Fighting for community

Sep 24, 2016 / 11:00 am
When was the last time you volunteered for a charity? When you did was it an easy task or a difficult one? Often organizations make the volunteer opportunity easily doable to ensure they don't expect too much from someone volunteering their time. Boxing in Community took the complete...

Spring break camps

Mar 3, 2016 / 4:11 pm
There’s a hint of spring in the air (well at least there was on Sunday) which can only mean that Spring Break is just around the corner! If you’re looking for camps or activities for your kids to partake in over the two-week break, here are some suggestions ranging from music, art,...

New festival for the kids

Feb 25, 2016 / 12:00 pm
I get it. Sometimes we miss things from the past. Not a month goes by that I don't hear about the days when the waterslides were in West Kelowna and Fred Flintstone had a home in Kelowna. They were a part of our community, and provided childhood memories for many families in the Okanagan....

Coming out

Feb 18, 2016 / 10:53 am
I find it surprising that one of the biggest decisions that Kelowna City Council made last year took about five seconds. When the vote came for the sidewalks to be painted with pride colours, there wasn’t really any debate. The staff suggestion was made, and it passed unanimously - and we...

This changes everything

Feb 11, 2016 / 11:39 am
UBC is 100 years old this year. UBCO is 10. I think it’s fair to say that as a community, we are starting to see the benefits of having UBCO in Kelowna. One of the nice spin-off benefits is the UBC Okanagan Distinguished speaker series, presented by the Irving K. Barber School of Arts...

Rock those Flaming Hearts

Feb 4, 2016 / 12:11 pm
Flaming Hearts Food Bank Fundraiser Three new local bands will be performing throughout the night at this fundraiser presented by Focus On Great. The event will be held at the Brooklyn Pub at Lake City Bowl on February 13 from 7 p.m. to midnight. The Bands The Renita Zintel Band is...

Running across Haiti

Jan 28, 2016 / 6:41 pm
Team Tassy In a few short weeks, UBCO student, Paige Marzinzik, will be running 350 kms over eight days across Haiti, to raise funds for Team Tassy. Paige selected Team Tassy after her mum volunteered with the team for the past couple years. All money raised goes towards the work Team Tassy...

Are you All Shook Up?

Jan 21, 2016 / 8:30 am
Mike Schell Event producers are an unique breed. They are essentially willing to risk their own cash, blood sweat, and tears to offer you a great night of entertainment. Once an event is happening, the producer is either front and centre welcoming folk, or working on a few last details, or...

Family fun around town

Jan 14, 2016 / 8:30 am
Here’s a snapshot of some of the exciting upcoming events for families. I should note that I haven't included any Family Day details, as that may need a full column later this month. In addition to the events listed below, check out the schedule for this year’s Unplug and Play...

PHAT Betty returns

Jan 7, 2016 / 5:57 pm
Cat Wells . . . sound familiar? Or maybe you know her as Cathy-Ann Wells, or perhaps PHAT Betty from the days of Don Fraser’s original Blue Gator at the Prestige Inn, or from the Kelowna Blues Festivals in City Park. Cat was the very first winner of the Scorpion Music Awards (now known as...

2016 predictions

Dec 31, 2015 / 8:30 am
It’s always fun to take a shot at some predictions for the upcoming year. So here goes nothing: One Downtown Kelowna will continue to come into its own. A new Innovation centre, BNA and other new places for folks 25 - 45 to hang out, a new hotel breaking ground in 2016, IH building,...

New York New Years

Dec 24, 2015 / 8:30 am
New York New Years New York New Years expands indoors this year. Festivals Kelowna is once again producing its Valley First New York New Years family celebration on December 31 from 6:00 to 9:00 p.m. at Jim Stuart Park, across from City Hall. "This event is one of the only all ages...

Man behind the scenes

Dec 17, 2015 / 8:30 am
I had a chance to attend Horstorama last week for a fond community farewell to the retiring Horst Jassman, who has run the Creekside Theatre for the past 16 years. Horstorama featured speeches, heartfelt performances, and a time to reminisce. Some readers may be aware that, starting January...

Christmas Presence!

Dec 10, 2015 / 8:30 am
​ ​ Above, Anna Jacszyn, Bernie Addington, and Neville Bowman offer an exclusive sampling of a song from their upcoming show, Christmas Presence. ​Jazz Cafe Presents . . . Christmas Presence! A new original Christmas musical special, Christmas Presence, is coming...

Creative gift ideas

Dec 3, 2015 / 8:30 am
It's that gift-buying time of year again, so here are some creative gift ideas to get you started. Art Lake Country Art Gallery is hosting their Annual Under 100 with over 700 pieces of art for under $100 each. Here is the video I shot at their launch event last week. The show runs until...

Jump into a job in tech

Nov 25, 2015 / 8:30 am
Are you ready to jump into a job in tech? I was pretty shocked to learn that we have over 500 tech companies in the Kelowna area. One of the most surprising aspects of this is that the pace of growth for that sector in this area has outgrown our ability to educate the community to match the...

Taste of Japan

Nov 19, 2015 / 8:30 am
Photo: Contributed Photo: Contributed In two weeks, the Kelowna Kasugai sister city association hosts their annual ‘Taste of Japan’ annual showcase event at Parkinson Recreation Centre. Date: December 6 Time: 1 - 4 p.m. Tickets: $2 per person or $5 per...

What's on November

Nov 12, 2015 / 8:30 am
This column was founded a few months after Breakout West came to Kelowna. During three days in 2009, our city was filled with some of the best live music from around Canada. The energy was pretty inspiring, and it left a bit of a legacy of folks eager to support live music in our community. A...

'The Voice' of Strauss

Nov 5, 2015 / 8:30 am
Few folks know, but local Kelowna musician, Norm Strauss, played at the very first Parks Alive! show (which was at that time called Kelowna Pride). His singer/songwriter, folk music filled lifestyle has taken Norm on many adventures in life, but one of his recent experiences was being featured on...

Men who give a damn

Oct 29, 2015 / 8:30 am
This year has been an amazing year, but I have to confess that it has also brought more tears than I was ready for, when I tragically lost two friends. I find them on my mind almost daily - my boss at Castanet, Trevor Rockliffe, and Rene Bourgault (someone I call the leader of leaders). It is...

Free instruments!

Oct 22, 2015 / 8:30 am
At the tail end of the last school year, Ellison Elementary received welcome news from MusiCounts that they would be receiving a $5000 grant for musical instruments for the school music program. The video above is my interview with the music teacher, Mrs Brucker, and some of her students...

Stayin' alive

Oct 15, 2015 / 8:30 am
This Friday night, October 16, a local non-profit group, Sing for your life, is hosting the stayin' alive dance party, a fundraising dance and silent auction. Sing for your life is based in Kelowna, and their vision is to bring participatory singing and music-making to seniors throughout the...

Libraries ramp it up

Oct 8, 2015 / 8:30 am
Libraries are undergoing a dramatic and exciting transformation. With the shift to digital from print, libraries everywhere have been forced to look at their business models to find fresh new ways to play their role as the community hub for information and connection. Today I want to focus...

Power in Partners

Oct 1, 2015 / 8:30 am
In a world where collaboration is one of the main tools to move our community forward, it's exciting to see the Power in Partners event return to Kelowna. Founded by Fred Sarkari, the event brings together some of our community's most influential minds who will be sharing...

Things to do at Parkinson

Sep 23, 2015 / 8:30 am
Take a tour of the Parkinson Activity Centre. This top notch facility features pool tables, gymnasium, table tennis,... Posted by Ryan Donn on Monday, September 21, 2015 The Parkinson Seniors Society hosts its first craft fair this Thursday, from 11 a.m. to 3 p.m. at the Parkinson...

Culture Days in Kelowna

Sep 18, 2015 / 8:30 am
Culture Days returns to Kelowna Sept 25-27th. It's a celebration of culture in our community and I caught up with Rawle James to talk more about Culture Days (video above). Here are the events happening for Culture Days in Kelowna this year: Friday, Sept. 25th ...

First Nations art at RCA

Sep 11, 2015 / 8:30 am
Cori Derickson featured at RCA I caught up with Cori Derickson for my Castanet column this week. She is one of the featured First Nations artists being celebrated at the RCA Art Exhibition that runs throughout the month of September. Some beautiful pieces of art being showcased if...

Okanagan Organic Festival

Sep 3, 2015 / 8:30 am
It’s one of four hallmark events in B.C. for Organic Week and a real feather in the cap for the Canadian organic movement. The 10th Annual Okanagan Organic Festival converges on Summerhill Pyramid Winery this September 27th and it’s bringing an important message to its ever-growing band...

Student Union funds jobs

Aug 27, 2015 / 11:05 am
What's on this week is that every parent, school-aged child, college and university student is getting ready for school starting. While looking for various events to promote in this weeks column I found this amazing new initiative launching at UBCO this fall. Simply the UBCO Student...

West Kelowna Music Fest

Aug 20, 2015 / 8:30 am
Salsa Dance band Mazacote, from Vancouver, headline this years West Kelowna World Music Festival.... Posted by West Kelowna World Music Festival on Monday, August 10, 2015 The second annual West Kelowna World Music Festival arrives this Saturday. This festival features...

Answers beyond Google

Aug 13, 2015 / 8:30 am
What do you do with a problem that you can't google? If you were a company on the brink of extensive growth but lacked the skills to know the best next step to evolve or fine tune your product where would you turn? Well I think the majority of us don't know about a small but...

Salsa in Kelowna

Aug 6, 2015 / 8:30 am
During August there is ample opportunity to dance the night away to the sway of some salsa or latin dance music. 5 places to Salsa this August in Kelowna (and West Kelowna): 1) Every Tuesday night during July and August, for over 5 years, a group of friends have set up a small...

Creating new festivals

Jul 29, 2015 / 8:30 am
10 Tips for creating successful new events/Festivals in Kelowna. Well my story was going to be on the new Arts on the Avenue that was created over the past year, with the team at the Festivals Kelowna office, but I think it's been well promoted on Castanet this week. If...

Kelowna Cemetery Tours

Jul 23, 2015 / 8:30 am
One of the most surprisingly, fascinating presentations we received on council so far this term happened on May 11th. It was at one of our Monday morning meetings, which are public, but rarely attended by anyone other than City Staff and Council. The workshop was on the Kelowna Cemetery and the new...

Okanagan Tattoo Show

Jul 17, 2015 / 8:30 am
2015 OKANAGAN TATTOO SHOW PROMO Check out this rad promo, done nicely by our friends from The Business. Music provided by Shreddy Krueger, how cool is that??Tickets are just a click away, don't miss out: www.okanagantattooshow.com Posted by Okanagan Tattoo Show on Friday, June...

Festival in the forest

Jul 9, 2015 / 8:30 am
The new Bottega Festival builds from the grass roots foundations of Lille Gard Festival into a festival in the forest that almost feels like you've found a little taste of paradise. Nestled amongst a working farm, one of our most specular event venues, and held in amongst the trees on...

Music in the Park returns

Jul 3, 2015 / 8:30 am
Posted by Music in the Park on Tuesday, June 23, 2015 Summer has arrived and along with it Parks Alive!, Music in the Park (West Kelowna), Park and Play, Dancing in the Park are starting up for the season. This year’s first Music in the Park show happens on...

Lawn bowling revival

Jun 25, 2015 / 8:30 am
When you think of lawn bowling, images of prim and proper ladies and gentlemen of a certain age tend to spring to mind, not young, successful, professionals. Well, this summer an event at the Kelowna Lawn Bowling Club is seeking to change that! The local Kelowna Lawn Bowling...

Bottles for Change

Jun 18, 2015 / 8:30 am
A couple years ago I had a chance to meet Michael Lavigne. He is the founder and visionary behind the Open for Change initiative. As noted on their promotional material "Open for Change is a For-Profit Social Enterprise committed to making a meaningful impact by investing two-thirds of...

Pianos in Parks

Jun 12, 2015 / 10:45 am
Posted by Pianos in Parks on Friday, June 12, 2015 Earlier this week Pianos in the Park was launched in Kelowna. You may have already seen them but you should know that Kelowna now has 5 pianos downtown for the public to use at their leisure. It’s a program that is...
About the Author

Ryan Donn is a singer/songwriter, event producer, digital creative, and Councillor at the City of Kelowna

I love creating songs, which have been used by the Terry Fox Run, Kelowna’s Centennial Celebration, or heard on various local radio stations. 

In the past few years, I've focused on creating community events including Music in the Park, New York New Years, Castanet’s Free Family Skate, Talented Kids, Talented Kelowna, and others.

Originally from Scotland, I’ve lived in Kelowna for over 20 years. My wife, Kimberly, and our two daughters, Lyla and Bella, share our home with Tom (adult with diverse abilities).

In 2014, I was elected to Kelowna City Council. 

Opinions are my own, and don't represent the City of Kelowna, Festivals Kelowna or Creative Okanagan. 

To connect with Ryan:

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The views expressed are strictly those of the author and not necessarily those of Castanet. Castanet does not warrant the contents.