Banning Backyard Hens is Bawwwwk-ward Indeed!

It may come as a surprise that most major U.S. cities permit the keeping of backyard hens on urban properties, and now many Canadian cities are following in suit.  Vancouver, Surrey, New Westminster, Victoria, Burnaby, Nelson, Gibsons, London and Niagara Falls, Ontario, are just a few that have jumped on the clucking bandwagon to join a growing number of North Americans advocating for the right to grow and maintain their own food.  Unfortunately however, many municipalities continue to ban backyard flocks despite surmounting research, encouraging statistics and productive action from neighboring boroughs.   Sadly, Penticton is one such municipality, whereby the City has established certain residential zoning bylaws restricting the keeping of backyard hens.  This then begs the question: if New York, one of the world’s largest, most densely populated cities, permits backyard hens on urban properties, why can’t Penticton, a small rural town with a population of 32,000, not also comply?

The issue is not unique to our city.  It is one that has caused a lot of clucking in the mainstream media across Canada.  McLean’s Magazine and Canadian Living recently issued articles deliberating the moot point of backyard hen keeping.  Many proponents contend that the productive argument for backyard flocks finds root in the Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms as well as the United Nations Declaration of Human Rights (to which Canada is a signatory).  They propose that the reality of growing one’s own food in any sensible way is an absolute human right, a fundamental freedom of conscience, thought, belief and expression, and a systemic right to life, liberty and security of person, (as covered in Sections 2 and 7 of the Canadian Charter).   This developing right-to-food trial has taken over much of the thought-think of contemporary urban living worldwide, in which a growing number of Canadians now attribute their love of backyard farming as a way to re-engage with nature, control the quality and source of their food and cut the chord of dependence on the industrial food industry.  Moreover proponents for backyard hen keeping base their argument on strong ethical objections to commercial egg-producing methods.

The Canadian Food Inspection Agency provides detailed descriptions and analysis on how to maintain backyard flocks, humane considerations, how to prevent and detect disease and basic hen care, as well as providing resources for backyard hen owners.  The humane treatment of chickens as well as other domesticated animals, is generally defined by the “five freedoms,” as developed by the Farm Animal Welfare Council, (an advisory body to the British government). These include: freedom from hunger and thirst; freedom from discomfort; freedom from pain, injury and disease; freedom to express normal behavior and freedom from fear and distress.  It seems the stipulated “Five Freedoms” could be easily facilitated by the keeping of backyard hens in residential zones, provided the urban dwelling hen keepers maintain a level of commonsense and responsibility, (as one should with do with any domestic pet).  Ironically, most large commercial and industrial chicken farms and manufacturers across North America do not even come close to meeting such criterion as the “Five Freedoms.”  So why not backyard hens in Penticton?

Under Penticton’s zoning bylaw, chickens are only permitted in agricultural structures situated within agricultural zones.  The bylaw defines an agricultural structure as a structure used for agriculture and “intensive impact agriculture,” in which the primary production of farm products (dairy, poultry, cattle, hogs, sheep and other animals) is designated as “farm use” under the Agricultural Land Commission Act.  These agricultural zones are therefore defined to provide appropriate development within rural areas, while safeguarding against the intrusion of agricultural uses and farm operations on residential zones.  Accordingly, the City of Penticton has designated the minimum setback from all property lines for “intensive impact agriculture,” (which includes poultry, game and fur barns) to be 30 meters, and the minimum setback from any urban area boundary to be at least 60 meters.

At first glance, these restrictions and regulations may seem pretty standard.    However, upon greater inspection, it is not difficult to point out the shortcomings.  What was once standard is now, simply outdated. Penticton’s agricultural and zoning bylaws are not at all progressive by way of contemporary living, whereby the greater part of the population does not live on a farm.  Indeed there are several unfitting elements to Penticton’s agricultural and zoning bylaw.  Firstly, chickens are classified as “intensive impact agriculture,” the very same classification higher agricultural impact livestock, such as cattle, sheep, pigs, horses and goats fall under.  It seems more commonsense than policy, to have a distinctive category for Chickens, (especially those considered for backyard use).  Moreover under such bylaws, the agricultural impact of chickens is made equal to agricultural waste storage and agricultural compost (both of which have required setbacks of 30 meters from all property lines), which of course, is grossly inequitable.  Backyard hen keeping with a restriction on number and size is not the equivalent to large agricultural waste storage and agricultural compost.  But again, this is more commonsense than anything else.  Secondly, while the parameters and guidelines of hen keeping (as stipulated by the Canadian Food Inspection Agency) indubitably comply with an urban setting, why does the City of Penticton designate chickens as “farm use” only?  Lastly, backyard hens should not be considered an “intrusion” to residential zoning and residential uses.  They are no more intrusive than cats and dogs, both of which require a general knowledge of pet-ownership, maintenance, care and responsibility.

It is a fact that the benefits of raising backyard hens, far outweighs any detriment.  Eggs from well-tended backyard flocks are far superior than eggs from factory farmed chickens.  In contrast to factory farm eggs, backyard hen eggs have 25 percent more vitamin E, a third more vitamin A, 75 percent more beta-carotene, (that rich orange yolk color) and have significantly more omega-3 fatty acids than their factory farm counterparts.  Moreover, eggs from backyard hands are fresh and therefore much more flavorful.  And that is only the health aspect of consuming backyard chicken eggs.  The positive environmental impact of keeping backyard hens is astonishing.  Hens provide chemical free bug and weed control, their scratching is good for the soil, and hen droppings enrich backyard composts, (chickens are known to produce the world’s best fertilizer).  Not to mention chickens provide excellent lessons for children and families about responsibility while learning about where our food comes from.

In those Canadian cities that have reformed their bylaws to permit backyard hens, there is little evidence that urban coops have caused problems.  This is mainly due to the fact that such municipalities have established sound guidelines; restrictions and registration programs to ensure hen keepers become familiar and comfortable with animal husbandry and veterinary care.  The City of Vancouver for example, ensures that its backyard hen policy focuses on protecting the health and welfare of its citizens while supporting the humane treatment of backyard hens.  Working closely with Vancouver Coastal Health to guarantee regulations satisfy concerns of health and safety, Vancouver’s Health Authority now concurs with the City’s regulations and supports it’s efforts to increase local food options, which allows residents to participate in the local food system.

So why not consider the proposition: What could be more commonsensical than exercising the human freedom to keep a reasonable number of well-looked-after chickens on Canadian urban properties?  Let’s pilot it, do a trial run of backyard hen keeping and generate a citywide survey to get the feedback from our residents.  We should seriously consider revising our dusty, old-fashioned agricultural bylaws, to accommodate a new-age philosophy on contemporary living.  Legislation that restricts those wanting to enjoy the benefits of raising and producing their own food without having to own a farm is not only counterproductive, it is arguably an infringement on our human rights.  The evidence is clear: backyard hens are far more ethically viable, healthier, environmentally friendly and natural than those commercially farmed chickens and are no different in maintenance and care than other domestic pets.  So let’s get on it Penticton and make backyard hens a healthy option for all Pentictonites!

-Elizabeth Cucnik


What Happened To The American Dream?

Summertime conjures a myriad of visual ideals, some from our past, some from magazine print ads and TV commercials, and some from the clichés of history.   Often times, wanderlust summer dreams are riddled with a sense of disenchantment that lectures gone are the days when the raspberries were always fresh, ripe, red and sweet, when river rope swings heralded the most majestic sun-kissed shallows, when bikes rested on the side of wide open neighbourhood streets without borders or divisions, when mothers mixed pitchers of homemade lemonade and fathers stood grill-side, sizzling chunks of juicy prime chargrilled goodness.  Was it ever real or should the refrain have been: gone are the dreams instead of gone are the days?  What are we lusting after today by way of the family ideal?   While social change coincides directly with economic and political development, we begin to see the emergence of a new-age ideal, a post-modernist social structure, which ironically heralds a return to the simplicities we were so eager to leave behind a century ago.

It is interesting to note that the breakdown of the family structure is not a new phenomenon.  Western society has reported a disturbance within the family model for the past 150 years; a disruption caused primarily by the emergence of the Industrial Revolution and later by the Industrial Age of the second half of the 19th century and early 20th century.  In 1875 the New York Times reported that the corrupting of morals in America, the separation of families and children from any knowledge or participation in family life, bears a direct correlation to the material development of resources, prosperous times and domestic and social ambition, (which inevitably lead to a sense of personal importance over family unity).   In 1916, an essayist in Harper’s Monthly Magazine wrote about the “Break-up of the Family” and in 1947, Life Magazine did a large feature on “The American Family in Trouble.” An opening paragraph divulged that emerging statistics proved a distinctive fact: the American family, stuck in the millrace of social and technological change, was in deep distress.   It is true that a shift from a predominantly agricultural society to the march of industrialization saw the breakup of large interconnected households, whereby family members migrated to booming cities that could support higher industrial wages that allowed for the development of social interests outside the family unit.

So how far have we come since then?  According to the United Nations, some of the major global trends effecting families today are migration, demographic aging and globalization.  Many argue that modern society now embodies an extreme form of individualism, whereby children as young as 2 and 3 years of age, imbibe a sense of early self-importance through technological escapism, (the social media crutch), a mutual relationship that only grows more strongly as the population ages.  It is this recent technological social phenomenon that has become the outward pull constantly threatening what little family unity remains.  Internet, though a fantastic catalytic tool for globalization, has brought the world closer together at the cost of separating us from ourselves.  The forces of social change see families where members do little more than sleep and eat together. They buy everything, yet produce nothing themselves but for the money to afford their purchases.  In many ways, the individual is becoming more atomistic, looking outside the home for his or her interest.  On the other hand, modernization has witnessed a newfound tolerance and acceptance for a variety of social forms and archetypes, which are the outcome of individual choice.

So the question is, what family ideal is more or less realistic? Is the summertime dream of raspberry picking, root beer floats, running through sprinklers, and smelling backyard BBQ alongside immediate and extended family a realistic identity? While most agree the celebrated breadwinner-homemaker family model of the 1950s that many of us tend to reference was a grossly impractical style, (inspired by the preceding depression years and the Second World War), most of us nevertheless want to return to some kind of simplistic harmony, where what we eat, what we say, what we do, how we dress and who we are, are not simply dictated to us by social online media sources.  We want simpler food.  We want our own gardens back again.  We want natural fibers.  We want to wash ourselves with fewer chemicals and ingest more wholesome, nutritious home-cooked meals.  We want books and music.  We want deeper connections with our children, our husbands and wives and our grandparents.  We want to live more synergistically within society.

Alongside our return to simplicity, it seems we must embrace new family forms as part of the expression of choice, to focus on strengthening freedom within the family and those principles of democratic equality.  As the economy gets increasingly difficult, competition for jobs escalates, resources dwindle, population increases and pollution rises, we begin to feel the tense grip of encumbering capitalism and the tight squeeze of globalization.   In strong defiance, families are beginning to band together again, as elements of the 18th and 19th century agrarian society have become the new ideal.  Economic interdependence and common interests that once formed the foundation for close family unity are beginning to have a driving impact once again.   Despite the endless sea of computer code and digital jungles in cyberspace, we are clinging to the soils of the earth and the fleshiness of our humanity.  Leaving our cellphones and IPads, IPods, cameras and technologies behind, we release ourselves into a new state of liberty – the kind that rejoices in the taste of ripe freshly picked fruit, of ice-cream, and cold water running from a tap.  The kind that embraces large family picnics and backyard BBQs, the kind that finds value in all the small, simple, yet beautiful things.

-Elizabeth Cucnik

An Evolution of Okanagan Wine…

The evolution of the Okanagan wine industry takes us back over 150 years, to the more humble beginnings of what is now an oasis of wine, cheese, fresh organic fruits and veggies, farms and more.  The Okanagan Valley, Canada’s second leading wine producer next to the Niagara Peninsula of Ontario, consists of approximately 4,000 hectares of vineyards, and accounts for more than 90% of all wine produced in British Columbia.  Buffering the clay cliffs of Okanagan Lake and its adjacent Osoyoos Lake, Skaha Lake and Vaseux Lake, are hundreds of kilometers of vineyards, fashioning an extraordinary world-renown panorama.

The unique location of the Okanagan Valley lends to the sensation of its quality. Situated between the 49th and 50th parallel north, the Valley runs on par with the latitudes of the renowned European wine regions of Champagne and Rheingau.  Here, where it is comfortably nestled between two lakes, (that moderate its continental climate), the Valley can boast a distinctive culmination of microclimates that appeal to different vineyard soil types and grapes.  Perhaps one of the more exceptional features of our “Napa Valley of the North” however, (as the valley has been nick-named), is the region’s northerly latitude, which allows Okanagan vines to experience longer hours of daylight, a clear advantage over it’s southern counterparts of California.

The Okanagan Valley’s history of wine production humbly began in 1859 with the first vineyard planted at the Oblate Mission in Kelowna by French Catholic priest, Charles Pandosy. With the sole purpose of producing sacramental wine for the celebration of the Eucharist, this small vineyard was simply the flint that sparked the fire.  Soon thereafter other small vineyards sprang up, dotting the landscape, and more continued to expand and develop until the start of prohibition, in the first half of 20th century.  While the prohibition managed to wipe out most of the Okanagan’s commercial wine industry, wine production was later successfully revived in the 1930s.  It is interesting to note that for 40 decades following, until the mid-1970s, the Okanagan wine industry was built entirely on the production of fruit wines made from berries, apples, cherries and even table grapes and those produced from hybrid grapes, rather than the French-American hybrid grapes and vinifera, we have grown accustomed to today.   One such winery, Calona Wines, which was founded in 1932, remains one of the oldest continuously running winery in British Columbia, (an true testament to the historical roots of our culture).  The very first commercial plantings of vinifera varieties is in fact accredited to the Osoyoos Indian Band with their establishment of Inkameep Vineyards in 1975, now known as Nk’mip Cellars. 

Today one can experience a myriad of wine and grape types throughout the Okanagan Valley, while almost every style of wine is produced across a wide spectrum of sweetness levels that include sparkling, still, fortified, dessert and ice wines.  There are over 60 grape varieties grown in the Okanagan, which includes Merlot, Cabernet Sauvignon, Pinot Noir, Pinot Gris, Chardonnay, Marechal Foch and Cabernet Franc.  Many German varieties can also be found throughout the Okanagan, including Riesling, Gewurztraminer, Bacchus, Optima, Ehrenfelser, Kerner, and Seigfried Rebe.  Likewise, more recently, growers have been planting warmer climate varieties not typically associated with the Canadian wine industry such as Sangiovese, Syrah, Tempranillo, Pinotage, Malbec, Barbera and Zinfandel.

The evolution of the Okanagan wine industry is just as rich and diverse as it is unique and extraordinary.  Perhaps one of the more distinctive features of the Okanagan wine industry today is its authenticity – there is a sense that the Okanagan wine industry strives to maintain a sense of integrity, character and personable appeal, which in combination, make for a distinctive experience over the larger, more commercialized and industrialized wine regions throughout the world.  Visitors can rejoice in both the personal, intimate experience of the wine region itself, as well as its diversity and unique personality.  From the Valley’s modest beginnings with the Mission, to its growth during the Gilded Age and the Progressive Era, to its struggles and ultimate survival throughout the Prohibition years, the Okanagan Valley wine region is truly a marvel – one to experience, savor and share!

-Elizabeth Cucnik




Penticton Lakeside’s Canada Day Celebrations!

This Sunday, we celebrate Canada’s 145th Birthday!  The national day of Canada, a federal statutory holiday, duly commemorates the anniversary of the July 1rst 1867 enactment of the British North America Act, more commonly referred to as the Constitution Act, which saw the joining of the three colonies, Nova Scotia, New Brunswick and the Province of Canada into one unified country under the British Empire.  145 years ago to the day, Canada proudly became a kingdom in its own right, shedding slowly the British Parliament’s diminished rights of political power until the last vestiges were finally surrendered in 1982 with the patriation of the Canadian constitution.  Suffice it to say; the early 20th century saw little Canadian patriotism. Most Canadians thought themselves to be primarily British and pending 1917, (the anniversary of Confederation) no official celebrations took place, nor would any continue until the following decade.  However Canada’s centennial in 1967 became a hallmark observance in the fruition of Canadian patriotism, which recognized Canada’s maturing as a separate, independent country. The Festival Canada as it was known, was thus celebrated as a nationally televised multicultural celebration thereafter.

As Canadians, we share a triumphant, and somewhat diplomatic history, reflected in the nature of the Canadian spirit: a sensitive, modest, self-effacing sort of temperament that continues to credit us with worldwide appeal and recognition.  With no central recipe on how to celebrate our patriotism, much like Canada itself, Canadians around the world observe in their own eclectic, multicultural fashion.  This weekend, Penticton celebrates Canada Day at the Penticton Lakeside Resort with an abundance of heart-felt family fun, including live entertainment, exciting food featuring currywurst (steamed pork sausage with warm home-made curry ketchup), birthday cake for everyone, face painting, arts and crafts and more! Joe’s Garage, along with young musical talents, Lucas Penner and Beamer Wiggly, will serenade our outdoor patios into the night with live music on our lake front houseboat, and will be preforming our country’s national anthem just shy of our breathtaking firework show!  So let’s O-Canada!-it together this year, with a celebratory event, not to be missed.  We’ll see you all here!

-Elizabeth Cucnik


Peach City Beach Cruises into Penticton!

It’s not difficult to imagine what heaven would be like after glimpsing a scenic view of the South Okanagan’s vast panorama, and there is no better way to enjoy its majesty than at the very heart.  With the absolute best location in the valley bar none, The Penticton Lakeside Resort & Casino caters to a myriad of tastes, choices, and preferences, assured to labor an experience truly worth remembering.  Situated at the culture hub of the city, our full service resort not only offers the best views and a variety of assorted venues, but also assists in the convenience of its central location. Hugging two spectacular lakeside parks, we are just a stone’s throw away from the Penticton’s Farmer’s Market, a weekly Saturday morning affair, as well as all the latest seasonal events compiling a chock-full summer calendar.  This weekend, we are excited to commemorate one of the best, most anticipated summer kick-off events in the valley, Canada’s premier family oriented road, antique and classic car show!  Peach City Beach Cruise has proven itself year after year as the ultimate family weekend.  Come and peruse the incredible spectacle of exclusive eclectic car collections along Lakeshore Drive.  Featured live entertainers hailing from a musical trifecta of country, rock and blues will pair the event, along with dancing, vendors and other outdoor attractions.  Admire antique stationary engines and tractors, motorcycles, and 700+ contemporary, antique, and one-of-a-kind collections, before cooling off with a refreshing drink or two at the Barking Parrot lakeside patio.  Watch the sun set while twirling a delicious string of fettuccini singing in our rich homemade Alfredo, at the Bufflehead Tapas and Pasta Room, or enjoy a succulent steak dinner at the Hooded Merganser, both overlooking Okanagan Lake.  With field to table fresh organics supplied by our very own, Valleyview Farm, our menus are will inspire.  This weekend, we celebrate the start of summer, with a little something special for everyone to enjoy!  To find out more about tickets, event details and schedules, please visit the following website:

-Elizabeth Cucnik


Father’s Day at The Bufflehead Pasta and Tapas Room

What is Father’s Day without a handful of jokes, a couple of winks and nudges, crinkles around smiling eyes and a warm hand hugging the shoulder?  Fatherhood can be a giant force in our lives to raise us to great heights or bring us back down to solid ground. For some, our fathers have been the lighted beacons of foggier nights that have directed sails to safer shores.  For others, fathers are the reality of a bigger world within which we strive to gain respect, integrity and individuality.  Whatever our fathers come to represent in our lives, one thing is certain – fatherhood is an integral part of our general experience, framing the psychology of our times and the mantra of our evolution.  Celebrating Father’s Day allows us to give thanks not just to the people of our lives, but also to ourselves, to society at large, and for posterity.

This year we want to celebrate the transcendence of parentage, and all it has come to mean and represent, with an exclusive Father’s Day dinner special at the Bufflehead Pasta and Tapas Room, Sunday, June 17th.  Featured on our outdoor lakeside patio, with fabulous panoramic views of the Okanagan valley, live music and entertainment by the Steve Jones Band, coupled by a succulent BBQ buffet, fun games, prize giveaways and more, it sure to exceed dad’s expectations!  Reservations go quickly, so be sure to make yours by calling us at: 250-493-9768.  Father’s Day is all about keeping it personal and reminiscent, whereby we acknowledge, reflect and celebrate the true heroes of our lives. To all fathers out there – have a delightful, heart-warming Father’s Day.  This one’s for you.

-Elizabeth Cucnik









Preserving the Fruits of Our Labor

Understanding our food is primarily about understanding ourselves.  Food is cultural, food is historic, and food is at the essence of being.  We really are what we eat. Food preservation ranks high on the list when it comes to honesty in health.  Fundamental for the future of a vigorous society and the salubrious individual, both of which labor to make the other complete, home food preservation is synonymous with well-being.

Food preservation speaks to us from two very important perspectives.  One is the preservation of food integrity, by understanding what goes into the food we eat and thus returning to a holistic “real food” diet.  Such way of life dictates that eggs and milk should be whole and fresh, beef should be grass-fed and orange juice should be raw.  Despite imitation being the trademark of industrial food, we are beginning to see a shift in consumerist thinking – a revolution in the way we shop, approach our food, eat and live.  Post-modernism drives transparency, to put the control back in the hands of the consumer.  Understanding our food, by way of our ancestral heritages, reconnecting with the earth, and rooting out greater wisdoms and peace found at the heart of holistic living, is where we can reclaim the thrust of our livelihood.  This growing awareness about food processing, handling, and packaging has created a rising demand for real, natural unprocessed food, the best of which can be made right in our very own kitchen.

The second equally important perspective on food preservation is the sheer reality of economy and convenience.  Preserving our own food, (whether grown in our private gardens, taken straight from the farmer’s hands, or off the shelves of the local supermarket), means one can have access to many variety of food throughout the seasons, without having to have it shipped thousands of miles.  Moreover, if economies must be made, preserving our own food helps to relieve food budgets.

The deeply romantic and equally thrilling imagery that accompanies notions of real food, organic, environmental, and homemade, seems to come from nostalgia of a simpler life: what raw, hole, real food can actually come to represent.  Living off the land is no longer a poor man’s lot, but is something of a luxury, as if growing one’s own tomatoes is in itself, a kind of rite of passage and picking wild berries to make family jams and preserves is some great unprecedented victory.  In a way, they are just that.  Each time we chose to produce, cook, and preserve our own food we are triumphing over the comprehensive industrial food system, taking that emancipating rite of passage from ignorance to cognizance, repression to self-governance.  However while the luxury of real food is synonymous with peaceful existence, it becomes a luxury many of us must make room to provide.  The days of frozen-dinners, ravioli-in-a-can, pizza pops and fruit roll-ups are numbered. One can freeze, ferment, can, dry or even vacuum seal vegetables, herbs, fruits, meats and grains. Dehydrating, smoking, sun-drying, air-drying and baking are all forms of food preservation that can easily be done at home.  The revolution starts right in our own kitchen and is carried by the work of our freezers, jars, pressure cookers, crocks, dehydrators, juicers, stovetops and ovens.

There is a something profoundly satisfying about enjoying the fruits of one’s own labor, (quite literally).  Perhaps it reminds us that personal creation is integral to self-conception and peace, whereby food is the projection of one’s identity.  While the industrial food system seems to expropriate the integrity of humanity by devaluing, and externalizing the individual, a necessary return to natural, holistic food and home food preservation, transcends food from being a commodity of monetary exchange, to the priceless product of one’s own labor.  Let your food speak for you.

-Elizabeth Cucnik

Celebrating Okanagan’s Seasonal Sensibilities…

The Okanagan way of life is written by the laws of simplicity: a crisp glass of wine, the sounds of waves lapsing a beach, sunshine on the face, the resonance of laughter, brilliant sunsets of crimson and gold, the rich framework of natural beauty, and freshwater lakes serenaded by sunshine.  An oasis of seasonal integrity and natural grace by way of rustic, unexploited appeal, the scene takes us back to the art of living, by which we can find a sense of self amidst the repose of all that abounds.  Expanding panoramas stretching along an endless linear beauty makes for the perfect refuge for all those seeking glory in sunshine, courage in untapped resource and a return to wholesome organic living by way of fresh foods, wine and produce.  What better way to enjoy the delights of the season in Canada’s summer playground, than right here at the Penticton Lakeside Resort?  We bring Okanagan life right to you, with world-class waterfront patios, beaches, entertainment, a selection of dining choices and menus, luxury suites, summer activities and more.

Our private beach offers exclusive access to summer food favorites and cool refreshing blended cocktails is blissful.  Three outdoor lakeside patios deliver mouth-watering food choices that cater to your every craving, whether it is a light snack or a hearty feast among friends and family.  It’s far too easy to lose oneself among sweeping scenes of exotic clay cliffs, drumlins, desert pine, sage and sparkling waters, which effortlessly inspire a decadent pastime.  At the Penticton Lakeside Resort we celebrate the simple majesty of life in the South Okanagan, by way of sophisticated, intimate, fun and truly exciting experiences. 

This summer, come and relax on our private family beach, where the beach bar services your every need via a selection of alcoholic and non-alcoholic beverages as well as hot and cold food served daily.  Sit out on one of our three waterfront patios, at the Barking Parrot, the Bufflehead Pasta and Tapas Room or the Hooded Merganser, and take in the simple delights of good food, great atmosphere, and breathtaking views.  While Penticton remains a paradigm of summer, why not come and partake in the thrust of its season at one of the most celebrated destination resorts.  Summer is just around the corner and the memories are waiting to happen.

-Elizabeth Cucnik

The Penticton Vees Dig Deep To Shoot High

The Penticton Vees have had an incredibly memorable year, having generated the best regular season in BCHL history, winning fifty-four games, including a CJHL record forty-two game winning streaks.  To date, the Vees, as a team, have picked up five trophies on their way to the RBC Cup Championship in Humboldt, Saskatchewan, having won the Ron Boileau Trophy (Regular Season Pennant), Ryan Hatfield Memorial Trophy (Interior Conference Championship), Fred Page Cup (BCHL Championship), Mowat Cup (BC Provincial Jr. ‘A’ Champions) and the Doyle Cup (BC-Alberta Championship).

The Vees, described as a “juggernaut team,” are now in search of glory at the Royal Bank Cup.  Toppled by the host Humboldt Broncos in 3-2 overtime on Sunday, they entered Day 4 of the tournament Tuesday night, when they succeeded in a 2-1 win over the Woodstock Slammers.  The win is the Vees (1-2) first of the tournament and advances them in a four-way tie for second place.  The Vees fans are waiting with bated breath; perhaps inspiring what optimists hope will be a win for tonight’s game to keep the Vees in the thrust of the tournament as giants of the minor hockey league.  While the imminent pressure of these games is immense for all (the franchise, the organization, the teams and staff involved as well as those invested fans, friends and family), regardless of the season’s overall standing, the Vees are no less than true champions, carrying the torch of unprecedented success.  Online commentary for the Penticton Vees has called for a “rolling up the sleeves and getting hands dirty” to help orchestrate a strong offense that may lead us to assured triumph.  With eyes only for the net in sight and the winning goal that will put Penticton directly into the sports spotlight, indeed the crowds’ cheer on, as the arenas flood with an uproar of devotion, enthusiasm and anticipation.

We are incredibly excited for our juggernaut team, who has dominated this season with remarkable victories and excitable games.  Standing upon the precipice, we take a deep breath in to ease the pressure of this pinnacle moment and simply indulge in the thunder that follows victory.  As fans, we let the tenet, live and let live, chorus throughout the stadium, echoing in the minds of sports fans and athletes alike, to remember that at the end of the day, it is about enjoying the skill and the pace of the sport, and to celebrate true athleticism and the brilliance of teamwork. Go Vees Go!

-Elizabeth Cucnik



Going Green: “Today’s mighty oak is just yesterday’s nut that held its ground”

Growing global awareness on environmental issues, sustainability, preventative health, and community has kindled a newfound precedent in our daily lives whereby we are acting locally while thinking globally.  The Penticton Lakeside Resort is proud to be apart of this worldwide revolution.  Our newly established biological smallholding, Valleyview Farm, now supplies our hotel with quality, healthy, environmentally-friendly organic produce, while our geothermal heating system uses natural sources of energy to mitigate energy consumption.  We believe going green should go beyond the celebrated slogan, to befit an integrated ethos and a comprehensive lifestyle.  In keeping with the thought-think of everything green, this week we take pause to consider the far-reaching effects of the individual, the importance of local awareness and consumerism, and the butterfly effect of the think global act local stimulus.

Convenience seems to be the hook line and sinker of commercialism.  Lost in a hedge maze of economic materialism, consumers grapple to simplify the daily routine by taking, (what is perceived to be) the easy way out with marketed convenience foods, convenience packaging and convenience products.  An indoctrinating commercial agenda leads consumers to believe and trust in a system based solely on profit gain rather than environmental integrity, sustainability and general health.  It is not surprising that of the some 17,000 chemicals, which appear in common household products, only 30% have been adequately tested for negative effects on our health.  Studies conducted by The American Federal Environmental Protection Agency found that airborne chemical levels in homes were as much as seventy times higher than the outside.  Incidentally, childhood asthma has nearly doubled in the last twenty years.  Many products that are marketed as “healthy” and “natural” in fact contain harmful chemicals such as parabens and phthalates, highly disruptive compounds used in most skincare, cosmetic and hygiene products, that are now linked to certain cancers, hormonal dysfunctions, as well as a broad range of adverse health affects in pregnant women, children and adults.  Evidence of the detrimental effects of environmental toxins is escalating.  It’s time to return to our common sense.  Natural products made with plant and mineral-based cleaning ingredients derived from biodegradable proponents and homespun solutions made from vinegar, baking powder and lemon juice, are great alternatives to chemical-based cleaning products.  Natural skincare and hygiene products that are paraben and phthalate-free, will absorb less toxicity through the skin, containing biological alternatives to synthetic preservatives such as grape-seed oil and grapefruit seed oil.

One of the major environmental impacts on our planet is the supply and demand of our food system. While the fundamentals of organic farming support crucial environmental principles such as biodiversity, ecological balance, sustainability, natural plant fertilization, natural pest management and soil integrity, all of which synergistically work to reduce our carbon footprint, new research demonstrates the beneficial affect of organic produce consumption on our health.  For example, organically reared cows that consume high levels of fresh grass, clover pasture and grass clover silage, produce, on average, milk 50% higher in Vitamin E, 75% higher in beta carotene (Vitamin A) and milk two to three times higher in the antioxidants lutein and zeaxanthine than the non-organic equivalent.  Side-by-side comparisons of organic and conventional strawberry farms, demonstrate that organic farms produce more nutritious and flavorful berries while supporting healthier and more genetically diverse soils.  Other findings have yielded the nutritional benefits of organic produce, such as more dry matter, minerals and antioxidant micronutrients, as well as significantly lower amounts of nitrates and residues of toxic chemical pesticides, fungicides and herbicides.  Moreover, while many look to our oceans for healthy alternatives, it’s also important to realize the far-reaching impact contamination, farming and over-fishing has had on this dwindling resource.  However, some seafood, like Albacore Tuna, Alaska’s wild-caught salmon, farmed oysters, wild-caught pacific sardines and farmed rainbow trout, have low levels of contaminants with health-promoting omega-3 fats, and are sustainably managed by environmentally friendly practices.  On the other hand, Bluefin tuna, Chilean sea bass, monkfish, orange roughy and most farmed salmon, are either considered a threatened species, contain high levels of mercury and contaminants, and/or are mismanaged by inhumane, environmentally disruptive practices. There are solutions, there are alternatives, but we must take the initiative.  We must arm ourselves with knowledge and eat smart.

Small measures taken to reduce our energy consumption, such as cold-wash cycles, air-drying, energy efficient appliances, solar technologies, compact fluorescent light bulbs, and resetting the thermostat, can have far-reaching effects when carried out collaboratively. On Saturday night, March 31rst, for one hour, a record 150 countries and territories across 6,494 town and cities participated in Earth Hour 2012, which saw up to 10% reductions in energy consumption in certain areas and cities worldwide.  Reducing our carbon footprint can mean as little as walking, biking or carpooling to work.  Taking it perhaps a step further, would be to lobby our local government in collaborative affect, to increase spending on sidewalks and bike lanes.  And why not take advantage of secondhand or invest in high-quality, long-lasting products while donating and recycling responsibly?

The more knowledge we have about these issues, the more we can focus on solutions and ultimately save ourselves from ourselves.  It starts with awareness.   It begins with initiative.  Thinking before buying.  Reduce and recycle.  Shopping local.  Buying organic.  It’s about understanding on a fundamental level the deep interconnection we have with our planet and everything on it.  This week we take pause to review environmental issues, sustainability and preventative health, and to remind ourselves not about the way we should be, but who we really are and what we are capable of.  Think global, act local.

-Elizabeth Cucnik