Nov 25, 2013 / 5:00 am
One common aspect that I have always loved about stately older European villages that I’ve had the chance to visit in my lifetime has been the village squares or piazzas, that bustling common ground where everyone feels welcome. In Kelowna, that place (to me) is Stuart Park. In the summer time it’s a common meeting spot for everyone from skateboarders to Roller Derby teams, visiting families to professionals on lunch break. But the real joy of Stuart Park comes in the winter when the rink is ready for skaters of every ability. And this is no small feat considering that there are not many parks and outdoor attractions in town that can claim equivalent or greater bustle in the cold months than in summer.
If there’s a prettier setting for a skating rink in all of Canada, I can’t think of one. With Okanagan Lake lapping up against the waterfront boardwalk, the lovely Spirit of Kelowna Bear twinkling with lights in the evening, and the boats bobbing in the marina, it would be a tough one to top.
Settings aside though, the rink’s magical vibe undoubtedly comes from the constant hum of activity every day of the week, from its opening at 8:00 AM to close at 11:00 PM. Skaters of all ability levels and ages come out to enjoy a push along the smooth rink surface. Just seeing the giant smiles and hearing the laughter is enough to brighten one’s whole day. And true to the village piazza concept, everyone is welcome and enjoying it is free.
So as of December 2nd this year, when the rink is ready to go for the winter, lace-up and come on out to Stuart Park for a skate.
Good news for you skating fans without your own skates… new for the 2013/2014 season, there will be a skate rental business operating beside Stuart Park. The skate rental business, Bladez, will be open on December 2nd. They’ll be offering skate rentals for men, women, boys and girls, as well as helmets and EZ skate rental bars. Lace up!
Nov 11, 2013 / 5:00 am
Red poppies on lapels, decorated veterans at supermarket entrances – sure signs that Remembrance Day is around the corner. We’ll be marking the day in Kelowna with ceremonies at the Cenotaph in City Park as well as in Rutland Lions Park, and a minute of silence at 11:00 AM this morning. We all have our own thoughts around what Remembrance Day means to each of us. Here’s a meaningful way to gain perspective, and try on those shoes (if not walk a mile in them) of the people who fought in WWI and WWII: visit the Okanagan Military Museum as part of your Remembrance Day ritual. There’s so much to learn about what our veterans experienced so that we can live freely today.
Today for Remembrance Day, the Okanagan Military Museum in downtown Kelowna will be offering guided tours of the military exhibits at the Okanagan Military Museum between 11:30 AM and 3:00 PM. These tours will take place at noon, 12:45, and 1:30 PM, and they are for all ages. Here are the details on each of the tours and what the focus for each will be:
- 12:00 PM – Medals & Decorations: The honours achieved by local soldiers who went above and beyond to defend our freedom.
- 12:45 PM – Remembering our Okanagan military heroes.
- 1:30 PM – Canadian Military History: Canada’s participation in war and our evolution as a nation.
I had the pleasure of taking a tour of the Military Museum with then Executive Director Wayne Wilson a few years ago, and it was truly impressive. Here is the video of my experience, for those of you who would like to see a taste of what you might be seeing inside the walls of the Okanagan Military Museum on Ellis St., close to the intersection with Doyle.
However you choose to mark the day, I encourage you to stop what you’re doing at 11:00 AM and to take a minute to reflect on our freedoms or perhaps on the sacrifices made by a member of your family or circle of friends. Lest we forget…
Oct 28, 2013 / 5:00 am
There’s something about the end of October which puts kids’ sense of adventure into high gear. Maybe it’s the anticipation of Halloween – yes, this is very likely the source! Regardless of the catalyst, parents might find it a challenge to think up new and exciting adventures for kids… enter MacMillan Farms and Kelowna Corn Maze, both in Kelowna. They are sure to hit the adventurous mark! And there’s just a few more days to experience them both – Halloween is just around the corner.
Let’s start with the many fun activities at MacMillan Farms. Located just off Spiers Road in East Kelowna, this 110-acre family farm should be a regular Fall stop for kids of all ages. Regularly scheduled hay rides take place daily (starting at 3 pm on weekdays, and during the daytime on weekends), giving families a peak of some gorgeous farm scenery, farm animals, and often an array of wildlife.
One of my favourite things about MacMillan Farms is their 12-foot tall, 3 acre corn maze. It is really quite astounding and extensive! Check out this video shot for Tourism Kelowna by Gary Moore which shows the corn maze and MacMillan Farms in detail. For smaller kids, there is also a hay maze, allowing parents to maintain an eye on their little adventurers throughout their time in the maze. The cost is $6 per child, including one pumpkin from McMillan’s famous pumpkin patch, and all the farm activities. Group bookings must be made in advance.
Across town in Glenmore, another extensive labyrinth beckons. The Kelowna Corn Mazehttps://www.kelownacornmaze.ca/ is located at 575 Valley Road, the result of a passion for Halloween and quite some elbow grease by Anda Verge and husband Dave Bullock. This corn maze is also about 3 acres in size, and features surprises in the “dead” ends… This video by Castanet’s Jen Zielinski is a great way to learn about the corn maze and get excited about checking it out! The maze is open to the public from 11 am to 10 pm daily and cost is $3 during the day and $5 at night when the maze is extra spooky (tip: bring your flashlight)! Group bookings must be made in advance.
Oct 14, 2013 / 5:00 am
There’s a new fall fair in town, and the Kelowna Museums want you to be a part of it! On October 19, the Grow Local Fall Fair is taking place at the Laurel Packinghouse in celebration of the many tree fruit harvests that we enjoy in this agriculturally gifted city. The museum combined the Cherry Fair and the Apple Fair from previous years into this new special one-day event, the Grow Local Fall Fair, from 10:00 am to 3:00 pm on October 19.
One of fall’s great pleasures is biting into a perfectly crisp, perfectly ripened apple. The lip smacking sweetness balanced with that classic apple tartness is one of nature’s great tricks for masking how good-for-you this food actually is. The humble fruit has also been very good for Kelowna, and became a pivotal element that shaped Kelowna’s history and character as a city. A tall order for such a simple snack! And that’s why the Fall Fair is a big deal for people of all ages in Kelowna.
On October 19 the Grow Local Fall Fair will combine local consumers, farmers, artisans, and local entertainment into a family fun event that aims to promote local products and produce through a variety of exhibitions, performances and vendors. Awareness of local agriculture is central to the fair. Kelowna Museums wants to bring together producers and vendors who embody this healthy, sustainable lifestyle, one that was lived here in the Valley, not so long ago. All this in Kelowna’s first designated heritage building and one of the longest standing packinghouses in the province, the Laurel Packinghouse.
The fair has a great line-up of artisans, entertainers and food producers. This line-up includes:
Quality Farms (with their educational hatch-a-chick program kits), The Central Okanagan Food Policy Council, Master Gardeners, Bees Inc., BC Tree Fruits Co-Op, Basket Case Picnic, Lady Bug Creations, Valcraft, Love it Again, Quill Skywritings, Westbank Harvest, Okanagan Regional Library: Kelowna Branch, Kelowna free Graze Lamb, Honest Goodness, and Sheela’s Mehndi Henna Tattoos/ Shabby Boushique.
Grow Local will open its doors on Saturday, October 19th and is open to people of all ages. Admission is $2/person or $5/family (2 adults and 2 children). Come out and meet the makers and don’t forget to check out our children’s corner where there will be a variety of activities, storytelling and songs. There will be apple tastings and delicious apple pies for sale.
Read more Ripe with Surprises articles
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- Perfect summer hikes Aug 5
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- Live music this week Jun 24
- A Kelowna excursion with wine bloggers Jun 10
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- Kelowna Wine Trails inspire May 13
- Food & wine writers pour into Kelowna Apr 29
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