Previous Posts(10)
Take it outside! Conference focuses on outdoor play
New awards honour aviation pioneers and help college students take flight
A comedic curling match with the devil takes the stage in upcoming Red Dot Players production
Okanagan College Students’ Union supports the future of trades
Okanagan College’s Dr. Barry McGillivray has decided to reinvest in the economy of the region that has treated him well
New Construction Craft Worker program coming to the College
Concussions, their effect, and return to play, topic of Science in Society Series talk
Carter family donation to enhance study space for trades students at Okanagan College
Oline Smith Awards help college students pursue their dream careers in trades
Daniel Boone’s character awakens in College professor’s debut novel
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Take it outside! Conference focuses on outdoor play
Okanagan College Media Release

Child’s play is serious work for a group of academics, professionals, and planners who will be gathering March 6 at Okanagan Beverlie Dietze Dec 2013College’s Vernon campus to consider the how and why of developing outdoor play spaces and why they are essential for children’s development and for building healthy, sustainable communities.

Shifting Views – Why Children Need Outdoor Play Now!” is a one-day conference being organized by Okanagan College’s Director of Learning and Teaching, Dr. Beverlie Dietze (who is also a principal researcher in outdoor play) and Jane Lister, the College’s North Okanagan Regional Dean. The conference is also being supported by the Natural Sciences and Engineering Research Council, which funded recent research involving Dietze, and the Kelowna-based Outland Design Landscape Architecture company.

“Recent research is really reinforcing how important outdoor play is to children’s development, especially at a time when so much of their activity is focused around electronic devices and digital interaction,” says Dietze. “Having the chance to connect to nature is about a lot more than just the experience of the outdoors. It impacts a whole range of behavior and early childhood development.”

Details of the conference speakers and sessions, as well as instructions on how to register can be found at

The day-long, free conference features a number of experts and workshops. Two Nova Scotians will present the story of Nova Scotia’s Journey of Advancing Outdoor Play – Peter McCracken (who works with the Nova Scotia Department of Health and Wellness) and Laura MacPherson (who works in the same department and also sits on the ParticipACTION’s National Active Play committee.)

Dr. Mariana Brussoni, an assistant professor in the Department of Pediatrics at the University of British Columbia will examine the need for children to have play environments that allow them to take a variety of risks in their outdoor play.  

Dietze will present an overview of the current research in the area of outdoor children’s play and how the research should influence public policy, community development, and how it ties into the UN Conventions on the Rights of the Child.

Fiona Barton, the principal in Outland Design Landscape Architecture, will focus on how important it is for landscape architects to create nurturing outdoor spaces for children. She’ll highlight some new outdoor play designs that incorporate natural materials into play space. 

Dr. Diane Kashin, a registered early childhood educator and College professor, will present a session called Cultivating Children’s Identities Through Outdoor Play.
New awards honour aviation pioneers and help college students take flight
Okanagan College Media Release

Margaret Fane Rutledge Feb 2015Students enrolled in the Commercial Aviation diploma program at Okanagan College will soon get a lift from new awards that recognize the achievements of two distinguished B.C. aviators.

The Roy Clemens Memorial Award in Aviation and Margaret Fane Rutledge Award in Aviation, valued at $1,000 each, celebrate the contributions to Canada’s aviation history made by Clemens and Rutledge over the course of their careers in the air. 

“We are proud to recognize the legacy of these two aviation forerunners” says Barry McGillivray, Associate Dean, Okanagan College School of Business. “These awards in their honour will assist young pilots in their training. Okanagan College is very grateful to the Clemens and Rutledge families for their generous support in creating these awards.” 

“We’ve trained over 400 pilots since the program began in 1990,” says Marc Vanderaegen, Flight School Director, Southern Interior Flight Centre, Okanagan College Commercial Aviation Diploma Program. “And the demand for pilots is only going to increase, with retirements looming in the big airlines. It’s a very exciting time to get into commercial aviation. This program gives students some great opportunities to connect with local employers and leaders in aviation from the moment they start training.”

Roy Clemens was born in Moose Jaw, Sask., on March 14, 1918. He studied aeronautics and served as a pilot and technical officer in the RCAF in England during WWII. In 1967, Clemens moved from Vancouver to Kelowna to set up and run Western Star manufacturing plant. It was here he rekindled his interest in flying, soon getting his pilot’s license and building his own plane. 

Clemens coordinated Air Search and Rescue in the region for 35 years, retiring from that volunteer position at the age of 87. He was a founding member of the Kelowna Flying Club and the Kelowna branch of the Experimental Aircraft Association, and provided technical advice to aircraft builders all over the world. Clemens passed away in 2013.

“Dad's greatest passion in life was flying—from his first flight in a crop duster at age eight, right up until the end of his life at age 95,” says his daughter, Patricia Campbell. “He inspired so many people to pursue flying—either as a career or as a hobby—and I know he would be pleased that this memorial award will continue helping others to achieve their airborne dreams.”

Born in Edmonton on April 13, 1914, Margaret Fane Rutledge’s life-long interest in aviation was sparked in early childhood. Rutledge was the first woman west of Toronto to earn a commercial pilot’s license. She overcame frequent discrimination in pursuit of her dream of being a commercial pilot, as many airlines refused to hire women for the role. 

"Aunt Margaret never saw herself as being special because she was a female pilot...she was special because she was a pilot,” says Rutledge’s nephew, Graham Fane. 

Rutledge persevered and ultimately piloted several flights for a Canadian airline, worked with a bush pilot outfit in northern B.C. She worked with Grant McConachie and Canadian Airlines, and also founded the "Flying Seven" - an elite group of Canadian female pilots associated with Amelia Earhart, based out of Vancouver. Rutledge passed away in 2004 at the age of 90.

“She wasn't just a pilot. She was a role model for following your dreams,” says Fane.

Both the Roy Clemens and Margaret Fane Rutledge Award will each be awarded annually to a student who has completed the first year of full-time study in the program. For more information about awards eligibility, please contact Okanagan College’s Financial Aid office at

The Commercial Aviation diploma program is for men and women who are interested in pursuing a career in aviation. The two-year program provides participants with business experience along with the aviation training required by Transport Canada to ensure they are prepared to enter into the field of commercial aviation.

For information on the program, additional details on participant eligibility or to apply, contact Marc Vanderaegen at
A comedic curling match with the devil takes the stage in upcoming Red Dot Players production
Okanagan College Media Release

What could be more Canadian than W.O. Mitchell, a curling competition with the devil set in the Prairies and curling stones that can be used in any season?Red Dot Players Feb 2015

This is what you can expect on the stage March 5 to 8 as the Okanagan College Red Dot Players present Mitchell’s comedy The Black Bonspiel of Wullie MacCrimmon at the Kelowna campus. This will be the theatre company’s fifth production.

Based on the classic literary tale of Faust's deal with the devil, a curling match sets the stage for this humorous, clever and Canadianized version of the ultimate battle between good vs. evil. 

"One of the challenges with the script was to create an actual curling match on the stage," says the play’s director Mike Minions, Okanagan College's Educational Technology Coordinator. "Using the big lathe in the College's carpentry shop we built some wooden curling rocks on roller bearings. They painted up pretty well and the actors have been working hard to learn to make the shots they need to for each end of the game." 

The audience will be transported to the fictional town of Wildrose, Alberta in 1936 where protagonist Wullie, a shoe repairman, faces-off with the devil and his rink from Hell consisting of Judas Iscariot, Lucrezia Borgia, and none-other than the melancholic Macbeth in a curling match. The stakes are high: a win means Wullie will ultimately earn gold at the upcoming Brier Championship, but if he loses, he not only loses his immortal soul to the devil, but – even worse in his opinion— he will have to play on the devil’s team in the Celestial Brier, a curling match between Heaven and Hell. This two-act play delivers quirky characters, clever dialogue and takes a fond look at the obsession with curling so typical of a prairie town. 

“Each year I am truly impressed by the talent our extended College community brings to these plays,” says artistic director and Okanagan College English professor Jeremy Beaulne. “This year we have a cast of 10 and an additional five crew members who worked extremely hard these past few months to make this play come to life.”

Performances take place at the Kelowna campus theatre on March 5, 6, and 7 each at 7 p.m., with an additional matinee on Sunday, March 8 at 2 p.m.

Tickets are $15 and are available at the Okanagan College Campus Store, Mosaic Books, and at the door. 

The Red Dot Players is a theatre troupe for Okanagan College students, alumni, and employees based on the Kelowna campus. Previous productions include The Beaux' Stratagem (2011), Blithe Spirit (2012), Les Belles-Soeurs (2013), and The Government Inspector (2014). For more information, visit the Red Dot Players website at
Okanagan College Students’ Union supports the future of trades
Okanagan College Media Release

OCSU Donation Feb 2015The profile of Okanagan College’s Kelowna campus along KLO Road will change significantly over the next year and the Okanagan College Students’ Union is showing support for the new complex that will elevate the region as a hub for trades training.

The OCSU has pledged $100,000 towards the Bright Horizons, Building for Skills fundraising campaign that supports the renovation and expansion of the trades training complex at Okanagan College.

“After supporting the Centre of Excellence at the Penticton Campus a few years ago, seeing how that building came together and the impact that it has had for students as a place to grow and succeed…that really inspired us to get behind this project,” says Chelsea Grisch, Executive Chairperson of the Okanagan College Students’ Union. 

“We are very proud and appreciative of the fact that our students have chosen to invest in the future of their college,” says Okanagan College President Jim Hamilton. “Their action demonstrates great leadership on their part and confirms our commitment to providing the best possible environment to support student learning.” 

“We think it’s a powerful message that Okanagan College students see the value of this new learning facility and want to step up and play an active role in building it,” adds Grisch. “We hope it will inspire others in the community to give to the campaign and support students.”

The College acknowledges the significance of its students stepping up to support not only their education, but the education of those students who will follow in their footsteps.  

“They are contributing to the students and the generations to come,” explains Hamilton. “That speaks very highly to their character, to the value they place on post-secondary education, and to the value they place on being a part of this community—both now and in the future.”

While the three-storey trades training complex will enhance the physical profile of the College along KLO Road, it was the College’s commitment to sustainability and reducing environmental footprint through an innovative design that motivated OCSU to support the project. The building is aiming to meet both the Living Building Challenge and LEED (Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design) Platinum objectives.

“When the opportunity arose for us to play a part in supporting the rejuvenation of the trades training complex here in Kelowna, we wanted to show in a bold way just how important we feel it is for students to have a learning environment that is ahead of the curve, vibrant, and that reflects Okanagan College’s commitment to sustainability,” explains Grisch.

“The community should take note,” says Alf Kempf, President of the Okanagan College Foundation. “To have our students step forward like this and say ‘we want to help make the College an even better place…we want to help build a space that benefits not just our class but all the students that follow us’, that says a lot about our students and the connection they feel to the College.”

Construction of the new complex at BC’s second largest trades training institution is expected to be completed in spring of 2016. 

The $7-million Bright Horizons, Building for Skills fundraising campaign for project launched in October 2014. The campaign’s efforts will supplement the provincial government’s commitment of $28 million to the renovation project. In addition to capital, the Okanagan College Foundation is accepting donations of equipment, tools, and other support to help enhance programs and opportunities for students.

To learn more about the campaign and opportunities to get involved, please visit

Okanagan College’s Dr. Barry McGillivray has decided to reinvest in the economy of the region that has treated him well
Okanagan College Media Release

Dr. Barry McGillivray, Associate Dean of the College’s School of Business, is donating $100,000 to develop a research centre at the College Barry McGillivray Feb 2015that will be focused on small business and entrepreneurship in the Southern Interior.

“I’m giving back to a region that has been very good to me,” says McGillivray. “Supporting research to benefit small businesses and entrepreneurs is one of the most effective avenues of building our region’s economy.”

A portion of the funds, invested with the Okanagan College Foundation, will be directed toward scholarships and bursaries for students as well. 

“I have a great and abiding faith in the quality of our students,” says McGillivray, pointing to a long list of student accomplishments in national and international case competitions and to a growing number of notable alumni from the College’s Business Administration degree and diploma programs.

“Research will round out the School of Business’s profile – regionally and nationally,” says McGillivray. “We have a well-deserved reputation for teaching excellence, and for meeting student and employer needs and expectations. We also have a cadre of professors who are undertaking research important to our region; research that focuses on small- and medium-sized enterprises, on the wine industry, on agriculture and on tourism.

“My intent is that the Centre for Small Business and Entrepreneurship Research will serve as an incubator for some of our newer faculty to do more applied research, especially with regard to the barriers that entrepreneurs face.”

McGillivray is also hoping that his contribution will spur others to support the Centre.

“Barry’s commitment to this region and to our institution is remarkable,” says Okanagan College President Jim Hamilton. “I know he thought carefully about what he could do to help the communities we serve, consulted many people and struck upon developing this Centre as the best investment he could make. I applaud him for his generosity and his foresight.”

“Barry’s donation is also evidence of the support being shown for the College by the very people who make this place what it is,” notes Okanagan College Foundation Executive Director Kathy Butler. “It is encouraging to see students, staff and instructors choose to contribute to enhancing the College and supporting students.”
New Construction Craft Worker program coming to the College
Okanagan College Media Release

Jason Bonneau Feb 2015The people who do the work of a Construction Craft Worker are a vital part of every construction site and team. They install utility piping, place concrete, construct roads, assist skilled tradespersons such as carpenters and bricklayers, and they set-up and break down a job site among other skills. 

Now, British Columbia and Okanagan College are offering those who function in the role the opportunity for Red Seal accreditation. Starting in March 2015 Okanagan College is offering a new two-level apprenticeship program to meet the provincial demand for the training.

“Construction labourers are professionals who have solid experience under their tool-belts,” explains Okanagan College Dean of Trades and Apprenticeship Steve Moores. “Earning this accreditation will make it easy for employers to determine that the worker is trained and skilled to perform the tasks at hand. For the worker, it can be the differentiator in getting hired.”

“Knowing that our trades workers have a Red Seal gives me confidence that they have a strong understanding of construction and the necessary skills to be on any site,” says Matt Kenyon, General Manager of Greyback Construction. “Ultimately, it makes for a safer work environment and ensures projects are completed to the highest standards. At Greyback we fully support the students of Okanagan College and will offer these workers mentorship and site tours.” 

Penticton Indian Band member Jason Bonneau has enrolled in Okanagan College’s March program, with encouragement from his employer Greyback Construction. “I’ve only ever worked in construction. It fascinates me to have the knowledge of being able to make something out of nothing, to build it up,” says the 38-year-old Bonneau. “As a father of five, providing for my family is a top priority. Obtaining my Red Seal as a Construction Craft Worker means I can earn more money and grow a lifelong career in a field I’m passionate about.” 

A Red Seal designation allows individuals to become journeypersons with a higher earning potential and they can participate in training new apprentices. It is a Canada-wide designation that translates into employability across the country, as cemented by the recent announcement in Nova Scotia that all premiers are in agreement to recognize inter-provincial apprenticeship credentials by 2016 across all of Canada.

The certification is one that is recognized across industries including building projects, roadside work, mining and forestry, oil and gas, and it is the most in-demand position for the anticipated LNG industry boom. The B.C. government forecasts that 11,800 construction trade workers will be needed by 2018 to support the LNG sector.

Okanagan College is one of a limited number of B.C. institutions offering the training program that consists of Level 1 and 2 (each four weeks long), as well as 4,000 work-based hours. As part of the program, graduates will also receive their Certificate of Apprenticeship, Certificate of Confined Space Training, Workplace Hazardous Materials Information System Certificate (WHIMS), and Industry Training Authority credential.

Blending instructor-led training with hands-on experience, students will attend class in the morning to learn methods and theories, and in the afternoon they apply that knowledge in their shop time.

The Kelowna campus program accommodates 16 students per level and applications are still being accepted for the March 2, 2015 program intake. Mobile training opportunities are also available. For registration and program information, please visit
Concussions, their effect, and return to play, topic of Science in Society Series talk
Okanagan College Media Release

When is it safe for an athlete to return to play following a concussion? In recent years, concussions resulting from sports activity have gained the attention of sports enthusiasts and scientists alike.Dr. Paul van Donkelaar Feb 2015

On Wednesday Feb. 18 clinical neuroscientist Dr. Paul van Donkelaar will present a talk as part of the Science in Society Series entitled ‘How can science guide the management of sport-related concussions?’.  The public event is jointly hosted by Okanagan College and the Okanagan Science Centre and will be held at the Okanagan College’s Vernon campus lecture theatre at 7:30 p.m. 

“The big question is ‘how do you know if an athlete who has suffered a concussion is truly fit to return to play?’,” says Dr. van Donkelaar, professor and Director of the School of Health and Exercise Sciences at the University of British Columbia Okanagan. “They may feel fine, their symptoms may be gone, yet there could be undetected damage to the brain. Further, the risk of multiple concussions could potentially lead to long-term disability or even premature death.”

In his research van Donkelaar and his team study how a concussion affects blood flow to the brain, and how that affects concentration, balance, and attention span. The presentation will highlight key discoveries in changes to the brain as a result of a sports-related concussion and how this knowledge will lead to improved initial diagnosis, care, and return to activity decisions.

Admission to the event is $7 in advance or $10 at the door. For advanced tickets, please call the Okanagan Science Centre at (250) 545-3644. Visit for more information 

The Science in Society Speaker Series is sponsored by the Best Western Vernon Lodge, Starbucks Coffee, Cooper’s Food, and the Vernon Morning Star.
Carter family donation to enhance study space for trades students at Okanagan College
Okanagan College Media Release

Carters Feb 2015A generous gift by a local family will help support the creation of two new study spaces at Okanagan College, as part of the $33-million project to renovate and expand the institution’s trades training complex.

Al Carter, a well-known auto industry pioneer in Kelowna, has donated $50,000 to support the construction of two group study rooms in the new trades building, which is slated to open in spring of 2016. The study rooms will help meet the demand for student space as the College works to train and educate the tradespeople to address a government-projected shortage of skilled trades workers over the next decade.

“Our family has always been a strong supporter of apprenticeship,” says Carter. “We’ve had many Okanagan College alumni working in our auto repair shops over the years—including John Haller, former Dean of Trades. We think the apprenticeship process is a wonderful thing and we’re proud to support trades training at the College.”

“We know that labour shortages for the trades sector as a whole are expected as early as 2016—with the Government of Canada predicting that our workforce will need one million additional skilled workers by 2020,” says Jim Hamilton, President of Okanagan College. “We are grateful to the Carter family for investing in our College’s future and helping us to provide students with state-of-the-art spaces to learn and succeed.” 

After service in the Royal Canadian Air Force, Al Carter’s automotive career began in Vancouver in 1948 when he opened Carter Brothers Texaco Service with his brother, Ken. Over the next 15 years, he moved up the ranks to become sales manager of Marshall Pontiac Buick. Carter moved his family to Kelowna in 1961, opening up Carter Pontiac and Buick dealership early the following year on the corner of Pandosy and Lawrence.

“When you think about the change in Kelowna since then, it’s incredible” says Carter. “There were 12,600 people here when we started our first business and look at it now. It’s been great to watch the city grow, and with it the College and the opportunities for students.”

Starting each of his businesses from scratch taught Carter and his sons some valuable lessons, he says.

“There is a big difference between buying an established business and building one from scratch,” explains Carter. “Those early days were tough. We worked hard for everything we earned.”

“One piece of advice that I’ve always had for people starting out in any trade,” adds Carter, “is to keep learning. Learn your job well, and then learn the next job up. If you show that you’re hungry to learn, and that you want to keep building your skills, employers will take notice.”

Carter still recalls his sons Barry and Greg helping him in 1968 to clear the land on the corner of Spall and Harvey, which was an orchard at the time, for what would later become the first Honda dealership in Kelowna in 1974.

One of the family’s motivations for supporting the trades complex was to help Okanagan College to get trades training on the radar of students who otherwise might not have considered trades for a career, noted Al’s eldest son, Barry.

“Our goal is to help the College build a foundation for future growth,” explains Barry. “Getting people into trades is perhaps more important now than ever before. Just look at the current workforce and the big wave of retirements we’re facing.”

“We’re going to have a real shortage of trades people, if we don’t help new apprentices get started,” noted Al’s younger son, Greg.

The new complex will accommodate approximately 2,400 students annually in a range of trades programs. The Okanagan College Foundation launched the Bright Horizons, Building for Skills fundraising campaign in fall 2014 to raise the necessary $7 million to complete the project and help provide equipment and student support. The provincial government has committed $28 million. 

The Foundation is inviting the community to learn more about the project and opportunities to get involved, by visiting  
Oline Smith Awards help college students pursue their dream careers in trades
Okanagan College Media Release

Knowing that the annual awards created in her name are bettering the lives of local college students would have been the highlight of Oline Smith award Feb 2015Penticton resident Oline Smith’s life, say her friends.

Bill and Grace Sawarin, Smith’s long-time friends and neighbours, recently visited Okanagan College’s Penticton campus to present the inaugural Oline Smith Technology Awards to 15 students in the Sustainable Construction Management Technology (SCMT) program. The awards are valued at $1,000 each.

“Oline would have been so honoured and pleased,” says Grace Sawarin. “She was very proud of the accomplishments of the trades students in Penticton. It was very important to her that people get behind them and support their training.”

“This award will help me monumentally in my educational career,” explains award recipient Connie Ramey, who hopes to become a residential contractor or pursue a career in environmental sociology. “I would not have made it through without this assistance. This gift has made possible the opportunity to follow my passion.”

Smith, who passed away in 2010 at the age of 92, had a life-long passion for learning, noted Grace Sawarin. “At the age of 85, Oline still had her grade one reader, which she donated to the museum near where she went to school in Saskatchewan.”

Hearing from the Sawarins about Smith’s life, and her dedication to supporting their education, made receiving the award all the more special, noted several students.

“The generosity of people like Oline Smith in helping with my education has been incredible,” says Sloane More, who hopes to use her SCMT diploma to launch a career as a green building consultant. 

The Oline Smith Technology Awards will be presented annually to students in the three-year Sustainable Construction Management Technology diploma program who demonstrate a combination of academic achievement and financial need. 

The awards were made possible thanks to a generous bequest left by Smith to Okanagan College in her will. The Okanagan College Foundation assists donors like Smith who wish to create a planned gift that will help create new awards, support existing scholarships and bursaries, or provide program or capital support for the College.

The SCMT program is offered in the Jim Pattison Centre of Excellence in Sustainable Building Technologies and Renewable Energy Conservation at the College’s Penticton campus. 

More information about Okanagan College awards, bursaries, and scholarships, can be found at To learn more about the Okanagan College Foundation’s Planned Giving opportunities, visit
Daniel Boone’s character awakens in College professor’s debut novel
Okanagan College Media Release

All True Not a Lie In ItIn her debut novel All True Not A Lie In It, released today, Kelowna-based author Dr. Alix Hawley recounts the poignant adventures of American pioneer Daniel Boone who attempted to settle Kentucky and was famously held captive – yet adopted – by a Shawnee Chief.

A striking image she saw in a National Geographic magazine when only 10 years old inspired Hawley to conjure up the adventurous and historical world of Boone, and tell his tale from his perspective. 

“It was a labour of love, one that was six years in the making,” says Hawley, with an upbeat enthusiasm. “In the end, I chose to write the novel long-hand, which was a challenge, but I think it helped me connect more deeply with Daniel, his life, and his story.”

Hawley wrote each moment, chapter, phrase and word of the 371 page novel in longhand, rewriting the story as needed. This was not an easy feat, but it gave Hawley a sense of freedom and allowed her writing to be much less inhibited. Initially she drafted the story from several other perspectives, but she felt that the voice wasn’t quite right. She wanted to take the time to explore how and what perspective was best suited to tell the adventures of this great man. 

“I felt lucky that nobody had written a contemporary tale about Daniel Boone’s life, and I had a blank canvas to tell this intensely powerful story of finding new worlds and the sacrifices made for this discovery, including murder and Alix Hawley Feb 2015kidnapping,” adds Hawley.

Hawley is a professor with Okanagan College’s English Department, currently on a sabbatical leave. The novel is her second published work, following the collection of short stories, The Old Familiar, which received accolades of its own. She holds a Doctor of Philosophy degree and a Master of Studies in Research Methods in English from Oxford University, and a Master of Arts in Creative Writing from the University of East Anglia.

“We are very proud of Dr. Hawley’s achievement with this novel, which we are certain will establish her as one of Canada’s leading authors in the Canadian writing community,” says Dr. Robert Huxtable, Okanagan College’s Dean of Arts and Foundational Programs. “Her commitment to writing has always nourished her passion for post-secondary teaching, obviously benefiting our students, and it is appropriate that her writing nourishes the imaginations and reading interests of the public at large.”

Hawley will read passages from her novel and share insights and anecdotes about her writing process at The Bohemian Café in Kelowna (524 Bernard Ave.) on Thursday Feb. 19 at 7 p.m. Books will be for sale and a book signing will follow. Musicians Tariq and The Old Familiar, which includes Hawley's brother, composed an original song inspired by Boone's story which will also be heard at the event.
Hawley’s All True Not A Lie In It, Knopf Canada's New Face of Fiction pick for 2015, is now available in stores, including at Mosaic Books locally, for $29.95 (hardcover) and $12.99 (e-book). 

For additional information about Alix Hawley, please visit 
Christian family donation drives new student space at Okanagan College
Okanagan College Media Release

Students at Okanagan College’s Kelowna campus will soon have a bright new gathering space thanks to a donation by a local family.Lorinda and Randy Christian Feb 2015

In memory of Frank Christian, his wife Barbara Christian along with her children Randy, Lorinda, and Liana have pledged $75,000 to support a new food service seating space in the trades training complex that is currently undergoing a major renovation and expansion along KLO Road. 

When Randy and Lorinda heard about the need for expanded study and gathering spaces in the new trades complex, they knew they wanted to help build a space that would bring students together and foster a sense of community on campus. The family’s donation is also intended to recognize Frank and Barbara Christian’s contribution to the community, explains their son Randy.

“Having owned car and RV dealerships, obviously the automotive trade has played a big role in our family’s businesses,” says Christian. “So when we learned about the new trades complex and the opportunities it will provide for students, the focus aligned with our family’s history and our desire to give something back to the next generation.

“This building will bring people here. It will energize students and provide them with a fantastic facility,” added Christian.

“Formal training is so important,” says Lorinda Christian. “Even if you are a natural mechanic or carpenter, you need that Red Seal to open up your horizons and take your career to the next level. We’re proud to support students’ futures in this way.”

“Every aspect of the new trades training complex—from accessibility to sustainability to technology—has been conceived to give students the best possible training experience,” says Jim Hamilton, President of Okanagan College. “We greatly appreciate the Christian family’s support in helping us grow to meet the demand for trades training in the region.”

The Christian family has owned various automotive dealerships in Kelowna, dating back to 1963 when Frank and Barbara moved their family from Vancouver and took over Kelowna’s Volkswagen dealership. They opened Parklane Lincoln Mercury in 1977 and Parklane RV in 1978. Parklane Acura followed in 1987. Though Frank retired in 2004, he continued to be actively involved in the business and the community until he passed away in 2007, noted his son.

“Our family has seen the value of trades training firsthand,” says Randy, whose son Kaeden completed the dual-credit program in electrical trades at Okanagan College. Lorinda’s son Ryley completed the first level of the welding program. The dual-credit programs are offered to students currently in high school who wish to take college level courses while completing their high school education.

“This work force needs to be filled,” says Randy. “The industry can’t find trained RV technicians fast enough right now. There is a huge shortage. That’s a guaranteed job.”

Slated to open in spring of 2016, the new trades training complex will feature state of the art classroom and work shop spaces. The Okanagan College Foundation launched the Bright Horizons, Building for Skills fundraising campaign in October of last year to raise the necessary $7 million to complete the project. The provincial government has committed $28 million.

To learn more about the campaign and opportunities to get involved, please visit  
Gold Medal Plates helps student chefs shine

stephaniehuffLast year’s Gold Medal Plates finale could have turned out differently had it not been for one savvy student assistant.
Okanagan College apprentice chef Stephanie Huff was assisting Toronto Chef Lorenzo Loseto as he was creating his gold medal winning plate, which featured gently fried potato-wrapped ahi tuna.
When a key cooking tool was nowhere to be found, Huff knew she’d have to think on her feet.
“My chef didn’t have the proper thermometer he needed to be able to calibrate the oil to the right temperature and get the right cook on the tuna,” she said. “He was going to have to wing it.”
With most of the cooking supply stores closed for the day, Huff phoned a local restaurant and jumped in her car. Her competitive spirit kicked in and she made it back in time to hand the thermometer over to the chef just when he needed it to complete his winning dish.
Huff is one of several Okanagan College student chefs returning to assist Canada’s top 11 chefs during this year’s Gold Medal Plates competition, which runs from Feb. 6-7 in support of the Canadian Olympic Foundation.
The student chefs are tasked with everything from slicing and peeling to plating dishes for the public during the course of three competition events.
The highly-anticipated black box challenge, held at Okanagan College’s Kelowna Campus, sees chefs produce and finish 14 plates for the judges in 50 minutes using six of 10 mystery ingredients revealed at the start of the hour.
For many Okanagan College student chefs, participating in the challenges alongside the competing chefs gives them valuable hands-on experience and the ability to expand their industry network.
The recipient of a 2014 Gold Medal Plates Best Student Assistant Award, Melissa Masters, compares the experience to a job interview.
“Local chefs watch how you interact with your team and the public and they get feedback from the competing chefs,” she said. “If you put yourself out there and work hard, it opens a lot of doors.”
Masters is currently working as a cook at a local mental health facility, but has decided to participate again this year for the learning experience.
“Every time you learn something new,” she said. “I’m there to watch the chefs and learn as much as I can from them.”
Those interested in watching the black box competition live can log in to on Saturday morning at 8:15.
For more information or to purchase tickets to attend the Gold Medal Plates events, visit: