Monthly Archives: February 2011

Spirit Strong at Urban Distilleries

The Okanagan’s newest distillery had it’s Grand Opening this evening. Urban Distilleries has the honour of claiming to be one of only about three distilleries in the Okanagan (including one in Vernon and one in Penticton) and the only one focusing on the Vodka and Gin industry. I had a chance to pop in briefly and take a tour with Owner/Distiller Mike Urban who explains his focus in the niche market of Vodka and Gin as opposed to the other distilleries who “have a very limited market, I didn’t really want to get into that market.”

Urban goes on to explain some of the differences you’d taste in their Vodka and Gins, “It’s nice, it’s got an Okanagan feel to it,” as opposed to some other imported varieties. Flavours include, “Juniper berry of course, it has to have juniper in it. There’s some ginger root, cinnamon, orange peel, lemon peel, lavender, apple…” it’s probably the apples that convinced us this local spirit carries the very essence of the Awesome Okanagan.

Urban has spent the last four years learning and refining the distilling process. He studied in Arizona at two different distilleries and even trained under the manufacturers of the equipment. He certainly knows the subtleties and nuances of the distilling process. The signature product of Urban Distilleries is the Spirit Bear line, you can try their Spirit Bear Vodka or Spirit Bear Gin at a number of Okanagan locations, their website goes into further detail. Taken from their site:

Spirit Bears are an endangered and protected sub-species. They are a wonder of Mother Nature. Unlike most bears (Grizzly Bears, Brown Bears, Polar Bears etc) Spirit Bears are not a species in themselves. They are a rare subspecies of the American Black Bear that are only found on Canada’s West Coast. Approximately 10% of Black Bears born in this area carry a genetic trait that gives them White Fur.

Protecting the species is very difficult. You can’t simply breed a male and female Spirit Bear and see Spirit Bear cubs. There’s a 90% chance their cubs will be regular American Black Bears!

Only 400 Spirit Bears remain in the world and part of the mission of Urban Distilleries is to help protect the Spirit Bear. That’s why proceeds from every liquor store sale and double the proceeds from every distillery sale goes to fund the Spirit Bear Youth Coalition

The author didn’t take part in the tasting but you can bet he will imbibe sometime soon and pass on the good word! Read more on their website.

Focus Friday: Adra Tunnel

Maybe you’ve heard that the amazing Adra Tunnel on the KVR is being restored.  At almost half a kilometer long, and nearly a century old, it’s an impressive historical site between Kelowna and Naramata. Caillum Smith took some fascinating photos of its current condition.

Adra Tunnel by Caillum Smith

Flu Season in the Okanagan – What can be done naturally?

It is nearing the end of February and the ‘Flu’ has officially made its presence known in the Okanagan. During the flu season people are home sick grappling with fever, chills, body aches, vomiting, diarrhea and fatigue. As the flu is the result of a viral infection, antibiotics will not help as they are only effective against bacterial infection. Therefore, the usual medical advice is to stay home, get rest and drink plenty of fluids. This is good advice, but there is more that can be done to reduce the duration and severity of symptoms of an active infection. Here are a couple of effective suggestions:

“Feed a fever, starve a cold.” What this means is one should not (usually) suppress a fever. This seems contrary to the usual recommendation but it is important to understand that the increase in body temperature actually allows the body’s metabolism to increase. This amplifies the immune system’s ability to grow faster and fight the infection. As well, invading organisms replicate and grow best when our body temperature is normal, which is between 36.5 and 37.5 C. When the body temperature increases, the resulting fever stunts the ability of the virus to replicate. A typical fever is considered to be between 37.5 to 38.9 C. Temperatures above 40 C can be life threatening, so monitor closely, as further action may be required.

If you are already sick or feel like you are becoming sick but have not yet had a fever, here is what to do: Boil some water in your tea kettle. Mince a clove of garlic (antimicrobial) and shred some ginger (heats up the body) into a pot. Add the boiling water and when steeped, drink 2 cups. Even better, drink your tea while relaxing in a hot bath. Immediately after, put on full pyjamas or a sweat suit and crawl into bed. Doing this will feed the fever, starve the cold.

In addition to these home recommendations there are several effective immune boosting supplements which can be taken to prevent or speed up recovery from the flu. Furthermore, the Natural Flu Shot, which is a combination of vitamins and complex homeopathics, is another option that can help support the body’s natural defence systems and either prevent the flu or limit its duration and severity. For more information on the use of supplements and/or in learning more about the Natural Flu Shot visit

Read the full article at

K96.3 – Kelowna’s Classic Rock Announces the Release of K Comp Vol. 1

Jeff Pike of Winborn Shows Off His K Comp Vol. 1 CDsKelowna’s Classic Rock station K96.3 is proud to announce the release of K Comp Vol. 1 – a compilation CD made up of 12 of the Okanagan’s most up and coming artists.

The 12 artists from around the Okanagan that were chosen to appear on K Comp Vol. 1 were Precision, DSD, Matt Stanley and the Decoys, Patrick Kelly, Trinity’s Tattoo, Aspen Switzer, Ange Alero, Windborn, Thomas Kjorven, Cassidy Wethal, We Are the City, and Fields of Green.

K Comp Vol. 1 is only the first in a series of emerging artist compilations yet to come from K96.3 and Music BC.

Kelowna’s Classic Rock station K96.3 will be doing on-air and live on location giveaways to get the coveted compilation CD into the public’s hands but fans can also get a copy of K Comp Vol. 1 from any of the artists featured on the disc.

“It’s so exciting to see my name on the sleeve of the first K Comp along with 11 other great local artists. I would encourage any emerging artists to apply for this year’s K Comp because it’s such a great opportunity for development and exposure. I’ll be at Bar One this Friday handing out autographed copies so get ‘em while they’re hot!” Exclaimed Ange Alero upon receiving his batch of K Comp Vol. 1 discs.

2010 marked the beginning of an incredibly exciting long term partnership between K96.3 Kelowna’s Classic Rock and Music BC and is an ongoing part of K96.3 Kelowna’s Classic Rock’s commitment towards the development of the next generation of local artists.

Applications for K Comp Vol. 2 will open on June 4th so stay tuned to K96.3 Kelowna’s Classic Rock station for more information.

Catch up on the project, watch this video from the showcase held at Habitat on November 27th, 2010 last year!

Listen to Aspen Switzer’s “These Are the Leaves” from the compilation. For more tracks and information, visit


Focus Friday: Snow Ghosts

Snow Ghosts

Maybe every ski hill has snow ghosts at the top, but it does seem to be an iconic part of the Big White experience. Lots of snow, occasional sunshine — this is peak season at Okanagan resorts. Terry’s simple, beautiful shot had me wanting to dust off the old snowboard.

Snow Ghosts by Terry

InPrint: Central Okanagan Spirit Festival Looks to Keep Spirits Up in February

Central Okanagan Spirit FestivalFebruary is mainly known for being the month we celebrate (or choose to not celebrate) Valentine’s Day, another dreary winter month, as well as it being the shortest calendar month. In the Okanagan there is now another attribute we can tag on to February – the Central Okanagan Spirit Festival.

This is a brand new event for the region brought to us by the Arts Council of the Central Okanagan and it will take place throughout the entire month of February.

Festival events and performances will provide attendees with an exciting opportunity for exploration, participation and enjoyment for all ages and all levels of art and cultural knowledge and experiences.

So if you find yourself complaining, “Why can’t it be summer yet?!” then shovel yourself out of that wintry hole of despair and find one of the many Central Okanagan Spirit Festival events to attend – a healthy dose of arts and culture can cure your winter woes much faster than your daily dose of evening television programming.

Tickets to Central Okanagan Spirit Festival events range from free admission to around $35. For the full event schedule and more information visit

Read the full article in today’s (February 16, 2011) edition of the Kelowna Capital News.

Spotted! Kits Flies Penticton Banner

The Following

Was Spotted


Well this came out of nowhere, obviously, since it isn’t even from the interior. This little treat I found next to me in a booth at one of my favorite Cafés in Vancouver, or rather, Kitsilano if we want to be more accurate. Kitsilano is a engaging glimpse of what Kelowna could be in 5—10 years if we support our local businesses and gorgeous landscapes. While it would seem this feature would be better suited for other websites outside the area, it includes Penticton in it, and it shows how wide reaching our own personal awesome is. Cheers, Sophie.

All About LOVE!

What isn’t to love about love?

I can feel the dirty look coming my way from some, and the hopeless romantics swooning!

The is week on 52NEW we talk heart, flowers and asking the big question; Will you marry me!

My job has plenty of cool perks including, concert tickets, sporting events, gala’s, meeting awesome people, and on occasion helping true love flourish!  SUN FM did a contest in which we offered the chance for some one to propose in front of a full house during 1st intermission at a Rockets hockey game.

Matt was up for the challenge! What made this truly special was that upon meeting Matt I realized that this was FAR away from anything that would be expected from Matt. Matt is a funny, sweet guy with a great smile and easy way.. but you got the feeling that grand gestures in front of thousands of people might not be his usual status quo.

Matt had to flat out lie to his girlfriend, he told her that he had a chance to win a trip to Mexico, but both of them would be on-ice during the Rockets game and she would be blindfolded and would have to find him on the ice!

Matt let the Dad’s in on the excitement and they helped make sure that another family event (sisters birthday party) was moved so everyone could join in the fun!

Fun it was.

Poor Matt was as white as the ice as his soon to be fiance was running around the ice blindfolded and searching for him.. the moment that blindfold came off and Sara saw him down on one knee.. magic happened.


I was there with a microphone, catching the moment and watching their special connection play out on front 6500 people, including the crying SUN FM promotions department, but inside in one brief moment I remembered the love that had been and was in my life.

From the first school yard crush, to my first french kiss at Camp Couchaching. From watching Scotty Myers play hockey and Nicky Taylor breaking my heart. From my Dad offering to beat up Lawrence for dumping me to Vince taking me out on the motorcycle (much to my Mother’s horror) From my first husbands drunk proposal to my current husbands surprise proposal and every other moment my heart skipped a beat or came to a full stop and broke.

In a single instant, as Matt waited for a “yes” from Sara my heart ran the marathon of love that it had lived up till this moment.
My life has been filled with so much love. Passionate, turbulent, nervous, gentle and all encompassing love.

My heart sang as Sara said yes and the crowd roared approval.

What an honour to be included in such a joyous moment!

52NEW on this Valentines week is a reminder that love can be cruel and love can be kind but it is up to us to embrace it and let it in to our life.

Thank you Matt and Sara, and congratulations as you continue down the road that love has paved for you.

Watch it all happen here: Matt and Sara