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Merritt BC Canada Murals

Aaron Pritchett Country Music Artist – Merritt Murals

Downtown Merritt Mural Walking Tour

“I Grew To Love Country Music Because Of The lyrics”. Aaron Pritchett

Merritt BC Murals features country music artist Aaron Pritchett who was born on August 2, 1970 in Vancouver, British Columbia, Canada. By the same token, Aaron grew up and was raised in Kitimat, BC, Canada – a coastal community in the northwestern region of British Columbia.

Aaron’s love of music didn’t start with country music. Growing up he would listen to the rock ‘n’ roll legends of his parents like Elvis, Sam Cooke, Smokey Robinson, The Miracles, Van Morrison, and James Brown. Correspondingly, as Aaron grew older, Canadian acts from the 1980’s, especially Bryan Adams, were a major influence as well. Consequently Pritchett’s single ‘DRIVE’ was co-written by Bryan Adams and British writer Phil Thornalley.

“Def Lepperd, AC/DC, bands like that; they are all a big part of the rockier licks I use in my songs today. I grew to love country music because of the lyrics . The songs are all about true life experiences.” Aaron Pritchett

Merritt BC Murals

Aaron Pritchett – Featured artists of Merritt BC Murals

Working The Road

Aaron Pritchett started his career as a DJ at Rooster’s Country Cabaret in Pitt Meadows, BC. As a result of his DJ career, he also played in a house band throughout BC and Alberta playing cover tunes.

Aaron Pritchett Big Break

In 2001 everything changed for Aaron.  In short he enter a singing contest called “Project Discovery” sponsored by CMT (Country Music Television). Most importantly Aaron won $10,000 in cash, and a professional music video directed by internationally acclaimed director, Steven Goldmann.

Aaron put his winnings towards recording his first album “Consider This”. The title track from the album was co-written by Pritchett and BC country music legend Rick Tippe. After that he got to record three songs with one of Canada’s top producers, Tom McKillip. In short, it was then, when Aaron Pritchett won the Project Discovery Talent Contest, at the Canadian Country Music Awards, he started receiving national recognition and attention.

Aaron Pritchett

Aaron Pritchett on City Furniture Building / Copyright 2019 ©Canadian Country Music Heritage Society / Painted by Michelle Loughery

Country Music Charts Recognizes Aaron Pritchett

Pritchett was now on a roll with some of his songs climbing to the top of the charts. As a result his success continued to grow with the release of his next albums – “Something Going On Here” in 2003 and “Big Wheel” in 2006. During this period of Aaron’s country music career he toured promoting his albums to his growing fan base.

“Combine humble, driven, talented, great songwriter and a focused artist together and you have Aaron Pritchett.”

Merritt BC Murals Connection

Merritt, British Columbia, Canada has played a big roll in Aaron’s career. Not to mention Aaron has played a big roll in building Merritt’s country music brand. For instance, Aaron Pritchett was a regular attraction over the 17 years of the Merritt Mountain Music Festival (now the Rockin’ River Country Music Fest). His debut performance at the festival was on the “The Little Big Stage” in 1993.

Pritchett said, “the times I performed in Merritt were quite an experience”.

Winning Independent Male Artist of the Year at the CCMA’s in 2004 and then Songwriter of the Year in 2007 put Aaron on the country music map. His winning single ‘Hold My Beer’ was not the song Aaron and his co-writers thought would ever make it big. Were they surprised.

Record Label Signing

604 Records, the production company of Nickelback’s Chad Kroeger, signed Aaron Pritchett to a label in 2008. Soon after, the “Thankful” album was released on September 9, 2008. Aaron promoted this album on a tour of Western Canada with Toby Keith and Jessie Farrel.

Aaron released his next album “In the Driver’s Seat” on November 9, 2010, under his own record label Decibel Music. Pritchett’s first greatest hits album, “Body of Work: A Collection of Hits”, was released on May 12, 2015 under Big Star Recordings.

In June 2016, Pritchett released the album “The Score”.  Moreover, the title commemorated his 20th year recording and the anniversary of his first album . The lead off single “Dirt Road In Em” went on to become #6 on the country music charts and was earmarked as a comeback single in Pritchett’s career. The second release from the album, “Out Of The Blue” followed suit reaching #9 on the charts. The release of “When A Momma’s Boy Meets A Daddy’s Girl”, climbed the charts and sat at #10 on the Canada Country Billboard for 8 weeks. Because of the results of Aaron’s efforts he was nominated in 2017 for Country Album of the Year at the Juno Awards.

The Country Music Team

Aaron is often heard praising his team for all his success. In addition Aaron credits his success, in the early part of his career, to Country Music Television and radio airplay. In addition, Aaron credits each and every fan that has supported him along the way. An early highlight of his career, was playing for an audience of 20,000 people in Ontario, Canada and listening to them singing along with his songs. 

“Without a team it is impossible to reach your goals.” Aaron Pritchett

Above all Aaron credits industry icon Heather Ostertag for much of his success. Heather is the Past President of FACTOR, Past President of the CMAO and owner of Heather Ostertag and Associates.

“Without Heather, many aspects of my career would never have happened. She has been a major supporter, a strong mentor and one of my best friends to this day. I thank her from the bottom of my heart for believing in me.” Aaron Pritchett

Merritt BC Murals Selfie Photo

Recognition as a Canadian Country Music Artist

To sum it up nicely, Aaron is considered, one of Canada’s favourite entertainers and all around good guy. Firstly, he has been honored with multiple Canadian Country Music Association, Juno and British Columbia Music Association nominations and awards. Secondly, some of the hardware he has taken home include Independent Male Artist, Independent Song, Entertainer, Male Artist, Album and Group of the Year Awards.

Aaron Pritchett has earned his title as one of Canada’s most energetic and electrifying entertainers in the industry. Most importantly, to all of us here in Merritt BC, Aaron has been a staunch supporter of The Merritt Walk of Stars, The Merritt Mural Project and The Canadian Country Music Hall of Fame.

Merritt Walk Of Stars

Hundred’s of International and National Country Music Artists have performed at the annual Merritt Mountain Music Festival over the 17 years of the festival. As a result, those stars left their mark permanently in Merritt BC by creating hand prints (or, in one case, footprints) accompanied by signatures. Each artist print is encased in concrete stars.

In 2003, those hand prints became the motivation behind the Merritt Walk of Stars – a self guided walking tour throughout the community . More importantly, the project helped solidify Merritt BC, Canada, as the Country Music Capital of Canada. Today, more than 100 bronze stars are located in plaques throughout the community. Aaron Pritchett created his star in 2004.

“It is huge to get a star,” he said. “It a real honour to be among the artists who have made stars in Merritt. As well as be recognized among some of the names that are included, in The Walk of Stars.”

Merritt Mural Walking Tour

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

Therefore, as a result, not only did the program serve to enrich our society, but it helped to transform Merritt BC, Canada into the largest outdoor country music art gallery you’ll ever visit. Subsequently, Aaron had his mural painted and sits on the wall of City Furniture on Voght street in Downtown Merritt, BC.

Canadian Country Music Hall of Fame

Country Music Capital of Canada

Merritt, BC Canada has its own history of cowboys, cattle ranches and country experiences. Country music is a part of the heritage and country lifestyle of Merritt, BC, Canada. Because Merritt has hosted an annual Country Music Festival for many years, it consequently became branded as the Country Music Capital of Canada. There was a short festival hiatus from 2012 to 2014. As a result Rockin River Music Festival took over the festival in 2015 and, since then, every August long weekend people come to Merritt for some top quality country music.

Canadian Country Music Hall of Fame

The Canadian Country Music Hall Of Fame opened in Merritt, BC Canada in 2009. In 2012, it became an arm of the Canadian Country Music Heritage Society in order to create a venue to display artifacts related to the inductees of the Canadian Country Music Hall of Fame. As a result, in 2018, there is a total of 139 inductees in the Merritt Hall of Fame.

The Canadian Country Music Hall of Fame is located in Downtown Merritt, BC, Canada on 2025 Quilchena Avenue. Moreover, make the effort to visit the Canadian Country Music Hall Of Fame and enjoy their  displays of your favorite artist inductees.

Make the Canadian Country Music Hall of Fame your starting point for your visit to Merritt, British Columbia, Canada, as well as, visit our downtown coffee shops, restaurants and local shops for a unique shopping experience.

In addition say hi to Aaron on social media and let him know you met him here on Experience Nicola Valley. Further more, Aaron can be found on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram. Don’t forget to send us a selfie of you with his mural too.

Downtown Merritt Mural Walking Tour

Canadian Country Music Hall of Fame

Hall of Fame

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 First Nation Traditional Foods in Merritt BC

Nicola Valley British Columbia Canada First Nation Traditional Foods & Lodging

“We harvest berries in the traditional Nicola Valley areas, as well as, fish and hunt using the old ways and new ways.”

What type of First Nation traditional foods and lodging in the Nicola Valley have helped my people endure the hot summers and cold winters? My people, through many generations, have experienced the changing seasons of the Nicola Valley for generations. The extremes of our Nicola Valley weather systems have taught us many survival skills and have played a large part in growing our appreciation of our lands. How did the First Nation people survive is a journey I would like to share with you? 

My Ancestors Were Nomadic During The Spring, Summer, And Fall Seasons

My ancestors used to live throughout the Nicola Valley territory traveling in groups. Living a nomadic life on the move provided my people the food necessary to last through the long cold winter months. Families would gather together in our seasonal villages and enjoy cooking over the open  fire, and celebrating our traditions.

First Nation Traditional Foods and Lodging

Saskatoon berries I picked

We lived on berries …

First Nation traditional foods in Merritt and throughout the Nicola Valley consisted of berries like Saskatoon berries, huckleberries, choke cherries and soap berries.

And We Hunted And Fished…

My ancestors’ diet wasn’t limited to just berries. No… we also fished and hunted wild game. During the fall seasons, my First Nation people would fish the mighty Fraser River. My people of our village would catch enough fish to survive the long winters. During the entire year, dependent on the weather, village hunters pursued wild game while hunting with bows.

 How Did My People Preserve Their Traditional Foods In Merritt BC?

traditional foods and lodging

Tule mat lodging

    In the early days of my people we often preserved our traditional foods by drying it on specially made mats of tule reeds. Tule reeds were gathered during the winter months on the shores of nearby lakes. Properly prepared these reeds were used for drying and preserving many of our First Nation foods. My people would also make larger mats from the tule reeds to double as floors in their makeshift lean-to’s during the warmer months.

How Did The Nlaka’pamux People Carry All This Food?

traditional foods and lodging

Cedar Root basket

As gathers and hunters we required transportation of our goods. Before the introduction of horses to our culture by the Spaniards, my people would use dogs to transport our goods. Because we lacked horses at that time my people would walk to and from,  here and there with their dogs. The dogs would be saddled with food packed in ceder root baskets.

Where Did My People Live Back Then?

traditional foods and lodging

Traditional lodges made out of cedar bark at Tuckkwiowhum interpretive village in Boston Bar

My First Nation ancestors used all sorts of materials from the land and waters. Because of our nomadic nature we were often in need of a portable shelter.  In the summer months we used temporary shelters because of the ease of transportation moving from location to location. These portable lean-to’s were created out of fir boughs and tule mats. If the location required a longer stay my people would build these lean-to’s with cedar bark. 

What About The Winter? 

First Nation pit houses

Interior model of a traditional Sheeiskin

Those summer temporary shelters wouldn’t hold up to the long winters of the Nicola Valley. During the winter season our shelters would take on new materials to create a new kind of shelter more durable to the winter conditions.  This new shelter covered in earth is called a pit-house. In our first Nation tongue Nlaka’pamuxcin it is called a “Sheeiskin”

Lots of thought and planning went into these structures. They would spend weeks looking for a proper location, then, when they found an acceptable spot, the community would work together and help build a pit house.

The sheeiskins were typically conical in shape with a hole in the center, which would let the campfire smoke escape through the hole.  The First Nation men would enter down a ladder through the same center hole. while the women would enter through a side entrance. Each First Nation pit house could usually hold up to 3-4 families.  There are locations in the Nicola Valley where you can still see the pit houses left behind from old sheeiskins, like at Monck Provincial Park.

Traditional Ways Are Still Around

Our First Nation traditional foods and lodging made it possible for my ancestors to survive the four seasons of the Nicola Valley. 

traditional foods and lodging

Chokecherries I picked

Today we still harvest berries in the traditional areas and fish and hunt using the old ways – as well as the new. Our respect for our elders has never wavered.  Elders are given first servings of any food we have gathered, and they are the keepers of our history often sharing their stories of our traditional and cultural ways.

A questions I have for you:

What is the traditional name of the First Peoples in my own area?   

Please feel free to contact me with your answers. I always love learning about new cultures. 

Or, if you also are Nlaka’pamux, share your stories with me!

See you later!  

(In many First Nation’s languages there is no word for “Good-bye”, as that word may be interpreted as I will never see that person again.)

 

 

 

Nicola Valley Food Adventures

“…I love nothing better than hiking for awhile, then finding a sweet spot in the sun to spread out a blanket, yummy foods, and delightful bevvies.”

After over thirty years in the Nicola Valley, and an increase in weight of ten pounds per decade, I feel well-qualified to blog about Nicola Valley Food Adventures!

I love the Nicola Valley and all that it has to offer, and I am a Foodie, so I am especially keen on Nicola Valley Food. As well, I adore adventure, so I am always up for discovering new Nicola Valley Food Adventures.

What is a Foodie?

The English Oxford Living Dictionary defines Foodie as: A person with a particular interest in food; a gourmet. 

Yup, that would be me!

And since I love to write almost as much as I adore food and adventure, I am going to blog about the fabulous foods of the Nicola Valley, as well as adventures that involve food, whether home-cooked or prepared in a restaurant.

I can’t go anywhere without packing a goodly bit of nosh. I blame it on my deprived childhood: six siblings fighting over scant servings.

Food Adventures of My Youth

From an early age, adventures included food. I remember when my older brother and I (he eleven, me six) packed up a can of creamed corn in a plaid shoulder bag, and embarked on an adventure. We walked downtown, climbed to the top of Quesnel’s water wheel, opened the can of creamed corn and devoured its contents. Creamed corn never tasted so good!

Casbar Drive-in movies with all of us kids sardined into the Pontiac station wagon always included very buttery popcorn and a chocolate bar at intermission. The downtown Carib Cinema: a bag of Liquorice Lozenges or a box of chocolate-covered raisins. Coming home from a day at Dragon Lake: a soft ice cream cone or a Coke Float.

Sunday drives: sandwiches wrapped in waxed paper, an orange for dessert.

Tobogganing in winter was generally followed by a steaming cup of hot chocolate and cinnamon toast. Drives to the Coast included a stop for a hamburger and French fries in Hope. And trips to visit the Grandparents in Alberta involved camping at Mt. Robson, roasted wienies and marshmallows, and those cute little boxes of cereal for breakfast. Birthdays: angel food cake; sports days; boiled hot dogs on steamed buns with fried onions. Sunday drives: sandwiches wrapped in waxed paper, an orange for dessert.

We loved our trips to visit our cousins in Prince George, where we could count on a fresh batch of Auntie Al’s Nanaimo Bars waiting for our arrival. While there, my cousin introduced me to her favourite movie watching food: Cheezies and grape pop.

Time at Skaha Beach in Penticton wouldn’t be complete without a cardboard container of salty fries, drowning in ketchup and vinegar.

Trips to Vancouver included a trip to the White Spot Drive-In on Granville

Trips to Vancouver to visit our paternal grandparents often included a much-anticipated trip with Uncle “Fud”  to the White Spot Drive-In on Granville Street to enjoy the best burgers, fries and pop, served on a tray bridging the rolled-down windows of the jeep. What a treat!

White Spot Drive-In on Granville

One trip with my Dad included a stop in the Fraser Canyon for a huge bag of fresh bing cherries upon which my younger sister and I gorged ourselves, only later to have them all come up. They had tasted much better going down!

Adventures included food; it was as simple as that!

Adventure = Food

I was hiking with a new friend last year when I was suddenly consumed by the thought of a wienie roast! It dawned on me that almost all of the time I had spent outdoors during my lifetime had involved food in some form or other, and that I felt quite deprived when it didn’t!

My friend was happy to take along a banana, a Gatorade, and a chocolate bar. He would get frustrated with me taking time to pack and then eat a picnic. I would spend time creating a fabulous feast to take on our outings, as I love nothing better than hiking for awhile, then finding a sweet spot in the sun to spread out a blanket, yummy foods, and delightful bevvies.

A Nicola Valley Food Adventure on top of Mount Thynne

His preference was to stop for a minute, eat his banana, gulp his Gatorade, and continue hiking. The chocolate bar was saved for the ride home.

I required Food Adventures!

Nicola Valley Food Adventures

Nicola Valley Food Adventures

Wildflowers on the way to Mount Thynne

A primo Nicola Valley Food Adventure that we enjoyed last July, was a trip up Mount Thynne when the wildflowers were in bloom.

We drove out Coldwater Road, crossed under the Coquihalla and continued up the road through Brookmere, always a scenic journey. When almost to the top of the mountain, we parked and hiked the ugly, steep bit, with my picnic pack on my back. After a good hike, we found a perfect little hollow, protected from the cool wind, where I lay down my blankie and spread out my delicious fare.

Fabulous Food + Nicola Valley Adventure = Nicola Valley Food Adventures

Variety is the spice of a fine picnic, and I’d included kalamata olives, roasted red pepper strips, hummus with carrots and celery for dipping, feta cheese drizzled with olive oil and sprinkled with oregano, as well as a delightful, chilled Jacob’s Creek Sparkling Chardonnay Pinot Noir. I’d even carefully wrapped and packed my favourite champagne flutes from which to enjoy the bubbly.

Nicola Valley Food Adventures

To me, it couldn’t get much better than this! Fresh air, exercise, wild flowers, fabulous food, fine wine and the most spectacular of views! This was a true Nicola Valley Food Adventure!

Nicola Valley Food Adventures

View from Mount Thynne

However, my friend wasn’t a Foodie and, unfortunately, he didn’t revel as I did in my lovely picnic.

When I told my son this story, he asked, in disbelief, “Who isn’t a Foodie?”

Truly! My boy was raised to enjoy and appreciate great food, and it was unfathomable to both of us how someone wouldn’t adore food as much as we did!

It soon became apparent that I couldn’t be a good adventure buddy with someone who doesn’t appreciate great cuisine in the same way I do; who doesn’t see an adventure as something with which to pair fine food. He was, undoubtedly, an incredible Nicola Valley Adventurer, but he was not a Nicola Valley Food Adventurer!

Here’s to Nicola Valley Food Adventures!

Nicola Valley Food Adventures

Atop Mount Thynne

Stay tuned, my friends! I look forward to sharing many Nicola Valley Food Adventures with you!

Cheers!

JdW

Nicola Valley Food Adventures

Things To Do in Merritt BC

From mountain biking to horseback riding to fishing, are just some of the adventures in Merritt, BC in the Nicola Valley, Canada.

“Every great adventure in the Nicola Valley happens via the secondary highways, local streets and backcountry gravel roads. To enjoy Merritt BC activities one must exit the Highway!”

Things to do in Merritt BC Canada? Planning what adventures you are going to explore? Coming to the Nicola Valley, BC, Canada soon are ya? You have come to the right blogging website. You see… we here are local experts because we have experienced what we preach. I have explored the Nicola Valley on many occasions and I too asked myself, “where do I start?” Such little time and so many things to do in Merritt BC! That is the question, right? What to do when you get here. Well, lets get to it then. 

Highway #1 is not home to things to do in Merritt, BC

The Nicola Valley is guaranteed to inspire and impress when it comes to adventure but, to do so, to truly enjoy your experience, you need to exit Highway #1. Highway #1 is the “express lane” in Canada. It is the best route to get from A to B quickly, but it is by no means a route for exploring communities and Merritt BC Canada is no different. Highway #1, also referred to as the Trans Canada Highway,  is not the road that leads to Merritt  adventures and sightseeing bliss.

Every great adventure in the Nicola Valley happens via the secondary highways, local streets and backcountry gravel roads. And… to truly appreciate the Nicola Valley you need to know where to go and how to get there. That is where “moi” comes into the picture. I am honored to share with you the 3 things to do in Merritt BC which caught my fancy. 

Things to do in Merritt BC including Fishing
1.  Lakes Are A Top Things To Do in Merritt BC Hands Down

“Merritt is a fishing haven with 200+ lakes! Pick a lake, any lake, and stay for awhile.” ehCanadaTravel.com July 30th, 2017

The Nicola Valley is covered in lakes, both easy access and “far-flung” remote. Many are equipped with wilderness campsites so you can stay a while and camp, fish, hike and/or mountain bike. The saying around these parts is “A lake a day for as long as you stay.” Pretty catchy eh.  

Nicola Lake is the “Grand Daddy” of all the lakes in the region. It is easily accessed from Highway 5A just east of Merritt, BC.  When visiting Nicola Lake I have seen people swimming, fishing, water skiing, picnicking, and kayaking. Has to be a pretty decent lake right… and it is easy, easy access. 

Personally, I like the “far-flung” wilderness campsites located at remote lakes. No services? Fine with me. I am happy when I have my tent, camera and  lots of nature, wildlife and adventure. I too am a bit bias towards wilderness lakes. Here are a few lakes to check out which I have had the privilege to camp at –   Lundbom Lake, Lily Lake, Marquart Lake, Gwen Lake and Helmer Lake.

Things to do in Merritt BC includes mountain biking

2. Mountain Biking Is Definitely a Things To Do in Merritt BC

The Nicola Valley has 4 distinct areas designated for mountain biking enthusiasts. They include Iron Mountain, Sugarloaf Mountain, Swakum, and the Coutlee Plateau area. They provide a good assortment of  easy going and challenging biking trails, some short and some are considered long haul. All provide some adrenaline and amazing sightseeing scenery.

Mountain Biking BC sums up the Nicola Valley mountain biking experience the best.

“… you will find fast and flowy singletrack, challenging steep and rocky trails, gentle riding classic grassland routes, and scenic forested pathways. Merritt has something for everyone!” Mountain Biking BC

You can find mountain biking trail information and rentals from the following local bike shop.

Breathe Bikes
1960 Quilchena Ave,
Merritt, British Columbia, Canada
Website: www.breathebikes.ca
Email: bikegeektrav@gmail.com
Phone: +1 (250) 936-9702

Things to do in Merritt BC Canada includes horseback riding.
3. Horseback Riding is a Nicola Valley Things To Do

Saddle up in the Nicola Valley and you will surely experience the cowboy life! You do not have to be a full-blooded cowboy or cowgirl either to enjoy horseback riding.  In fact, some say (including this blogger) horseback riding is best enjoyed when it is the first time. You will not fully appreciate how fun horseback riding is until you go sightseeing. Prove me wrong. I dare you.

“A great horse will change your life. The truly special ones define it…” BRL Equine Nutrition

The valley has ranches where you can bring your own horse or you can use one of theirs to explore the backcountry. Give these cowboys and cowgirls a phone call.

A-P Ranch Western Guest Ranch
P.O. Box 1148,
Merritt, BC, Canada
Website: www.apguestranch.com
Phone 250-378-6520

This list is only the tip of the iceberg when it comes to things to do in Merritt BC during the summer months. I have not even begun to talk about the things to do in Merritt BC in the winter months. That will be another post down the line by our new team of bloggers.

If I may be so humble to make a request while I have you all hyped up about Nicola Valley adventures? Please follow the new  Experience Nicola Valley social media pages so you do not to miss our next blog post. While you wait with great anticipation you can also enjoy the posts from the other talented Nicola Valley writers who contribute to this blog. I am sure you will like them as much as me, but not more right?

For all of you out there who have been to Merritt, BC before I have a question to ask you,

What would your “3 Things To Do” be if you were writing this blog?” 

Go ahead, you will not hurt my feelings. Let me know in the comment section below. 

 Things To Do in Merritt BC Canada