The Magic of Christmas…

Can you feel it?

The season gets under way when merchandise starts showing up on store shelves right after Hallowe’en. Gradually it gains momentum and this week Port McNeill is positively buzzing with activity. Bucket trucks have been stringing lights downtown, imaginative displays are going up at local businesses and the special red post office box is ready for our letters to Santa.

Nothing beats Port McNeill’s small town, big spirited kick off to Christmas

Between now and December 25th there’s plenty to fill your calendar including: craft markets with artisans and food vendors, holiday movies at Gate House Theatre, official tree lighting ceremony, a parade, free skating sessions at Chilton Arena and plenty of chances to chat with Santa.

Rain or shine, come and help count down Christmas “light up” in front of IGA tomorrow night. Three local mompreneurs from 19 North Apparel are creating a decorated shelter with comfy chair so Santa can stay visit and have his picture taken. Bring your own camera — there’s no charge.

Don’t miss this special night of great deals, door prizes and sweet treats. Participating stores include:

  • Harbourside PharmaChoice
  • Clothes Inn
  • Island Dawn’s Gift & Consignment
  • Shoprite Logging, Marine & Outdoor Sports
  • Tia’s Cafe — MJM Apparel will have a booth set up at Tia’s
  • SRS Furniture
  • Timberland Sports

The North Island Gazette has been raising funds for Christmas Hampers since 1980. With the strike between WFP and Logger’s Union now into its fifth month there are more North Islanders than ever struggling financially.

A new group called North & South VI Logging Communities United is also taking registrations for Christmas Hampers this year. Visit their website at: https://looniesforloggers.com/ This group has held numerous beer & burger fundraisers up and down the island and been collecting cash and food donations. Their trailer has visited Port McNeill once already and will be back again before Christmas.

Don’t miss Port McNeill’s biggest craft show of the year. Treat yourself to homemade treasures like jewelry, soaps & candles, clothing, paper crafts and edible delights by more than 50 vendors. At the Scout Hall next to the Old School have a browse through the annual fundraising garage sale and enjoy sweet treats & hot chocolate. We won’t make you guess who the special guest is — it’s SANTA. With another opportunity to tell him what’s on your list this year and have your picture taken.

Lunch includes Julia’s homemade peroghies and cabbage rolls — trust us when we say — delicious !!

For more information about events in other North Island communities have a look at this ultimate winter fun guide on Vancouver Island North Tourism’s webpage.

https://vancouverislandnorth.ca/ultimate-winter-fun-guide-2019/

Merry Christmas !!!

Keeping You Posted…What’s Happening in Port McNeill

Spring has arrived. The day are longer. Warmer. And the sunshine. Is it just me or is everyone smiling lol. Local garden centres are getting ready for their first shipment of flowers. The Volunteer Fire Department is sporting a brand new facade. There are yard renos and road works happening all over town. Things are happening !!

There was big excitement at CFI Gym on Saturday March 16th for the Mount Waddington Special Olympics annual powerlifting competition. The gym is home to the Port McNeill powerlifting group called “Team Chisel” and they welcomed visitors the “Courtenay Crushers” to this year’s exhibition.

Meet Team Chisel: Thomas Tinney “Bam, Bam,” Anthony Schofield “The Hulk,” John Bee “Ninja,” and Dominic Parsons “Dominator”

Family, friends and community members watched the two teams as they competed in squat, bench press and deadlift events. The crowd cheered on the athletes as they made personal bests. John Bee, who weighs 160 pounds smashed his own record on the deadlift picking up an impressive 365 pounds — more than twice his own weight.

Volunteers (including members of the local RCMP detachment) assisted loading the weights, spotting the athletes, judging the lifts, keeping track of scores and serving refreshments and snacks to athletes and spectators.

Tuesdays and Thursdays from 9-10am the athletes hit the gym with coaches Chris Stewart and Rob Engel. When asked about his thoughts about the event Coach Engel said:

“It’s all about seeing “the kids have that moment of glory, where they have that recognition, the growth and confidence it gives them makes it all worthwhile.”

Team Chisel is getting ready for a big road trip to the upcoming Special Olympics BC Power Lifting competition in Victoria May 5th.

Looking for a fun night out? Spaghetti Night at the “A-Frame Church” is a regular monthly event and open to the community. Singles, couples and families are all welcome. Dinner is served in the A-Frame Bookstore. RSVP in advance if you can or just show up for a delicious homemade meal.

Come and find out more about Phase 3 of the Rotary Trail at this year’s Spring Fling. The evening includes dinner, entertainment and a live auction with all funds going to the trail extension. And mark your calendar for the annual Rugged & Wild Race on May 4th. Walk, run or bike the 5km or 10km route to raise awareness & funds for the trail.

The epitome of shopping local — the Farmer’s & Artisans Market has a strict make-bake-grow mandate. Always offering a wide variety of edibles like fresh eggs, jam & jellies, produce, pastries and baked goodies along with original art, greeting cards, soaps and and so much more. May 4th the market will be set up at the Rotary Club’s Rugged & Wild Race and then takes place every other Saturday from 10am-2pm until September 24rd at the Port McNeill harbour. Helpful hint: arrive right at 10am for the best selection.

Another popular event is the upcoming Ladies Only event “On the Rocks.” Browse & shop at the 20+ vendor tables, sign up for a spa treatment or sit and visit. The event is licensed and there will be appys for sale.

Not sure where to access what’s happening in Port McNeill? There are some great links on Facebook including:

  • Who says there isn’t anything to do on the North Island?
  • Port McNeill Community Events
  • Shout Out to Port McNeill
  • Port McNeill & District Chamber of Commerce
  • Town of Port McNeill

If you’re still kicking it old school there are bulletin boards located at:

  • Port McNeill Post Office
  • IGA
  • Port McNeill Laundromat
  • Tia’s Cafe
  • Many store windows.

Check out this comprehensive list of community and recreation groups on the Town of Port McNeill website:

https://simplylifeportmcneill.files.wordpress.com/2019/03/b1133-community26recr.groups2016april.pdf

There are two weekly regional newspapers North Island Gazette and The North Island Eagle which both include a community events calendar for the whole North Island

Pop Up Shopping

Pop up retail is a new concept for me.  It’s been hovering right there on my periphery but I wasn’t really sure what it meant.  Last night at Black Bear Resort in Port McNeill I experienced my first one.  Vendors from Port McNeill, Port Hardy, Port Alice, Sointula and Campbell River all gathered together to showcase their merchandise in an intimate setting.  Organic marketing with a Facebook event page and posters around town gathered at least 100 customers together for the one night event.

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Megan Hodgson – Wild Threads

Disclaimer – Megan is my daughter and the main reason I gave up Netflix and a warm fire on a chilly Thursday night.  Megan sews baby & toddler toques made from organic cotton and flannel receiving blankets and burp cloths.  Our adorable grandson Bowen was her first model and as he grows so does the selection of toque sizes she offers.  The patterns are funky coastal with trees, whales, mountains and mermaids.

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Michele van der Wielen of West Coast Mamas from Campbell River

Michele was the organizer of the event.  Meeting with some of the other vendors at Orca Fest in August they kept in touch on Instagram and came up with idea of the pop up in Port McNeill.  The lobby and meeting room at Black Bear Resort were packed with displays and they’re already talking about another one next month.

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Sandra Krieva Designs

Yes, I was extremely happy to buy a few Christmas gifts at Sandra’s table.  I won’t mention what those items are in case that family member reads this post 😉 I can tell you that Sandra sells jewelry, bath salts, body scrubs, cards & gift tags, different sized heatable bean bags and more.

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Neva Perrott – Neva’s Naturals

Neva is one of the founding members of North Island Farmer’s Market and she’s a huge supporter of the burgeoning home business movement.  Her foaming lavender hand soap is my absolute favourite and anyone who has tried her salsa raves about it.  Definitely got a bit of a kick !!  Neva is always experimenting with essential oils for her bath bombs and bath soaks.

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Jodie Belliveau of Port Alice & Kirstin Baron of Port McNeill both represent Hempworx

Things I learned tonight from Jodie & Kirstin.  Their product Hempworx is Hemp Oil that people use topically or internally for all sorts of ailments.  It’s basically cannabis without the THC and completely legal.  There’s loads of information about the product on the official website or ask Jodie & Kirstin directly about buying or selling the line of oils & sprays.

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Belen Becker

Those yellow pie shaped sheets in the lower left of the photo sparked a very interesting conversation with Belen.   They’re used in place of plastic wrap to store leftover fruit and vegetables.  The beeswax in them keeps produce fresher, longer and is so much better for the environment.  She also had some warm & cozy looking wool socks for sale as well as some cool looking wooden combs and retro plant hangers.

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Gabriel Dey of Sedna Designs from Sointula

New to the North Island Gabriel has been living in Sointula for ten months.  Her jewelry is all hand crafted and the majority of it are one piece originals.  Very passionate about her craft Gabriel shared details about some of the stones, wire & process that go into each piece.  Sooooo pretty — it’s amazing I walked away with only one small bag.  But I know she’ll be back again soon.

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Deborah Tierney of the Chandler Shop from Port Hardy

My apologies to Deborah that I missed coming back for a proper chat.  But reading the business card I can share with our readers that you sell: all shapes and sizes of beeswax candles – pillars, tea lights and wax melts as well as hand dipped taper candles.  Also soy wax candles, soaps and bath products.

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Laura Chase – Young Living Essential Oils & Lynda Biggs – Artist

Young Living Essential Oils has landed on the North Island in a big way.  Facebook pages are popping up with instructional videos and “make & take” parties where you learn a bit about oils and make your own foaming soap, bath bombs or rollers.  Incredibly versatile oils can be used to make your own household cleaning products, lotions, soaps and rollers.  I call one of mine “nighty night” and it smells wonderful !!  Laura’s mother-in-law Lynda Biggs is an incredible artist.  I’ve seen her floral arrangements and and canvas paintings but last night she was displaying painted tiles.  Vibrant North Island vignettes of scenery and flowers.  She’s also looking for students for a limited class in tile painting scheduled for the new year.

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Michelle Hogstead – Lip Sense, Jaylene Lancaster & Megan Hodgson – Wild Threads

Michelle sells Lip Sense.  It’s a water proof, smudge proof long lasting lipstick.  Seriously you can put it on and rub your lips and there won’t be one tiny bit of residue on your fingers.  An amazing array of colours – it’s very popular with busy moms.  You can eat, drink and carry on with your day without worrying about reapplying.  Megan & Michelle shared their table and were joined by their friend Jaylene.  Heartwarming that these three young moms have known each other since elementary school, are married and have children.  I’m so proud to be a 3-generation family in Port McNeill.

Stay tuned for the next Pop Up Port McNeill Shopping Night sometime in December.  An event page will show up on Facebook.  Other vendors have already approached the organizers so get ready to do some Christmas shopping !!