Gluten-free craft beer soon to flow in Okanagan

 

‘Finding a gluten-free beer that stands up to its more traditional counterpart is tough’

A new craft brewery in Kelowna will be making gluten-free beer.

Grey Fox Brewing founder and brewmaster Chris Neufeld is behind the project and is very familiar with the gluten-free lifestyle.

“I was diagnosed with celiac disease in 2003, back when nobody even knew what gluten was,” said Neufeld. “Finding a gluten-free beer that stands up to its more traditional counterpart is tough. It’s a real hole in the market.”

Neufeld learned from brewers in Oregon who taught him some of the science in extracting the starches from the gluten-free grains that aren’t so easily extracted as they are from barley. He uses a combination of millet and rice along with hops and yeast to produce his gluten-free beer.

“I was giving it to my friends, and they couldn’t tell they were any different from the beers they were drinking at the taproom down the street,” said Neufeld. That’s when I knew things needed to be bigger, and that’s when Grey Fox started.”

The gluten-free beer market in Western Canada is spotty right now according to Neufeld. There are only a handful of taprooms, and liquor stores struggle with consistent supply.

“In the last five years there’s been an explosion of gluten-free craft beer in the States,” he explained. “It really hasn’t been something that’s caught on here in Canada. There’s clearly a need, and we want to change that.”

There are challenges in doing that. Neufeld pointed out gluten-free malt is not available in Canada, so he has to source it from Colorado and it’s expensive to ship. It’s also more expensive to brew gluten-free beer.

“That’s why everybody is scared to get into the market I think,” said Neufeld. “But my thinking was if I build a gluten-free facility then I can supply or contract to other breweries and they don’t have to make that capital investment.”

Neufeld has secured agreements with taprooms and restaurants throughout the Okanagan that want to carry Grey Fox beers. What he’s looking for now is a final push to open the doors. He is relying on support through a Kickstarter campaignto help raise an additional $20,000.

“Construction costs have spiralled out of control, so we thought the Kickstarter might be a way to raise a little bit of extra money, and we’re getting close to opening,” said Neufeld.

Grey Fox Brewing is slated to open this summer on Hiram Walker Court, near Jim Bailey Road and will feature a tasting room and small retail space selling a lager and an IPA in kegs and cans.

Vancouver’s Celebration of Light to return in July with traditional flare

 

Vancouver visitors will once again be dazzled by a world-renowned fireworks competition this summer.

Honda’s Celebration of Light hasn’t run since 2019 because of the pandemic, but in July it will return to Vancouver’s English Bay to mark its 30th year of lighting up the sky.

On the roster are teams from Canada, Japan and Spain.

The competition will kick off on July 23 with Japan’s team, Akariya Fireworks. They took home first prize in 2014 and 2017.

“Since ancient time, fireworks have been carrying people’s wishes in Japan. We deliver hopes and wishes for peace by fireworks blooming in the night sky,” the team says on its website.

Next up will be Canada’s team, Midnight Sun Fireworks, on July 27. They’re a volunteer group of pyrotechnics from the Yukon passionate about creating unique displays and showing off their soundtrack music.

On the final night, July 30, Spain’s team Pirotecnia Zaragozana will take the stage. Founded in 1860 in Zaragoza, Spain, the group has a long history of both manufacturing and displaying fireworks. They’re well-known in the country as competition winners.

Each night will begin with a performance by the Red Bull Air Show, with an additional formation flyover by the Canadian Snowbirds on July 27. The firework displays will then kick off at 10 p.m.

The winner will be announced on Aug. 2.

Tickets are available for VIP and family-friendly viewing locations at the Scotiabank Lounge, Concord Lounge at the Inukshuk, and the English Bay Grandstand beginning May 2 at hondacelebrationoflight.com.

Cities in Western Canada consider gondolas as part of transit, tourism plans

 

Projects a way to move people across waterways or get tourists up mountainsides

Residents and visitors could one day be using cable cars to cross rivers in two central Alberta cities.

A 350-metre urban ropeway, also known as a gondola, has been proposed to connect Red Deer’s business district with the Bower Ponds recreation area.

“In Red Deer, it’s really simple. There are two stations. It crosses the Red Deer River,” said Jeffrey Hansen-Carlson, president of Prairie Sky Gondolas, which has said it would invest $25 -million in the project.

Prairie Sky also wants to string cable cars across the North Saskatchewan River between downtown Edmonton and Whyte Avenue, a popular street with bars, restaurants and stores. Geotechnical and environmental assessments are being done and public input is being gathered through meetings with Indigenous communities and others interested in the project.

The projects are two of many proposed across North America as a way to move people across waterways or get tourists up mountainsides.

Steven Dale is an urban planner who created The Gondola Project website and has consulted on many proposals. He said interest in urban ropeways has been growing steadily.

“Five years ago, the vast majority of my business was outside of North America,” Dale said. “Today, it’s probably 85 to 90 per cent in North America.

“Beyond the systems you have heard of, there are numerous other cities that are looking at this and discussing this very seriously.”

Dale said cities have started to realize gondolas can be cheaper than other transit, can be built over less time and can be used to quickly move people from one spot to another.

“No one likes to do a commute … so the shorter and more predictable it is, the better.”

Toulouse, Grenoble and Paris in France are fully integrating gondolas into their transit networks, Dale said.

A similar idea is being considered in Burnaby, B.C., where city council in January endorsed a gondola connecting the rapid-transit SkyTrain lines to Simon Fraser University.

“The … gondola project will create a safe and reliable transit option for Burnaby residents travelling to and from Burnaby Mountain,” Mayor Mike Hurley said in a news release at the time.

The project is part of council’s 10-year vision that guides priorities and investments in transit.

Dale said gondolas in Latin America “spread like wildfire” once the first integrated ones were built.

“Right now, North America is starting to pick up on it and it’s starting to spread here”

SJC Alliance, the company where Dale works, is involved in a gondola project in Los Angeles and in a study for another one in Tampa Bay, Fla.

“Think about the absurdity of this. We are talking about using a ski lift as public transit in Florida,” he said. “It’s totally ridiculous, but that’s actually a good thing, because the ridiculousness of it gets people’s attention.”

Ironically, Dale said, it’s only Canadians who say: “We have snow. We have ice. We have wind. We have winter. How does it work in winter?

“It’s a ski lift. How do you think it works in winter? You take it out of the mountains and put it into a city and people’s minds go screwy.”

There are already gondolas in Western Canada for tourists and skiers, but others are being considered in the Alberta mountain towns of Banff and Canmore. Developers want to build cable cars that would carry people to the tops of mountains from the townsites.

In Canmore, a proposal for a gondola at Silvertip Resort is before the public until the middle of June to set the terms for an environmental review. The project would connect the resort to the summit of Mount Lady MacDonald.

A gondola to take skiers and hikers from the Banff townsite to the summit of the Mount Norquay ski resort was rejected in 2019 by Parks Canada. The resort’s owners, however, told Banff town council last August that they still hope to build a smaller version from the town to the mountain’s base.

Back in Edmonton, Hansen-Carlson said an urban gondola can be a tourist draw, but it can also be a transportation solution.

“As a piece of infrastructure, simply moving people, its day has come,” he said. “Around the world today, there are about 200 urban ropeways successfully operating.

“So, we are not a pioneer globally, but we definitely are in the North American context.”

—Colette Derworiz, The Canadian Press

Okanagan Valley: the best-known wine region in B.C.

The first vines were planted in B.C. in the 1800s, in the Okanagan

The Okanagan Valley produces a wide variety of flavourful wines.

Wine Growers B.C. separates the province into nine growing regions. The Okanagan Valley is the most fruitful and provides over 85 percent of B.C.’s wine production, said Laura Kittmer, communications director of Wine Growers B.C.

“The Okanagan is B.C.’s largest and most well-known region,” said Kittmer.

The valley is separated into five sub-regions, divided by the unique growing properties, climate and flavour of the grapes, said Kittmer.

The sub-region of Kelowna-Lake Country is B.C.’s original wine region and is home to the first grapevines planted in B.C., in 1859. The province’s oldest continually operating winery Calona Vineyard was established in 1932 and remains an Okanagan classic.

Other long-standing vineyards around Kelowna include Gray Monk Estate Winery, the Cipes of Summerhill Pyramid Winery and Quails’ Gate Winery.

The province’s oldest Rieslings are found at Tantalus and Sperling Vineyards, popular vineyards in Kelowna’s backyard, said Kittmer.

She said that the mature vines produce an intense flavour that is unique to the well-established wineries.

Other than Rieslings, the Kelowna-Lake Country sub-region is known for producing light and fresh wine from Pinot Noir, Chardonnay and Pinot Gris vines.

The Northern Okanagan region around Kelowna is considered a cooler climate that produces lighter wines when compared to the South Okanagan, said Kittmer.

Kittmer said that when visiting a winery in B.C. it is best to “know before you go.”

Wine Growers B.C. has created the Wines of BC Explorer App, which facilitates wine-tour planning.

Kittmer said that the app features all of B.C.’s wineries and cideries and allows users to filter their searches based on preferences of grapes, food availability and their preferred wine-tasting activities.

“The Okanagan is becoming known globally,” said Kittmer, explaining that the flavourful wines produced in the Okanagan are being enjoyed across the world.

Majority of Penticton’s newest residents moved because of work: City data

A survey found 23 per cent of the city’s new arrivals are from the Lower Mainland.

Penticton has welcomed at least 198 new residents since Jan. 1, with the majority of those relocating to the city because of work-related reasons.

New data released by the city’s economic development department on Wednesday, April 13, reveals that 42 per cent of Penticton’s newcomers over the last three months moved due to either skilled or remote work opportunities.

A city-led survey had 84 people respond over Jan. 1 to April 9, representing 198 new Penticton residents. Out of those who completed the form, 23 per cent recently moved from the Lower Mainland.

“The number of skilled and remote workers moving to Penticton in recent months reflects a positive trend that is critical to our local economy,” said the city’s economic development manager, Carly Lewis.

Only five per cent of the survey’s respondents said they were unemployed, with 16 per cent specifically identifying as remote or “work from home” employees.

With the newest data, the city is hoping to better understand what exactly attracts people to Penticton.

“Penticton really is an ideal place to live, providing a work-life balance that makes it possible to spend more time with your family and friends,” said mayor John Vassilaki.

While 42 per cent of new residents are in the Peach City because of either skilled or remote work opportunities, an additional 24 per cent of people now call Penticton home because of either a plan to open a local business or their partner’s career.

“We’ve been targeting these key demographics because we know employers have a need for skilled labour, and it’s encouraging to see that working professionals are choosing to move to this community for the lifestyle advantage,” Lewis added.

Out of the 198 new residents, 13 per cent moved from Ontario while 12 per cent arrived from Alberta.

On behalf of council, I would like to extend a warm welcome to all new residents, young and old, and thank you for the vibrancy that you bring to our community,” Vassilaki concluded.

Salmon Arm’s first Bitcoin ATM installed in mall

A cryptocurrency ATM operated by a company called HoneyBadger was recently installed in Centenoka Park Mall. (Jim Elliot/Salmon Arm Observer)

The kiosk will allow people to buy cryptocurrency or sell it for cash.

Salmon Arm is now more connected to the world of cryptocurrency with the installation of the city’s first Bitcoin ATM.

The machine, which was recently installed in Centenoka Park Mall, is operated by a company called Honey Badger. According to its website, HoneyBadger operates 30 cryptocurrency kiosks in B.C. alone and more than 1oo across Canada. Along with Bitcoin, HoneyBadger kiosks deal in Litecoin and Ethereum, two other prominent cryptocurrencies.

Mall owner Lance Johnson said he became interested in the Bitcoin ATMs after seeing them installed at other shopping centres he has toured in Western Canada and the U.S. Johnson said the kiosk has been up and running for three weeks, allowing people to both purchase cryptocurrency and sell theirs for cash.

Johnson said installation of the kiosk in the mall was slightly delayed because HoneyBadger was on the verge of launching a new model of kiosk. He said the kiosk, which sports a large touch-screen display is one of the first of its kind in Western Canada. The kiosk is located near Dollar Tree in the mall.

Johnson said he sees Salmon Arm becoming a more and more technologically advanced community and believes that Bitcoin will become more widely used in the future.

HoneyBadger’s announcement about the installation of the kiosk acknowledges the role Bitcoin played in some recent scams but also details the ways customers are kept safe from fraud.

HoneyBadger stated there are large call centres abroad which use internet chat rooms, dating and social media sites in an effort to prey on vulnerable people and convince them to transfer wealth. Both Bitcoin and more traditional banking methods have been used for the fraudulent transfer of funds.

Bitcoin is decentralized by nature. It relies on an open and distributed online ledger called a blockchain which records transactions of the online currency without the need for a third-party financial institution overseeing the exchange.

According to the announcement, HoneyBadger fully complies with federal cryptocurrency regulations enacted this year which require them to verify customer identities prior to transactions, report all transactions with values over $10,000 and report suspicious transactions and suspected money laundering to the authorities. The company uses software to analyze every transaction it has a hand in and temporarily freezes the sale if either the buyer or seller has suspicious activity on their accounts.

Summerland mayor asks for community conversation on racism

Toni Boot, Summerland’s first Black mayor, is calling for a community conversation about race issues following incidents which happened in the community in July, 2020. (Summerland Review file photo)

Incidents in July prompt calls for dialogue

Following displays of racism within the community, Summerland Mayor Toni Boot is working to have a community conversation about issues related to race.

“We need to address this as a community. It’s absolutely critical that we have a safe place to talk about this.”

Summerland’s first Black mayor, Boot has also asked for provincial funding.

Her calls for a dialogue on racism began in July, after the home of an Indo-Canadian family was vandalized on July 13. Windows were broken and graffiti, including swastikas, was left on the wall of the home.

Days later, a Confederate flag, often displayed as a symbol of white supremacy, was shown to participants in an anti-racism parade in the community. Boot said the flag was a bandana which had been purchased at a store in Summerland.

Boot approached the owner of the store and asked to buy all remaining Confederate bandanas. The owner gave her the bandanas, which she then destroyed outside, in front of the store.

The flag display and also the destruction of the bandanas has generated considerable outcry in Summerland.

Boot said she has received some of what she describes as “a really horrible racist voicemail messages” following the incident.

Yet, she has also received many emails and messages in support of her actions.

Okanagan connection to Canada’s favourite TV dog

The Littlest Hobo was filmed in Princeton B.C. in 1963. Wikipedia photo

There’s a voice, that keeps on calling me.

Down the road, that’s where I’ll always be.

If those words bring a smile to your face and put a tune in your head, you are of a certain age and you grew up in Canada.

The Littlest Hobo is an iconic television series about a German Shepherd that travels from town to town, helping strangers in need.

It ran first from 1963 to 1965, and was then revived for six seasons starting in 1979.

In 1963, The Littlest Hobo stopped in Princeton for the filming of Die Hard, an episode about gold mining.

The star of the show was London, the dog, and that episode featured Kennan Wynn.

When the show was recreated in the 1970s, the dog was also credited as London.

Several of London’s relatives, including Toro, Litlon, and Thorn, made appearances as the Hobo.

The Littlest Hobo often featured guest stars of note including, in second run of the series, Megan Follows, Alan Hale Jr., Karen Kain, John Carradine, Leslie Nielsen and Mike Myers.

Historic Oliver Museum renovated to better serve community

The historic Oliver Museum received some much needed upgrades that were completed July 24, 2020. (Oliver and District Heritage Society / Facebook)

The 96-year-old building previously faced challenges with heating, cooling and wood degradation.

Oliver’s historic museum is now in better shape than ever after recent renovations.

The historic, 96-year-old building that is home to the museum has faced many maintenance challenges that one would expect from a building of its age.

The building faced problems with heating, cooling and wood degradation. However, those issues may be solved thanks to a conservation project newly completed by the Oliver and District Heritage Society.

Over the last two months, the 1924-era windows were carefully restored by Gerry Plante’s Carpentry Ltd., with the old wood being repaired, sanded and repainted, and cracked panes being replaced. The project also added weather stripping to help to regulate inside temperatures.

The restoration started one year ago and was funded by a $20,000 grant from Heritage BC’s Heritage Legacy Fund along with a generous donation from the late Carolyn Cope.

The completed project preserves original material on the heritage-designated building, which was formerly Oliver’s police station.

Oliver and District Heritage Society also hopes that the renovations will create a better environment for artifacts and people, helping the heritage society to better serve Oliver and its surrounding community with a more comfortable museum building.

Piano set up in Penticton downtown

Stephen Griffeth plays the piano which has been set up at Nanaimo Square in Penticton. The City of Penticton and Downtown Penticton have worked together on the Piano Project initiative. Artists in the community will be decorating the piano in a local collaboration effort by The Long Gallery and Studios. (John Arendt – Black Press)

Initiative an effort to bring music and creativity to the streets

The City of Penticton and Downtown Penticton Association have set up a piano in downtown Penticton at Nanaimo Square.

The association says the initiative is part of a national movement to bring music and creativity to the streets.

 

Artists will be decorating the piano in a collaboration effort with The Long Gallery and Studios.

The public is invited to stop and play some notes on the piano. It will be in place until the end of September.

The piano will undergo frequent daily cleanings and there will be signs in place to encourage physical distancing.