Live music at Runaways
Contributed - 12:01 am - Think Local

Photos: contributed

Kelowna has a new neighbourhood entertainment venue.

The former Mission Tap House in South Pandosy has rebranded as Runaways Lounge, and while it still offers its signature large variety of local craft beers on tap, it has added a new cocktail menu, expanded and improved its wine and food offerings and, most importantly, now has a focus on live music and comedy.

“When we bought the place (in February), we really felt the Mission/South Pandosy area needed an entertainment venue,” says co-owner Dan Bernier. “It didn’t have a cool place to go and hear live music.”

Bernier and his partner Dave Myers are both musicians and Bernier says they wanted to create a more upscale atmosphere, but one that still had a cool vibe.

“We call it ‘upscale casual,’” he says.

While live music has been featured at Runaways four nights a week for the last few months, the venue will hold its official grand opening Aug 19, combining both comedy and music.

The night will kick off with comedians Tim Nutt and Rob Balsdon providing stand-up comedy starting at 7 p.m., and then two bands, Chase the Bear and Goldsauce, will take turns on stage starting at 9 p.m. In addition, there will be food and drink specials.

The plan going forward is to keep featuring live music four nights a week and host comedians from the Train Wreck Comedy Tour twice a month. There will also be an open mic night for adults and, because the venue’s licence allows young people in with their parents up until 10 p.m., a Junior Jam night to let budding young musicians strut their stuff on stage too.

“That way we can help contribute to the next generation of local musicians,” says Bernier.

Because both Bernier and Myers knew they wanted Runaways to focus on live entertainment, particularly music, the first thing they did when they bought the place was take out the pool tables—which weren’t being used very much—and they built a new stage. They redecorated and repainted, updated the cocktail menu and expanded the wine list. They revamped the food menu, tapping into the creative minds of the kitchen staff. Plans are also in the works to build large new patio over the winter.

The former MissionTap House, which was well-known as the Pheasant and Quail Pub before that rebranding 10 years ago, was a popular spot that focused on Kelowna’s emerging craft beer market. Now, as Runaways Lounge, Bernier and Myers want to incorporate that popularity into their new vision to create a go-to spot for food, beverages and live music in the city.

“We still have a great selection more than 30 local craft beers on tap and for sports, we have plenty of big screens,” says Bernier.

But entertainment will be the driving force at Runaways going forward.

“Come in and try the food and beverage menu, check out our substantial entertainment lineup on Instagram and Facebook and join us for the grand opening weekend with our special guests,” says Bernier.

Let them with sin … party
Contributed - Aug 12, 2022 - Think Local

Photo: Contributed

Sloth. Greed. Lust. Gluttony. Wrath. Envy. Pride.

They are the seven deadly sins, and they will be celebrated passionately at Blasted Church Vineyards later this month. The Seven Deadly Sins party will commemorate the 20th anniversary of the Okanagan Falls winery.

It promises to be a naughty but very nice time.

“We wanted to celebrate with a big party,” Blasted Church experience manager Lisa Baxter-Burke says with a tinge of evil in her voice. “We decided instead of going with blessings this time we would go with sins. Sins are far more fun.”

The party will take place on Saturday, Aug. 20, at the winery, which is located at 378 Parsons Rd., northeast of Okanagan Falls. The festivities will take place from 6 to 10 p.m.

“There is going to be lots of stuff going on,” Baxter-Burke says. “So we want people to know that it’s just not your regular wine tasting event. There is going to be lots of entertainment and fun for your dollar.”

Image: Contributed

Party-goers are encouraged to dress up as their favourite deadly sin, and prizes will be awarded to those wearing the best getups. Baxter-Burke plans to dress up as pride and will be looking in a mirror all night long. Several other Blasted Church employees are planning to wear their pyjamas and represent sloth.

In other words, get ready to party like your soul depends on it.

There will be live music by Jon Bos, Lady of the Mist will be spinning tracks to keep the party moving at all times, and Cosmic Co-Motion will wow guests with their go-go dancing and aerial performances.

Blasted Church chef John Burke, Shucked Oyster Co. and Purdys Chocolates will provide the bites, and Blasted Church’s award winning wines will be there to wash it down.

Blasted Church, which in 2021 was voted WineAlign’s third best winery in Canada, got its name from an event that happened in the South Okanagan nearly a century ago. Officials wanted to move a church from Fairview to Okanagan Falls, and the project foreman, Harley Hatfield, figured a little bit of dynamite would loosen the nails. Other than knocking off the steeple, the plan worked.

More than 70 years later, the founder of the new winery heard and loved the story, and decided to name the vineyards after it.

More information about the event, including how to purchase tickets, can be found here.

Best time for Beachcomber
Contributed - Aug 11, 2022 - Think Local

Photos: Contributed

Richard Finley has been a long-time customer at Beachcomber Home Leisure, and he figured this would be the perfect year to upgrade his backyard setup.

One of Finley’s daughters moved into her own home earlier this year and needed some patio furniture, so Finley and his wife donated their set of six chairs, a table and an umbrella to the next generation.

They also felt the urge to support Beachcomber after the passing of company founder Dennis Melvin earlier this year.

A third reason that made this summer the perfect time to buy is the contest that Beachcomber Home Leisure is running. One customer at the Kelowna location and one at the Vernon store will both win their purchases up to an amount of $5,000.

Photo: Contributed

“They just lost Dennis, and it’s really sad,” Finley says. “It made me think of just how long we’ve shopped there. We thought if we’re lucky enough to get five grand back that would be awesome, but it’s also money well spent because these sets last a long time.”

The chairs, table and umbrella that Finley donated to his daughter were still in outstanding condition, but the new set has certainly upped the level of comfort in his backyard. He went to Beachcomber and found the perfect loveseat, two chairs and fire table to make his Okanagan summer nights even more enjoyable.

“We play outdoor pickleball, and out of all the buddies’ houses, we always seem to come back to my house to have the after-pickleball beverage, because they really, really enjoy the comfort of the set,” Finley says.

“And they actually maybe stay too long, so I might have to look at a different set that’s not quite as comfortable,” he adds with a laugh. “The beer fridge has never seen this much action.”

Finley keeps going back to Beachcomber because of its massive selection, superlative quality and friendliness of the staff.

“Some of them I’ve known for years,” Finley says. “They know my name, and I know theirs, and that’s the cool part about dealing with a local company.”

More information about Beachcomber Home Leisure can be found on its website.

Savour the sun at Silver Star
Contributed - Aug 08, 2022 - Think Local

Photo: SilverStar Mountain Resort

Time is running out to grab tickets for a brand new wine festival that will also showcase everything Silver Star and the mountain resort has to offer.

The inaugural Savour the Sun: Silver Star wine festival will take place this Friday, Saturday and Sunday at the ski and bike destination northeast of Vernon. Destination Silver Star partnered with Oliver Osoyoos Wine Country for the event, which will feature some of the valley’s most celebrated winemakers as well as Silver Star’s most delectable food.

Photo: Oliver Osoyoos Wine Association

“We are thrilled to showcase winery partners across the region, from the South Okanagan and Naramata Bench, to Kelowna, Lake Country and Shuswap,” Destination Silver Star executive director Cassandra Zerebeski says.

“The festival features up-and-comers with Kismet, Sunnybrae and Waterside, and fan favourites such as 50th Parallel, Stag’s Hollow, Anthony Buchanan, Hester Creek, Mount Boucherie and many more. It is a great range which will be paired with fantastic culinary offerings.” Third Beach vodka drinks and non-alcoholic options will also be available.

There are a variety of dinner options to get the party started on Friday night. The first is an alfresco pairing wine dinner experience hosted by SilverStar Mountain Resort, orchestrated by talented executive chef Scott Sanderson and in partnership with Experience Wine Tours. This event features wines of Meyer Family Vineyards, Le Vieux Pin and La Stella. 

The second private dinner option will take place in the newest restaurant at Silver Star, Black Pine Social. Chef Jarred Sauve and owner Brandon Loughery draw inspiration from rustic European alpine culture, incorporating international flavours and a modest influence from Japanese cuisine. The meals, of course, will be paired with some of the best wines the Okanagan has to offer.

Another flavourful option is dining a la carte at the Bulldog’s Grand Cafe, where chef Tyler Lafferty will show off his skills with unique Dutch and Thai-Indonesian features, highlighting pairing options from the Oliver Osoyoos region. The venue hosts a DJ on Friday and Sunday evenings.

Image: Contributed

There are still a few spots remaining but the deadline to purchase is midnight tonight (Monday) for the winemakers dinners and mid-week for the tasting event, with limited tickets remaining.

The activities on Saturday and Sunday at Savour the Sun will be mostly for everyone. On Saturday there will of course be the wine tasting extravaganza called Uncork Your Senses for those of drinking age, yet live music and a pop-up Polson Park artisan market is also on the agenda for everyone’s entertainment.

Saturday’s performers are scheduled to be Andrew Allen and Josh Bogert, while Sister Speak is slated to hit the stage on Sunday. Take some time on Sunday to do some hiking, biking, or treat yourself with a spa treatment.

There is a shuttle option available for those wanting to get back to their own beds each night, although stays at Silver Star are quite affordable.

“A two-night stay in Silver Star offers great value, and our destination is the perfect base camp for your Okanagan adventure,” Zerebeski says.

More information about Savour the Sun: Silver Star can be found here. Those wishing to take advantage of the shuttle can email [email protected].

Photo: Oliver Osoyoos Wine Association

Perfect last summer getaway
Contributed - Aug 08, 2022 - Think Local

Photo: Contributed

As the summer weeks wind down, your perfect quick getaway at Chute Lake Lodge awaits.

The lodge, which is located on the KVR Trail between directly between Kelowna and Penticton on the east side of Okanagan Lake, offers everything you could possibly want in the Okanagan.

It has a swimmable lake.

It has glamping opportunities right on said lake.

It has a restaurant featuring delicious, homegrown ingredients.

It has cabins if glamping is not your style.

It has a brand new bathhouse.

It has outdoor activities galore.

It has that refreshing mountain air.

The only other thing it needs now … is you.

Photo: Contributed

“It’s a short getaway,” general manager Patrick Braspenning says. “From Kelowna, if you take the old KVR, it’s a beautiful drive. You just have to adjust your speed. I wouldn’t necessarily recommend it for very low vehicles, but if you have a four-by-four it would be doable, and it’s a beautiful drive over the KVR with beautiful views over Kelowna.

“Otherwise, the alternative ride is through Penticton and Naramata. You drive past about 25 wineries, and that’s not necessarily a punishment either, right?”

Once you get to Chute Lake Lodge, the toughest part will be deciding what to do first. The lodge offers e-bikes, kayaks, paddleboards, canoes and motorboats for rent, as well as fishing tackle and lifejackets. There is also a dock for the kids to You don’t need to be staying overnight at the lodge to take advantage of the recreational opportunities, either.

You really should spend the night, however, because there are few better spots in the province. Its elevated location means overnight temperatures are perfectly comfortable, meaning you can snuggle up with that special someone under those warm blankets in your glamping tent—for less than $150 a night.

Chute Lake also spent the last year upgrading its bathroom facilities for those who perhaps thought the situation was a bit too rustic. The former bathhouse, which was as old as the lodge itself, has been replaced with a sparkling new facility featuring numerous showers and toilets. In addition, some of the cabins have been outfitted with their own three-piece bathrooms, eliminating that outdoor walk to the biffy in the middle of the night.

The washrooms are also more accessible, thanks in large part to accessibility advocate Bruce Cook, who featured Chute Lake Lodge recently on his show, By Hook or By Cook.

There are a few August dates available for those looking for one last summer getaway. People from all over the world come to the KVR Trail and stop in at Chute Lake Lodge.

Locals can enjoy it, too. It is, after all, located right in their big, beautiful backyard.

Photo: Contributed

Crypto is changing iGaming
Contributed - Aug 06, 2022 - Think Local

Photo: Contributed

Cryptocurrency has changed the world as we know it. Everything from finance and technology to the way governments regulate online payments has been affected by it.

One of the industries that has been almost completely disrupted by crypto is the iGaming industry. Here, we look at five ways in which the world of iGaming is changing because of cryptocurrency.

Faster Deposits and Withdrawals

It is not a secret that local fiat currency payments are often much faster than cryptocurrency. In fact, many of them only take a couple of seconds to complete. However, it is also not a secret that international payments are quite slow by comparison, often taking days per transaction.

With crypto, this is not a problem. The average transaction time ranges from a few minutes to less than an hour depending on the coin involved. As such, cryptocurrency allows players to make faster deposits and withdrawals.

In recent years, cryptocurrency has increasingly been used in cross-border payments. This is true for literally hundreds of industries, and iGaming is just one of them.

Secure Payments

Another problem with fiat online casinos has been the problem with security. This is not true for some of the more reputable casinos. However, those iGaming websites also have had to deal with a lot of regulation and geo-restrictions.

On the other hand, non-reputable casinos not under these limitations have had a problem with getting people to trust them. This is not surprising, as there have been many scams involving online casinos through the years.

When it comes to crypto casino sites, a huge layer of those concerns is removed due to the secure payment gateways that have to be used when transferring cryptocurrency.

Contrary to popular belief, crypto payments are not untraceable, they are simply anonymous (i.e. a third party cannot discover the name of the parties involved without additional information). As such, it stands to reason that tackling crypto-based gambling frauds will also be much easier.

No Regional Restrictions

Although we have mentioned how certain casinos lock out players based on where they are based, we believe this point deserves another mention.

There are many fiat-based iGaming websites that are not accessible in large parts of the world. In fact, some of the most well-known and beloved online fiat-based casinos cannot even be accessed in the US.

Crypto casinos, on the other hand, usually do not have regional restrictions. While there are some crypto casino sites that are overly regulated, there are more than enough websites that can be accessed from pretty much all over the world.

While it is possible that future regulation may render this advantage obsolete, chances are that crypto-based gambling platforms will always enjoy somewhat looser restrictions compared to their fiat counterparts.

An Increased Focus on Bonuses

While this is not true for all cryptocurrency casinos, it is true that there is now a bigger focus on providing withdrawal and other types of bonuses than ever before.

This is because cryptocurrencies have allowed more people to access iGaming websites than ever before (see above). With a higher number of potential customers now visiting the casinos, there is more competition which is bound to be better for the consumer.

As such, it is not that rare to see bonuses that match the deposit amount by up to 200%. Just to be clear, this would mean that you receive 2 BTC for free on a deposit of 1 BTC. Most crypto casinos now also run weekly promotions that allow the players to get their hands on a lot of free coins.

Another good news is that the advent of more crypto casinos has also required fiat-based platforms to increase the rewards. As such, bonuses nowadays are higher across the board than what they were just a few years ago.

Casinos Have More Control

Cryptocurrency has also allowed casinos to have more control over their business. Remember that we do not mean that in a bad way, as illustrated by the following two examples.

1. Since casinos do not have to deal with any third-parties for handling withdrawals and deposits, they can save a lot of money in the long run. These savings can then be passed onto the consumer.

2. Opening a casino is much easier when using cryptocurrencies due to the company having to deal with less regulation.

As such, it comes as no surprise that we have seen a lot of new crypto casino sites begin operating over the last few years. On top of that, a lot of traditional online casinos also now offer crypto-based payment methods. This number is continuously increasing, meaning that crypto will continue to have a lasting impact on the iGaming industry.

Kelowna bucks housing trend
Contributed - Aug 05, 2022 - Think Local

Photo: Contributed

While interest rates are cooling the real estate market in urban centres like Vancouver and Toronto, Kelowna housing prices continue to rise, with the benchmark price for a single-family home hitting $1,112,400 in June, a 15% increase over June 2021.

According to Statistics Canada, Kelowna has the fastest growing population in the country, predicted to grow 14% between 2021 to 2026, and a report by Fundscraper named Kelowna as Canada’s top emerging real estate market. But as Kelowna continues to attract more residents, housing has become and remains a challenge. The Canada Mortgage and Housing Corporation reports that Kelowna has the lowest vacancy rate of any major Canadian city, and according to rental website, Zumper, rents are the third highest in the country.

In Kelowna, townhomes have become an increasingly popular and more affordable option for buyers, particularly families and young professionals. In June, the average purchase price for a townhome in Kelowna was $763,800, a substantial 31% less than a single-family home. Younger buyers are also attracted to the easy maintenance and upkeep that comes with townhome ownership, as well as the security and amenities offered by these types of homes. For investment buyers, townhomes offer strong rental potential, as Kelowna has extremely limited inventory but high demand for three-bedroom homes. One such project that has been recently released, The Nest at Findlay, has already been drawing a lot of buyer attention, with prices starting in the upper $600,000s.

“After our sellout success with our Five Crossings development of studio, one- and two-bedroom smart suites, we wanted to bring something great for families to Kelowna,” Millennial Developments CEO Ryan Tamblyn says. “It’s important that people have the opportunity to own a family home and benefit from not only the security of ownership but have a place to make memories and be proud of. We knew that with townhomes we could bring a quality product that feels like a home should, but at a price point that would be more accessible.”

The Nest at Findlay is a neighbourhood collection of 20 townhomes, all featuring a three-storey and spacious three-bedroom layouts, in a convenient Rutland location next to protected marshlands. The development offers personal garden spaces, a private playground and a covered pergola with BBQ for dining alfresco.

“Because of the two car garages, private decks and fenced yards, The Nest at Findlay really does give that ‘family home’ feeling,” ACE Project Marketing Group director of business development Chad MacTavish says. “We’ve been getting a lot of interest because it’s such a quality product at a really attractive price point, in a very up-and-coming, family-friendly area that is great for investment.”

To learn more about The Nest at Findlay, visit www.thenesttownhomes.com or contact ACE Project Marketing Group at 250-300-3981 or [email protected].

Sculptures draw many eyes
Contributed - Aug 05, 2022 - Think Local

Photo: Contributed

The Bronze Sculpture Capital of Canada has become a golden attraction.

Three years ago Princeton city council approved the production of more than a dozen bronze sculptures as part of its revitalization plan, and now they are proving to be quite the attraction for the community that used to be a quick stop on the trip to Vancouver. Today it is a popular day trip for those seeking something different.

“Our visitor numbers are going up because people are coming here just to do the sculpture walk,” Princeton economic development and tourism director Gary Schatz says. “It’s our number one reason why people come into the visitor centre.”

The number of tourists to Princeton by the end of July represented a 30% increase over any other year, and it has already had more out-of-town visitors than it had in the last two pandemic-affected years combined.

Photo: Contributed

There are now 16 sculptures throughout the downtown area, and more are on the way, including a mountain goat, a golden eagle and five bear cubs. The art pieces reflect the history, wilderness and wildlife that makes Princeton unique. Schatz says the goal is to add a sculpture every year.

“Every animal we have is in this region of British Columbia,” he says, “so we’ve still got plenty of animals to add.”

Visitors to Princeton can do a walking tour of the bronze sculpture loop, which is about a kilometre long and flat. That makes it an accessible attraction for everyone.

“It’s a unique thing,” Schatz says. “We have a couple outside of our office here, and every day I see people with our brochure. Forty degrees last week, and there they are posing with a statue, taking a picture.”

And which sculptures are everyone’s favourite? Well, it depends whom you ask.

“I hear lots of different ones,” Schatz says. “Our German tourists probably like the bears the best. The bears are big in Germany. A lot of people like the moose in front of the visitor centre. Same with the elk at one of our other gateways. When you ask people, you get a whole mix of opinions.”

There are plans to make the sculpture tour even more interactive and appealing to all ages. Postcards featuring pictures of the sculptures are in the planning stages, creating sculpture-related activities for kids is in the works, and Schatz wants technology to be part of the fun as well.

“We’re going to hopefully make these animals come to life, whether that’s through an app or something else,” he says. “I think it’d be neat if you could hold your phone up and all of a sudden the animal turns and growls or does something neat.”

Visit the Town of Princeton website to learn more about the sculptures and everything else the community has to offer.

Photo: Contributed

Ready to hit the road again
Contributed - Aug 04, 2022 - Think Local

Photo: contributed
Traveland RV in West Kelowna has plenty of RV models to choose from.

Heading into “snowbird” season, the pent-up demand for travel is driving recreational vehicle sales, as travellers plan to hit the road.

With ongoing news stories about chaos with airlines and at airports, many travellers yearning to get away are looking for RVs, especially those who want to return south to wintering spots in the U.S.

“People are now getting ready to go, the (Canada-U.S.) border is open once again and there is a real pent-up demand,” says Tyler Steel, general manager of Traveland RV-Kelowna.

The company, with sales locations in West Kelowna (serving the Okanagan), Langley (serving the Metro Vancouver area), the Cowichan Valley on Vancouver Island, Grand Prairie and Airdrie, Alta (serving the greater Calgary area), has a large selection of inventory to choose from, and it prides itself on putting its customers not only into the RV that is right for them now but one they can grow with.

The company recently added a sixth location in Martinsville, Sask.

Steel said there has been a change in RVing habits recently, with people tending to stay in one spot longer with their vehicles, so RVs with many of the comforts of home are proving popular.

So too are family camping trailers, as they are smaller and lighter for towing and allow families to get out and travel more during their recreational time together.

To help their customers with the high price of fuel, Traveland is offering a $1,000 gas card and a $500 pre-paid Visa card with the purchase of a new RV.

Steel said with RVs being a popular alternative to flying— and also paying the high cost of hotel accommodation—business has been brisk for the Traveland, which brought in excess stock in anticipation of the end to travel restrictions due to the pandemic. As a result, it has not suffered the same frustrations as some other companies when it comes to supply chain problems.

“We have a lot of vehicles to choose from,” said Steel.

While large, luxurious motor coaches are still a mainstay of the RV market, especially for longer-haul trips and for longer stays, smaller van models, which can be easily driven in urban centres and taken to more remote, out-of-the-way locations, are also growing in popularity.

The pre-owned RV market is also still strong, with some owners looking to trade up and those looking to get into the leisure activity finding pre-owned vehicles to suit their needs.

In addition to selling RVs, Traveland also provides top-notch maintenance, helping owners keep their vehicles running smoothly when they hit the open road.

“Selling them and getting them ready is one thing,” Steel says. “But we want to make sure that we can support the units after the sale and support the customers after the sale.”

For more information about Traveland, and to see what it has available, go to TravelandRV.ca or visit its Okangan location in West Kelowna at 1460 Byland Road.

Huge response to Westrich Bay
Contributed - Aug 03, 2022 - Think Local

Photo: contributed

Early response to Westrich Bay, the newest jewel in lakeside living in the Okanagan, has surprised even the seasoned professionals marketing the project.

“I can’t believe it,” says sales manager Cole Killeen, when asked about the huge response.

He says his office has fielded thousands of calls inquiring about the project, which will see 72 luxurious lakeshore villas built in the first phase and five condominium buildings added later in the second phase.

As the official opening of sales for the project nears on Aug. 20, interest in the development and the amenities it will offer has continued to grow, says Killeen.

Taking advantage of the natural sloping topography of the 13-acre site, located on the western shore of Okanagan Lake on Westbank First Nation land, all the residences will have unobstructed lake views.

The resort-styled community is located just north of the W.R. Bennett Bridge on the western shore of the lake, directly across from Kelowna and just eight minutes from downtown Kelowna. 

Boasting amenities such as 800 feet of direct beach access, a 350-slip marina (each unit has first right of refusal on a boat slip and an opportunity to secure a second slip), an over-sized gym for residents, concierge service, golf simulators, a games room, yoga room and massage room, an 85-foot infinity pool and a residents’ lounge, as well as entertainment opportunities for the entire family, Westrich Bay really will not leave its residents wanting any more.

The villas themselves will feature top-class finishings and amenities, such as double car garages, roof-top terraces with enough space to include a hot tub, four and five-bedroom designs, luxurious custom interiors featuring porcelain countertops, fireplaces, hardwood floors as standard, smart home ready with speakers already installed in the ceilings and the upper deck to facilitate home entertainment systems and in some of the townhouses, four-storey elevators.

Twenty-nine of the homes will have walkout access to the beach, while the rest will have lakeshore views from their rooftop terraces.

Killeen says the sales centre, to be located in Kelowna at 101-1665 Ellis St., will feature a full-scale replica of the main floor of one of the villas to give buyers a sense of what it will be like to stand in the living room.

The villas will range from 2,351 to 3,044 square feet with 10-foot ceilings and range in price from $1.49 million to just under $3 million, says Killeen.

Construction is slated to start in spring 2023 and be complete by the spring of 2025.

For more information go to Westrichbay.com.

Photo: contributed

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