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Merritt BC Canada Murals

Merritt BC Murals – Carolyn Dawn Johnson

Featured Country Music Musician : Carolyn Dawn Johnson

“I’m going for the big picture” Carolyn Dawn Johnson

The Merritt BC Murals attraction includes Canadian country music singer Carolyn Dawn Johnson. She is one of  25 + Canadian Country Music Murals located throughout the community of Merritt, BC, Canada in the Nicola Valley. But here, at this mural in front of you,  I am going to tell you a little about Carolyn Dawn Johnson. 

Carolyn Dawn Johnson – Merritt BC Murals

Carolyn Dawn Johnson played at the Merritt Mountain Music Festival (now called the Rockin’ River Country Music Fest) in 2002 and again in 2006. Johnson was born and raised in Alberta, Canada. At the age of 5 she was singing in church and started taking piano lessons from the pastors wife.

At one point in her life she steered away from country music. But luckily for country music fans, Carolyn finally found her way back to the stage and calls that period of her life, that hiatus from country music, “a stain in her heart”.

country music mural Carolyn Dawn Johnson Merritt BC

Michelle Bacon (Experience Nicola Valley) / Copyright 2019 ©Canadian Country Music Heritage Society / Painted by Michelle Loughery

The Songs Of A Canadian Country Singer

Many a country music fan of Carolyn Dawn Johnson know her best for her songs like “Complicated”, “Georgia”, and “I don’t want you to go”.  

Carolyn also has two children, Abigail and Bennett. In one of Carolyn’s videos you can watch as she and her daughter Abigail sing a duet (story book style) that she wrote with Stella ladies. 

Life Of Carolyn Dawn Johnson

Carolyn Dawn Johnson was born on April 30, 1971 in Grand Prairie Alberta. She had many influences growing up. Her parents would play country music records while later in life she listened to many other artists and genres. Some included ABBA, Fleetwood Mac, Charley Pride and Marty Stewart.

At 5 years old she started taking piano lessons from the pastors wife at her church. Then in high school she learned to play the flute, saxophone and clarinet. Because her teacher Evangeline Theissen kept sending her books about piano, she continues to play the keys with passion.  

High School And Beyond

Although she took music in high school, her teachers were not very encouraging. She then turned to science. After graduation she attended Trinity Western University in Langley, BC studying biology. The following year she returned to Alberta, Canada and specialized in education.

Night Clubs

While attending collage she frequently went to the local clubs and sat in with some of the featured bands.  It was while playing with the local bands that her confidence grew on stage and in her talents. The bands, watching her perform on stage night in and night out, encouraged her to get back into music. It was then that she realized that her true calling was country music.

Merritt BC Murals Selfie Photo

Country Music Education 

Carolyn, realizing that country music was her future, decided to pursue an education in the production of music. She enrolled in Vancouver’s Columbia Academy and learned the technical aspects of the music industry. While learning song writing from a video she purchased she wrote songs in her spare time. It was also at this time Johnson joined the Nashville Songwriters Association International.

Nashville Is Calling Carolyn Dawn Johnson 

“I’m going for the big picture”  Carolyn Dawn Johnson

This quote was said to her mother during a phone call in 1994. It was then she moved to Nashville. On her arrival  in Nashville, Tennessee Carolyn began to seek out and attend song writing workshops. In 1998 everything changed. It was then she signed with Patrick Joseph Music as a songwriter. Her demos captured the attention of some amazing artists like Jo Dee Messina, Patty Loveless, Mindy McCready, Chely Write among others.

Big Break Writing

Carolyn Dawn Johnson’s big break came in 1999 with “Single White Female”. Johnson co-wrote the song “Single White Female” with Shaye Smith and, ultimately, Chely Write ended up recording the song. This song became her first #1 hit as a song writer. The momentum continued when Jo Dee Messina recorded  another of Carolyn’s songs called “Downtime” which became a top #5 hit.

Music Row Magazine named Carolyn Dawn Johnson “Breakthrough Song Writer of the Year” in 2000.

Country Music Starts On The Road

In 1999 Carolyn started her country music solo career. Martina McBride asked Carolyn to go on tour with her as a back up singer and guitarist. While on tour with Martina, Carolyn worked on her own songs for her debut album.

 Carolyn Dawn Johnson

Photo Credit :Carolyn Dawn Johnson Facebook

2001

In 2001 the doors continued to open for Carolyn Dawn Johnson. She opened for stars like Sara Evens, Martina McBride, Reba McEntire and Jamie O’Neil while on the Girls Night Out Tour.

Later in 2001 Johnson released her debut album “Room with a View” in Canada. An American release followed soon after. Selling almost 18,000 copies in the first week it became Nashville’s highest debuting album by an new artist. “Room with a View” became Certified Gold in Canada a few months later.

By the end of 2001 Carolyn Dawn Johnson had received 10 nominations from the Canadian Country Music Association. She went on to win 5 of those awards including Female Artist Of The Year.

2002

2002 Carolyn went on tour with Alan Jackson and Kenny Chesney. She won a Juno award for “Best Country Artist”. Another award won by Johnson that year was “Top New Female Artist’ by the Academy of Country Music.

2003-2005

Carolyn went on a co-heading tour in 2003 with Keith Urban. While on tour she wrote songs for her next album “Dress Rehearsal”,  released in 2004. Later that year she received seven CCMA (Canadian Country Music Association) award nominations and won 5.

In 2005, Carolyn Dawn Johnson left Artisa Nashville stating “what they wanted me to do is not who I am.”

Canadian Country Music Hall of Fame

2006 – 2009

By 2006 she released her third album “Love and Negotiation” under Angeline Entertainment, a Canadian record label. At the CCMA awards in 2007 Carolyn was named “Female Vocalist of the Year”. Love & Negotiation was eventually released in the US by Dancing Lily Music, on October 13, 2009.

2010 – 2013

Johnson released a single “Let me Introduce Myself” from her next upcoming album “Love Rules”. The Album Love Rules was released on July 21, 2010 in the US and on Aug 10, 2010 it was released in Canada. Carolyn received “Female Artist of the Year” and “Album of the Year” for her Love Rules album. She also received “Female Artist of the Year” in both 2012 and 2013.

Recent years

Carolyn has been involved with another band JD & The Straight Shot. She started touring with them in 2018 and in 2019 became an official member of the band. They have just released an new album “The Great Divide” You can check out a live stream of the new album here.

Merritt’s Canadian Country Music Hall Of Fame

Merritt BC is the Country Music Capital of Canada. Downtown Merritt BC Canada is home of the Canadian Country Music Hall of Fame. The Hall of Fame, the “Merritt Murals”, and the “Walk of Stars” have transformed Downtown Merritt BC into the largest country music art gallery you will ever have the pleasure of  experiencing in Canada. 

Take a selfie with your favorite country music artists and send them to us at @experiencenicolavalley on social media. Another Merritt BC Canada Attraction is the Walk of Stars.  There are 100+ hand prints and even one foot print that have been cast in bronze for prosperity located throughout the community of Merritt BC Canada. Do you know who the foot print belongs to? 

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.  You can find the Carolyn Dawn Johnson – Merritt BC Mural at 1701 Voght Street which is the Home Hardware building.

For more info and stories about the Canadian Country Music Hall of Fame – Merritt BC Murals please go to Experience Nicola Valley.

Say hi on social media and let Carolyn Dawn Johnson know you saw her on Experience Nicola Valley. Better yet send her a selfie of you with her mural here in Merritt BC. Carolyn Dawn Johnson can be found on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram.

Merritt BC Murals – Carolyn Dawn Johnson

Canadian Country Music Hall of Fame

Hall of Fame

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Great places to go camping in the Nicola Valley.

Some great camp sites around Merritt.

Never a lack of things to do while out camping in the Nicola Valley.

Camping in the Nicola Valley is by far one of the best pass times in the spring, summer and fall.

You can start by checking all the provincial and forestry camp sites. There is a great map to look at and see what they have available at each. You can take a look at the interactive map from Ministry of Forests. From there it would be easy to decide on which site has what you are looking for in terms of hookups, power, showers, lake , fishing hiking etc.

I have done this a couple times and it can be very convenient. I may decide to do this again one day. But right now I prefer a little more rustic way of camping in the Nicola Valley. It opens up so many more options and places that you can go.

Provincial Camp sites.

Some great provincial campsites around the Merritt area include Kentucky Alleyne. Located off of highway 5A between Merritt and Princeton. There are some great hiking trails, fishing and geocaching. There is also a great kids pond between the two lakes where children can fish in the stocked trout pond.

fishing kentucky lake

Photo credit Michelle Lea’s Photography

Another great site is Monk park on the north west side of Nicola Lake. There is also great fishing here and if you have a boat you can get out into the deeper channels to fish. Rainbow, and kokanee are among the fish you can catch in Nicola Lake. You can get there by following highway 5 from Merritt towards Quilchena. Then take the Monk Park turn off just before the Nicola Lake dam.

fishing Nicola Lake

Photo credit Michelle Lea’s Photography

More rustic camping in the Nicola Valley.

There are plenty of great forestry campsites through out the Nicola Valley as well. Some of them include Tyner, Boss, Shea, Davis, Kane, Lundbom, Marquart and so many more. Each of these lakes has it’s own pro’s. There are usually quite nice set ups for camping at all of these forestry sites and each lake has good fishing, trails and an abundance of wildlife.

Lundbom is a great place to camp for those who love to take their horses along. There are corrals and some great trails and open range land. Makes for an amazing camping trip.

Rustic Camping

We usually just drive to a nice spot in the bush by a lake and camp. No power, no hookups, no water. Sometimes we are not sure if our trailer will make it in but we do. If for some reason the road it not safe to take the trailer we will take the tent.

camping Helmer Lake

Photo Credit Michelle Lea’s Photography

Our trailer is always loaded with food.

We always bring our own water, propane, battery or solar lights. We even make a portable out house. And last camping trip we lined the path to the outhouse with solar lights. It was great.

camp at Rey Lake

Photo Credit Michelle Lea’s Photography

Canoeing, kayaking and boating

All of these lakes would be great to take your canoe, kayak, boat, belly boat or even pontoon boat. They are all easy to access. There are so many lakes close to these lakes as well so you can travel a short distance to a new lake and a new experience.

Loons

We love going fishing to catch our dinner or just catch and release. It’s all about getting out and enjoying the day. One lake we go to has a resident loon that will come and try to steal the fish right from the side of your boat or belly boat. You have to be very careful and keep a watch or your fish will either get taken or have some pretty good marks in it from the loon’s beak. It is quite exciting and kind of scary at the same time. You can get some great photos of the loon though. 

loon wanting to steal fish

Photo credit Michelle Lea’s Photography

Eagles

I remember another lake where you had to be careful as the resident bald eagle likes to come and steal the fish right off your line. Have to keep your eyes open and reel like crazy to get the fish in before the eagle steals it. It makes me laugh every time I think about it.

We are seriously so lucky to have what we have in our back yard. I remember setting up camp one summer and just going back and forth to work right from camp.

Bruce the Spruce

I have to tell you a fantastic little story about Bruce the spruce grouse. While out driving around, there is one road we always take to see what wildlife we can capture. Once particular day when we stopped at our normal corner I heard a grouse. I started to call it to see if it would come closer and what do you know. This grouse came right out strutting his stuff. He would follow me and even the truck for a little ways up the road. 

NO WAY!!!

On our way back down I didn’t see the grouse again but told my boyfriend to stop and I would try calling him again. My boyfriend said no way is it going to come back again. I got out of the truck and started to call “Bruce…come on Bruce where are you” Well, wholly crap. Here comes Bruce strutting his stuff again. We couldn’t believe our eyes. I got a few more photo’s before heading home for the day.

Week Later

Thinking there is no possible way Bruce would still be there I decided to take my daughter for a ride up the road a week later. I needed some better photo’s. The ones I took the first time were not as good as I wanted. We got to the corner and I got out. My daughter must have though me to me crazy to be calling a grouse. “Bruce, come on Bruce, where are you” My daughter was just floored as out of the bush comes Bruce the Spruce. I got some better pictures this time. Had a little visit and left for home.

When my boyfriend got home and I started to tell him that Bruce was still there. My boyfriends daughters were listening couldn’t believe that I was calling this grouse in. I let them know that we would go out again as soon as we could so they could also see.

Couple weeks after that

It wasn’t until a couple weeks later that we got to head out again. I thought for sure this time Bruce would be gone. But he was still there and came out when I called him. My step-daughters thought it was the craziest thing. I also thought it was pretty wild how this grouse would come out when I called it. He was there and kept coming out for about a month and a half. We would go up and visit for a while and get some photo’s and a couple video’s. 

I am not sure what ever happened to Bruce but he finally did disappear. It was a sad day when I went to see him and when I called he no longer came. I can only hope that he just moved on.

Gardening

I was pretty much ready to start planting a garden out there. Although we were back and forth I did plant some potato’s and lettuce. Our trailer stayed out there from April until the first snow in October. It was the best summer I have ever had. I think  this year I will bring some planters out and have a bit of a container garden. 

Property

Now we live on property and I thought by having property I wouldn’t want to go camping in the Nicola Valley anymore. So I started to get animals to sustain us on our own land. Well, I was wrong. I miss camping in the Nicola Valley. Quading, fishing  going on hikes from out in the bush some where. There is absolutely nothing like it. I love being able to see all the amazing wildlife when I am camping in the Nicola Valley.

bull moose calf

Photo credit Michelle Lea’s Photography

New places to explore

Usually we always camped at Helmer Lake. Unfortunately there was a bad flood that took out most of the camp sites as well as the road. Forestry has not fixed it for the past 3 years. So on to new and exciting places.

We decided to sell all the animals so we can do some serious exploring again. Some of the lakes that we are looking forward to checking out this year are forestry camp sites. But that’s okay. I am looking forward to picking fresh berries and catching my supper again.

Can’t wait to share with you all what I have experienced over the spring, summer and fall and which ones we love. There are so many places to check out when you go camping in the Nicola Valley. Some you may have heard about. Some maybe you haven’t. I will tell you about all of the ones I visit and what I see and experience at each.

Take Care

Please take care of our country so that others may also enjoy it for generations to come.

I would like you to make a promise. When you go into the back country please, leave it like you were never there.  Always make sure your camp fire is out before you leave. If you see someone else has left a mess behind, please make an effort to clean it up then make a note and message me at Experience Nicola Valley. I will make a point to go back and see if there is anything else I can do. Thank you all so much. 

Great places to go camping in the Nicola Valley.

One of the best places to eat in Merritt – Kekuli Cafe

Kekuli Cafe, Merritt, BC

“Don’t panic….we have bannock”

One of the best places to eat in Merritt is Kekuli Cafe. “Don’t panic… we have Bannock” is the official slogan of Kekuli Cafe in Merritt BC. A wonderful place to enjoy a number of indigenous foods.

Before we dive into the amazing food I’d like to treat you to a look at the amazing skor bannock. You have got to try one.

skor bannock kekuli cafe merritt bc

Ohhh so yummy Skor bannock from Kekuli Cafe

How Kekuli was born?

It all started when for many years Sharon Bond wanted to own her own restaurant. Having a passion for cooking, baking and making people feel welcome. Sharon also had a passion for helping and pleasing people.

With all the other places to eat in Merritt Sharon knew she wanted to create a place like no other. Therefore that’s exactly what she did.

The Cafe

Sharon wanted a traditional cultural aboriginal ambiance. Low light pow wow music, aboriginal art, jewelry and of course aboriginal cuisine. She wanted a place where everyone would feel welcome and acknowledged. Along with her husband Darren Hogg they created one of the best places to eat in Merritt – Kekuli Cafe.

You definitely feel welcomed from the moment you walk in the doors of Kekuli Cafe.

The Name Kekuli.

It was quite interesting to find out where the name Kekuli came from. Sharon was looking for a unique name that would have an aboriginal flair to it. While reading a book by James Teit she came across the word “kekuli” which means house. Right away she knew that was the name and sent in paperwork to have it registered that day. 

The Thompson Indians used to live in these pit house( Kekuli’s)  hundreds of years ago.  These houses are build into the ground with logs, tule, dirt and grass. They were a safe, warm and happy place. That also protected the people from the elements during harsh winters.

You can still find Kekuli’s throughout the Thompson/Okanagan areas.

Kekuli Cafe pit house bannock

Photo Credit: Kekuli Cafe

Now however you can also find that warm inviting feeling of home in every Kekuli Café.

Franchise

The next step in Sharon and Darren’s endeavor was to start creating franchises. With the first being sold in December of 2018.

On Dec 1, 2018 Elijah Mack, just 22 years old, started living his dream by becoming the very first Kekuli franchise owner.  When asked what he wanted to be in 10 years he would say “I want to be my own boss.” Now Elijah is the proud owner of one of the best places to eat in Merritt.

Kekuli Cafe franchise owner

Photo credit Kekuli Cafe

Saskatoon ice tea is wonderful and refreshing treat any time of year. I love the flavor. Makes me want another one just thinking about it. My daughters favorite it the saskatoon berry smoothie.

Kekuli Cafe saskatoon ice tea

Saskatoon berry ice tea. It was so refreshing.

They have a variety of Bannock available and some amazing lunches. Fry bread tipi tacos, grilled Bannock flatbread, bannowiches, and a variety of salads. Check out their menu here.

Lunch

Oh my goodness, look at this amazing meal. So nice to have a place where everything is made fresh with fresh ingredients.

bannock blt

BLT Bannock with cran apple feta salad

BLT bannock fresh

BLT bannock at Kekuli

This BLT bannock was so amazing. The bannock was soft and warm, lettuce and tomato were fresh and no skimping on the bacon which was cooked to perfection. Must say this was the best BLT I have had in a very long time. Along with my BLT I chose to have the cranberry, apple and feta salad. It was so crisp and fresh. Accompanying the salad was a saskatoon vinaigrette dressing made in house.  Perfect for this salad. 

salad cranberry apple feta

Cranberry, apple and feta salad.

Desert I had a skor bannock. It was so fresh and I have to say better than any doughnut I have ever had. I was very tempted to buy a whole bunch of them to take home. 

Happy customers

While I was visiting there were a group from White Rock who stopped in for lunch. They were extremely thrilled with the service. One lady spoke of how Kurt, chief at Kekuli Cafe, resonated such happy vibes. They really appreciated it and would come back again for sure.

Look at these happy faces.

kekuli cafe great food eat merritt

Guests from Whiterock having lunch at Kekuli in Merritt, BC

 The Staff

When you walk into Kekuli Cafe you are greeted by the amazing staff.  They always have a smile on their faces and are ready to help you any way they can.

staff kekuli cafe

Amanda and Kurt staff at Kekuli Cafe

Kekuli Cafe isn’t just on of the best places to eat in Merritt. Friday nights they have open mic night where patrons can come and express themselves over the mic. They have had people sing, tell stories or say a poem. It’s a great way to spend some time with friends, enjoy the local talent and of course have some coffee and bannock.

So far I have tried the traditional, cinnamon sugar and skor. What kinds have you tried?

Art work

Something else you will find a Kekuli Cafe is some art from a local artist Wyatt Collins. Wyatt has such a flair for life and creates some wonderful artwork which is featured on the walls of Kekuli Cafe. There are also greeting cards with Wyatt’s artwork on them. 

local art merritt bc kekuli cafe

Art work by local artist Wyatt Collins

Other aboriginal products

There are a number of aboriginal items for sale at Kekuli Café. Some of them include Jams, jellies, coffee, pottery and cards. Stop in and have a look.

Kekuli Cafe Merritt BC

Some other offerings from Kekuli Cafe

If you are interested in having a blog showcasing your business please feel free to contact me at Experience Nicola Valley.  I would love to chat.

One of the best places to eat in Merritt – Kekuli Cafe

Canadian Country Music

Country Music Hall of Fame is a Merritt Tradition

“Canadian Country music continues to grow in Canada and a number of US artists have recorded and made hits of songs written by Canadian Song writers.”

The Canadian Country Music Hall of Fame and Museum collects,  preserves and displays the history and tradition of Country music.  The Canadian Country Music Hall of Fame honours Canadian country music artists, builders or broadcasters, living or deceased. The Country Music Hall of Fame is a national attraction and a must see Nicola Valley Experience in Merritt, BC Canada’s downtown.
 
Merritt and the Nicola Valley country atmosphere, outdoor adventures, traditional ranches, heritage and the unique
desolate landscape has been the inspiration for the biggest Country Music Festivals in Canada.  In addition it has earned Merritt the title, Country Music Capital of Canada. It has also set the stage for the Country Music Hall of Fame to showcase our national artist inductees, song writers and  their contributions  to country music.

Canadian Country Music Roots

Canadian Country Music

Photo Source CCMA: Hank Snow

The Maritimes, parts of Ontario and BC shared a strong folk tradition similar to that of the Appalachian region of the US. Because of this country music has found ready acceptance in Canada. It was first popularized by fiddlers such as Don Messer and George Wade. They started their careers on radio in the late 1920s. The Canadian Victor Record Co signed Wilf Carter in 1932, and his success prompted Victor to sign Wade (1933). Hank Snow (1936) and Hank LaRivière (1941) were signed as well. Carter, Snow, and later Earl Heywood introduced a unique style of country music to the scene using a lower, less nasal-sounding voice with clearer enunciation and fewer of the blues like slurs and high whining sounds that dominate much American country music.

Canadian Singers

However, Canadian singers depend more on the traditional ballad and story songs than on the “cheatin'” and barroom songs often preferred in the US. The Great Depression, WWII,  a more mobile population, the success of the “singing cowboy” movies, the number of US radio stations with access to Canada, the increasing number of pop adaptations in country music, national radio shows and tours all increased the popularity of country  music throughout the 1930s, 1940s and into the 1950s.

Movement to the United States

Canadian artists have struggled with low population of the country. Until the mid-1950s country artists relied on live radio shows,  regional touring in clubs, barn dances and local television appearances to earn a living. With a shortage of places to perform and the lack of good recording studios, numerous artists, including Ray Griff, Stu Phillips, Lucille Starr and Ronnie Prophet, followed the lead of Hank Snow and moved to the US.  In the 1960s country records became more pop-oriented. Artists such as Anne Murray, R. Harlan Smith and Shirley Eikhardt received airplay on commercial radio.

Country Music and Rock

Rock-oriented music, of the Good Brothers, Prairie Oyster and Colleen Peterson, gained a wider audience. The urban folk boom of the 1960s consisted of artists such as Ian and Sylvia Tyson, Gordon Lightfoot, Murray McLauchlan and Bob Ruzicka. These musicians have both a strong urban and country appeal. The folk-music boom  introduced bluegrass, the jazz of country music, and traditional Canadian fiddle music to a much larger audience. In the 1990s there continued to be a strong crossover feeling to Canadian country music. The addition of new music artists Rita MacNeil, Quartette, Colleen Peterson, Ashley MacIsaac, The Rankins and The Barra MacNeils appeal to Canadian music audiences in general.

Growth of Western and Canadian Country Music

Canadian-content regulations for commercial radio in 1970 gave valuable airplay to artists such as Dick Damron,
“Stompin’ Tom” Connors, Carroll Baker, Gary Buck and the Family Brown. More radio stations were licensed and
more began to program for specialized markets. In 1960 there was one radio station, CFCW in Alberta, featuring
country music entirely. By 1987 there were 85 originating stations programming some country music during their
broadcast day, and by 1998 there were 110 full-time country stations and 36 part-time stations broadcasting country music in Canada. Because of this the 1980s saw a revival of interest in the older styles of country music of Ian Tyson, k.d. lang and groups such as Blue Rodeo and Spirit of the West. The more mainstream music of Eddie Eastman, Terry Sumsion and Terry Carisee, etc, remained popular.

Nashville Calling

Up until the 1990s primary television exposure for country artists came through such network shows as the Tommy
Hunter Show and syndicated broadcasts such as Sun Country and the Family Brown Show. More importantly, with the advent of country music specialty television channels, such as the Nashville Network and Canada’s Country Music Television (established in 1994 as New Country Network), new exposure possibilities for country music artists became possible. A new genre of country music, often referred to as new country, arose to take advantage of these opportunities. Borrowing promotional and production techniques along with a dose of attitude from rock music, this new music challenged accepted ideas of country music. This resulted in giving country musicians a much wider and more urban audience.

Making It Big

Country Music in Merritt

Photo Source CCMA: Michelle Wright-Patricia Conroy

Canadian artists who emerged in the 1990s include Michelle Wright, k.d. lang, George Fox, Charlie Major, Blue Shadows, Prescott/Brown, Paul Brandt, Cassandra Vassik, Patricia Conroy, Lori Yates, Terry Clark, the Wilkinsons and multi-award winner Shania Twain. There is still the notion that to make it big you must move to Nashville. However, television now offers Canadian artists a chance for much wider exposure. A 3-hour 1992 CBC-TV special brought new country and old country together in a program devoted to the history of Canadian country music called Country Gold. This program featured interviews and performances by Canadian artists from Hank Snow to k.d. Lang.

Birth of Canadian Country Music Association

The Canadian Country Music Association, formed in 1975 as the Academy of Country Music Entertainment, has sponsored an annual country music week in different cities across Canada. Country Music Week, as well as, Big Country Awards have brought artists and industry people together and have become major events in the promotion and development of country music. Therefore, the annual broadcast of the Country Music Awards has for many years been the top-rated Canadian music show on television. The Country Music Association is also responsible for the Canadian Country Music Hall of Honour, with a permanent home in Edmonton. The Canadian Country Music Hall of Fame however, is situated in Merritt, British Columbia.

Then and Now

Country Music hall of Fame

Photo Source: CCMH of Fame

The Canadian Country Music Hall of Fame has released a Then and Now Album Volume 1.  On September 7th, 2018 the first-ever Canadian Country Music Hall of Fame album was released. During the Canadian Country Music Awards in Hamilton, Ontario the ‘Then and Now – Volume 1’ compilation album was released. The album features Hall of Fame inductees Ian Tyson, Murray McLauchlan and Michelle Wright. They performed their biggest hits, in duets with some of today’s top names in Canadian country music. Some of the top artists performing are Brett Kissel, Aaron Pritchett and Jess Moskaluke. They were proud to participate.

Country Music Hall of Fame

There is an artifact collection of plaques, vintage turn table with 100’s of records (collection growing), national artist memorabilia, builders or broadcasters, living or deceased. Secondly, the country Music Hall of Fame includes extensive biographical information on the inductees. It is located in downtown Merritt, British Columbia at 2025 Quilchena Avenue. The facility is open year-round for custom tours, and is open to the public on seasonally adjusted hours. The initiative is governed by a not-for-profit society (the Canadian Country Music Heritage Society).

For more information contact:

Canadian Country Music Hall of Fame
2025 Quilchena Avenue
Merritt, BC Canada
Phone: 1-250-315-5508
Email: info@ccmhalloffame.com

Canadian Country Music in Merritt BC Canada

 Merritt BC Bakery-Confessions Of A Baker 

Confessions of a Baker, Merritt, BC Bound!

Dessert Tray made by Marie’s Sweet Shoppe

 

Confessions Of A Baker-Merritt BC Bakery

When I was a little girl, living in Merritt, BC. I was always in the kitchen helping my Grandma, my mom, and even my Foster mom cook or bake. Whether it be adding ingredients for them or mixing it up for them.

Even-though I was always in the Kitchen helping didn’t mean that baking was my passion, I just enjoyed helping and learning at all costs. I felt if I was not helping then I was not accomplishing anything, or contributing my part in the house hold.

Back in those days though; we were not asked to come in the kitchen, we were told not to get in the way, or not to play around the stove! I guess those rules are still in play with families today!

If we wanted to learn or even to be apart of the crowd so to speak, we would have to ask! Even show a little interest to learn what or how they made everything taste so good.

Confessions of a Baker# 1: I was more interested in playing and exploring the outdoors getting into trouble so to speak! The street lights were our window to curfew! Dinner Time!

First Attempt To Cook!

I was 7 years old, when I first used a stove on my own! Paying attention, or being observant paid for a great cause!

Both parents were working and the babysitter didn’t show up! We, (my sister, and I), were home alone. It was  late, and my sister was on a schedule, due to her medications she had to take. 

Anyway, my mom had made extra meat pot pies! First time I ever had to used a stove or oven, I was scared shitless! But someone had to feed us right?

 Can you imagine what was going through my mind at that time? That was a lot of pressure for a 7 year old, but I was determined to succeed!

My main concern was to feed my sister because she had to take her medicine. She has epilepsy! Guaranteed, her having a seizure was more scary to me than burning a house down, trust me!

Although, the countless things going through my head at the time was overwhelming, I did get it done. My sister was fed, she got her medications, and I was quite proud of myself in the end!

Confessions of a Baker# 2: I did get into a lot of trouble when my mother found out! I got grounded! But on the other hand, she was proud of me. Knowing that no matter what, I did what I had to do!

Chocolate Brownies, By Marie’s Sweet Shoppe

First Time Following a Recipe!

At the time, I was 10 years old. I was living with my Foster Mom, Joan Lawrence. This was the time I first learned how to bake! Joan was baking some bread and buns that day, and I has asked if I could help.

“Not with the bread!” she said, ” But how would you like to learn to make some cookies?”

Joan saw the interest in my eyes, at the time I was not sure how she did it, but she knew. However, she opened a cook book and gave it to me. She told me that all I had to do was follow the instructions.

 All we had to do now was place the cookies on to the baking sheet and bake. I was pretty excited that I actually followed the recipe step by step, well… at least I thought I had. 

Confessions of a Baker# 3: She told me they were very good! But they were hard as a rock! She didn’t know that I knew, Baking disaster….. What a Kind Soul She Had Though! I had forgot the baking soda!

Baking Was History!

A little bit of History of the first time I started to bake! There you have it, I lost interest after the last Confession. I took for granted how much work baking would be, thinking it was easy.Who was I kidding!

From then on, I enjoyed every moment of eating the baking everyone else did.

 

Confessions of a Baker# 4: I never started to bake again until… Until I became a mother myself. Of course it was not on a regular basis either!

When My Passion Came To Light!

The first time, I ever decided to try and be creative, when it came to baking, was is 2009! I was living in Kelowna, BC.  That was when I created a recipe, no cook book, no instructions, just the idea that flowed through my head. The idea came to light, and I even searched it, online, in every dessert cookbook out there! Could not find not one recipe that even came close to this idea.

My very first Creation! That was when everything changed for me. From then on, I dedicated, all my spare time I had baking and creating.

Edible Bouquets, By Marie’s Sweet Shoppe

That is also when The realization came to me as well. Every time I felt alone, sad, angry, and disappointed; my go to thing was baking! Yes Baking! I felt so much better after losing myself in creating new recipes,and baking up a storm. So much so that at the end of the day I started to give it away because I had too much, haha! Go figure!

Confessions of a Baker# 5: At first I was convinced I was going crazy, or thinking I had some kind of Compulsive disorder, or even a never ending baking frenzy! HAHA! Baking more than needed or necessary!

Therefore, this is how it was going for a few more years!

My First Business Was Created!

So after years of baking and creating, I thought what if…. Well that what if if, lead to getting a business setup! Such as a Business name, a business number (through Revenue Canada). Then finding the clientele, because first step, clients! Who else right? It takes a lot of work to get a business set up, it takes time and a lot of time. Learning all the rules and regulations, the laws, the city bylaws, and well you get the picture I am sure!

The most important though…. is you have to be completely committed…..you have to believe in yourself as well as your faithful clients! It all takes time, effort, and passion to be completely successful.

Learn as much as you can, put your heart and soul into your work, because if you don’t then you really are setting yourself up for failure and disappointment.

Confessions of a Baker# 6: I have made this very Mistake. I had to Learn the hard way! My First Business failed because I did not put a lot into my business. I actually lost Faith in myself, NOT A GOOD THING TO DO!

Therefore I learned that before you get yourself into a loaded ship, and before you sail, make sure you put 110% into it all! Lesson Learned!

Success Of A Baker And Her Confessions

Today! Not only Have I succeeded, I have more experience, more Faith, and more clients! As the years go on, it only gets better! Although it is a lot easier now than it has been, the pride I have now is worth every moment this path has taken me thus far!

 Today I get more request, more happy clients, and it feels so good to see that thinks can only get better with each passing day! As along as I keep working on not just what I love, but constantly working on improvements and feed back from my customers.

Confessions of a Baker# 7: Never be afraid to ask for help! I learned this lesson along the way, and believe me the help and support from other bakers whom are more experienced is the best way to help you succeed!

Marie’s Sweet Shoppe did several Cakes in the past few Months!

Merritt

Cake made by Marie’s Sweet Shoppe

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Shopping local in the Nicola Valley

Sometimes easier said than done when you live in a small town.

“Shop for the experience that you get locally.”

Shopping Local. Sometimes easier said than done when you live in a small town. I think most people would rather drive down the road to get something they need instead of heading out to a larger town. This is very true for Merritt, where you have to go “up and over the mountains” on a highway to go somewhere. But if we are honest, that isn’t always an option. Especially when what we are looking for is a specialized product, or the projects we are taking on are larger, more difficult or a one off endeavor. And sometimes, we simply “need it now” and can’t wait for something to be ordered.

I was recently approached by a lady, Shirley Reynolds, is a long-time resident of Merritt who likes to shop local. She started to tell me her story about how a local business, Home Hardware, had gone above and beyond for her and asked if I could share it. It is a perfect example of why so many really try to shop local in Merritt.

This is her story:

Going Above and Beyond

Shirley Reynolds at Merritt Home Hardware

“This summer I had a project that I wanted to complete. I had some thick, plastic greenery stems that needed to be cut, and tried scissors, wire cutters etc. to no avail.

I popped down to Merritt Home Hardware near closing time, and asked if they could help me out. Larry and Dea at the service centre were up to the challenge. They tried scissors, then medium sized bolt cutters, but the stems were very thick and defied cutting. Finally, they brought out the big guns, a giant sized set of bolt cutters.

When they used this tool, the stems went flying. Luckily, the store had closed and no one was in the line of fire. They happily finished the task until success was achieved, even though their work day had technically ended. On top of that, they didn’t even charge me for the use of the tools!

 

Awesome Merritt Home Hardware Staff

Great service and helpful advice is what I have experienced and received over and over again from the staff at our local hardware store. You can be sure that I will continue to give them my business. If you are new to town, shop local, give them a try, you won’t be disappointed!”

The truth is, that was one of the first things I noticed even before I moved to Merritt.

Going the Extra Mile

My shop local story is a little different. I drove up to see my parents for a few days when I lived at the Coast. My parents live off the beaten path 15 minutes outside town and 5 kms up a very well maintained gravel road on top of a local mountain. When I pulled up the garage and got out of my car I noticed a loud hissing, and looked down to see one of my front tires rapidly losing air. I had driven over a large sharp piece of shale which had punctured my tire. Darn!

Knowing I only had a small donut spare, I pulled the tire off, put it in my parents truck and my Mom and I headed for town. There is a Kal Tire just as you come in to town, so we proceeded to head there in hopes they could fix it. It was getting late in the day and close to closing time, but I arrived and explained I was from the Coast and had to head home the next day. The gentleman behind the counter quickly said “no problem, come back in 15 minutes”!

A Quick Fix

We left, only to return 15 minutes later to a fully repaired tire ready to go. I pulled out my wallet to pay but was quickly told “no charge, have a safe trip home”. I could only reply “what??” followed by “are you sure”? These people didn’t know me, and I had disclosed I was from the Coast. Shouldn’t they be charging me through the nose for my bad luck? Apparently not, the man smiled and told me to tell my parents to come in if they needed anything in the future. My parents reply was “yep, we will be back” and they were, again and again, they too choose to shop local.

I never forgot that day. And of course, when you have a good experience you tell everyone who will listen. Not only did I tell everyone at home, but my parents happily spread the word in Merritt. Even when I moved here 5 years ago (and probably 15 years after this experience) I remembered the kindness I experienced that day. Although I am sure staff has changed many times in the last 15+ years, my perception of the business never did.

There’s No Place Like Home

These two experiences, while different, are what shopping local are about. I am constantly reminding people that even the large franchises here are owned by families, not just the small businesses downtown. The fact is that often the vast majority of businesses here in Merritt, are owned by the person next door. The parent you see at hockey, the kid who plays with yours, people on the PTA, the people you curl with, etc. When you support local, you support people in your community who just happen to have businesses that add to your life conveniences.

I encourage everyone, to consider where you shop. Support your neighbors. Allow local business the opportunity to price match. Consider the gas and time to shop elsewhere, is it really cheaper? What if you were a business owner? But more than that, shop for the experience that you get locally.

 

Bees in the environment

The Future of bees

“Here in the Nicola Valley and all over Canada bees are on the decline.”

There are a number of different species of bees in the environment across Canada. These bees can be divided into two different categories, social and solitary. Social bees share the work of building and taking care of the nest while solitary bees have a very short lifespan in the air consisting of only 2-3 weeks.

There are over 450 species of native bees in BC and over 800 confirmed species of wild native bees in Canada. I am going to share a little info on two of the ones I like and will be adding to or helping on my little homestead.

Bees in the environment Nicola Valley BC Canada

Bees in the environment are so important – Photo credit Michelle Lea’s Photography

Most people already know about honey bees in the environment. I myself am not going to talk to much about them in this blog. I am more interested in a couple of the native species of bees. The mason bee and the bumble bee.

What I was looking for

I live just outside Merritt, BC on a 10 acre farm and enjoy all kinds of wildlife. Not many people take the time to notice the little things like bees.

I always thought if I wanted bees to pollinate my flowers, fruits and vegetables that I would need to get some honey bees and learn how to keep them and produce honey for my family. While I was researching about different bees in the environment and one we know the most about (the honey bees), I came across some information on mason bees. This intrigued me because I didn’t have to do near as much work to keep them.

bee collecting pollen in the environment Merritt BC

Bee with a load of pollen- Photo Michelle Lea’s Photography

Mason Bees

These little creatures are quite amazing. They are a solitary bee but do so much in such a little amount of time they are here.

Life Stages of the Mason Bee

Mason bees go through four stages of life egg, larva, pupa and adult. The first stage of life is spent inside the cell of the nest. The nest looks like a long straw divided into cell’s. Each cell has an egg and food left by the mother.

When the egg hatches the larva will have food inside the cell in which to eat. There is a rapid growth spurt during the larva stage. Once the larva goes into the pupa stage it can lay dormant for eight to nine months as it turns into the adult bee.

Once they emerge from the pupa stage they are ready to feed, mate and repeat the cycle. I am not sure if I have ever seen mason bees around Merritt or the Nicola Valley but, I will soon because I am getting some this spring.

The houses are so neat looking and they seem very easy to keep. The most common types of Mason Bees in the environment in the North West is Osmia Lignaria; Orchard or blue orchard mason bee.

Tips for Keeping Mason Bees

  • Don’t be afraid of mason bees. Male orchard bees do not have a stinger and they are not aggressive because all the females are fertile so there is no fighting over mates.
  • Make sure you have enough pollen. If there is not enough the bees will move on to other areas.

Nesting

  • Nesting boxes. Keep them facing south on the walls of a garden shed, garage or other building. Make food available from with in about 300 ft of the nest. 
  • Mud. Mud is very important for bees in the environment as they use it to block the eggs into individual chambers. You or your little ones can make some mud pies. Keep them moist but not soupy and keep them away from the openings of the nests because the newly emerging bees are weak and you don’t want them falling in.
  • Nesting material. Nesting material can be drilled out holes in logs (replace each year). You can purchase houses that have tubes in them or you can use pull apart wooden blocks. These can be great because they are easy to clean and sanitize. They are porous allowing moisture to escape
mason bee home and guide

Photo credit Miller’s Farm Merritt BC

Watch your bees

  • They are fascinating, seeing all the different stages and watching them build their nests. Coming back with pollen. Watch her finish the last mud plug, use a flash light at night and see the bees peaking out of the chambers at you.
  • Keep your eyes open for predators. When they emerge from their nest birds like to go for the easy meals. They are like sweet little candy to them. You can try to avoid this by putting chicken wire over the tubes so birds can’t pull them out and eat the contents. You can also move them into a shed or garage once the busy season is over.

When to get ready

  • Get your materials ready for spring. Keep the units in an area that will protect them from the wind and rain. Secure them well and on a bit of an angle outwards so the rain will drain off and keep the tubes from molding. Set nesting material out mid to late March.
  • Don’t put it out to early or all your progeny could be mostly male. Make sure its on the South facing side as the bees need to warm up to 80 degrees for their wings to function.  Exposure to direct sun is very important as they can  soak up the sun even it’s only 58-64 degrees.

Harvesting your bees

  • Remove the tubes when the bee tunnels are all sealed up. You can leave them out until the end of summer but run the risk of loosing them to predators.
  • Give your cocoons a cool water bath 1/4 cup of bleach added. This will kill any fungus spores. Stir the cocoons for about 2 min and remove with slotted spoon and allow to dry.
  • Select the best cocoons. Cocoons that sink in the cool water bath are not good. C-shaped cocoons can be a sign of fungal infection. Holes in the cocoon can be a sign of parasitic wasp infestation. Discard all of these.
  • Refrigerate your cocoons. Store them in the fridge between 30-40 degrees F and about 60-70% humidity. By placing them in a plastic storage container with some small holes for ventilation and a damp sponge you should achieve no problem. Check now and again to make sure the sponge is still damp.
  • Store this way until the outside temperature is a constant 50 degrees F.
  • Nests need to be cleaned once all your bees in the environment have emerged. You don’t want to run the risk of pests, mites or fungus growing when the queens start to lay their eggs again. 

Releasing your Bees

  • Place the cocoons near the bee house you have set up. Putting them on top of the tubes inside the house until the bees emerge. This is a good way to protect them.

Attracting bees in the environment

  • Attract different bees in the environment. Fruit trees, and native flowers with a variety of colors like blue, yellow, purple. Dandelions and clovers are great. 
native wildflowers bees pollinators

Photo credit Miller’s Farm Merritt, BC

How to make sure they have what they need.

Keep an eye out on which flowers and plants they frequent to learn which ones they like the best. Although they look like house flies you can distinguish them by looking for their antennae. The males you can tell apart from the females by the white hairs on the males’ heads.

Bees in the environment are very important. They are considered the best pollinators and help to grow our crops for food that we eat and feed to our animals. You can help by planting flowers that help the bees. 

Bumble bees

Here in the Nicola Valley and all over Canada bumble bees are on the decline. But there are things that we can do to help. Plant a flowering garden with native plants. Use pesticides sparingly or better yet not at all. Look for and use natural ways to get rid of unwanted pests.

Bumble bees are the only truly social native bees. And to my surprise, the only native bee species that make honey.

The main difference between the bumble bee and the European honey bee is that the only one that survives to hibernate through the winter is the fertilized queens. Come spring she will find a new nest that may grow to include dozens of individuals and occasionally a couple hundred.

Bumble bees in the Spring

In the spring the queen will search out a suitable place to make her hive. Usually it will be underground in an old mouse burrow. She will lay around six eggs and when they hatch she will encase the larva in a cell with some food she has created from a mixture of pollen and wax.

Once the larva pupate she creates a cocoon. After a few days the Pupa emerge from the cocoon fully grown worker bees. They are ready to create a colony with their queen. The queen will keep laying eggs and repeating the process until the colony is the size she wants.

Summer

Summer the queen will start laying eggs that are intended to become worker bees and queens for next year. Once they hatch and become adults the worker bees will leave the nest in search of young queens to mate with.

The young bumble bee queens however will continue to live and work in the colony through the rest of summer and fall.

Fall

Once fall hits the young fertilized bumblebee queens will find a safe place to hibernate for the winter. Only these fertilized queens will survive for the winter.

Some interesting facts; Bumblebee’s don’t have a barbed stinger so they can sting a number of times. Male bumblebees don’t have a stinger at all.

Future of Bees

We can play our part in helping bees in the environment. The future of bees depends on what we do. Plant flowers, stop using pesticides that will kill them and make some places around your homes that will be inviting and safe for them to nest and reproduce. 

There are so many species of bees in the environment, research and find a species that you can connect with. Do what you can to help that species. Above all, have fun. They are quite fascinating to study and watch.

How can you find out More?

There is a Bumble bee watch group where you can record and report when you have seen a bumble bee. The group is Friends of the Earth The Bee Cause. There is also a chart so you can identify the type of bumble bee you have seen. This will be very helpful with statistics and keep records of how many of the different species of bees in the environment there are.

Here is another way you can find out more information on bees.  Ellen Miller from Miller’s Farm in Lower Nicola, BC is wonderful and so helpful. They hold a number of different bee keeping workshops. You can also purchase bee supplies and bees from Miller’s Farm when available. They will be reopening March 13, 2019

“We are having a free seminar on all types of bees, attracting them to your yard,on Sat April 27 from 1-2:30 pm. Also on May 4 from 1-2:30 we have a free seminar on honey bees for kids age 8 and up. Must be accompanied by a parent.. Our 6 week bee keeping course starts on Feb 19th and is $240.” Ellen Miller

Keep your eyes open for my upcoming blog from Miller’s Farm on the bee seminars and bee keeping course

In the mean time, I would love to hear what types of bees interest you, comment below. What are you doing to help the bees in the environment? You can also follow us on Experience Nicola Valley.

Bees in the environment

Community Marketing and Blogging 

The “Merritt 18” are a positive voice for the Nicola Valley

“To sit back and watch the Merritt program empower locals to play a bigger role in representing their community positively online while interacting with others in the community… is very powerful.”

These past few days we have embarked on another round of training with some new Merrittonians about positive marketing and blogging for the Experience Nicola Valley Blog based out of Merritt, BC Canada. Thank you to Gurpreet and his staff at the Ramada Inn in Merritt for being so accommodating and just all-a-round great people to deal with. 

Content marketing training,  and engaging with like-minded people (aka blogging) is a top 3 favorite part of my job. Number one favorite – for you newbies to my blogging – is a no brainer, it has to be outdoor adventures. Number 2 would have to be research road trips in the Maple Leaf RV with my co founding brother Colin. 

But when it comes to communication, relationships and teamwork there is no better joy for me than sharing my passion and enthusiasm for small and rural communities in Canada. Being a small town boy, there is an affection that runs deep. In so many ways content marketing is good therapy for the bloggers, the community, the traveller and for us.  

Community Blogging and Marketing

Community blogging presentation in Merritt, BC, Canada

So if my elementary math teacher was right… 14, 15, 16, 17…  that makes it 18 bloggers. The “Merritt 18”. That has a cool ring to it! I think it deserves a hashtag for this post – #merritt18 . What do you think?

So you can imagine my excitement of having another opportunity to do some meeting and greeting with more real people. It was another opportunity for “moi” to connect  with 7 more quality individuals who live, work and play in Nicola Valley.  Here they are! Please give them a round of applause. I am clapping right now. Eh.. come on clap. 

Community Marketing and Blogging

(Back Row L-R)) Tony Luck, Greg Girard (Middle Row L-R) Melvina White, Wanda Luck, Michelle Bacon, Ali McDougall, Traci Marie Nixon (Front) Tania Stewart

Thank you Merritt and the Nicola Valley

We are already seeing the positive results online from the stories and experiences shared by the current Experience Nicola Valley bloggers. A great group representing many parts of the Nicola Valley ranging all over the map from a youth blogger in Grade 10 , Jordyn Lee, she so rocks… to one of our most popular bloggers, the very funny and classy senior Diane Lavoie.  So thank you to the community of Merritt and throughout the Nicola Valley for your support of our story tellers. 

The real gratitude comes in the chatter on the streets of Merritt, in the coffee houses and on social media. There is a feel-good buzz reverberating in this community. I am hearing it, I hope the locals are too. Slowly we are making a difference one word at a time. I feel like a proud parent!

We are now training another group of bloggers. Seven to be exact. I am sure there are 2 or 3 super star bloggers in this group too. As one blogger put it when talking about the team…

“Have your say everyday”
                                                                                Melvina White

Nicola Valley Skills To Succeed

Who better to talk up their community than the people who live, work and play in the community. It is the people who live in Merritt BC Canada who know the community the best. Not some suit and tie behind a desk in some far away land. Locals have the passion. It is an opportunity for all our new friends involved to become a positive role model in the Nicola Valley.  Something every community in Canada can never get enough of.  I do believe the “Merritt 18” will do their part.

Nicola Valley marketing

Presentation blogging in Merritt BC

Community Marketing Highlights of the Nicola Valley

So encouragement, teamwork and positive attitude were the key words of our 3 day retreat. As part of the process I wanted to know what this group of Merritonians thought of the Nicola Valley.  I asked our current new and eager “blogites”, “What makes Merritt BC Canada so special?” The catch was to blurt out one-word descriptions as fast as you can to fill a list of 10. Here is what the group came up with. 

  1. Music
  2. Lifestyle
  3. People
  4. Affordability
  5. Fishing
  6. Downtown
  7. Hiking
  8. Mountain Biking
  9. Photography
  10. Star Gazing

The Power of the Community

This is a big deal! The results so far in just 6 months clearly shows that this community marketing program can be a big part of the solution for many a rural and small communities in Canada. The success of some of the bloggers leaves us very little doubt that the community marketing program can accomplish great things with the right people, right tools and the right attitudes.

It is the first community marketing program of its kind in Canada. Congratulations to Merritt is in order. To sit back and watch the Merritt program empower locals to play a bigger role in representing their community positively online while interacting with others in the community… is very powerful.

Community Storytellers 

In a few short days the community marketing “blogites” will have a voice echoing throughout the “blogosphere”. Soon, real soon, the fun begins as the new bloggers will be unleashed on the Nicola Valley to explore, experience and tell positive stories. With so many boots-on-the-ground there are going to be some very impressive stories to tell.  So keep on checking them out at www.ExperienceNicolaValley.com or follow us on social media (links below).

Our content marketing family is growing and I am so proud of this group of people, putting their differences aside, and coming together for the common good of Merritt and the Nicola Valley. So… out of curiosity I had to ask this new group of bloggers, “Why they want to tell stories and share experiences via blogging?”  

“To share my stories, experiences about this amazing community!”
                                                                                            Michelle Bacon

Do you have a Nicola Valley story to share?

Everyone has a feel-good Nicola Valley story to share? Do you? Contact your favorite blogger today and make the arrangements for them to stop by. They love to chat, I do know that. 

Look up individual bloggers on the www.ExperienceNicolaValley.com blogsite. New bloggers will be added in next few days. 

You can find them online too on Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram .

Tag them anytime on social media @experiencenicolavalley

Join the conversation and add a hashtag to your posts #experiencenicolavalley

Life is good in Merritt BC Canada!  

Community Marketing and Blogging

Home Restaurant: Places to Eat in Merritt, BC

home restaurant merritt, bc, canada places to eat

The Entrance to the Merritt Home Restaurant

Home Cooked Meals and Small Town Charm

“Just like Mom makes” favourites

There are plenty of places to eat in Merritt, but a long time family favourite is the Home Restaurant, serving up home style food since 1952.

When it comes to tantalizing you with what’s on offer, the Home Restaurant starts out right. When you come in and take your place at the front, waiting to be seated, the first thing you see is the display cooler full of cheesecakes and pies – piled high with light-as-air meringue and fluffy clouds of whipped cream. It puts me in the mood to follow the old adage, “Life is short, eat dessert first!” Of course, that’s not really acceptable, so instead my friends and I are shown to a nice, comfortable booth and handed a menu of delicious, home style “Just like Mom makes” favourites.

history home restaurant places to eat merritt bc canada

Home Restaurant Booth Seats with a Merritt Historical Photo on the Wall

There’s a good variety on the menu; soup du jour, sandwiches, hamburgers, pasta, salads and their well known classics in both full servings and senior portions. And, if you’re like me with a bit of a smaller appetite, you can order off the seniors menu regardless of your age.

My friends settled on the 2×4 burger. Two, four ounce patties piled high with melted cheese, tomato, lettuce and bacon. Garnished with a sliced dill pickle.

2x4 burger and fries at the home restaurant merritt bc canada

Laura Getting Ready to Dive Into the 2×4 Burger

My meatloaf comes baked to perfection. Smothered with gravy and served with a salad and seasonal veggies.

meatloaf home restaurant merritt bc canada places to eat

Meatloaf, a Home Restaurant Classic

Cozy Ambiance with Historic Flair

Being a history buff, one of my favourite things about the Home Restaurant is the way they’ve made this location uniquely Merritt. I love the numerous historical photos of local people, places and events on the walls. All of the restaurants (Maple Ridge, Hope, Merritt, Salmon Arm and Sorrento) are family owned and operated, and they have put a lot of effort into showing that their various locations have roots in their communities.

merritt history sports teams places to eat merritt bc canada home restaurant

Merritt’s Sports Teams through the Years, on Display at Home Restaurant

Great Service

I got a chance to chat with Jenny, the Home Restaurant’s manager. She was born and raised in Merritt, and has worked at the Home Restaurant for 17 years. She believes the key to their success is their genuine home cooking, and the great service.

“We try to provide friendly service and make sure that people are feeling refreshed and refueled when they leave here.”

Eating here can also be a good deed! The Home Restaurant supports the Canucks Autism Network (CAN), with bracelets available at the door with all proceeds to CAN and a newly added CAN sundae on the kids menu. $1 from every CAN sundae is donated to the charity. So far, Home Restaurants have raised $101,384!

If you’re looking for a place to eat in Merritt, Canada – the Home Restaurant is a top quality choice. Great food, great service, and a lot of heart. As Jenny says, “It’s a family affair.”

 

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.