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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

Nicola Valley Travel and Tourism Guides

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FLY FISHING IN MERRITT AT CORBETT LAKE LODGE 

Nicola Valley Corbett Lake Lodge Adventures

BC FLY FISHING AT ITS FINEST

 

Fly Fishing in Merritt at Corbett Lake Lodge is truly a great fishing experience. In the early 1940’s, the Grandby Consolidated Mining Corporation established the lodge as a worker retreat.  At that time the lake was not much more than a pond that was fed by underground springs.  But with the creation of a dam the pond grew to be the great lake it is today.

merritt bc fly fishing

Fishing Corbett Lake in Merritt BC – Photo courtesy of Corbett Lake Lodge

FLY FISHING IN MERRITT HISTORY 

The Merritt BC Canada lodge was purchased by Peter McVey, the dean of fly fishing in the Nicola Valley.  Peter built a solid reputation for fishing at his lodge.  As a result people have come from all over the world to experience this resort.  Peter not only looked after the nuts and bolts of the resort, he was the chef in the restaurant which also added to the notoriety of his establishment. If you ask nicely he would bring out his guitar and have a little song to sing.  

Peter McVey - Corbett Lake Lodge fishing

Peter McVey – Photo courtesy of Corbett Lake Lodge

NEW OWNERS

In 2013 Peter sold the resort to new owners.  Luckily Peter made sure the buyers were able to maintain the integrity of the resort. Not only did the new owners want to maintain Peter’s legacy, they have taken steps to improve the resort in many areas.

FLY FISHING IN MERRITT AT CORBETT LAKE LODGE IS UNBEATABLE

Corbett Lake Lodge has  a very solid reputation.  Just read what this blogger had to say, (you will have to scroll down the article to find the story). Also in 2016, Canadian Fly Fishing Championships were hosted, in part, at the lodge. The North American and Canadian Championships were scheduled for this year.  Not to mention, the American Loch Style Championships were held at the lodge in 2017, 2018 and 2019.  All these events clearly showing the quality of fishing in the lake.  You can’t beat the fishing at Corbett Lake Lodge near Merritt, BC

WATCH VIDEO

“Today Corbett Lake takes care to maintain Peter’s legacy of great fishing, fabulous food and endearing hospitality”– Ann Thomson — Manager, Corbett Lake Lodge.

North American Loch Style Championships-Fly fishing at Corbett Lake Lodge

North American Loch Style Championships – Photo courtesy of Corbett Lake Lodge

great rainbow trout fishing

Fishing in Merritt with Corbett Lake Lodge Photo courtesy of Corbett Lake Lodge

THE FACILITIES HAVE RUSTIC CHARM

From the main lodge to the cabins there is much to appreciate. The main lodge has a great sitting area with a beautiful stone fireplace where you can relax, tell your fish stories or read a good book.  There is a dining area for serving meals and for entertaining at events. The resort continues to upgrade the facilities to improve the comfort of their guests.

Fishing Cabins at Corbett Lake Lodge

Cabins at Corbett Lake Lodge  – Photo courtesy of Corbett Lake Lodge

Cabin bedroom

Cabin Bedroom – Photo courtesy of Corbett Lake Lodge

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

The Lodge Fireplace

The Lodge Fireplace – Photo courtesy of Corbett Lake Lodge

Merritt cozy eating spot

Cozy eating spot – Photo courtesy of Corbett Lake Lodge

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

WHAT ELSE CAN I DO AT CORBETT LAKE LODGE NEAR MERRITT, BC

Whereas fishing is the main attraction at this resort near Merritt, BC, there are many activities you can do to have a great time.  Make it a relaxing retreat reading, star gazing and/or lounging around doing nothing? If this sounds like you then grab your lawn chair, book and favourite beverage and head down to the lake shore.

Perhaps painting is your thing? If so just bring your easel and paints and Corbett Lake Lodge will provide the scenery. 

Throw your canoe or kayak on your back and explore the shoreline, and photograph the birds and other creatures.  Just remember to respect the fisherman and stay clear of  their areas.

merritt bc fishing

Artists At Corbett Lake Lodge, BC – Photo courtesy of Corbett Lake Lodge

Eagle at Corbett Lake

Eagle at Corbett Lake – Photo courtesy of Corbett Lake Lodge

Turtles at Corbett lake Lodge, BC

Turtles at Corbett lake Lodge, BC – Photo courtesy of Corbett Lake Lodge

 

EATING IS THE BEST AT CORBETT LAKE LODGE NEAR MERRITT, BC

gourmet dinner

Gourmet dinner – Photo courtesy of Corbett Lake Lodge

The meals are nothing sort of sensational. Many dishes use fresh locally sourced ingredient.  

The dining room

The dining room – Photo courtesy of Corbett Lake Lodge

PROXIMITY TO OTHER ADVENTURES

The nice thing about Corbett Lake Lodge is that it is close to several other areas that are worth a visit.  For example, just around the corner is Kane Valley where your options are wide open.  You can try more fishing on several lakes in the area.  Harmon Lake is my favourite. There are 55 KM of snowshoe trails which are excellent for hiking or mountain biking.  The back country logging roads in the area provide safe ATV riding. 

The Forestry Ministry has campgrounds at Kane Lake and Harmon Lake.  The Harmon East Campground not only provides camping, it is the trail head  to the Forestry Interpretive Hiking Trail where you can learn more about the local flora and fauna.

If you’re looking for some urban activity, take the fifteen minute trip to the booming metropolis of Merritt, BC. (population 7,200)

 KEEP YOU COMING FOR FLY FISHING IN MERRITT AT CORBETT LAKE LODGE 

 

WATCH VIDEO

In addition to fly fishing in Merritt at the Corbett Lake Lodge, they host and cater to reunions, weddings, corporate retreats and many local events.  

FLY FISHING IN MERRITT AT CORBETT LAKE LODGE IN THE NICOLA VALLEY

Nicola Valley Fishing Resorts


Merritt British Columbia Canada Top Travel Guides

Places To Eat In Merritt, B.C.

While It is one of the most highly rated Places To Eat In Merritt, B.C., Boston Pizza serves much more than a great pizza!

What’s for dinner?

Of course, we locals know all about Boston Pizza, but if you are a visitor looking for “Places To Eat In Merritt, B.C.”, try eating here. Their offerings include a variety of food to suit any taste. Their pastas are delicious and I have sampled many of them! My personal favorite, and go-to meal, is the seven cheese ravioli. Not only is it downright delicious, I always have enough left over to make up a good part of my lunch the next day!

Boston Pizza’s Sports Bar

Places to eat in Merritt BC

Boston Pizza Sports Bar

If you are new to Boston Pizza their lively sports bar will surprise you- in a good way. The décor just shouts “Fun!” and “Come in!” This sports bar can be included on a list of “places to eat in Merritt, B.C.” on its own merits. Even though we came for lunch in the main restaurant, I had to stick my nose into the sports bar to sneak a peek! Loved the glitz! And for the sports lovers there were lots of big screen TVs everywhere!

Not only can you get the latest drinks here, their list of appies is both varied and tasty. Snack on these with a group of friends and taste theirs too, of course, or put together a few favourites to create a unique meal all your own. Or order from the entire regular dinner menu. No one goes hungry at this sports bar- or thirsty either!

Lunching at Boston Pizza

From the moment my friend and I walked into Boston Pizza we enjoyed ourselves. Actually, we started enjoying ourselves before we entered because there is plenty of parking and all of it is close to the restaurant! No scrambling around in the rain or snow for us!

Christine Bardy greeted us with a smile. Christine started working at Boston Pizza as a server in 2012 and gradually worked her way up to the general manager position she has today. When I asked her what made her restaurant unique, she replied,

“The family environment, the length of service of the staff and the fact that we all feel like family. The staff here just enjoys helping people.”

She likes living in the Nicola Valley too. “I tried living in the big city but Merritt is home. This is where I feel safe”, she says. “Visitors should know that whenever you stop in Merritt, people rally round and help when help is needed- without bring asked.”

Merritt is that kind of place.

Christine showed us to a sunny window table. As we walked though the restaurant, I saw a couple of cozy nooks, great spots for diners wanting a bit of privacy.

The menu offered us pages of succulent goodies, There were appetizers galore and plenty of pastas to choose from as well as steaks, salads and seafood. Oh, yumm! How to choose?

My Meal

Places to eat in Merritt BC

The Most Valuable Burger!

Finally, I chose “The Most Valuable Burger” and it was a treat! I eat rarely eat burgers when I am looking for “Places to Eat In Merritt, B.C.”, but that day I wanted one badly! And was it good- tender, juicy and full of the extras that make a good burger special. It came with a gorgeous tossed salad and choice of dressing. The salad was bright, pretty to look at and very colourful. It looked like a regular size but surprise! When I disturbed it by stirring in the dressing, the salad nearly filled my plate!

My Friend’s Meal

Places to eat in Merritt BC

Mediterranean Vegetable Penne

My friend was equally pleased with her lunch. She chose the Mediterranean vegetable penne, a delicious looking, colourful pasta dish complimented with a slice of garlic toast. Her meal was, she pronounced, “very good and enough for two meals!” Boston Pizza scored another winner.

We Dare A Dessert

It’s hard to believe that we actually ordered dessert after those two meals! But I have to admit, we did. As a sop to moderation, we shared a piece of chocolate explosion cheesecake. It was both fresh and delicious and a taste explosion in our mouths.

Places to eat in Merritt BC

Chocolate Explosion Cheese Cake

Whether you want a good dessert and coffee in a pleasant environment, or a full meal, stop and taste test Boston Pizza’s offerings. They will hook you!

Those in a hurry will be happy to know that you can order for pick up or delivery. Not just pizza, but the whole menu! Call:https://bostonpizza.com/en/locations/merritt.html

 

Boston Pizza Merritt

3939 Crawford Ave. Merritt BC

250-378-4222

Hours: Monday – Sunday 11am – 12am

Merritt Restaurants – Fine Dining in Ranch Country

“The Quilchena Hotel’s One Eleven Bar & Grill has it all!

Just north of Merritt, Canada, on Highway 5A

Whether you’re seeking a fine dining experience, a casual pub dinner, or an outdoor patio and BBQ, the Quilchena Hotel’s One Eleven Bar & Grill has it all!  It is not only a beautiful destination, just a 20 minute drive north of Merritt on Highway 5A, but the scenery is divine!
 
This historic 1908 hotel is located in the small community of Quilchena, “where the willows grow”, the name given by local Indigenous Peoples. Purchased by the Douglas Lake Cattle Company at the end of 2013, it has undergone many tasteful upgrades, in keeping with the hotel’s Edwardian-era elegance. 
 
It took me awhile to realize that the restaurant’s name, “One Eleven Bar & Grill”, originates from the Douglas Lake Cattle Company’s brand, |||. These 3 bars, from a perspective other than cattle branding, indicate the number “one hundred eleven”. Hence, One Eleven. Clever!

Clever Stuff Going On At The Quilchena Hotel’s One Eleven Bar & Grill

There is a lot of clever stuff going on at the historic Quilchena Hotel these days, particularly in the restaurant!  Not only have they completed much-needed renovations in the restaurant and saloon, they have engaged a top-notch chef, Chris Grimley. 
 
Following his chef’s training at the Northern Alberta Institute of Technology, Chris worked at the Prairie Creek Inn at Rocky Mountain House and the Langara Island Lodge in Haida Gwaii. He now brings his fine culinary skills to the Quilchena Hotel’s One Eleven Bar and Grill.  Chris is young, keen, and creative! He uses fresh, local ingredients wherever possible, and varies the menu depending on what is in-season. 
 

Trip #1 to Quilchena Hotel’s One Eleven Bar & Grill

fine dining

Fish and chips, heavy on the coleslaw, light on the chips, as requested

fine dining

Summer Greens

 
 
For my first trip to the Quilchena Hotel’s One Eleven Bar and Grill after this year’s opening in May, I enjoyed lunch in the saloon with two pals. My fish and chips with coleslaw were splendid. One pal reported that her Summer Greens salad with berries was delicious and very berry-loaded. The other said that his burger with arugula, goat cheese and beet slices, was “the best burger ever”.  He vowed that pickled beets would become an essential ingredient of his home-made burgers!
 
fine dining

Trip # 2 – Here’s the Beef

fine dining

Bavette Steak

Famous for its beef, Douglas Lake Cattle Company pairs perfectly with the Quilchena Hotel’s One Eleven Bar and Grill. This is where we are treated to locally-raised grass and grain fed beef, aged to optimal tenderness, served in a variety of forms, from burgers to roasted prime rib.

Saturday nights are Prime Rib Night so I invited my friend from North Vancouver to join me for dinner. I neglected to make our reservation early enough to secure a table in the dining room, so we made our way to the saloon, where the same menu is available.
 
We opted out of the prime rib because it looked like way too much food. Instead, we tried two of the dishes I’d spied on my previous visit: the Bavette Steak and the Chicken and Pasta.
fine dining

Chicken and Pasta

 
Bavette steak is the French name for flank steak. Mine was cooked perfectly and served with cauliflower puree, a mild chimichurri sauce, roasted onions and herbed fingerling potatoes. The steak was sublimely tender and the vegetables delicious. 
 
My friend’s quarter Chicken Supreme was served over house-made pappardelle pasta with mushrooms, bacon, herbs, leek and shaved parmesan. She was impressed.
 
The presentation was delightful. We “mmmmm’d” our way through our meals, a sure sign they were delectable. 

An Exquisite Combination

We had no room for dessert, sadly. On my previous visit, however, I enjoyed a slice of New York cheesecake with strawberry salsa. With the salsa’s slight spiciness and the addition of chopped, fresh mint leaves, I found the combination exquisite.
fine dining

New York Cheesecake with Strawberry Salsa

 Trip #3 to Quilchena Hotel’s One Eleven Bar & Grill

It has been awhile since there has been a fabulous new chef in the Nicola Valley, so I was keen to return to Quilchena Hotel’s One Eleven Bar & Grill.  I called friends to join me for Sunday dinner, and I reserved a table for four in the dining room.
 
To start, my friends chose fun cocktails from a list of nine unique “Quilchena Spring Cocktails”.  I chose dry pear cider from the Valley’s own Left Field Cider Company.  
 
 
fine dining

Mediterranean Flat Bread

My iron-deficient friend ordered Bavette Steak, another decided on Mediterranean Flatbread, another chose Fish & Chips, and I opted for the Smoked Brisket Sandwich. Yum!
 
Accolades all around!
 

Experience Fine Dining in Ranch Country

 
Whatever your mood and your stomach desires, you are sure to find something to satisfy both at the Quilchena Hotel’s One Eleven Bar & Grill.
 
Open Thursday through Sunday, reservations recommended. Call 250-378-2611 or email: QHotel@DouglasLake.com
 
Cheers!
JGS