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Adventure Awaits in the Okanagan CAPITAL news


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Discover Summer ’ 2016

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Area Cyclists Gearing Up for Great Summer Biking

Amidst a push to go green, a changing landscape brought about by urbanization, and a population increase making commute times longer, there seems to be one oftoverlooked means of transportation that is once again entering the mainstream: Cycling.

J.P. Squire has been cycling in Kelowna since the 1980s, when the now-retired reporter moved to the Okanagan from his hometown of Amherstburg, Ontario and traded in his motorcycle for something quieter. And during his time here, he’s seen the Kelowna cycling community grow over the course of several decades along with the rest of the city. “When I worked for the newspaper in the 1980s, I was covering the Kelowna city council beat. The late alderman Elise Clark was a real advocate for creating bike

Discover Summer ’ 2016


lanes. Kelowna is a very widespread city—it has over 300 kilometers of bike lanes and 40 kilometers of bike paths.”

Squire notes that the city’s major appeal for cyclists is its variety— Kelowna offers mostly flat roads in the city’s core, which appeal to those who


many cars on the road, so they bike everywhere. And then finally, we have the leisure cyclists—the cyclists who go out because they want the fresh air and exercise.” Squire says that the City of Kelowna has done an excellent job of creating cycling routes that

commute via bicycle every day, plus the outlying mountains, which are ideal for adrenaline junkies. “There are two great places in Kelowna to go mountain biking—the Myra-Bellevue Provincial Park and Bellevue Creek. These mountain bikers will create jumps and challenges and do a ton of work to create off-road trails. But then we also have the category of biker who is more of an environmentalist. Here in Kelowna, we have more cars per capita than anywhere else in the country. These environmental cyclists are saying it’s wrong to put so

appeal to all sorts of bicyclists, with a variety of options available in the city’s vast network of paths and bike lanes. He notes that one of the most popular paths for cyclists is the circle route from Clement Avenue to the Mission Creek Greenway. “The city has created a new trail of multiuse pathways along Lakeshore Road. There’s a beautiful 19-kilometer route from City Park to Boyce Gyro and beyond. Much of it is off the road, so it’s great for families.”

For extreme cyclists who want a challenge, Squire says that Knox Mountain is the number one destination of choice. “You wouldn’t believe how busy Knox Mountain is with mountain bikers. They’ve basically adopted Knox Mountain because it’s so close to everything. It was almost being overused, so now the city has created a network of mountain biking trails. It’s also great for seeing wildlife— people have reported seeing herds of up to 40 deer up there.”

For cyclists looking to experience the best of the Okanagan, though, Squire highly recommends the Myra Canyon trestles. “I’ve always described the trestles as the ultimate Okanagan experience. It’s a 2,000-foot deep canyon with stunning views, and you can’t help but think, ‘how did they build this thing?’” Squire says that Kelowna’s cycling community has now reached critical mass, and it’s not hard to see why—with beautiful trails, an extensive network of routes, and mild weather year round, cycling has become not just a tourist draw, but also a way of life for hundreds of people around the city.

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Wandering in and around Kelowna While there are many fantastic nature walks in and around Kelowna, if you are a tourist, visitor or newcomer like us, they can remain hidden to your eyes as the public signposting to find them is often not great. About four km of KLO crossroads (10 minutes driving) off McCulloch Road is a secret gem in Kelowna, KLO Creek. It is the origin of Scenic

SCENIC CANYON PARK Canyon Regional Park. And yes, it is scenic! And yes, it is canyon. When you follow McCulloch, there is a small sign post for a car park on your left, which could be easily missed. So beware if you reach the one-car bridge crossing the KLO Creek, you are already too far. This beautiful path will lead you downhill to the creek. And along that path, you will be accompanied by singing birds and rewarded with amazing views across the canyon. And maybe you could


also spot some wild animals. The trail marks one route, but do not hesitate to explore some of the other unmarked trails, which could lead you to the rushing, gushing, flowing, cool and refreshing creek. Particularly the first unmarked trail to the right, as you follow downhill towards the sound of water, will lead you to a waterfall which is just under the one-car bridge. It is loud and melodic, and your kids can enjoy a real jungle gym climbing

across rocks and fallen trees. Then continue on the walkway with the flow of the water in the creek as Okanagan sunflowers line the path in the spring. The path eventually merges to the Mission Creek Greenway which is another beautiful walk, and of course, you can hike farther and try to find the confluence of the KLO and Mission creeks. It is a challenge since you have to find the right unmarked path. There is also a rumour that there are some caves to be explored if you can find them.

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Discover Summer ’ 2016

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Imagine a summer resort getaway that you can literally fly your plane to and park the aircraft in your driveway. That is one of the many features behind the Mabel Lake Resort & Airpark, a summer vacation fixture that the Laursen family has owned for the last 45 years in the North Okanagan, 35 kms outside of Enderby, about an hour from Vernon and just under two hours

Terry and Ken Laursen. While the resort features RV camping, condo, house and cabin accommodation options along with a nine-hole golf course, the latest addition has topped of the resort’s “Livin’ the Dream” holiday mantra, a new concrete floating marina with 260 boat docking slips. “We know boat moorage access is a problem in many communities so

from Kelowna. The airstrip off the lake was actually built in the 1940s as an added convenience for private pilots who wanted to fly in their families or friends for a holiday back in the resort’s early days. The 3,000-foot grass landing strip is referred to as an airpark , one of many features that have been built up over the years by current owners

the marina offers a great feature for our resort visitors, a place to moor their boat all summer long or for the time they are visiting us,” said Terry Laursen. “We put a lot of thought over the past two years to creating an archway leading into the marina that would be a real signature thing, and thought about what we could say on it, and when

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Discover Summer ’ 2016

‘Livin’ the Dream’ came up as an idea, we thought that’s perfect, what a great thing to walk past as you end your day of boating in our beautiful lake.” The key feature for the resort remains Mabel Lake itself, a calm body of inland water that feeds into the Shuswap River, stretching for 26 miles long and two miles wide along the valley bottom surrounded by the Monashee Mountains. The lake boasts many secluded beaches that make for a great boating stop point, and there is salmon and lake trout fishing to be had. Plus, the water temperament is ideal for swimming or water skiing.

’ T7 The golf course is designed by renowned golf course architect Les Furber, a par 36 with four sets of tee boxes and fairways that wind through mature tree stands, rock walls, challenging water hazards and outfitted with paved cart trails. In fact, Laursen said golf carts are the preferred mode of transportation around the

resort for many resort residents every summer. The resort also includes a convenience/ general store, golf clubhouse with a dining room, liquor store agency, boat rentals and gas dock, and seasonal, daily and weekly economical off-season and in-season rate packages. Stay & Play packages are a specialty. The resort has also gained popularity as a location for weddings and for company picnics and camp-out events. “We have one organization that has

been coming here with their employees for the past 20 years and it has grown to more than 200 people. They literally take over the campsite,” Laursen laughed. “But Mabel Lake Resort is a wonderful scenic and beautiful place to spend a family vacation, and we really encourage that, of being a family destination. You turn off the keys to your vehicle when you arrive, and you don’t have to touch them again until you leave.”

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Skiing Addicts Rejoice! MIKE STRAUS • CONTRIBUTOR

Soon, the Okanagan’s beloved Big White Ski Resort may have to re-brand itself as the Big Green Mountain & Lake Fun Park.

resort’s much-awaited new summer programs are about to debut this year, with lots in store to offer outdoorsy types looking for something new.


Hiking is a popular (and free) activity that senior v-p of sales & marketing Michael Ballingall says has quickly gained popularity. “We opened the Bullet chairlift as a hiking trail,” Ballingall says, “and we had a great response to it. For the first time, you’re able to ride 6,400 feet above sea level. The views are incredible, and you can hike to the cliffs, around the corner of Rhonda Lake, and then back down.”


Ballingall says the chairlift is only open on the weekends


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during the summer months, making for varied hikes that can consist of a chairlift ride up or down—or not.

says that Big White is planning its second annual L’Alpe de Grand Blanc bicycle race, which has generated significant interest in recent Big White Ski Resort also months. The July long provides regular weekend will also see Big hiking patrols White play host to along the acclaimed B.C. resort’s country musicians Crown at the Craft & land at Country Beer the end and Mountain of every Fest, where day, so attendees hikers can taste who samples from over 20 breweries, encounter browse the problems artisan craft can find market, and reliable dance the night PHOTO IS FROM THE BIG WHITE away at an assistance. CHAIRLIFT CHALLENGE. And with old-fashioned lots of great hiking trails to hoedown. explore, there’s no shortage of sights to see. But Ballingall says that the country fest and cycling race “The main trail is the Village are just the beginning. Trail, which goes up to Rhonda Lake and then the “We’re starting to do a summit,” Ballingall notes. business study on indoor ice “That’s the trail that most sheets and 24/7 hockey every people travel on. There’s also day of the year. We have a lot of beds at an affordable the Rhonda Lake Elevation cost, which is great for Trail, a great beginner’s hockey schools. We’re also trail, and the Falcon Ridge looking at trail, which is where you’re inflatable most likely to see wildlife. theatres, The whiskey jacks are and some everywhere—you might even sing-alongs see the odd bald eagle or a with ABBA, raven, though they’re quite Mamma Mia, rare.” and The Sound of Music. In After an invigorating hike, the winter, it’s summer guests are welcome easy to spend to help themselves to summer eight or 10 hiking fare at the Globe hours on the Café and Tapas Bar, a fully mountain. So licensed restaurant in the we’re looking Whitefoot Lodge that serves at how to up shareable portions of devise summer charcuterie, freshly baked activities that pastries, sandwiches, soups, people who and traditional breakfast are driving up dishes such as the Hiker’s or staying here Breakfast. would want to do.” Cyclists haven’t been forgotten, either. Ballingall

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Grizzli Winery

Construction is nearing completion on a $30-million addition to the Central Okanagan winery scene. Grizzli Winery, a 60,000 square-foot Tuscany-style building with an old-world Italian theme, is in the throes of having final inspections done for the new facility, located at the corner of Hudson and Boucherie roads in West

Kelowna. “We are trying our best to have the winery open by June,” said Edwin Chu, spokesman for the winery. The proposal unveiled earlier this year by Grizzli Winery owner John Chang called for the winery, flanked by vineyards at the base of Mount Boucherie, to include four tasting rooms, a retail store, 150-seat restaurant, garden and picnic areas. Chang is familiar to the winery scene in Canada, as he already operates Lulu Island Winery in the Lower Mainland and Lailey Winery in Ontario. Originally involved in the computer hardware business in Taiwan, Chang has taken a business interest in farming and viticulture since immigrating to Canada more than 20 years ago. He had learned fermentation and winemaking techniques from his grandmother in Taiwan, and has integrated that knowledge with modern

grape growing and wine-making methods and equipment. “We wanted the winery’s architecture and landscape design to provide an experience that would enhance the visitor’s experiences and appreciation of our award winning wines through tastings and education,” Chang said earlier this year. The winery is expected to be another huge addition to the wine tourism trade in the Okanagan, and in particular to the growing West Kelowna wine trail along Boucherie Road. “(West Kelowna) is fast becoming one of B.C.’s many sparkling wine producing and tasting destinations for

Discover Summer ’ 2016

peculiarity wines,” Chang recently said. “We wanted a winery’s pattern and landscape to yield a perspective that would raise a visitor’s knowledge and appreciation of award winning wines by tastings and education.”


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Discover Summer ’ 2016

Enderby’s Starlight Drive-In

Before movie buffs could stream Netflix titles on their phones from the comfort of their beds, before the VCR hit its prime and allowed for easy viewing of films at home, ruralites who wanted to see the latest releases would trek out to the one place where they could watch a film without encountering crowds and noise and lights and the many other overpowering trappings of the concrete jungle: The drive-in theatre.

For decades, drive-in theatres were the hippest way to see new releases. And now, after a large decline in the 1990s, drive-ins are once again the film venue of choice for the young, the old, and the in-between. Every summer, families and groups of friends from all over the Okanagan make the trek to Enderby’s Starlight Drive-In, where coowner Paul Lindquist and his team bring the best new releases to the big screen at affordable prices. “I found the Starlight abandoned in 2002,” says Lindquist. “I didn’t know much about it before then. I bought it along with my friends Brian Smith and


Randy Noonan, and we opened in July of 2002. We’re all film buffs, so we thought it would be fun (to open the drive-in)—we didn’t know how much work it would be. But we can finally enjoy it now.” Today, the Starlight offers an authentic drive-in experience that Lindquist is proud to call magical. He notes that the Starlight is the only drive-in theatre in the world that features a balcony with stadium parking. Lindquist says the appeal of the drive-in extends beyond its affordable prices—the theatre creates a memorable experience unlike anything else. “You can watch a film any way you want to. If you want to have a cigarette, that’s fine. If you want to sit out in your lawn chairs and talk during the movie, nobody cares. You can hear the coyotes howling in the distance. No cell phones, no computers—just you and your friends laying in the back of the truck enjoying the film.” Lindquist says he strives to keep a balance of childfriendly films and films for older audiences, though licensing considerations usually mean any double feature will consist of two films by the same


production company. This summer, the drive-in has several major features planned. Coming titles include Captain America: Civil War, Star Trek: Beyond, the Ghostbusters reboot, and Finding Dory. The theatre is also trying to license Star Wars Episode VII: The Force Awakens. For those who are planning to catch a flick at the

drive-in, Lindquist has a few words of advice. “Don’t bother packing anything to eat—you can get an all-beef hot dog with sweet fried onions for $3.25. Make sure your car radio works—or bring a portable radio if you want to sit outside. We also tend to get the occasional flock of mosquitos, so bring some mosquito repellent. And of course, the evenings can get chilly, so a sweater or blanket is a good idea.”

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Like many visitors to popular City Park, Larry Lefebvre used to walk past the Kelowna Lawn Bowling Club facility and wonder what was going on. Lefebvre says he was always impressed by the beauty of the facility and its location, nestled in the midst of the park, a stone’s throw from Okanagan Lake. But beyond playing bocce ball in the backyard, he wasn’t really familiar with the recreational pursuit of lawn bowling. Then his wife joined the club and convinced CONNOR MCGOWAN CANADIAN JUNIOR CHAMPION

him to do the same, and he’s glad she did. “I used to walk by the club facility all the time, just like I used to walk past the boats docked at the Kelowna Yacht Club,” Lefebvre recalled. “Now I have a boat moored at the yacht club

and I’m a member of the lawn bowling club.” In Kelowna, lawn bowling dates back to 1909, played on the lawn of the Kelowna Men’s Club at the northeast corner of Pandosy and Leon. Lefebvre says the actual game of lawn bowling is similar to curling, but rather than throwing a curling rock, you toss an asymmetrical ball that can be angled to spin to the right or left, just like a curling shot. “With bocce, you pretty much throw the ball straight on, but in lawn bowling the ball’s shape allows you to twist your shot,” he said. Lawn bowls are oval in shape with the highest point slightly off-centre, giving the bowls what is called a “bias” side. Once thrown, the bowl will curl towards the bias side, allowing a player to cut their shot around other bowls strategically placed in front of the target, a small white ball called the “jack.” Lefebvre says lawn bowling is not just a sport that caters

Discover Summer ’ 2016

to seniors, but a game ideal for young and old alike, noting the Canadian junior lawn bowling champion in 2012 was Connor McGowan, of Kelowna. Even physically disabled people, such as those with limited vision, can play with the help of a shot guide. He says lawn bowling is competitive, reflected in the many tournaments that are held to being an event in the BC Seniors Games, but it is also a social event, again like curling, where you can meet lots of people from all ages and different walks of life. “I’m excited about the idea of getting more people out to try lawn bowling. I think there are more people out there like myself who know nothing about it but if they give it a try, they might find they really like playing,” he said. The lawn bowling club will begin offering a free threelesson package for interested new players starting in May on Wednesday evenings, beginning at 6:30 p.m. For more information, check out the website kelownalawnbowlingclub.com.

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Discover Summer ’ 2016

Ricketts noted he sees people come from around the world to see the Okanagan fruit scene, and they are often amazed to see plants

Fruit of the Okanagan

While the Okanagan has become more and more well known for industries such as wine over the past number of years, there is still one agricultural field that stands above the rest; tree fruits.

Jeff Ricketts is the owner of Old Meadows Organic Farm on Gordon Drive after moving from the finance field to farming four years ago. While his farm largely focuses on vegetables, it does have a sizeable fruit component. Ricketts grows small quantities of cherries, strawberries, melons and rare and unique fruits like goji berries. He also partners with several local organic farms to sell their tree fruit, like apples, plums and peaches. After spending four years in the fruit industry, Ricketts explained

it’s a truly unique experience. “You get a whole wide range of people coming in from Alberta, folks who just want to load up on peaches and cherries and take them back to all their friends,” he said. “You get a rush of Albertans from time to time just loading up their trucks and heading back. It’s always cool to see someone load up a five or six hundred dollar order of fruit and then take it back for canning or something like that. It’s always nice when people get that excited, when it’s an annual trip for some of the people who do that.”

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“Fruit is what we are known for,” he said. “Wineries are now starting to get in there as well, but the tree fruit industry is huge. It’s what the Okanagan was built around. It’s the bulk of production here, it’s what we’re known for. To be part of that is really unique, and we try to emphasize a lot of that here as well, just to promote what the Okanagan is all about and how fresh everything in.” that we take for granted, such as cherry trees loaded with fruit. While locals may



be used to the abundance of fruit in summer, Ricketts said that doesn’t make them any less excited. He has seen many Okanagan residents buy enough fruit to fill freezers to last throughout the year, and they still look forward to all of the fresh fruit in summer.


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The Kelowna Museums Society is putting together several projects to bring in visitors this summer.

The largest and most ambitious of those projects is overhauling the entire permanent gallery of the Okanagan Heritage Museum, which is the flagship museum in Kelowna. The gallery was last changed about 20 years ago, and Kelowna Museums Society executive director Linda Digby described why they began changing it. “The gallery was due for an overhaul to bring it up to meet the needs of today’s community, and Kelowna has changed a lot since the gallery was last designed,” Digby said. “There was a big appetite among the community and staff to do that.”

The Laurel Packinghouse has seen its wine museum expanded, and opened its wine gift shop. The gift shop is still growing, but Digby

something to taste or made by an artisan. “We would love to see locals drop by and see those changes, and engage in feedback on what changes they would like to see in Kelowna’s museums,” Digby said. Digby advised keeping an eye on the Kelowna Museum Society website and Facebook page, as there’s always something going on and they will be offering drop-in programming for families throughout summer. The museums will also be represented at many festivals and events this summer, bringing parts of the museums to set up small displays.

The Okanagan Heritage Museum will open its doors even further to visitors on May 18, which is International Museum Day. On that day the museum will be offering behind-theMUSEUM SERVICES COORDINATOR DANA Digby encouraged scenes tours, taking HOPKINSON POSES BESIDE ONE OF THE DISPLAYS Kelowna residents to people into the lower AT THE OKANAGAN HERITAGE MUSEUM bring visiting relatives level of the museum to Kelowna’s museums so where they will get to see together the can explore local the conservation lab, the explained the vision they history and the people and archives, and many other have for it is that it will be the BE PLACED THE GUEST SERVICES place of DIRECTORY Kelowna. OF THE rooms that aren’t usually on place TO to come if youINwant an Delta Grand display for the public. Okanagan gift, whether it be Hotel Kelowna 2014

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The project began last year and although Digby isn’t

sure when they will finish, she did note this is a good time to visit the museum and see something new. Throughout the course of summer, visitors will see display cases moved around, artifacts temporarily out of storage, and other new sights they normally wouldn’t see.

Discover Summer ’ 2016


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Rock the Lake

Youth of the ‘80s rejoice. The decade of excess is coming back to Kelowna—for one weekend, at least. RG Sports and Entertainment and Prospera Place have announced the first Rock the Lake Festival, Aug. 12 through14. “We have seen over the years Kelowna grow as a market that really

appreciates rock, Canadian rock in particular,” said RG Properties president Dave Dakers. “We’ve seen this market’s appetite grow for outside festivals and we felt it was time to bring something that really fit this market.” The three-day classic rock festival will take place outdoors at Prospera, in the west parking lot, with a lineup of bands pulled from the top

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Canadian hitmakers of the ’70’s and ’80s era. They include: Friday, Aug. 12 Kick Ax, Prism, Loverboy Saturday, Aug. 13 Doucette, Lee Aaron, Harlequin, Streetheart Sunday, Aug. 14 Nick Gilder and Sweeney Todd, Saga, Headpins, Trooper Gates open at 5 p.m. on the Friday, and 2:30 p.m. on Saturday and Sunday. The festival grounds will have food, drinks, VIP access, and a generous in and out policy. Patrons will have the ability to bring in their own chairs so they can relax and enjoy what the festival has to offer. “This really isn’t about the acts but it’s about downtown Kelowna and showcasing it with the 3,000 or 4,000 people that are going to be at this event,” said Dakers. “We have a generous in and out policy and a late start to

the day and early finish so people have a lot of time to enjoy the downtown core, the restaurants, the hotels and all that Kelowna has to offer.” The venue will be able to accommodate 3,500 concert goers during each of the three days. The concert is similar to a Rock The River concert weekend held the past few years in Saskatoon. Dakers said he sees this as a niche event for the community. “We really think that this is something that can grow to be more than just one weekend. “We are talking about expanding it to a country weekend next year. We see a big future for this outside.” Tickets go on sale this Friday at 10 a.m. at selectyourtickets. com, charge by phone at 250-762-5050. They are also available at the Prospera Place box office. Day passes are $49.50, including GST, while a full weekend pass runs $127.50 (plus service charges).

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Arlo’s Honey Farm

AGRO-TOURISTS WITNESS AN ENTIRE FOOD CHAIN AT WORK Agro-tourism is a new and rapidly growing in the Okanagan, and for good reason. Renewed concerns regarding the health effects of pesticides, the impact of the world’s declining bee population on food supplies, and an interest in eating local have all created a major demand for educational agriculture tours. And given the number of farms, vineyards, ranches, and other foodproducing businesses in the Okanagan, even Tourism Kelowna has started promoting farm-totable tours as fun summer activities for tourists

Discover Summer ’ 2016



and locals alike.

It only makes logical sense, then, that the first stop on any agro-tour should be Arlo’s Honey Farm. Aside from producing tasty honey and other honey-based products, Arlo’s Honey Farm offers a prime opportunity to learn about the honeybee, which professors at the University of Rochester have called the linchpin of the global food chain.

said. “They’re also interested in knowing how their food is grown and what’s in it, which we

Arlo’s Honey Farm owner Helen Kennedy says the farm is popular among young families. “These younger people are looking for something other than wineries and golf,” she


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showcase. The bees are the start of the food chain, and with our site being an actual farm, people can understand why we grow foods the way we do and how the bees come into play.” Kennedy says the most challenging part of running the honey farm is the harvest, which brings unique difficulties. “Taking honey from bees is like stealing someone’s wallet. It’s not easy to get away from them without getting stung. We wear our beekeeper outfits and we use a smoker, which gently puffs smoke at the bees and gets them off the frame.” But dealing with temperamental bees isn’t where the challenges stop. The team at Arlo’s Honey Farm also works hard to manage the farm’s bee population and keep the bees healthy. Bees require a diverse variety of food, says Kennedy, which is why monoculture industry farming is contributing to the decline of the bee population.

“Here, we manage the bees to the best of our ability. We keep clean hives—we monitor for pests and diseases on a daily basis. We screen for mites. We also plant vegetables, trees, and cover crops for the bees. We always try to supplement the bees’ natural diet with things that are good for them.” Kennedy’s approach seems to be paying off, as the honey farm produces a vibrant array of foods like garlic, raspberries, lettuce, rhubarb, carrots, onions, and sage. And with twotime IPE award-winning honey that’s currently sold through restaurants like Raudz Regional Table, The Old Vines Restaurant at Quails’ Gate Winery, and Waterfront on Sunset Drive, it’s clear that the farm’s honey is exceeding culinary expectations. Visitors can also purchase an array of honey products, including honey-based body lotions, lavender-infused liquid honey, and honey-based soaps and candles in the farm’s gift shop. Whether it’s an hour-long tour, a honey tasting, a historical presentation, or a beewatching lookout, there’s no shortage of activities to enjoy on the farm. Arlo’s Honey Farm is open to the public Monday through Saturday from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m., and accepts visitors from May 2 to Sept. 17.

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Discover Summer ’ 2016

Aqua Park


About to enter its third year of operation, the water activity area in Okanagan Lake on the City Park Hot Sands Beach shoreline has become a popular fixture. Rylie Gallagher, owner/operator of the Kelowna site and also the Penticton version that opened last summer, said response has been positive to the floatable water park, both from locals and tourists alike. “For tourists, we hear feedback how it’s become a destination spot for families having a holiday in Kelowna, and for the locals it’s another activity to help them spend a day at the park that didn’t exist before.” He said they are happy with the location off City Park, adjacent to the old aquatic centre, in an area that otherwise was somewhat under-utilized due largely to the narrow beach setting. “It’s a great spot for us because the water conditions are ideal, people can see it when driving across the bridge, and it’s in great location next to Hot Sands Beach and in City Park,” Gallagher said.

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Kelowna city council entered a three-year agreement with Gallagher’s company, Kelowna Wibit, in 2014, echoing sentiments of being able to bring a new family activity to the area after the loss of the watersides in West Kelowna, the Malibu race track and the Flintstones park. The Wibit name represents the manufacturer of the water activity equipment. “A great family friendly place for people to go in the summer” is how then-councillor and now city mayor Colin Basran described this recreational opportunity. Gallagher says the grand opening date for the water park this year will be Saturday, June 25, although it could open a few days sooner if the early summer weather continues to hold. “It takes us about four days to set everything up, inspect the equipment for leaks or holes or other repairs that might be needed, to get our dive team in place to ensure everything is secured properly and in the right position,” Gallagher said For the grand opening, which will take place both at the Penticton and Kelowna sites, a fundraiser will be carried out with the day’s proceeds from opening day donated to BC Children’s Hospital. “Last year we raised about $1,500 but with both parks up and running this year, we are hoping to see that increase to $5,000,” said Gallagher, who now lives in Kelowna and was

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born and raised in Summerland. The water park will be open in Kelowna seven days a week, from 10:30 a.m. to dusk, until Labor Day in September, able to handle up to a maximum of about 60 people at any one time. Gallagher said there are

different ticket options from day passes to one-time entry pass to evening passes, pricing from $25/person to $20 to $15. The ticket booth is set up on the City Park shoreline next to the lakefront boardwalk where life jackets are also provided for all participants.

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T18 ’


Exhilarated. That’s the best word to sum up how Patrick Wilkins feels when he’s riding his motorcycle along the winding highways and quiet back roads of the Okanagan. Wilkins took up motorcycle riding a number of years ago, but when he left his position as an avionics technician with the Canadian Forces and was forced to transition back to civilian life, his motorcycle took on a whole new meaning.

Discover Summer ’ 2016


Sidecar Tours, also gives him a prime opportunity to practice another of his hobbies: Photography. “I got into photography when I was 15,” he said. “The options were home ec,


“He was suffering from some post-traumatic stress after the war,” said Dorothy Wilkins, Patrick’s wife and chief tour guide, “and he found riding his motorcycle very therapeutic. Every entrepreneur, at some point, has to ask the question: What do I love doing, and how do I support myself with it? And for Patrick, the answer was motorcycle tours.” Patrick served as an avionics technician with the Royal Canadian Air Force. He saw tours of duty as part of Operation Athena in Afghanistan and Canada’s peacekeeping initiatives during the Bosnian War. Now, he’s using his mechanical skills to keep his motorcycle in top shape and help tourists and locals alike experience the beauty of the Okanagan firsthand. His business, Custom

mechanics, or photography. I was a farm kid, so I already knew mechanics, and I didn’t want to do home ec, so I did photography. But after the war, photography became a refuge for me.” Some of Patrick’s photos currently hang in venues like the Okanagan Lavender & Herb Farm and Okanagan Health & Performance. While his primary motivation in starting the business was to make a living while coping with PTSD, Patrick quickly found that his guests were also seeing great benefits from his motorcycle tours. “We had a lady in her 70s come to us,” he said. “She had recently lost her husband, and she was stuck in the grieving

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period even though it was time to try to move on. Her friends surprised her with a motorcycle tour to try to cheer her up. Afterward, her friends called me to say that she’d come alive again.” Another of the couple’s guests was a 93-year-old woman who had been courted by her husband in a sidecar during the London Blitz of 1940. For her, the sidecar tour became a treasured nostalgic experience. The Wilkins’ sidecar tours are fully customizable, offering an opportunity for spontaneity and the ability to stop at will. Past guests have stopped at koi ponds and garage sales, the couple notes.

The business is also bringing the older tradition of riding in a sidecar into the 21st century. Custom Sidecar Tours fully insures guests and provides sanitary helmets with built-in communication systems that allow driver and guest to communicate clearly at all times. But for the Wilkins’, the tour isn’t about the destination—it’s about the experience. “The tours aren’t exactly guided,” says Patrick, “but they are interactive. I’ll ask questions about your life, like if you met a new friend. I’ve done a lot of traveling, so there aren’t too many people I can’t have a conversation with.”

Profile for Black Press Media Group

Special Features - Discover Summer 2016  


Special Features - Discover Summer 2016