of revenue.  This is where you, the reader, comes in.  The Cents have an internet 50/50 draw that you can participate in.

You can get in on the action because each ticket only costs $2.00 to play.  With your purchase, that becomes your number and it stays in the contest even if you don’t renew it.  If you don’t renew it your number could still be drawn but you won’t get your share of the pot.  The pot as of January 6, 2020 is approximately $3400 of which your share would be $1700.  The draw is every Tuesday.

Currently the split between active tickets and those that have not been renewed is about 50%.  That means the pot has a very good chance to grow.  So if you want to take a whirl at this fun game you need to go to merrittcentennials.com and follow the links.

merritt centennials

Click logo to play

Contact Information

Merritt Centennials Junior A Hockey Club
PO Box 1730
Merritt BC V1K 1B8
Phone: (250) 378-3604

Centennials Game Schedule

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Merritt Centennials

Merritt, British Columbia, Canada

Nicola Valley Rodeo Association

Merritt BC Canada 2019 Rodeo

Merritt BC Canada Rodeo event in 2019.

2019 Nicola Valley Rodeo Association in Merritt BC Canada. Merritt rodeo grounds and venue were built and, for more than half a century, run by the Nicola Valley Rodeo Association. The grassland expanses of the Nicola Valley are home to some of British Columbia’s oldest ranches. They and five First Nations communities centred around the Merritt community form the foundation of the ranching and rodeo heritage of the Nicola Valley.

Nicola Valley Rodeo Association

To Illustrate this 2-day celebration of Western Heritage gives locals and brings people together from around the world.

People from Scotland, Australia, USA, as well from all across Canada attended this annual event.

Merritt BC Cowboys

Event Team Ropers warming up.

Furthermore all Livestock are well look after. Only the best for their partners.

In reality I have heard that the livestock have 5 star treatment compared to some of the two legged competitors.

Merritt Nicola Valley Rodeo Association

Clint Buhler Team Roper along with “Snowman”.

“As a result of hard determination and skill Team roping: Clint Buhler/Chase Simpson, 5.3, Putting them in 5th place.”

Nicola Valley Pro Rodeo

Looking good on a horse is the easy part. Roping takes practice & dedication.

Nicola Valley Rodeo Association Sponsors

Together with all the amazing competitors there are the sponsors.  With out

Young cowboy at the Nicola Valley Pro Rodeo

Future “Cowboy?”

their help and dedication we may not have this attraction in Merritt. Given that Nicola Valley Pro Rodeo sponsors will be included in many of the photo’s.

 

Furthermore the Merritt Rodeo Grounds host a wide range of events including ranch rodeos, youth rodeos, barrel racing, other equestrian events and clinics through out the year.

Consequently July 26-28 2019 The Canadian High School Rodeo Finals was held at the Nicola Valley rodeo grounds in Merritt BC as well.

Young admirer at the Merritt Rodeo

The clothes do not make the cowgirl, it’s the attitude and heart.

Speaking about team work. There would be no rodeo without the countless volunteers who are passionate about preserving the uniqueness of Merritt’s Pro Rodeo. Recognizing all its western history and culture within the surrounding ranching communities.

Without their dedication, long hours and sometimes health risks Nicola Valley’s Pro Rodeo may ride away into the sunset. A huge cheer to rodeo co-chair Mary MacGregor and fellow co-chair Peter Spencer.

Clowns save lives at Nicola valley Rodeo

Thank you to the Bullfighting clowns!

Clowning around at Merritt rodeo

Taking risks to help “Bull” rider!

All fun and games.

Important to realize that rodeo clowns are there to entertain the crowd. While barrelmen tag-team with bullfighters to distract the bulls after each ride. Allowing the cowboy to safely exit the arena. Around since the 1930’s, the job of a barrelmen and rodeo clown is no easy feat and shouldn’t be underestimated.

Nothing funny about being a clown

Always a Clown! • Ogilvie Mtn Holdings LP

Furthermore these beautiful horses are truly stars in their own right.

Horses are mans best friend at the rodeo

Rodeo Sponsor • Jamie Payton Movie Horses

Not to mention Merritt Rodeo features the finest animal athletes in North America.

“When nothings going right, Go left”

Timing is critical. From a standstill, a rider will put his horse into a gallop from the box shortly after the calf leaves the chute,

Calf Roping

The goal of this timed event is for the rider to catch the calf by throwing a loop of rope from a lariat around its neck, dismount from the horse, run to the calf, and restrain it by tying three legs together, in as short a time as possible.

 

All “Cowboys” take pride in the speed in which they rope and tie calves.

Calf roping, also known as tie-down roping event.

 

Some of the best cowgirls and cowboys from across Canada and the U.S. competing at the Nicola Valley Rodeo Association’s event.

To say nothing of the great weather for the 61st annual Merritt Pro Rodeo over the Labour Day long weekend. Guaranteed there wasn’t a shortage of live excitement.

“Courage is being scared to death, but still saddling up anyway”

Proudly, endorsed by the Canadian Professional Rodeo Association and the American Professional Rodeo Cowboys Association.

 

All 4 off the ground, n still hanging in!

Although you may not recognize a performer’s name during an event, this doesn’t take away the intensity of watching and taking in all the excitement.

“If you haven’t fallen off a horse…then you haven’t been ridin’ long enough”. Coolnsmart : Hillbillie Deluxe on December 7, 2013

Bruised and battered bodies are the norm for any “Cowgirl” n “Cowboy”.

If this was easy, everyone would do it! • Copper Valley Mechanical Contractors Ltd.

Truly exciting to watch up-coming Rodeo Star’s!

Equally important are the Merritt Little Britches which was held June 14-16 this year at Nicola Valley’s Rodeo grounds. A place for young cowboys and cowgirls to get a start in the sport of rodeo is with the British Columbia Little Britches Rodeo Association

Tanya Stars.

A non-profit organization, the BC Little Britches Rodeo Association along with local rodeo clubs throughout the province host rodeos throughout the spring, summer and fall.

Barrel Racer’s start young! • Purity Feed Ltd.

Young barrel racer!

Barrel racing.

“Anyone who never fails is someone who never tries.” Unknown

Additionally Steer wrestling, also known as bulldogging, is a rodeo event in which a horse-mounted rider chases a steer, drops from the horse to the steer, then wrestles the steer to the ground by grabbing its horns and pulling it off-balance so that it falls to the ground.

Git er down! • Nicola Post & Rail Ltd.

Furthermore this event carries a high risk of injury to the cowboy.

Dig down!

Barrel Racing!

Barrel Racing officially started in 1928 when it became the first sport for women on horseback. This skill is easily overlooked. A speed event involving a horse, along with its rider, galloping and making agile turns around three barrels placed in a triangular fashion.

Rider must control the horse’s speed at the right moment to enter the “pocket”

The racer enters the arena at top speed and with great skill circles all 3 barrels.

“3 Turns, 2 Hearts, 1 Soul”

Steering as close to the barrels as they can. Precious seconds.

Racers enter the arena at full speed and try to circle the three barrels as quickly as they can.

Equally the horse must be fairly aggressive, and the rider should be in command throughout.

“If you ain’t afraid of the speed, you ain’t going fast enough”. Cowgirltimes

 

Tighter the turn.

Especially a highlight of the Rodeo is the “Bull” riding event.

Bull riding is a rodeo sport that involves a rider getting on a bucking bull and attempting to stay on while being bucked off. Notably recognized as “the most dangerous eight seconds in sports”.

“Brace your backbone and forget your wishbone.” Bull riding sayings

To receive a score, the rider must stay atop the bull for 8 seconds with the use of one hand gripped on a bull rope tied behind the bull’s forelegs.

“Bull riding is probably the most dangerous sport in the world in terms of head injuries.” Jonathan Gottschall

Hanging on! • The Grand Pub and Grill

Don not try this at home! • Steffens Family in memory of Jim Steffens

Touching the bull or themselves with the free hand, or failing to reach the eight-second mark, results in a no-score ride.

“Sometimes I think life is just a rodeo, the trick is to ride and make it to the bell.”

“If you can’t dazzle them with brilliance, baffle them with bull.”

Each bull has a unique name and number.

Keep Calm and Hold On

Still holding on. • Norgaard Ready-Mix Ltd.

Bucking, rearing, kicking, spinning, along with twisting.

Amazingly after all the bucks, kicks, spins and twists that continues for 8 seconds. The buzzer signals the end of the ride.

Nicola Valley Rodeo Sponsor • Best Western Plus

“A good old rodeo never hurt anyone.”

Merritt Pro Rodeo Sponsor • Infracon

Certainly a trick used by bull riders and bareback riders from being bucked is to use tar or resin on the hand they hold onto the rigging.

Nicola Valley Rodeo bumps and bruises

Wise sayings often fall on barren ground, but a kind word is never thrown away. Arthur Helps. Bull riding quotes

“Cliff Williamson is the only contestant to compete in the CFR for 29 years. Williamson is a five-time Canadian champion in tie-down roping and was inducted into the Canadian Professional Rodeo Hall of Fame in 2002.” Edmonton Journal

Bull riding Nicola Valley Rodeo

“Never corner something meaner then you.”

Ouch that hurts. Nicola Valley Rodeo

8 seconds is a long time! Sponsors • Ellis Livestock Company

Bull riding: 1. Jackson Scott (Kamloops, BC) 88 points on Northcott-Macza’s B60 Lap Dance.

Cowboy and bull trying to get along

Sponsors • Valley Carriers Ltd.

“Relationships are kind of like riding a bull. You hang on for dear life and sometimes you get a little buck here and there but you get back on.” Unknown

A great turnout at the 61st annual Merritt Nicola Valley Pro Rodeo.

Full house at the Nicola Valley Rodeo event

The bleachers are packed! • Western Livestock Marketing Solutions Inc.

New this year Rodeo 101 Behind the Chutes Stock Tour.

Rodeo 101 spectator, athlete involvement, stock tours along with children’s activities.

Merritt Bull Riding

Bronc riding like my Pa!

Nicola Valley Rodeo Saddle lessons

Learning how to saddle a horse.

Learning the ropes. Infracon

Additionally along with the “Instant Replay” scoreboard makes it easier to keep track of all events.

And with this new re-vamped “Rodeo Saloon” one can truly enjoy a cold one.

Beer at Nicola Valley Rodeo

What’s a Rodeo without a Saloon!

Rodeo and ice cream

A cold refreshing ice-cream, what better way to cool off! • Prairie Coast Equipment

As Can Be Seen

Above all since its establishment in 1958 Nicola Valley’s Rodeo Legacy continues on Labour Day weekend. A annual event that brings people from across Canada, USA, Scotland, Australia, Britain, and importantly local Merritt residents.  Truly a spectators sport watching these athletes perform at their best.

I love a great “Rodeo”, and this is one of the best!” Tanya Stewart, Experience Nicola Valley Blogger

Feel free to read my previous story about the lead up to the Nicola Valley Pro Rodeo Event.

Nicola Valley Rodeo Association In Merritt

Merritt BC Canada 2019 Rodeo

Mason Bees

Pollinate using mason bees

How to keep mason bees

Mason bees are a native species of bee that are fantastic at pollinating our fruit trees and gardens. There is a decline of wild and honey bees due to the use of herbicides and parasitic mites. Mason bees are a great and easy way to restore the productivity of your garden.

What is Pollination?

Pollen transferred from one flower t another is called pollination. Flowers depend on bees to move pollen from one flower to another thus pollinating them. The bees are rewarded with food to survive and to use for inside the chambers of there eggs.

The more bees there are to pollinate the more abundant the crops will be. It’s quite simple really. More bees equal more the more pollen delivered, equals more fertilization, equals more seeds which equals more fruit and larger fruit. It’s a win, win for everyone.

mason bee pollen

Photo Credit Crownbees

How to tell bees from wasps.

Bees have three body segments, head, thorax and abdomen. The female bee is the only one who can sting. Her abdomen has an oviparous for laying eggs which also serves as a stinger. The male does not have this but has male genitalia instead. Therefore he can not sting. Bees are also covered in tiny little hairs. These hairs are what help the bees to collect and distribute pollen.

Wasps on the other hand only have two body parts, the head and abdomen. They are carnivorous which means they get their protein from meat. They do also look for sugar substances from any source available.

Mason Bee Appearance

Mason Bees look black and like a house fly. But there are a few ways that you can tell them apart from house flies. One way is the antennae. A mason bees’ antennae are segmented.  Another way to tell them apart is that a mason bee has little hairs on it’s body where as a house fly is bare of hairs. You also won’t find mason bees on your food or leftovers or anything that is rotting etc. Mason bees you will find on open flowers in your orchard or garden.

You can tell the male mason bees apart from they female mason bees by the little tuft of white hairs on its head and up the antennae. Males are also smaller than females. Male mason bees also have antennae that are longer than their heads while female mason bees have smaller antennae.

mason bee merritt bc canada

Mason bee landed on my finger.

Life of Mason Bees

The mason bees are a solitary bee. Females do not need the aid of a colony to nest ad lay eggs. She finds a nest site and provides everything necessary to ensure the success of her eggs.

Adult mason bees stay in their cocoons over the winter. Once spring arrives, they emerge and have a very busy but short life span of about a month.

Spring time for Mason Bees

Mason Bees are very active once they emerge in the spring. There life consists of mating, producing their offspring and dying. This usually happens anywhere from Feb to May depending on the altitude of where they are living.

Male mason bees will emerge first as they are the last to be layed in the nesting tube. They are so cute with the white hairs on their heads and along their antennae. The males will not stray far from the nest as they wait for the females to emerge.

Once the weather is warm enough, daytime temperatures need to reach 14 degrees Celsius. The females will start to emerge. Male and female mason bees mate as soon as the females emerge. The female then starts looking for a place to lay her eggs and build the nests.

Nest Site

After the female has found a suitable nesting site, she will go looking for pollen and nectar. While she is collecting the pollen and nectar, she is also pollinating the flowers all around. Once she had enough food the female mason bee will go back to her nest. She places the food down, lays and egg on top and closes the segment off with mud. The female mason bee will continue to do this until either she has layed all her eggs or she dies.

Nest Material

Mason Bees nest in tubes and holes or pretty much anything that has a cylinder shape. If you’d like to make a mason bee house of your own there are a few things to consider. First you need to make sure that the tubes you make are at least 5″-6″ in length and 5/16″ in diameter. This ensures that there is a good ratio of male to female eggs layed. If the tube is too short there will be more male mason bees layed.

mason bee nesting tubes

Mason bee tubes. Made from Plastic. Can be taken apart.

You will want to make sure you place your mason bee house facing east so that it will receive morning sun and get afternoon shade in hotter climates. Ensure that your nest is protected from wind and rain. Very important to make sure there is an area they can get moist clayey mud in a hole in the ground as they need this to close off the sections in their nests and the end of the nest.

In the wild there is a chance for the nest sites to become infected with parasites or destroyed by predators. If we are looking after the nests, we can ensure more bees will survive. By making or buying nest that come apart so they can be cleaned, inspected and kept safe from predators.

Mason bee home

Mason Bee House

Once the nests are closed

Inside each chamber the egg will hatch, and the larva or grub will feed on the pollen and nectar ball left by the mother. Once the larva has fully grown, they go into a resting stage. The larva then spins a cocoon and changes into a pupa inside the cocoon. By the end of summer, the pupa’s have evolved into adult mason bees. Warmer temperatures will ensure the adults have developed fully. Cooler temperatures may halt growth and even cause death. But if the summer heat is too hot it can also have detrimental effects on the cocoons.

Keep your nests safe

You can also make sure that your nests are kept safe over the summer before harvesting. Once all the holes have been closed with mud you know it’s time. You can take the block of nests and place them inside a special nesting bag. This bag allows air to flow through but will not allow birds and other predators to get in and destroy the nests. You can move them into a shaded place until it’s time to harvest the cocoons in fall.

Retrieving the cocoons

Female and male mason bees remain in their cocoons over the winter. In the fall you will want to retrieve the cocoons from the nests and go over them for parasites or diseases.

Usually around October it’s time to harvest your mason bee cocoons. How you harvest your nests will depend on which type of nesting materials you used. Carefully take apart, unravel or cut your tubes open. Remove the individual cocoons from the nesting tubes. You can put them aside and wash or discard later.

Now you will inspect the cocoons for any mold, fungus or parasites. Good cocoons are nice rich brown color and look similar to deer droppings lol.

Washing your cocoons

Once you have harvested your cocoons you need to wash them. You can do this by taking a 4 L bucket of lukewarm water. Place a layer of cocoons into the water. Gently roll them in the water to help the mud and other debris to fall off. Let the cocoons sit in the water for 20-30 min. Stir them occasionally to remove dirt and ensure they are well whetted. Good cocoons will float. If any sink to the bottom they are no good and can be set aside.

Mites

You can inspect cocoons for mites. IF there are mites you will want to wash them in a solution of bleach and water. The solution consists of 1 tbsp bleach to 4 L of lukewarm water. Put the effected cocoons into a sieve and lower the sieve and cocoons into the bleach solution. Carefully mix them around to help any mites fall off. After 10 min remove from the bleach solution and put them under warm running water for 5 more min to help rinse of the chlorine. This should have removed any mites or remaining dirt.

Drying your cocoons

Now you are ready to dry your washed, dirt and mite free cocoons. Place a couple layers of paper towel down on the counter. Place your cocoons on the paper towel and cover with more paper towel. After a couple hours you can reinspect your cocoons.

Inspection

Look under your cocoons for any orange spots on the paper towel. If there are less than 10 per square inch you are good to go, and washing them was successful. If there are more than that you need to screen your cocoons to remove the rest of the mites or as many as you can.

Screening your Mason Bee cocoons

The best way to screen for mites is to use a metal window screen or a metal kitchen sieve. Put the cocoons onto the screen and start rolling them around by gently shaking the screen back and forth. You will want to do this in a place where the mites can fall and be easily cleaned up, like over a bathtub. Once you have rolled the mason bees cocoons around on the screen for about 60 seconds you can put them back on replaced paper towel for another hour. Rolling the cocoons around on the metal heats them up a bit and causes the mites to fall off. Now they are ready to be stored and inspected for mason bees or wasps.

Inspecting for wasps

The easiest way to inspect your mason bee cocoons for wasps is to candle them. Take a flash light with a lip, place enough cocoons on the glass plate to cover it. Make sure you are in a dark room. Turn the flashlight on. In the cocoons that contain mason bees you will be able to see the little bee in a fetal position. If the cocoon is transparent then you know the cocoon is questionable. Do not leave the cocoons on the light for more than a min as it can dry out the cocoon and may kill the bee.

Unsure if the cocoon is good?

IF you are not sure when you candle or check over your mason bee cocoons. You can take those and store them in a separate container for the winter. In the spring warm up the cocoons and watch what emerges. If its a mason bee, cool it off in the fridge until the outside temp is warm enough to release. If it is something else that emerges destroy it.

Storing cocoons over winter

There are special coolers that you can purchase to house mason bee cocoons. They have a space for your cocoons and a space for a wet towel to help keep the humidity correct. There are also air holes to make sure they have adequate air circulation. You can also use a cardboard box with paper towel on the bottom to cushion the cocoons. Make sure there are holes in what ever container you decide on. Once you have them snug in their container the best place to store them in in the refrigerator. Manual defrost fridges are more humid than frost free. Therefore, are best for keeping mason bee cocoons. If you have a frost-free fridge keep an eye on your cocoons. Sometimes males will emerge while in the fridge.

If any bees emerge while in the fridge don’t panic. I had some emerge and created a cotton ball with equal parts water and sugar and put it into the container, so the emerged bees had something to eat. Once the weather is warm enough and there is enough food outside you can release them along with the other cocoons.

mason bees emerging cocoons

My little mason bees emerging a little early.

Spring Emergence

The easiest way to tell if it’s time to release your bees is wen the temperature outside is a steady 15 degrees Celsius and there are flowers on your apple tree. If you don’t have apple trees just make sure there are blossoms of some kind close to where you have set up your nesting area. Place the cocoons adjacent to or in the nest site.

Make sure the ground underneath your nesting site is not too wet or has any puddles and the newly emerging bees can fall and will drown. Best way is to release in batches every 4-7 days. This way if the weather turns bad you won’t lose all of your bees.

Bees need full sun and early as possible in the morning. There bodies need to warm to 90 F in order to be able to fly. They like to be out early to avoid the afternoon heat.

mason bee warming in the sun

Mason Bee from Merritt BC Canada warming up in the sun

Fascinating to watch

Mason bees are so fascinating. They are social bees and are so easy to watch. Make a mud area where you and the family can enjoy watching the females collect mud to wall off each section of their nests. You can also go out early in the morning to check out the bees sitting in the opening of their nests. They really are quite cute. There are nest boxes you can purchase that allow you to watch each stage of the mason bee’s life.

Conclusion

Mason bees are only on species of bee that are so important to our environment. Do your part by not using pesticides. Plant native wild flowers. Grow and harvest your own mason bees. So easy, so fun and so rewarding.

Thank you for taking the time to read my blog on Mason bees. Interested in learning more? Please feel free to contact me or check out my other blogs on bees at Experience Nicola Valley

If you would like to purchase some supplies and mason bee cocoons you can check on the internet. If you live in the Merritt or Nicola Valley area you can contact our local supplier Ellen Miller from Miller’s Farm in Lower Nicola. They also put on beekeeping courses and other seminars, including a mason bee seminar.

Photo Credit

Feature image of mason bee on the purple flower taken by Rusty Burlew of Honey Bee Suite. Stop by her website to check out all the great things she has to offer.

Photo of mason bee on the nesting tube covered in pollen courtesy of CrownBees. They also have a wonderful website with lots of great information.

Mason Bees – Merritt BC Canada

Nicola Valley Community Garden Society

Gardening in the Nicola Valley

“To plant a garden is to believe in tomorrow” Audrey Hepburn

Since 2012 when the Nicola Valley Community Garden Society came about by a group of friends who had a passion for gardening. They have wanted to continue to share that passion with their community.

Nicola Valley Community Garden has since become a place for members to share their expertise year after year with new gardeners and the community. Besides putting on different events and talks throughout the year, members also help each other with day-to-day tending when needed.

 

gardening community garden bees growing food

Photo Credit – Nicola Valley Community Garden

 

Most importantly its a place where you can grow a garden with help from other members.  Whether you are new to gardening or an expert, young or old there is something for you. A few things they offer;

Plot Support

  • Compost sharing
  • Seed sharing
  • Joint Watering
  • Garden Mentoring
  • New to Gardening? They can help you get started.

Although its in a community setting the benefits can be astounding. Being in a community plot allows you to learn as you grow and it also allows you to help others along the way. It really is a win win situation.

First of all a garden is a place where you can slow down and take in the tranquility of your surroundings. Be sure to take a look at the little things while you’re gardening. Enjoy teaching your children how to grow their own nutritious food. Harvesting what you grow is so rewarding. Besides, I think there is nothing quite as soothing as digging in the dirt and nothing quite as rewarding as watching those little seeds come through the earth. As well as growing to become food on our plates.

growing food, community garden, garden plot, vegitables

Photo Credit – Nicola Valley Community Gardens

Few of the Past Functions

Every year the Nicola Valley Community Garden Society hosts a few exciting functions. Below are a few of the past functions held at the gardens.

Past Events

  • Salsa Fest. Although no longer run, this event was meant to be a community celebration. To share the wonderful produce available in the area or grown by the gardeners. It was a great opportunity to do a bit of fundraising. Fundraising helped ensure the organization and garden was sustainable into the future. The salsa competition was held on Aug 15, 2015. It was an exciting event that hosted 8 competitors and 3 judges. The attendees were also treated to a salsa dance lesson as well as delightful taste experiences. Wouldn’t be fun to have this event again?
  • Harvest Potluck. Again an older event, this was held on one day in the fall. Gardeners would all share their harvest with fellow members. What a great idea as not every one may want to grow the same things. Being able to share your bounty with others was a great benefit.
  • Yoga in the Garden. This event was held in the garden over the summer. Becoming a popular peaceful way to spend an hour. The Community Garden is looking at possibly reintroducing this. In order to do this they would need volunteers to help set it up and run it. If your interested contact the Nicola Valley Community Garden Society.

And a couple more past talks

  • Compost and sq ft garden. There isn’t a lot known about this at the moment. They were talks they held once a month. Different subjects  discussed around composting and sq ft. gardening.
  • Earth ships by Sarah Molnar. Seems like a very interesting talk about combining your living space with your growing space and all the benefits you can rep by doing this.
  • Adventures in Permaculture with Julia Ghog and Mike Ebenal. While this talk featured three examples of experimental gardening using permaculture principles. The hugelkultur, the herb mound and the no-weed raised garden beds. It would also be interesting to learn other permaculture gardening ideas, for instance forest gardening.

Nicola Valley Community Garden  has a number of great events coming up in 2019. Be sure to check out NVCGS on Facebook or follow me at Experience Nicola Valley to read about whats going on past and present.

vegetables, good food, growing food

Photo credit – Nicola Valley Community Garden

Nicola Valley Community Garden’s Mission Statement

  • Facilitate and cooperate in the development of a sustainable food system for residents of the Nicola Valley.
  • Support the development of a network of community.
  • Encourage education in gardening; nutritional well-being and food security.
  • Engage seniors in the community mentoring of others.

Wondering how can you become involved? Check out a few options below.

Support

Besides becoming an associate member of the NVCGS, which will help show that what they strive to do is important. And as a result this helps them generate funds to keep going. Whether you are gardening or interested in giving talks, there is always a way you can help support them.

Finally it promotes a sense of pride in our Community. As we work towards healthier lifestyles and food sustainability for all.

Upcoming events

In Conclusion here are some upcoming events for March

  • March 8th – 12-6 pm – NVIT
    Table at Food Connection Event
  • March 19th 6:30-7:30 Earthwalker Spiritual Shop
    Caring for House Plants and tropicals guest speaker
  • March 23rd – 10-4 – Civic Center
    Table at Nonprofit fair
  • March 30th 10-4 Civic Center
    1 o’clock talk about benefits of gardening @ Woman’s Fair

Contact

Nicola valley Community Gardens can be found on;

  • FaceBook
  • Instagram
  • email: nicolavalleycommunitygardens@gamil.com
  • Telephone: Alycia at – 604-833-8761

Nicola Valley Community Garden Society

​Country Christmas Week Here in Merritt, BC!

Country Christmas delivers fun and community spirit…

​With a Festival of Trees, a Community Choir event, the Love to Dance Performance, our fabulous Christmas Parade, and shopping til midnight!

“We keep having to paint more little festive canvases as people buy them right off the tree!​”

Country Christmas

Tiny Painted Canvas Decorations

Our Country Christmas week is spectacular! It takes place during the last week of November and is one of the best things to do in Merritt.

My own experience started a few days before the week of celebration with the arrival of our tree at the Courthouse Gallery. For several years the Festival of Trees has involved an inspired number of businesses and non-profit groups. The groups each decorate a tree in their own fashion, from classic to creative, 

This means we have trees decorated with hockey pucks, ballet slippers, and peacock feathers-and everything in between. One year I decorated our Pop Up Shop tree with little dolls and teddy bears (all with sparkle halos on their heads) and rainbow feather boa garlands.

Festival of Trees

Country Christmas

Festival of Trees Past at CMHF

For the first years of Country Christmas, all the trees were set up on the main street of town, in the Canadian Country Music Hall of Fame. It’s a beautiful building with hard wood floors, high ceilings, and western-style chandeliers. The venue attracted locals and visitors from neighboring towns to see our Festival of Trees.

This year for the Festival of Trees event, all the decorated trees are spread out around the town, and people head out to do the tree tour. We adorned our tree at the Courthouse Gallery with tiny canvases, painted by local artists and interested Creatives. We keep having to paint more little canvases as people are buying them right off the tree! And all the money supports the Gallery.

Love to Dance Performance

Country Christmas

Love to Dance “Museum of Art”

This year, for the Country Christmas festivities, the Love to Dance Academy​ presented “Museum of Art”. Dance teachers Lizette Nel and Vanessa van Rensburg choreographed the dances which involved dancers of all ages, from adorable tots to graceful seniors. 

Herman Nel looked after the creation of the sets designed by Vanessa and Lizette, as well as the lights and music. Over a hundred colourful and gorgeous costumes and dresses were designed and sewn by talented members of the Merritt Dance Society. And there were plenty of volunteers, parents and dance lovers, who helped pull off the beautiful event. 

The two-hour long performance was presented at both an afternoon matinee, with classes of children arriving on school buses, and a stellar evening performance. 

Michelle Etchart, local songstress, performed two moving pieces while dancing continued around her. 

Country Christmas

Michelle Etchart

The night performance was captured on video, with CD’s available. I attended the matinee, and will be sure to acquire the evening performance CD. Worth watching again! And kudos to all those involved, with special recognition to the dancers showing such professionalism in putting on the two events in the same day!

Thanks to the Love to Dance Academy!

Christmas Concert!

Talk about things to do in Merritt! The night after the dance performances, several choirs and singing groups, duos, and soloists, provided a soul-satisfying musical evening to a large crowd at the Merritt Civic Center. (That’s the farthest away from the doors I have ever had to park in my many years of Merritt living!) 

Country Christmas

Merritt Community Band

The Merritt Community Band was there, the Community Choir, and more…

Also, Cecilia Dyck and Caitlyn Stephanie Walsh played piano duets, the four Snees entertained, and Michelle Etchart again performed with her spot on renditions.

And not only did the groups and soloists perform their own pieces, but the collaborations amongst them, and even the audience, brought the community together in inspired evening of music.

Well done! Bravo!

Then the Santa Parade…

I have heard that our Santa Parade is the largest in the world! The country? Our province? Well, I’ll wait to be informed properly but I do think the Nicola Valley Santa Parade is one of the best things to do in Merritt!

​The Merritt Country Christmas Santa Parade’s success shows what stuff our community is made of. We are tough, determined, hard working, creative, and ready to have fun…and all in support of our businesses and organizations.

And this year’s parade tested all of those qualities because it started to rain as the parade entries were lining up, started to pour as it got going, and the rain didn’t quit until near the end, when big fat snowflakes started to fall. People knew they’d get soaked, but they didn’t stay home. The floors of the shops, open for business until midnight after the parade, had puddles from the rain soaked customers….

Check out the photos of the rainy event on Merritt Herald‘s online coverage.

Open Mic Night, one more thing to do in Merritt during our Country Christmas week!

Country Christmas

Donna Dixon, a regular at Open Mic night

On the Friday night of the Santa Parade, I jut got wet running out to my car, and then dashing in to Kekuli Cafe. We put on a special Open Mic night that night! And we watched the rain come down, then the snow, and then mopped up the puddles that our audience left on the cafe floor when they poured in after the parade and settled in to the cozy venue.

 Mugs of hot coffee, tea, and hot chocolate were in high demand! And we invited our musicians to warm up the crowd. Al and Denise, Robert Bertrand, Willard Wallace, Quade Lindgren, Jim West…

And regulars like Doug and Donna Dixon were there to enjoy the live music.

It was a special Country Christmas 2018

Pouring rain during our Santa Parade only adds to the memories!

I hope there are always Country Christmas planners and volunteers. This week is a highlight in our community. It gets all of us who participate in any way, from young to old, in the mood for the holiday season, whatever our beliefs. We come together, show off our talents, have fun, support each other and are inspired to be thankful for each other. 

So kudos to the people in our community who plan Country Christmas, who put on the events, and who participate in them to make them all worthwhile. 

Let’s recognize each other for the contributions to community that Country Christmas brings!

Country Christmas

Painted Canvases on our Gallery tree

Now, does anyone want to come to the Courthouse Gallery to paint a little canvas for our tree? I found some empty spaces again! All welcome!

And you can wave to the LTD dancers while you are there. We share the Courthouse space.

Life as I know it, Jano Howarth

Creative Community

Nicola Valley Community Arts Council

 

 

 

Country Christmas

Phyllis Laage’s Tree Decoration