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Growing up in Merritt, BC

Growing up in Merritt

Why I love growing up in Merritt

 

“…I never had any friends later on like the ones I did when I was twelve..”Richard Dreyfuss spoke these words in the final scene of my favorite movie “Stand by Me” . For me this quote reflects my growing up in Merritt with my friends. While we may have never searched for a dead body, we did have some memorable adventures. Whether it be getting my two friends and I lost on a mountain and picking ticks out of our hair on the way down, or floating down the Nicola River in dollar store rafts, my group of friends and I did it all.  

 

Being raised in Merritt, My playground was the outdoors. Everything was in walking distance, and even if it wasn’t, we would still walk 2.5 hours in the scorching 40-degree weather to find a new cliff to descend into the river.  Summers were spent playing on the river, or trying our best to leave early to get the ‘perfect’ spot under the shady tree at Monck Park beach. Dirt biking up to the lookout point up Promotory , and geocaching in Lower Nicola.  

Hunting season in the Nicola Valley

As the leaves changed colours, so did our interests. I had completed my hunting core that past April. All I wanted for my birthday was to do an overnight hunting trip with my dad. On one brisk September’s day my father and I set out for our overnighterWe set up our camp under an old fir tree, 15 minutes outside of Merritt.

After we finished setting up, with a few hours of daylight left, we started down the rough terrain below us.  Although we never shot anything, we did come across a small group of mule deer heading towards the timber. About 15 minutes after we had spotted a beautiful large black bear. We sat and watched the bear in admiration for quite some time. When we got back to camp, I sat underneath the fir tree with a breathtaking view of the Nicola Valley. I relaxed as my father prepared supper. The trip is one I will never forget. 

Wintertime in Merritt

When snow starts falling in the Nicola Valley and winter approaches, Doug’s once green lawn turns into an ice rink. If you don’t have skates to wear, he supplies them without charge.  Sledding and snowshoeing in the Nicola valley are a thing my family and I have always enjoyed and now it is our family tradition,

it’s not a successful sledding trip if you’re not leaving without a black eye (at least in my family anyway!) .

Kane valley in Merritt

The lights when I come into Merritt always put a smile on my face; the streetlights are always so beautifully decorated that you just can’t help feeling that Christmas spirit. Of course, my most favorite thing about living in Merritt at Christmas time is the parade. It’s usually me, my mother and brother’s tradition to go every year to the Christmas Parade. I wouldn’t miss it for the world. No matter how old I get, I will still get that feeling of pure joy when I see the ‘Frosty the Snowman’ Norgaard truck float, and even at the end when Santa appears.  

  

I really couldn’t wish for a better place to grow up in. I know that when I get older and leave for school, a part of me will always be here in Merritt. There are so many memories and adventures built here and I’m so proud and grateful to be able to explore The Nicola Valley and call it my hometown. The mountains and lakes have so much to offer that I hope that in the future more  kids grow up and have a similar childhood to mine growing up in a small town.  

  

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Indian Restaurants in Merritt, BC – Mughal Gardens

Indian Restaurants in Merritt, BC

chicken korma mughal gardens merritt BC

Mild Chicken Korma at Mughal Gardens in Merritt Desert Inn

Mughal Gardens Indian Food Restaurant in Merritt, Canada

The Merritt Desert Inn is now home to a brand new Indian Food Restaurant!

This is great news for me because over the last few years I’ve really developed a taste for South Asian cuisine. Up until recently, there was nowhere in town for me to try new dishes and old favourites, so I was excited to go in for a meal at the new Indian Restaurant in Merritt.

I had eaten at the previous restaurant in the building many times, and I noticed that the dining area had been given a facelift, with new paint and centerpieces – it was bright and clean and attractive. The Christmas tree in the lobby was a nice touch. I was seated quickly by a friendly waitress who passed me a menu and brought me a glass of water.

mughal gardens restaurant merritt bc canada

Newly Painted Dining Room at Mughal Gardens Indian Restaurant

The menu selection is on par with food in larger cities like Kamloops or Kelowna

I love having a variety of food to choose from, and Mughal Gardens has an extensive menu. There are all sorts of dishes listed: chicken, pork, seafood, lamb, goat, paneer, korma… There is so much to try you could go back over and over again and not have the same thing twice.

veggie samosas indian food mughal gardens merritt bc

Delicious Veggie Samosas a Mughal Gardens specialty

I decided to try a veggie samosa – which was the special for just 99 cents! Golden, crispy and not oily at all. One of my absolute favourites is the Paneer Pakora – paneer is a firm and mild cheese, in this case coated and fried. It comes with a chutney dipping sauce that is just the right combination of sweet and spicy.

paneer pakora at mughal gardens indian restaurant merritt bc canada

Paneer Pakora at Mughal Gardens, Merritt BC

The waitress was very helpful, which makes a big difference to me, I like staff to be friendly and approachable, especially when I’m not familiar with the menu or what makes up a particular dish. With her help, I decided on the chicken korma. I wasn’t quite brave enough to try the traditional goat dishes, thinking of my little herd at home in the barn, no doubt snoozing peacefully without visions of curry dancing in their heads.

When eating at an Indian Restaurant with spicy cuisine, it’s a good idea to have a drink handy, and what better than a traditional Mango Lassi? Which I originally thought was a dessert, ha! I love mango in all forms, so how could I not order one?

mango lassi mughal gardens merritt desert inn merritt bc canada

A delicious Mango Lassi at Mughal Gardens

The waitress told me they would make it any way I liked, spicy or mild

Now, once I ordered from an Indian Restaurant and – feeling brave – I specified my dish be “medium spicy”. Oh, how foolish I was. If you do not have a high tolerance for spicy foods, always order “mild”. Because I’m quite certain that Indian chefs have a different standard of “spicy” than any other! I joke to this day about how my waiter at that restaurant must have laughed all the way to the kitchen and back about little blonde me (she who cuts back the taco seasoning to cool it down) and my order of “medium” butter chicken!

menu at mughal gardens indian food restaurant merritt bc canada

Browsing the Menu at Mughal Gardens

Not wanting to make that mistake again (because I don’t want to cry onion cutting tears at the table) I asked if my chicken korma could be made mild. The waitress told me they would make it any way I liked! Perfect! Anything from “very mild” to “very spicy” in just about every dish, so everyone can dine happily.

The food is quickly prepared, hot and tasty

Although the restaurant itself was quiet on a Tuesday night, there’s a nice atmosphere. You can tell by the way the waitress jokes and laughs with the cooks and how they converse with the owner, that there’s a great rapport among everyone. And the enthusiasm for this new venture shows in the way the food is quickly prepared and comes to the table with the chef eager to know how you’ve enjoyed your dish. As for me, I enjoyed it immensely! Tasty and hot with hardly any wait is a win in my books. And I enjoy a night out and a meal without the radio blaring or three different TV screens broadcasting baseball, hockey and football.

Dine In, Take Out and Catering

Of all places to eat in Merritt, Mughal Gardens has some of the most flexibility. You can eat in the restaurant or the pub or order your meal to go. They also offer catering (including a buffet!) They will bring the food to you, or if you need a venue they have a banquet/dining hall capable of seating 100 people, and the pub seats up to 254.

Hours and Location

Mughal Gardens is located in the Merritt Desert Inn at 2350 Voght Street and is also easily accessible from Merritt Ave.

They are open everyday 11:00am – 9:30pm

On your next visit to Merritt, plan to include some authentic Indian cuisine!

 

owner of mughal gardens restaurant merritt desert inn

Feeling Festive with the new owner of Mughal Gardens Restaurant

 

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Swimming Pools in Merritt, British Columbia

Swimming in Merritt, British Columbia

Whether you are travelling alone or with a group; with tiny tots or seniors,  swimming in Merritt will make a splash with everyone!

Who would expect our small city to offer the amazing swimming facilities available at Merritt’s Nicola Valley Aquatic Centre? Those of us who live here sometimes take these goodies for granted. Since I’m a local and know the city’s secrets, come with me and be surprised at what a swimming good time you can have here!

Nicola Valley Aquatic centre

Nicola Valley Aquatic centre

Aquatic Centre Amenities in Merritt

Fitness Room

If you want either a gentle warm-up before swimming or a real cardio blast, you can get them both right here! Maybe, like me, you prefer to start off gently, try every available piece of equipment and work those muscles to your personal limit. I like to feel well exercised but not worked to exhaustion preferring to leave some energy for swimming and just playing.

Test out your fitness level with the following equipment:

Cardio

– Treadmills
– Elliptical
– Bike
– Incumbent bike
– Stair Climber
20 minute limit on cardio machines.

Weight Machines

– Shoulder press- Hamstring curl
– Leg extension
– Chest press
– Tri/lat. pull
– Arm curl
– Seated row

Weights
– Barbells
– Plates
– Dumbbells

Misc. Equipment

– BOSU
– Stability ball
– Medicine balls
– Tubing
– Mats
– Skipping Rope

Now that we have warmed up and exercised some, let’s ease our muscles in the whirlpool.

Whirl Pool

This is an easy, pleasant way to relax those muscles you perhaps haven’t used in a while! It is my favorite spot in the whole complex! No swimming here! Just lean back and let the jets hit the tender spots. This will soften you up for the next stage. Feels good, doesn’t it?

When we’ve rested up for a bit, we can move on to some swimming.

25 Metre Main Pool

Nicola valley aquatic centre

Main Pool area

There are 6 lanes in our Aquatic Centre pool so here is the place to treat yourself to a really good swimming workout without disturbing anyone else! Just pick a lane! 

Do you enjoy getting serious swimming exercise? Like to go for miles? Then here is your chance to push yourself to the limit! Travelling? What better way to work out those kinks! Remember- start off slowly, though, we have just been lazing in the whirlpool!

Lazy River & Vortex

The lazy river is a great way to relax after swimming or fitness workouts. Not only can I float on my back, I can also just let the lazy river float me gently in the current. What a perfect way to soothe away the stress of serious exercise! Probably it’s not the best idea to do what I did. I fell asleep!

The next thing to sample is the sauna. I don’t know how you feel, but after relaxing or swimming,  even in a heated pool, I can end up feeling a bit chilled. Some down time in the sauna will certainly solve that problem.

The Sauna

Ah, yes, luxurious, delicious heat! And we can use it in so many combinations! Fitness exercising and sauna, swimming and sauna, playing and sauna- any way you choose to enjoy the facilities, the sauna will fit right in and you will have a thoroughly relaxing time!

Today I just want to soak up the heat, as well as ease my too long unused muscles. Ahh! Lovely!

Leisure Pool

After I am well roasted, I like to take a final plunge in the leisure pool to play, swim and float a bit and cool down. This is relaxing and low key. I like to play with the pool toys, especially if there are some kids in the group with us! We forget that kids are surprised when adults will play with them and they love it! So do we. Nothing like enjoying your second childhood first hand!

Tot’s Pool and Water Sprays

Even in the depths of winter this is a great place to take the little ones. They seem to enjoy the surprise of the water sprays more than anything! It sure is fun for us adults to watch the kids splashing and hear their squeals of delight. Truly, there is no music like the laughter of children. Their uninhibited joy always makes us smile. Oh, yes, you can help them with their swimming too!

Pool Showers

After all this swimming and activity, it feels great to have a shower, get soggy hair dried. Time to get ready to leave. We always work up a good appetite at the pool and Aquatic Centre. Isn’t it lucky that the complex is close to several downtown restaurants? Before we go, let me leave you with a bit more information about Merritt’s Nicola Valley Aquatic Centre.

Pool Parties

Want a birthday party for your child with all the fun and none of the work? The Aquatic Centre offers themed pool parties with an energetic Aquatic Leader, fun, games, and memories to last a lifetime! Choose from a Western, Hawaiian, Disco, Frozen, Pirate or Dinosaur theme. The children will enjoy pizza, beverages, piñata and goodie bags. Fully decorated to your choice of theme.

Seniors Free Swim

Nicola Valley Aquatic Centre

Seniors aquafit

 

Since I’m a senior, I am always interested in any special senior programs on offer. The Aquatic Centre offers a seniors free swim Wednesdays from October 3 to May29, from 9:00 to 10:00 am. This program is sponsored by the Seniors Society and is intended for seniors to come for a fun, free swim.

Aquatic Special Events

The Aquatic Centre offers many special events throughout the year such as:
– National Seniors Day
– Dive-In Movie
– Family Fun Nights
– Free Teen Night
– Free Pre-Teen Night
– Halloween Swim
– Hawaiian Swim
– Stocking Stuffer Sale
– Splash Down With Santa
– New Year’s Eve Day Swim
– Super Hero Swim

Thanks to the Aquatic Centre for the information contained in this blog and thanks to the  Senior’s Centre.

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Geocaching in the Nicola Valley

Geocaching in the Nicola Valley

The fastest growing “sport” in the world?

There is an active group of geocachers in the Nicola Valley.

Geocaching is probably the fastest growing “sport” in the world. I use quotations because it isn’t a sport in the classic sense. There is no competition, in fact there is probably more cooperation and camaraderie involved in this sport than any other. Essentially it is a world-wide treasure hunt. Anyone, from the age of wonder, before they can walk, to so old they can barely walk, can participate. Enjoy Geocaching in the Nicola Valley!

There are many different levels of difficulty. Starting with, “park & grabs” to one I know of that requires a three day hike to reach it. There are some that require scuba diving or mountain climbing skills! Geocaching-Experience Nicola ValleyNo diving or hanging from a rope off a cliff, there are over 3 million geocaches worldwide. You won’t run out of the fun too soon. 

History

Geocaching started on the day that the U.S. government deregulated the system of satellites that circle the globe. A GPS could then be used to identify where you were on the earth, to within a few feet. Someone, I’m not sure who, hid an object, identified it’s coordinates, and published it to a few friends. It was found very soon after and the new game was spawned. Today, one of the goals of almost all serious geocachers is to find the original cache. It is still active after all these years!

Nicola Valley Connection

There is an active group of geocachers in the Nicola Valley. Over the years we have hidden over 250 caches within a reasonable distance of Merritt. I have hidden more than 50 caches myself. A group of us went out two ago, with the idea to find 100 caches in one day. We did it easily, on a dirt road, off the Coquihalla Connector, and ended up in Summerland! We saw some incredible country, and got some wonderful ice cream before heading back to the Nicola Valley. 

I organized and then compiled a book, A Taste of the Valley, as an educational initiative. High school students interviewed seniors in the Nicola Valley and then recorded those stories. Each story in the book has a geocache attached to it. Twenty-nine of them appear on Geocaching.com, but there are several more that only appear in the book. Some of them have never been found! Geocaching in the Nicola valley could be a great goal for geocachers looking for a challenge!

Personal & Family Benefits

Geocaching in the Nicola Valley - Experience Nicola Valley

Geocaching is for all ages!

One of the characteristics of the game that grabbed me right away was that anyone, of any age could play. It is a wonderful activity for families, especially for grandparents and the grandkids. Four of my own grandchildren did their first geocache when they were babies. They pawed through the little trinkets in the containers and traded for what they liked. Everyone loves to find something and sometimes the caches are works of art.

I’ve seen Chinese puzzle box caches, containers that require you to find a key and fake rocks! My wife makes them for me! I’ve seen gnomes sprinkled throughout the forest that eventually led to the cache, a large gnome city! What has been most important for me has been the time I get doing something fun with my family. I mean, you can’t play video games all day, every day! You can’t even waterski or go for a run every day. Almost everyone will enjoy a treasure hunt to break up the monotony of watching TV!

Equipment NeededGeocaching - Experience Nicola Valley

All you need for the game is a hand-held GPS, or a cell phone. Then register yourself for a free Geocaching.com membership. That will give you access to the website and the millions of caches available worldwide. The whole Nicola Valley awaits your first attempt to find a geocache. Go for it!

International Connections

As I’ve stated there are millions of little treasures hidden around the world. From Inuvik, to Cape Dorset, to the Nicola Valley, South America, Europe, Asia, Australia, even Antarctica, they’re everywhere. My wife and I have geocached all over the western hemisphere and every place we go we meet other geocachers. One day, in Berlin, we ended up with three groups of geocachers trying to find the same cache. It turns out that Germans, Spaniards and Canadians can enjoy the sport despite language issues! We managed to talk about Geocaching and our holidays for several minutes. That is another reason I love geocaching, those international connections!

Physical Fitness

Geocaching in the Nicola Valley - Experience Nicola Valley

Fun and fitness!

My wife and I love to hike and geocaching, particularly in the Nicola Valley, gives lots of opportunity. The Kane Valley Ski Trails, Tom Lacey Memorial Trail, Sugarloaf Mountain and other sites abound in hiking and geocaching opportunities.

Geocaching in the Nicola Valley

There are many caches in the city of Merritt, the valley and the surrounding hills. Within the town there is a huge, fourteen stage multi-cache centred around the many murals in town. There are caches that focus on the coal mining and ranching history of Merritt. A series of caches, that teach about the food and medicinal plants of the First Nations people.

There are caches that will take you to incredible vistas.

Other caches show the hopes, passions, and dreams of the people who called, or call, the Nicola Valley home.

Great sport! Join in to the geocaching treasure hunt.

And hunt for some of the geocaches here in the Nicola Valley that have never been found!

Guest Blogger: Jeff Bloom

Guest Blogger - Experience Nicola Valley

Jeff Bloom

Jeff Bloom was born and raised in Kamloops, British Columbia. He played a year of professional baseball before returning to Kamloops, getting married, finishing his education and becoming a teacher. He and his wife Gail have raised their two children in Merritt and now enjoy their grandchildren. Jeff has taught elementary school in the valley for 43 years and most recently has published one children’s picture book, with more to follow soon.

Geocaching in the Nicola valley has been one of Jeff’s passions over the years.

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Community Blogging Journey

Hair Straight Back

“I am going on a Blogging Journey”

“Our community is embarking on a ground breaking exercise”

Who would have thought that at this stage in my life I would be embarking on a “Blogging Journey”!

Just threw the old proverb “You can’t teach an old dog new tricks” out the proverbial window!

The last time I was going through a life changing experience I co-wrote a country song! Wanna hear it?

This was a friend effort indeed – Composed and produced by Karen Fowlie and joining her in vocals  Tammy Weymouth and Christie McFee.- also known as” Fowl Mouth McPhee.”

Scary stuff right now. We just went through three days of intense blogging training with our instructor, EH Canada Guru, Greg Girard.

Our community is embarking on ground breaking exercise. Saturating the universe with Merritt and Nicola Valley info!

How it started!

Merritt and the Nicola Valley has an abundance of tourism inventory that many communities would kill for – so why didn’t we have an abundance of tourists? Tourism Nicola Valley invited tourism adviser Greg Girard of EH Canada to speak to community stakeholders to show us how to fix this problem.

He said, “I was shocked that Merritt is not a top adventure destination – you have all the inventory”. That resonated with me and for the record I thought the same thing over 10 years ago when I first came to Merritt!!!

During his presentation Greg told stories of other community successes. Then the light went on and the birthed the community blogging idea and project. It did not take long to roundup 9 enthusiastic bloggers and one dog!!!

 

About EH Canada!

ehCanadaTravel.com is the most in-tuned website about current technology trends, and traveler habits. It is the first tourism website in Canada where tourism businesses, travelers and ehCanadaTravel.com can add content to the website. These content creators are referred to as “Canadian Travel Influencers”. On social media look it up #CanadianTravelInfluencers”.

How ehCanadaTravel.com rolls …

ehCanadaTravel.com is a “boots-on-the-ground” tourism website. The co founding brothers, and fellow ambassadors, self research the entire country. 99% of the text information and photos provided on the website comes from their cross country road trips researching communities, adventures, parks, trails and places. The brothers are people persons. They enjoy being on the road living in tents, campers, hotels and/or vacation homes. Meeting people in the tourism industry, learning more about Canada and sharing tourism knowledge is how they roll. When they are not rolling, you can find them hunkering down in a rental home somewhere in Canada researching a region and working on the website. Where is their home base? Their office is in Parksville, BC, Canada on Vancouver Island. The best way to reach them? Call the toll free number, email or yell really loud.

With a little push from Greg, we are on our way!

Nine community bloggers have committed to producing at least two blogs a month with topics embracing, adventure, trails, mountain  biking, food and local cuisine, First Nations history, attractions, business, things to do, seniors, newcomers info and some pet friendly info by our local pet blogger Bailey!

Check them out they are amazing!

  • Travis – Mountain biking / Trails Blogger
  • Etelka – Attractions Blogger
  • Diane – Seniors / Newcomers Blogger
  • Jackie – Food & local cuisine Blogger
  • Jano – Arts & Culture Blogger
  • Gerome – First Nations / History Blogger
  • Meagan – Business Blogger
  • Manuel – Business Blogger
  • Julie – Outdoors Adventure Blogger
  • Bailey – Pet Blogger

I am truly honoured to be connected to this dynamic crew. We may be different but we share the same ideals for the end game – to promote our community in a good and positive light. Yes we get to spread the word with good stuff!!! This light force will override the negativity that rears its ugly head occasionally on Facebook. Don’t get me started on that, I may have to exercise my big girl voice!

My role in this blogging journey!

My mission is to inform the world about the attractions in Merritt and the Nicola Valley – we have some cool stuff!! Our community has an authentic feel and a great small town vibe easy for me to write about and share with others. My commitment is two-fold, one as a blogger and the other to assist with coordinating our newly formed group! They are all truly amazing with tons of passion. It is indeed my pleasure to embrace all my co-bloggers as we embark on this ground breaking blogging journey.

Coming soon my sidekick – Pet Blogger – Bailey!

Community Blogging Journey

There is still a bit of work to do with our newest addition – Bailey. Many hands will have to make this one work. Touring pet friendly places in our community, travelling pet tips right from a dogs mouth and of course meeting fellow pets. This little guy already has a following in our community and will soon be ready to expand his reach!! We should be starting to pound the pavement in the next couple of weeks. Watch out world Bailey’s coming!!!

There is always room for more talent – so if you have an interest and would like to contribute either as a guest blogger or wanting to join the team, connect, and let me know.

Do you think you have what it takes to become a member of this team?

Show your stuff!!!!!!

 

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My Merritt Experience – Becoming a “Merrittonian”

My Merritt Experience

“…I AM a “Merrittonian” now. When I leave to go back to the Coast I can’t wait to come home…”

Writing a blog about my “Merritt Experience” with business …….something I had never really thought about until Etelka Gillespie approached me a few months ago. That was when I was all sparkly and new to my job as the Executive Director for the Merritt & District Chamber of Commerce. What would I write about? Would people really want the perspective of a “Coastie” on Merritt?

For those of you who don’t know what a “Coastie” is, it is an endearing term used by “Merrittonians” to describe those of us born and raised on the BC West Coast that migrate to live in Merritt later in life. Ok, I have to admit, I don’t really look like I am from here. Still sporting a “Coastie” hair do, short and platinum, and even after almost 5 years (this July actually). I still get asked “you’re not from here are you”. It is pretty obvious! LOL. People know me by my hair, or my kid, and not necessarily by me personally. That’s all a part of my Merritt Experience.

I wanted to be close to family…

I am looking forward to telling you about my experiences with the businesses of Merritt. But for me, that really isn’t what brought me to Merritt. Not a job, or anything related to business. I moved here because my Mom, Dad, and Aunt live here (and my sister and her family now). But honestly, I moved because husband was dying of cancer after a long 7 year battle, and I needed support.

My family now – Photo credit Julie Pollard ~ Merritt Pro Photo

I wanted to be close to family as I started my journey as a single Mom, living on my own for the first time in my life. Merritt was a whole lot more affordable than living in Sardis BC. Who would have thought I would be a widow at 36 after 18 years with my husband? Nevertheless 15 days before Christmas, here I was. New to Merritt, just 5 months of living here, no friends yet really, and working from home for a company at the Coast.

 

 

Adjusting to Merritt surprisingly wasn’t as hard as I thought!

 People recognized me as Maureen’s daughter (there may be a slight resemblance between me and my Mom) or just a “new” person. They accepted us, no questions asked. My daughter’s schoolmates, teachers, and parents supported us when her Dad passed away, even though they didn’t know us. Christmas gifts and casseroles, food baskets, cards and flowers were dropped off at the front door by people we didn’t even know. No explanations, just a Merry Christmas before we could even ask who they were. My late husband had touched people while volunteering with the Community Policing Office. Even in the short time he had been here, I couldn’t believe just how much.

Slowly I found myself venturing out more and more without having my husband to care for. I became a regular at some businesses. People wanted to know my name, where I was from. They remembered me and my daughter the next time we came in. It was so different from being at the coast, where there were simply too many people to remember just one.

The servers at the Home Restaurant knew my daughter loved the “Little Logger Breakfast” on the children’s menu and a hot chocolate, and they knew I loved the beef dip which I ate religiously unless it was breakfast time. As I became a regular to more and more businesses, I was greeted more often than not with familiar smiles, people who said “hey, we haven’t seen you in a while”. Even Jason at the mobile fruit stand that parks in the parking lot at Century 21 every summer asked how my husband was the following summer when I came back alone with my daughter (who he remembered by name). My “Merritt Experience” list was growing faster than I realized, all because of the people. 

My Merritt Experience – I was a person, not just a customer!

Living in Merritt was becoming more and more about the experiences we were having. It was about being able to buy something from Creative Company that was different than the norm and showing off the great thing I found in Merritt, it was still being able to buy myself a nice designer top or jeans at Spaner and Webb or Work N Play.

And yet it was also about having the option to shop at a franchise store like WalMart, Canadian Tire or Extra Foods, but with one big difference. There were no long line ups and crowded aisles, even at those franchises, they knew us. We weren’t just another customer. It was different here, special, still large enough to have the option of shopping for what we needed but small enough that there was always a level of personal experience wherever we went. That is what started my love of living here, those people that chose to own or work for a business here.

It’s about the people who make the town what it is.

Eventually it got to the point where now, we can’t go somewhere without seeing someone we know, in fact it would be a rare exception to have that happen. But that is what Merritt is. It’s the place where you find friendly businesses, you experience them, you don’t just shop in them. It’s about the people who make the town what it is. They are the ones who welcome tourists with the open front doors in the summer time, and a place to warm up in the win

Me, my daughter, and my “Shiny New Husband” – Photo Credit Julie Pollard ~ Merritt Pro Photo

ter. The people love this town so much and want to see it thrive. They love to show off what Merritt is all about when visitors arrive and are directed to all the great places they can experience when they are here. (I could go on and on but I guess I should leave that part for another blog.)

I guess what I am trying to say is I AM a “Merrittonian” now.

When I leave to go back to the Coast I can’t wait to come home, and in fact I even have a shiny new husband who has come to join me here and opened a new business! He too fell in love with Merritt, the people, the experience, the lifestyle…..but that is another blog for another day.

I hope you will follow my blog and follow my EXPERIENCES with the businesses here, through what was a tourists eyes. Even now, in a lot of ways, it is still through the eyes of someone who “isn’t from here” originally but absolutely LOVES to live here now!

You will begin to understand why you will want to come here and see what the “Merritt Experience” is all about.