Posts filed in Arts & Culture:

St Patrick's day in Prince George

We're happy that St Patty's Day is on a Friday this year, so we an truly get into the festive spirit!
Here are five restaurants/pubs that are doing something special to honour St. Patrick:

Thirsty Moose Pub: This event is sponsored by Cariboo Brewing and organized by NUGSS and the UNBC Men's Soccer team, so you know it's going to be a phenomenal night! DJ Jimi Smyth will be spinning some great tunes to keep the party lively.
Tickets are $10 to start and will go up to $20 just before Friday, get your tickets at the UNBC Wintergarden, Thirsty Moose Pub and NUGSS office.

The Westwood Pub: Green beer, specials on Guinness and Jameson, fantastic food, mega SWAG prizes, giveaways (including a Guinness beer fridge), live DJ, dancing, and all the other shenanigans you would hope for on St Patty's Day.

Nancy O's: Looking for elevated Irish food with an incredible beer selection for St Patrick's Day? Look no further than Nancy O's, they'll be serving up Kilkenny Battered Fish n' Chips and Duck and Wild Boar Guinness Pot Pie, among other special features. 

Copper Pig BBQ House: These folks are doing something a little different by hosting a St Patrick's Day Communal Lunch. Buy a ticket, pull up a seat at their Social Table and enjoy various platters, boards, and bowls of local lamb stew, in-house cured corned beef and local beef ribs. This will also be your opportunity to taste a special casking of CrossRoad's Willamette Stout! Tickets are $18 each, buy yours fast because there are only 16 seats at the Social Table!

Fore Bistro & Patio: Do you have the luck of the Irish? Head over to Fore Bistro for your chance to win a staycation valued at $500. The staycation includes one night in the Jr Suite at Prestige Treasure Cove Hotel, $50 free play for the casino, 2 tickets to a comedy show at the Treasure Cove and a $50 GC to Fore. You can also buy 50/50 tickets with proceeds going to the BCSPCA. Rick Stavely will be performing live and 2Crazi will be handing out giveaways throughout the night. $5 cover.

 

 

5 spring break activities in Prince George for school-aged children

Still wondering how you’re going to keep your kids active during Spring Break? We’ve rounded up five special events happening in Prince George that are guaranteed to keep your children active and entertained while learning in a fun environment!

Spring Break Kids Camp at Otway (March 13-17): Your child (ages 6-12) can spend time outside snowshoeing, cross country skiing, learning about nature, playing games and more at Otway. Half Day Camps (9:30am-12:00pm) are $20 (plus rentals and trail passes) and Full Day Camps (9:30am–3:30pm) are $40 (plus rentals and trail passes). Call or email Otway to register (250-564-3809 or schoolski@caledonianordic.com).

Spring Break at the Pool (March 11-26): Dive into the world of water while playing fun games at the Prince George Aquatic Centre and Four Seasons Leisure Pool. Games run daily from 1:30pm-4:00pm.

Spring Break Creativity Camps at Two Rivers Gallery (March 13-17, 20-24): Create with the Masters (March 13-17) and spend the week learning about artists and their masterpieces. Also spend time creating your own inspired works of art! The second week will have participants drawing, painting, sculpting and more as they play and experiment with colour in Colour Play (March 20-24).
Both camps are aimed at children in grades 1-7 and run from 9am-4:30pm. Register online at TwoRiversGallery.ca. Cost: $194.

Spring Break with Camp Kanannaq (March 15, 17, 20): Spend the day outside with your favourite Camp Kanannaq staff hiking, building a fire, roasting s’mores and much more. Activities will include a hike to Raven Lake (March 15, ages 13-15), exploring Forests for the World (March 17, ages 7-12), and a trip to the Ancient Forest (March 20, ages 7-12). Cost is $40. Learn more by calling 250-562-9341 or visit nbcy.org.

 Spring Break Cultural Crafts at Prince George Native Friendship Centre (March 24): Join the Prince George Native Friendship Centre for free cultural crafts for the entire family between 10am-2pm. No registration required, call 250-564-3568.

Family Day 2017 is quickly approaching so we thought we'd put together a list of five special events that are being held throughout the City of Prince George!

Family Day at the Northern Sport Centre 
10:00am - 4:00pm
Celebrate Family Day with the Northern Sport Centre with free activities and special guests including the Spruce Kings (2-3pm), our mascot, Fraser the Moose, Super Dog from the SPCA, A&W Root Bear, Chance from the PG Humane Society and Kingston from the Spruce Kings.  Activities include: indoor playground (10am-3pm), pickleball (10am-4pm), basketball (10am-4pm), fencing (10am-11am), badminton (10am-1pm), Family Tae Kwon Do (12pm-1:30pm), rugby and wheelchair sports (1pm-3pm), and family yoga (3pm-4pm).

As an added bonus, parking at the NSC lot will be free on Family Day!
Learn more here.

Family Day at Ness Lake Bible Camp
9:00am - 4:30pm
Located on the shores of frozen Ness Lake, explore the camp's property with the whole family for no cost! Tackle the climbing wall, let loose inside the heated gym, play board games, shoot a game of pool, slide down the sledding hill and go ice skating (weather dependent). Enjoy a hot lunch and snack to replenish your energy for all the activities!

This event is free, but the organizers would appreciate an RSVP so they can adequately plan. If you don't RSVP, that's okay, feel free to show up anyways!
Learn more here.

Paint the Ice after a Prince George Cougars Game
2:00pm 
The Prince George Cougars are hosting a special feature game on Family Day. The game starts at 2:00pm and after the game fans will have the unique opportunity to paint (decorate) the ice! The next day the Cougars and Chiefs will place on the freshly decorated ice.
While you're at the game, you can buy your tickets for the February 14th game for 50% off!
Learn more here.

Family Day at Otway
10:30am - 3:00pm
Otway is celebrating Family Day with a hot dog lunch (by donation), hot chocolate and marshmallows! They will also be leading a Family Snowshoe Nature Tour and Relay Games for $10 per family (rentals and trail pass not included).
Rentals, lessons, and family trail passes will all be half price! (Call to register for lessons before noon on Sunday, February 12).
Call 250-564-3809 to register for ski lessons and snowshoe games.
Learn more here.

Family Ice Fishing Event
11:00am - 3:00pm
Join the Spruce City Wildlife Association for a free family ice fishing event at Ferguson Lake! Limited rods and tackle will be available for participants (or borrow ice fishing equipment for free from Tourism Prince George - just pick it up before we close at 4:30pm on Friday!).
Please note, anyone over the age of 16 must carry a BC Freshwater Fishing License, available online or from the fishing counter at Northern Hardware.
Learn more here.

We're going to be out and about enjoying all the fantastic family fun and we hope you will participate in these community events!

Last year the Prince George Heritage Commission released its centennial project: 100 Iconic Prince George People, Places, and Objects. This list is on a web page devoted to the unique and interesting people, places, and things that define our city.
This site features items of early history such as photographs of Six Mile Mary, the village of Lheidli, and images of sternwheelers, steam engines and the early days of our city.

Visit http://www.theexplorationplace.com/index.php?page=100-prince-george-icons to learn more about Prince George and see unique pictures, including:
     -a 2400 year old elk fossil found during excavations for Parkwood Mall
     -a dance card from an event that took place at the Ritt-Kifer Hall in      1915
     -the first motorcar in Prince George (1912)
     -the first airplane (1920)
     -the first apartment building completed in 1951.

Every two weeks I produce a printable list of as many visitor-relevant shows, concerts and events as I can find. You can download it below or email me ( stanyer@tourismpg.com ) to have it delivered to your inbox. Also, send me a message if the list is missing something or if you know of a keen local who should be getting the updates.

Sept 1 Ambassador Update PDF

In addition, our events calendar, the HYPG blog, and What In it For You Prince George have even more ideas. Remember to tag your good times with #takeonPG on Twitter and Instagram so we can see what you're up to right away.

One more thing: the waterfall image is from Kittil Falls near PG. See a guide and more photos here.

Community events, competitions, conferences, exhibits, tours and more.

Every two weeks, I prepare a printable list of events, competitions, conferences, exhibits, tours and other information to help our keen community members assist with visitors' questions.

Download this week's list here.  If you want the next one emailed to you, send me a message: stanyer@tourismpg.com

Casse-Tête Festival of Experimental Music - Tourism PG

Sean Bickerton is the BC Director of the Canadian Music Centre and "a champion for the extraordinarily talented and endlessly invented Canadian composers who enrich our lives". He recently made the trip to Prince George for the Casse-Tête Festival of Experimental Music.  Read about his travels north and his time at the festival on his blog: http://seanbickerton.com/2016/07/16/my-trip-to-casse-tete/.

Behind the scenes at Mary Poppins - Prince George Playhouse

I may not have known what I was getting myself into when I offered to volunteer for Mary Poppins, but I didn’t even hesitate when Judy Russell asked if I was available for every performance.

The art of theatre is more than meets the eye and rather than learning just about props and moving sets, I also learned the language of community theatre; stage left, stage right, upstage, downstage, flies, spikes, trucks – it’s a magical language that brings a brings a production together.

I volunteered for Mary Poppins late in the game – the actors, dancers, choreographers, set builders, and more people that I could have imagined had been rehearsing for the three months prior; needless to say, I learned just how challenging and rewarding a production can be.

From the set design to the costumes – there is so much required to make it a magical experience for the audience. One may think that volunteering behind the scenes might ruin the magic of it all, but it is quite the opposite – there is a deeper appreciation for the work and you have more time to fall in love with the characters…in other words, the things that make it magical come to life. 

Tonight is opening night and I’m not nervous – last night, among the chaos of set moving, prop shifting and costume changes, I found myself smiling at the small moments that make the show: the warble in Mary Poppins (Amanda  Spurlock) voice as she sings her heart out, the glances Bert (Adam Harasimiuk) shares with the audience, the emotion in Winifred’s (Amy Blanding) soliloquy.

Mary Poppins is more than a musical, it is a glimpse into a magical past that captures the hearts of many, and this collaboration will deliver in spades.  Mary Poppins runs from July 19th – 31st and tickets are available at Central Interior Ticketing

Digital Ambassador Workshop in the Prince George Visitor Information Centre - "HelloPG" Community Ambassador Program.

On June 6th 2016 I hosted the first Digital Ambassador Workshop in the Prince George Visitor Information Centre as part of our new "HelloPG" Community Ambassador Program. The turn-out was much more than I expected and very encouraging: the enthusiasm of our digital content creators is remarkable.

What is the Community Ambassador program?

With support from Destination British Columbia's Visitor Services Innovation Fund, Tourism PG has been able to take a new initiative for engaging more visitors outside of the Visitor Information Centre (VIC). The HelloPG Community Ambassador Program operates on three fronts: 1) Providing keen locals, especially customer service employees and event volunteers, with bi-weekly information packages about events, exhibits, shows and tours; 2) Attending events and visitor hot-spots with a Pop-Up VIC (tent, table, guidebooks, maps, etc.); 3) Engaging the community's digital ambassadors to help fill in online-content gaps, and to foster regular communications so that our team doesn't miss important new digital content.

So, what is a digital ambassador? Our community is rich with content creators already doing ambassador tasks: blogging, posting journals and guides, publishing videos and photos, making maps, writing reviews, answering questions on forums, travel sites, and social media.  The HelloPG program provides digital ambassadors with ideas for taking their activities further, though these self-starters rarely need much guidance; even more important is to formally recognize our digital community and give them a convenient venue to collaborate and share ideas with the Tourism PG team.

The Look and Feel of BC Tourism Media

I knew that most of the attendees were already seasoned content creators and didn't need tips on SEO or photography basics, so I wanted to talk about the style of tourism media in BC.

This is an obvious departure from established tourism video tropes: gone are perfect blue skies, studio lighting, contrived composition, smiling models, sappy sentiment and twangy stock music. Instead, the style of the video rests on mist, darkness, dappled light, slow-motion close-ups, and golden hour shooting.  

Moving on from the provincial overview, I thought it was important to show a regional video too. BC is organized into six tourism regions: Northern BC, Cariboo Chilcotin, Kootenay Rockies, Thompson Okanagan, Vancouver Coast & Mountains, and Vancouver Islands. Destination BC has recently released a video for each region, but in the interest of time I only showed our Northern BC video.

 

If you were to watch all the regional clips, the Northern BC story would immediately be set apart by the narrator's solitary journey, where as the narrators in the other regions are travelling as couples or groups.

Travellers in Northern British Columbia aren't necessarily characterized by travelling alone, but are remarkably independent and free spirited. The opening line of the narration, "Travelling, for me, is coming in without a plan," resonates with me as a traveller, and I think hits home for most of the RV and camping road-trippers that flock to Northern BC every summer.

To complete the series of video examples, I showed Tourism PG's new outdoor adventure clip.

The video took approximately one year to shoot and edit. With a focus on adventure recreation and action sports, our clip doesn't fully match the ponderous pacing of Destination BC's videos; however, we did adhere to the visual style wherever possible.

Destination BC's previous flagship video, The Wild Within, prompted travellers to reassess questions about nature: "What is big? What is power?" Our clip further asks visitors to question their experience of nature: "What is real?" Those who travel to Northern BC seek genuine, authentic, experiences with spontaneous local connections and discoveries that stem from their own agency as self-sufficient road-trippers.

Tourism Media and Visitor Services

Sublime nature and freedom to roam is the big appeal of Northern BC, but with media that hinges on seemingly endless wilderness, travellers get the impression that Northern BC is far less developed than it is. They are often surprised by the size of Prince George and the services offered here. We get some surprising questions: Are the roads paved? Are there sidewalks? Is the city open in the winter? Therefore, it is important for us to represent our City with fresh, high quality visuals and look for opportunities to add more content; for example, locations on Google Maps that unexpectedly don't have an image uploaded. It's also important to have a vibrant and welcoming social media presence: not just from corporate accounts, but from locals as well.

Digital Ambassador Activities

With knowledge of our visual/editorial style (being "on-brand") and the type of travellers in our region, Digital Ambassadors can undertake some specifics to promote their favourite areas and activities, and engage with travellers on social media. Most attendees at my presentation are doing a combination of these activities already:

  • Share inspiring photos with media outlets that reach general travellers; commonly:
    • Destination BC, @hellobc, #explorebc
    • Global BC, @GlobalBC, #globalbc
    • Northern BC Tourism (@Northern British Columbia on Facebook), @travelnorthernbc #travelnorthernbc
    • CKPG News (for the close region), #CKPGsnapshot
  • Share/create content for industry or interest specific sites: e.g., mountain biking articles and videos for Pinkbike.
  • Keep us at Tourism PG in the loop! We're always happy to hear about your activities as a content creator. Specifically, tag your photos with #takeonPG on Twitter. We're able to share those posts directly to our new Tourismpg.com website: not just on the #takeonPG page, but also on the pages for specific locations or activities.
  • Get involved with relevant conversations, encourage travellers to post more, and answer questions where you can on social media channels like
    • TripAdvisor
    • YouTube
    • Facebook, Twitter and Instagram
    • Questions & Answers of P.G. (Facebook)
    • Hell Yeah Prince George (Facebook)
  • Make contributions to Google Maps/Apple Maps (photos, reviews, new locations)
  • Finally, join my group of Digital Ambassadors: we will have bi-weekly informal meetings at a local hangout to collaborate on new ideas, present recent contributions, and track the success of our efforts. This is a volunteer commitment of up to 2 hours per week; you are supplied with an ambassador information pack, cutting edge new TPG merch, and training in any of the above tasks.

The HelloPG program, and becoming a Digital Ambassador, is a great way to collaborate with your peers, engage with visitors, and most likely learn a few new things about your area. If you're interested, please email me, stanyer@tourismpg.com, and simply let me know you would like to join HelloPG as a Digital Ambassador.

#takeonpg

We recently had the opportunity to host three social media influencers from Vancouver, Edmonton, and Seattle in our fair town for a brief 48 hours. We crafted an itinerary with the goal of showcasing some of our city's finest attractions while promoting four major summer events.

Read on to learn about how our guests experienced:

  • PWB and Winery tours
  • zombification
  • canoeing the Nechako River
  • snakes at The Exploration Place
  • Two Rivers' MakerLab
  • chocolate making
  • and much more!

Wednesday

Our guests arrived at 12:05pm on a Pacific Coastal Airlines flight from Victoria and we hoped they would be ready for a jam-packed two days with us!

 

After checking into the Prestige Treasure Cove Hotel we brought them for a late lunch to Nancy O's -a local favourite restaurant in downtown Prince George. There we debated what dish to order and what beer would best accompany it (did you know that Nancy O's has over 60 beers from around the world?).

Continuing on with our beer theme we headed over to Pacific Western Brewing (PWB) on the shores of the Nechako River where Matt lead us on a tour of the facilities and we learned some fun facts about our local brewery, such as:

  •  PWB is Canada's longest running, British Columbian-owned brewery;
  •   They were the first Canadian brewer to export to mainland China (1991) and Russia (1996);
  •  In 2003 they were the first ISO 9001 (highest level of certification) certified brewery in North America; and 
  •  PWB was the first brewery to use cans instead of bottles in BC (1965).

Next we travelled downstream to visit BC's northern-most winery: Northern Lights Estate Winery. There we had another delightful tour lead by Doug, an operating partner and developer for the winery. We toured through the cellar and the orchards. We also learned how the winery and orchards are strategically placed on the banks of the Nechako River, at the base of the iconic cutbanks, to allow for a slightly lengthened growing season. Doug told us how the orchard's location extends the growing season, but you'll have to go for a tour and find out yourself!

 The best part about these two tours was talking with Matt and Doug and learning from them. As a lifelong resident of Prince George I have known some of the facts of the brewery and winery's history, but I never knew why certain choices were made.

After the winery we took our guests to Cimo Mediterranean Grill and everyone enjoyed a relaxing evening with delicious food, an array of wine and excellent service.

Can you believe we did all this in less than ten hours?

Thursday

Thursday dawned with a beautiful spring sun shining in clear blue skies. We were thankful that the weather was so perfectly suited for some time on the water.  Our bloggers' first activity was a paddle down the Nechako River with members from the Two Rivers Canoe Club. This excursion was so appealing that even our CEO, Erica, brought her canoe and father-in-law along for the ride!

 

While most of our group was travelling down the Nechako waterway in good company, our food blogger, Traca, was visiting Garrett at Nancy O's Restaurant. Not only was it a unique experience to be in a closed pub at 10am with the cooks making gentle clunks and clinks in the kitchen, but I also got to be a fly on the wall while Traca and Garrett conversed. 

Listening to Garrett detail their vision for Nancy O's and their inspiration for creating such a unique and welcoming atmosphere increased my admiration for them even more. I learned that Irish pubs were a significant influence in the design of the restaurant. I learned that family ties and relationships are vital to their business. I learned that they value atmosphere and hospitality as highly as they value their food (and we all know how much their love their food).
Most of all, Garrett reaffirmed what I had sensed in the past: that Nancy O's want to be an integral part of Downtown Prince George. They desire to increase our vibrancy as a city and they want to be responsible in the way they source their food. They want to be a welcoming place where talent (musical and culinary) can be appreciated. They want to help other restaurants and businesses flourish. 
I learned I want to become a regular of theirs and be a part of their endeavours and experience it all first hand. 

Thursday Afternoon

 Next, we visited The Exploration Place and Christian toured us around and taught us about Prince George's dinosaurs, Prince George's history, the 2015 Canada Winter Games (hosted by Prince George), the Iron Jock, and Cream (their snake ambassador).

 Even though I am a local and have lived in Prince George my entire life, I can honestly say that I learn something new (and interesting) each and every time I visit the Exploration Place! I love that the staff have a wealth of fascinating information to share and that they are so passionate about their work.

Next we went to Ms Lorea's School of Esthetics and Nail Technology. There we had the exceptionally talented Melissa transform two of our guests into terrifying zombies! In just two hours she performed her magic and it was incredible to watch!

We cannot express our thanks enough to Melissa, Dee, and everyone at Ms Lorea's; without them this certainly would not have happened. Thank-you!

Our busy day continued with chocolate making at Ohh... Chocolat Cafe where we indulged in some fine Belgian chocolate and made some unique creations. Caroline shared some stories with us about her business, and what inspired her to become a Master Chocolatier. It was interesting to hear Caroline's perspective of the 2015 Winter Games because I never knew about all the legwork and research they had done in advance. They worked hard and their preparation and insight paid off. We're so happy that they were able to showcase their product to the nation last February!



Thursday Night

Later that night we visited Two Rivers Gallery and their 2RG MakerLab that is held every Thursday night. I've only been to MakerLab a handful of times and every single visit I'm astonished at how welcoming and friendly everyone is and the incredible creativity that overflows! In case you don't know, MakerLab takes place upstairs in Two Rivers Gallery on Thursday nights. Makers are welcome to use the available equipment, including the 3D printer, laser cutter, sewing machines, woodworking equipment and much more. In addition, the tables are ginormous and easy to work at and stools are abundant. 

We ended this busy and educational day by unwinding at Twisted Cork to the soft crooning of Britt AM at Twisted Cork. I think we were all so tired that not many pictures were taken. I did manage to snap this one of the spread of tapas that we all shared before everyone dug in!

Friday

Friday morning we let our guests sleep in and took them on a meandering tour of Prince George before dropping them off at the airport. We visited the University of Northern British Columbia and Lheidli T'enneh Memorial Park. 

 Hosting our three out of town social media influencers was an excellent and memorable experience for all involved. Our guests gathered quality content to share through their networks, they increased traffic to our social media (especially Twitter) and they expressed pleasant surprise at how much Prince George has to offer.

I also enjoyed touring our guests around Prince George in the 48 hours that turned out to be a blur. I gained a new appreciation for all the passionate people who have chosen to grow roots in this place and share their creativity and talents with our residents and visitors. I was able to participate in or witness conversations that ran deeper than normal. I heard our visitors ask questions I had never considered; this resulted in me gaining a refreshed perspective on our town and the array of high quality amenities that we are able to offer. Places that I had taken for granted because I grew up visiting them drew compliments and admiration from the three bloggers. People I had met in the past demonstrated incredible hospitality and kindness to our guests. This, and many other factors, made me proud to show off the place I call home and eager to share my experience with other residents. 

 

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