This is the time of year when social engagements start to pile up: Christmas parties, decorating parties, time to invite the neighbours over for coffee. With all the hustle and bustle – not to mention Christmas shopping – it is easy to feel exhausted. There’s no better remedy for frayed nerves than taking some time out for yourself and allowing a show to fully entertain you. It is amazing what the talent and creativity of artists can do for the soul. Here are some holiday shows in Kelowna to get you in the spirit.
The Kelowna Actors Studio: there is always something going on at this veritable hive of theatre and Broadway. Until December 21, this theatre company’s production of Oliver will wow audiences. They also have two special performances that will punctuate the run of Oliver, namely a Christmas Carol on December 15 and the Sound of Music on December 16. Go for the show and dessert, or treat yourself to dinner plus the show – this is the Okanagan’s licensed dinner theatre company, so don’t hold back!
The Kelowna Community Theatre: for those of you who are Christmas traditionalists, the Nutcracker will be presented at the Kelowna Community Theatre on December 12, 13, and 14. This production is put on by the Canadian School of Ballet, and featuring Ballet Kelowna’s stunning company of dancers, dancing to to Tchaikovsky’s timeless score. Also at the Kelowna Community Theatre, the Okanagan Symphony Orchestra will present the Yuletide Brass Christmas Special on December 19.
Okanagan Festival Singers: for many of us, the warm tones of choral music is hard to beat. Get into the Christmas spirit on December 13 by taking in the Bach Christmas Oratorio sung by the Okanagan Festival Singers, conducted by Leroy Weins, complete with professional soloists and orchestra. The venue is the First Lutheran Church on Lakeshore Drive.
There’s something about frosty air that brings out the baker and cook in many of us. The thought of warm comfort food or breaking into home-baked bread is more than enough inspiration at this time of the year! Not a natural? No worries. We’re lucky to have some experts in our city who are putting on winter classes. Here is a round-up of some food-oriented classes that are sure to fill you up with knowledge and yummy testers along the way.
Sandrine French Pastry & Chocolate
This is a slice of France right here in Kelowna. The elegant pastry and chocolate shop has just celebrated its 10th anniversary, and Pastry Chef/Owner Sandrine can be proud she’s been satisfying sweet teeth in this city for a decade. She offers an array of cooking and pastry classes, including upcoming workshops on Macarons (seriously, have you tried these?!) on November 27 and December 11, and Yule Logs on December 6. Check out the workshop schedule here or book your own private group.
Okanagan Grocery Artisan Breads
Just in time for the holiday season, Baker Monika Walker is putting on a Christmas Cookie Workshop at her bakeshop at 115-1979 Windsor Rd on November 29. The permanent aroma of baking bread and goodies, not to mention the tantalizing selection of fresh deliciousness that awaits here, is a big part of the bakery’s popularity with bread-lovers in this city. I had the pleasure of taking one of the bread making classes, and it was not only information-packed, but also a fun way to spend an afternoon. Tip for Christmas shoppers: Her bread making workshop on January 17 is sure to be a big hit with food-oriented people in your family. You’re welcome.
Mission Hill Family Estate
Think winter equals down-time at this winery? Wrong. There is quite a selection of cooking and baking classes being offered throughout the winter. On December 6, Chef Kira Desmond will be offering a Holiday Baking class that promises to demystify some classic and new age desserts that will leave you feeling like a rockstar host this holiday season. Also on my radar? Chef Chris Stewart will give a class on Italian cooking called “Pasta Perfection” on January 14. Check out the whole line up of classes here.
Poppadoms – Taste India!
Once again this winter, Chef/Owner Jas Dosanj brings to us her fantastic masterclasses in Indian cooking. Dividing up the classes into regional cooking showcases, it will be as much a journey in the kitchen as a journey to India. Three masterclasses are planned for the winter, the first a chance to taste and make the flavours of Kerala, then Punjab, and then Chennai. Last February when the judges for the Canadian Culinary Championships came to Kelowna, Poppadoms put on a masterclass for them which you can read about here. It was such a pleasure to see a group of highly respected food critics and writers being challenged outside of their comfort zone, learning to cook in a tradition that was so exotic and fresh for them.
Feeling hungry now? I’ll bet! But now you know where to go to equip yourself with cooking and baking knowledge along with a goodie or three, so that you can replicate that fresh from the baking pan taste any time in your own kitchen.
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 a.m. this morning. This year, officials are expecting a large turnout to the parade and Cenotaph ceremonies, given the sizeable attendance last year (one of the largest ever in Kelowna), and the recent tragedy of the death of Cpl. Nathan Cirillo just a few weeks ago in Ottawa.
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 a.m. and 3:30 p.m. The current exhibit is “The Bugle Sounds” and is focused on World War I. These tours will take place at noon, 1:00 and 2:00 p.m., and they are for all ages.
There will also be a Remembrance Day ceremony today (November 10) at 10:30 at 1900 Quail Lane (Westbank First Nation Health and Wellness Building – at the top of the parking lot) centered around the new Veterans Monument that was just unveiled last week by Westbank First Nation. This stately steel sculpture by Colville Confederate Tribe artist Smoker Marchand, honours Okanagan First Nation Veterans who have served, those who presently serve, and those who will serve, in the Canadian armed forces.
However you choose to mark the day, I encourage you to stop what you’re doing at 11:00 a.m. 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…
As a resident of a tourist destination, you might have had interactions with visitors to our city recently. Maybe you helped someone find an address or pointed someone in the right direction as you crossed paths on the sidewalk. Maybe you took a photo of a couple or family on their camera as a friendly gesture. You may even have used our local Visitor Centre when you were getting ready to host visiting friends and family, getting tips on which attractions to show them and picking up brochures they could leaf through when they come to your home.
Did you know that tourism is among Kelowna’s top 5 economic drivers – an industry that employs thousands of Kelowna residents and generates tax revenues that Kelowna can access to build infrastructure, roads and public amenities? Have you considered where the tax revenues tourism generates for Kelowna would come from if Kelowna wasn’t the vacation destination that it is? If you really want to get to know the figures showing the importance of tourism to Kelowna, check out Tourism Kelowna’s Economic Impact Study summary on our website – the numbers are really quite staggering and, annually, they are on an upward trend.
In that sense, you can bet that tourism is a big part of your day to day life in Kelowna whether you directly work in the tourism industry or not. It is in our collective best interest to be the greatest vacation destination that we can be – to be the best hosts we can be to our visitors – so that our visitors go home suitably impressed with what this city offers. This is how we create word-of-mouth advertising for Kelowna; no small act if you consider how much weight most of us put in the recommendations of our trusted friends. For that matter, even the recommendations of people we don’t know impact our travel choices when you think about sites like TripAdvisor and how other people’s experiences shape whether you book a hotel, dine at a restaurant, or any other such travel decision. If we place that much trust in the words of other travelers we don’t know, imagine the trust that we place in the travel recommendations of our friends.
Over the last few days, our focus at Tourism Kelowna has been on long-term strategy. We’ve had workshops as a team with a facilitator and here are some of the lasting impressions I’ve gathered.
Tourism Kelowna works with our local tourism operators to promote Kelowna as a vacation destination, to market our city to visitors – all in the service of creating community wealth through tourism. Tourism is a major industry for Kelowna. Its export? Visitors. Yes. Think of our visitors as an export. They come to Kelowna to experience our vibrant city, refreshing lake, beautiful wineries, breathtaking scenery, expansive golf courses – you name it – and they leave with all those impressions stored in their memories and cameras. We want them to share their excitement with everyone who will listen. And we want them to come back for future visits because repeat visitors are the best kind.
Each resident of this city is also an ambassador. Each time you get a chance to leave a positive impression on a visitor, you are putting a deposit into Kelowna’s good deed bank; and that bank does pay dividends because a friendly community experience will result in a happier stay, then a repeat stay, and possibly other visitors who were inspired to come from the word-of-mouth. And those dollars spent in our community make a difference in the lives of business owners and their staff who rely on those businesses. And the tax dollars that come back to Kelowna through those visits will contribute to public amenities that our families can enjoy, raising the standard of living for all Kelowna residents.
Does tourism matter to you? You bet! And the enthusiasm about Kelowna that we can all offer to our visitors is a contribution to our community that will come back to us in the long run.
Read more Ripe with Surprises articles
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- Fall Wine Festival in focus Sep 29
- Farmer Appreciation Week Sep 15
- Win a trip to Iceland! Sep 1
- From the back of a horse Aug 18
- Joys of cherry season Jul 21
- Vineyard shows this summer Jul 7
- A new museum comes to town Jun 23
- Run a half-marathon? Yes, you can! Jun 9
- Food & wine writers pour into Kelowna May 26
- Biking bliss in Kelowna May 12
- Golf golf golf! Apr 14
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