3 Things to Do in Castlegar the Heart of the Kootenays

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I was really excited when ZenSeekers asked me to go out on assignment in the Kootenays, and in particular to start in Castlegar. Earlier this year I did social media coaching with some businesses in the area for the #BuyBasin Festival and they all seemed to have one thing in common: They loved where they lived!

I had a very full day of adventures, inspired by this awesome ZenSeekers story, and here are some highlights and spots you have to stop when you make Castlegar your gateway to adventure in the Kootenay region.

3 Things to Do in Castlegar the Heart of the Kootenays

3 Things to Do in Castlegar

1. Eat

The Lions Head Pub is the place to be. They have 12 BC craft beers on tap and house-smoked barbecue. We were there around brunch time so we ordered a smoothie, orange juice and coffee — all in beer form! The Hyperbolic Bumbleberry Smoothie form Nelson Brewing, a Mt Begbie Coffee Stout, and the Going to be OJ from Slackwater were our brunch selections.

Syringa Provincial Park

2. Play

I posted on social media that I was at Syringa Provincial Park and folks kept telling me it was their favourite spot to camp! Located on the sandy shores of Lower Arrow Lake, you can walk the beach for over 3km, hike up to waterfalls, or stay the night in the campground.

SUP on the Columbia River

3. Paddle

With so much water around, you’d be remiss not to get out on it to paddle around for a bit! You can rent kayaks at Scotties Marina – on your way up to Syringa – or BYOB (bring your own board) and do some SUP like I did on the Columbia River back down near the Lions Head.

What I loved about Castlegar, aside from all of the above – and its beautiful mountains, rivers, and lakes – is that it’s a hub: You have a mix of local craft beer, independent cafes, and lots of shops (local and big brand) in case you forget any gear. Highways and rivers converge on this beautiful Selkirk Mountain town that will be the gateway to your next adventure in the Kootenays!

When You Go

  • Castlegar is located in south-central BC, a 7-hour drive from Vancouver or Calgary. It’s also a 3-hour drive from Spokane, Washington.
  • Air Canada flies into the West Kootenay Regional Airport in Castlegar five times a week.
  • Russian Doukhobor culture is strong in the city. Visit the Doukhobor Discovery Centre and get a bottle of authentic borscht at the airport.
  • There are 62 mountain bike trails offering 122 kilometres of riding in Castlegar.

October 10th is World Homeless Day

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The #CHVCatchUp is a monthly series featuring the latest updates and news from Covenant House Vancouver. Miss604 is proud to be the Official Blog Partner of CHV.

World Homeless Day

World Homeless Day Facts and Stats

The 10th of October marks World Homeless Day and it’s a chance for the global community to acknowledge those experiencing homelessness. World Homeless Day draws attention to homeless people’s needs, both locally and internationally, and it provides opportunities for the community to get involved in responding to homelessness. 

Here are some facts and stats regarding homeless youth in Canada:

  • 20% of Canada’s1 homeless population consists of young people between the ages of 13 and 242 
  • At least 6,000 young people experience homelessness every night3
  • 40% of homeless youth first experience homelessness before the age of 164
  • Over 50% of homeless youth indicated that abuse at home contributed to their homelessness5
Covenant House Outreach
Covenant House Outreach

Real Youth Overcoming Homelessness 

During this time of year, Covenant House Vancouver reflects on the amazing feats that young people have accomplished. To honour the resilient young people that CHV sees every day, Youth Workers share their stories—meet Thomas.

Thomas and his Youth Worker were on the way back from a dental procedure when they struck up a conversation with Ted, their taxi driver. As a young man in Toronto, Ted had some challenges and ended up fighting to overcome homelessness. 

The similarities between Ted’s experiences and Thomas’ life were undeniable. Not only did they share similar struggles, but they both shared the desire to change their situations for the better. Read more about Ted’s talk with Thomas here

Covenant House Vancouver
Covenant House Vancouver

Ways to Support Those Experiencing Homelessness

Here are some ways that you can show your support and solidarity for those experiencing homelessness, on World Homeless Day:

  • Educate people about homeless issues
  • Celebrate and support those helping to end homelessness
  • Highlight local issues in the media
  • Donate to non-profits and service providers
  • Volunteer
  • Invite a guest speaker to your workplace or school (even virtually)
  • Host a fundraiser
  • Share posts about #WorldHomelessDay on social media

Since 1997, Covenant House Vancouver has been providing love and hope to youth experiencing homelessness. They are the premiere service provider of residential and outreach services for homeless and at-risk youth ages 16 to 24 in Vancouver. Follow Covenant House on FacebookTwitter, and Instagram for more info.


  1. Gaetz, S., Gulliver, T., & Richter, T. (2014). The State of Homelessness in Canada: 2014. Toronto: The Homeless Hub Press
  2. Gaetz, S., Dej, E., Richter, T., & Redman, M. (2016). The State of Homelessness in Canada 2016. Toronto: Canadian Observatory on Homelessness Press
  3. Gaetz, S., Dej, E., Richter, T., & Redman, M. (2016). The State of Homelessness in Canada 2016. Toronto: Canadian Observatory on Homelessness Press
  4. Gaetz, S., O’Grady, B., Kidd, S. and Schwan, K. (2016). Without a Home: The National Youth Homelessness Survey. Toronto: Canadian Observatory on Homelessness Press.
  5. Gaetz, S., O’Grady, B., Kidd, S. and Schwan, K. (2016). Without a Home: The National Youth Homelessness Survey. Toronto: Canadian Observatory on Homelessness Press.

Yes in My Backyard: Coast Mental Health

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In recognition of World Mental Health Day (October 10th) Coast Mental Health launches its annual advocacy campaign called Yes, In My Backyard. 

Coast Mental Health

Yes in My Backyard: Coast Mental Health

As an organization that provides community-based services and programming to support people living with mental illness, we’ve had our fare share of public interest each time we join a new neighbourhood. This is especially true when we begin a new housing development project that offers homes to vulnerable populations. 

Unfortunately, we do get a bit of NIMBY, or “Not In My Backyard”, from neighbourhood residents during the early stages of a project. But eventually, we’re able to demonstrate that our facilities can enrich the area by adding more diversity and economic development to the community. 

We also know that communities thrive through strong connections made through local businesses, community partnerships and healthcare services that cater to a diverse group of people.

When we invest in social services to support our neighbourhoods, we’re also creating expectations around tolerance and inclusion that invites people to get to know each other. These community networks insulate neighbourhoods from criminal activities. 

These local connections also help people who are unwell access the supports they need without judgement, all within the safety of their community. 

Dunbar Apartments - Coast Mental Health
Dunbar Apartments – Coast Mental Health

When we started construction on Dunbar Apartments in 2019, neighbours were concerned that social housing would increase criminal activity, and potentially reduce the value of their homes. 

Basil_Coast Mental Health

This didn’t happen. Instead, fifty-one people, many at risk of homelessness, were given a permanent home that includes mental health supports.  

Basil is a 72-year-old senior who lives at Dunbar Apartments. He’s a recovering alcoholic and lives with mental illness. When he thinks of what he is grateful for, he counts a permanent home with supports among his blessings. Read more about Basil’s journey »

As we observe more densification occurring across Greater Vancouver, we have to consider building communities that include everyone.  This means investing in organizations like Coast Mental Health that offer housing, supports and employment opportunities to support the development of diverse and inclusive communities. 

Join us by saying: “Yes, in my backyard!

Visit the Coast Mental Health website to learn how you can get involved, and follow on Facebook and Twitter for more info.

Hikes in Vernon: A Mountaintop to View Them All

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Disclosure: Sponsored Post — Sponsored by ZenSeekers Please review the Policy & Disclosure section for further information.

Almost everyone I have spoke to about my day of hiking in Vernon (documented in this ZenSeekers post) was surprised about how many awesome trail options there were! I learned so much when John and I set out for the day with Ingrid Neumann from the Ribbons of Green Trails Society, and we had so much fun taking in the panoramic views all around.

Vernon Hikes - Ingrid at Middleton Mtn Trail/Farnsworth Nature Reserve
Ingrid at Middleton Mtn Trail/Farnsworth Nature Reserve

Hikes in Vernon

“Back in 2005, maybe a bit before then, I went on a hike with the outdoors club, one of the groups that rambles and hikes around here,” Ingrid told me as we climbed the steps at Middleton Mountain. “The tour leader had checked it out before and got permission from the private landowners to make sure we could walk there.” She pointed to a spot at Kal Beach where her hike began that day, then drew a path in the air with her finger to show the route past Mud Lake. 

Ingrid at Middleton Mtn Trail - Farnsworth Nature Reserve
Ingrid at Middleton Mtn Trail – Farnsworth Nature Reserve

“It was on private land, through cactus and all that and I just said: ‘This has to be a real trail. I am just going to make it happen.’”  So she went to the District of Coldstream, the Regional District of North Okanagan, and the City of Vernon. It took years of consultations, presentations, research and reports, but she did in fact make it happen.

Read more of the story in my ZenSeekers post

Vernon Hikes Miss604-3
Remnants of the canal on the Grey Canal Trail in Vernon
Remnants of the canal on the Grey Canal Trail in Vernon

This is just one of the trails we hiked in Vernon but from here, we could see dozens more including the route of the Grey Canal. The Canal once supplied water to the largest irrigation district in BC, from the lakes in the highlands to the ranches and orchards in the valley. The Grey Canal Trail is almost complete, just a few sections of private land remain, but one day this historic infrastructure route will be one epic trail.

Grey Canal Trail, Turtle Mountain looking back at Middleton Mountain
Grey Canal Trail, Turtle Mountain looking back at Middleton Mountain
Vernon Hikes Miss604-2
From gravel mountain trails to lush orchards and forests
Vernon Hikes Miss604-1
These trails are definitely selfie worthy! Thanks for spending the day with us, Ingrid!

In my ZenSeekers post, I’ve got a list of the top 5 trails you should check out in Vernon plus trail etiquette and links to interactive maps. Follow ZenSeekers on Facebook and Instagram for more info and photos as well.

Thanksgiving Long Weekend Event in Vancouver 2021

Comments 61 by Rebecca Bollwitt

The Thanksgiving Long Weekend is here and so are the fall colours, cool and rainy evenings, and a really great lineup of festivals and activities around Metro Vancouver. Be sure to get your tickets for Eerie Illusions at Burnaby Village Museum later this month and check out these 10 things to do in Coquitlam in October. Find all of these events and more below:

Things to do in Vancouver Thanksgiving Long Weekend

Give Back Contest!

To give thanks to my loyal blog readers and social media followers this weekend I am giving away a $25 VISA gift card. You can use it as a gift, pay for your turkey dinner groceries, treat yourself to a cranberry or pumpkin-based beverage, it’s up to you.

Here’s how you can enter to win:

  • Leave a comment on this post (1 entry)
  • Follow Miss604 on Instagram (1 entry)
    • Tag any of your posts with #LongWeekend604 + @Miss604 (1 entry)
    • Posts published between October 7-11, 2021
  • Like/comment on this post on Facebook (1 entry)
  • Copy/paste the following text on Twitter (1 entry)
Click to enter via TwitterClick To Tweet

I will draw one winner at random from all entries at 9:00pm on Monday, October 11, 2021.

Thanksgiving Long Weekend Event in Vancouver

Friday, October 8, 2021
Vancouver International Film Festival
Metro Theatre: Steel Magnolias
Lonesome Town Painters | Gabriel Dubreuil
Krystle Dos Santos in Concert
Ghostly Gastown Tour
The Ghosts of New Westminster
Playland: Hallowed Eves
Scarecrow Stroll at Arts Nursery
Corn Mazes & Family Fun in Vancouver
Maan Farms Fall Festival
Imagine Van Gogh
Flavourcel’s I Spy a City in Surrey
Da Vinci Experience in Tsawwassen
Fin-Tastic Fall Days at the Aquarium
Pacific Theatre: Wakey, Wakey
GROWING FREEDOM: The instructions of Yoko Ono / The art of John and Yoko
q̓ʷɑti̓cɑ: k̓ʷam̓k̓ʷəm̓ tə šxʷhəliʔ Phyllis Atkins: Divine Connection
Sho Sho Esquiro: Doctrine of Discovery

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