Manic Monday – Proudly Canadian……but remember….

Midnight Musings from our CEO

There has never been a question in my mind that I am a proud Canadian and very grateful to have been born in this country, during this period of history.  But there has also never been any question in my mind that Canada’s history carries with it the burden of the treatment of our First Nations people, a history we are often challenged to completely comprehend.

This Saturday, as Canada marks its first 150 years of confederation, I am also reminded that the country itself and its Indigenous peoples date back thousands of years. Their story and their past are ones that far too many Canadians do not fully understand and appreciate and as we come upon this milestone in our current history it is one that we all have a responsibility to become familiar with.

As many of you know this past week, June 21st, was National Aboriginal Day. Throughout the country, province and our region there were celebrations, ceremonies, the retelling of stories and the rebirth of many legends. Wiser men than I have said “by studying the past we can prevent history from repeating itself”. Not only do I believe those words to be true but there is so much more to be gained.  Through education, truthful communication and the sharing of a culture and spirituality that is a stunning and complex mosaic we have the chance to truly become a united nation.

We are at a significant crossroads in time, a meeting of the “old testament” with the new if you will, and an opportunity to forge a future together where all that inhabit these lands can live with respect, understanding and appreciation. The path has been a difficult one and often very divisive but time and people are changing. We must embrace the past with all of the wrong doings and move forward building on the best of what all our individuals have to offer.

I am fiercely proud of being a Canadian and I know that we can show the world how to bring a nation together. As I watch the fireworks and sing the anthem on Saturday night…that is where my thoughts will be.  Respect, trust, honesty and the beginning of much stronger 150 years.

For more on National Aboriginal day go to

Here is a sampling of things that took place around the region last week. If you missed them be sure to mark your calendar for next year.

Aboriginal Day Events

Westbank First Nations

The Ki-Low-Na Friendship Society put on an event that blocked off a section of Leon Ave. There was a talent show, a community feast with Indian tacos, face painting, a bouncy castle, vendors, a mini pow wow and a teepee set up on the street.

Kamloops Indian Band

Hosted a Summer Solstice Ceremony and all-day activities, vendors, food and late-night fireworks.


An event including Nlaka’pamux people and Syilx people was put on in Rotary Park in Merritt where there were activities, vendors, drumming, contests and intertribal dancing.

Penticton Indian Band

The Shatford Centre for Arts hosted a mini pow wow, native art exhibit and an evening community feast.

Osoyoos Indian Band

On June 20th Nk’Mip Desert Cultural Centre hosted a guided cultural walk and luncheon with Indian tacos. In the evening, Nk’Mip Cellars hosted a dinner gala on their gorgeous patio. The evening included a couple dances by a young interpreter who works at the desert cultural centre, Okanagan song was sang and Chief Clarence Louie made some speeches.

On June 21st, the Desert Cultural Centre brought in students from SenPokChin School for a tour and activities to celebrate.

Little Shuswap Lake Indian Band

Quaaout lodge hosted activities, canoe tours, archery, a bird of prey exhibit, drumming, a fire on the beach and fireworks. During the Canoe Ceremony they launched, for the first time, the canoe that has had a thousand hands throughout the region work on it since the falling of the tree in January.

Splatsin Indian Band

The Splatsin Teaching Centre Society put on a presentation with their students in the Splatsin Community Centre. The presentation included various songs, dances and stories.


A Few Highlights from this Week’s News Centre…

With the flood concerns lessening daily it is imperative that we ensure our travellers know the region is “open for business” and ready for the best summer ever.  Penticton has launched the “We’re Still Happening” campaign (read more) and other locations have similar promotions underway. Be sure to send us any information or links about your area and we will send it out through our social media channels. With temperatures on the rise you may just want to think about finding some cooler climates…why not head up to Big White where they opened their summer programming this past weekend (read more).

Our regional tourism industry is saying farewell to three individuals that have played major roles in the development of the industry.  This week Tourism Kelowna’s CEO Nancy Cameron (read more), Sandhill’s Wine Master Howard Soon (read more) and Kamloops Airport Manager Fred Legace (read more) are all stepping down from their current roles. We appreciate the incredible contribution each one of them has made over their many years of service and in contributing to the development of tourism throughout the region.

This summer enjoy Air Canada service into the region with daily service from a variety of Canadian and US cities into Kelowna, Kamloops and Penticton

Read all of this week’s News Centre stories at

We hope you keep following and contributing on TOTA’s Facebook and Twitter sites throughout the week; send us your stories, photos, events and remarkable experiences. Make sure the industry knows what is happening around our region and be sure to use #route97 and #explorebc when posting your tourism shots and stories from around the region.

REMINDER:  Canada’s 150 Celebrations are happening around the region this coming weekend – take part in the festivities.

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