I Can’t Believe They Took Your Life -Toronto Rapper Houdini 🎩 😭

𝕄𝕪 𝕓𝕝𝕠𝕘 𝕙𝕒𝕤 𝕓𝕖𝕖𝕟 𝕓𝕝𝕠𝕨𝕚𝕟𝕘 𝕦𝕡 𝕗𝕠𝕣 𝕒 𝕣𝕖𝕒𝕤𝕠𝕟 𝕀 𝕒𝕞 𝕟𝕠𝕥 𝕪𝕖𝕥 𝕨𝕚𝕝𝕝𝕚𝕟𝕘 𝕥𝕠 𝕒𝕔𝕔𝕖𝕡𝕥!

In 2018 I posted a blog on an up and coming Toronto rapper, who since, has gained the love and respect of many a fan … to the tune of nearly 20,000,000 downloads on Spotify ALONE!  His first album Hou I Am was pure fire!  EVERY SINGLE SONG IS A BANGER! 

He was chosen as Apple Music’s Artist of the Month, Hou Woulda Thought, took the #5 spot on Apple Music and was shown a lot of love from major playlists like Northern Bars. He was collabing with the likes of Tory Lanez, Killy and co-signed with Nav, in addition to his regular crew.  He modelled for Off-White and they posted it to their Instagram earlier this month.  He just launched his latest project, a five-track EP titled underGROUND, in March 2020. He was going places.  He was the Don of the underground scene.  He was one of the top 20 artists to watch out for in 2020.  He was doing it – he was making it, getting out of Toronto – his fan base crossed international borders. Earlier this week, the blog I wrote on Hou was quoted in an article entitled “Houdini Dies at 21: Rapper Shot & Killed in Downtown Toronto” by Heavy.com and it landed traffic back to my interview with Houdini.

I wish I was blowing up for any other reason but this one 😭.

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📷: Houdini’s official IG account

As you well know Houdini (Dimarjio Antonio Jenkins) was shot and killed on May 26, 2020, in an act of brazen gun violence in the Entertainment District of Downtown Toronto. According to police, the suspects were waiting in a parked car for him, before they got out and opened fire on the rapper, who collapsed and later died from injuries. 

Hou was back in the city after shooting his latest video in L.A. with Killy and from what I understand was back due to issues renewing his artists Visa and was unable to return to L.A. due to COVID-19 and travel restrictions.  His targeted murder has been all over the local and national news. On TV, social media, paper press.  There’s no escaping it and I’m still so shook.  When I “interviewed” Hou he was living in Toronto.  I use the term “interview” lightly … truth is, I knew him.  He was dating someone in my family.

** I am not going to comment about gun violence in the city, ‘hood politics … that’s a whole bigger issue in society that I am not prepared to enter at this time. I am commenting about the person that I knew him to be. If you didn’t know him personally, if you’re just reading the dribs and drabs that the media or your privilege allow, I implore you to look deeper – do some research and you’ll quickly see the truer version of who Houdini was … there are posts from ad execs, record labels, restauranteurs, fans, young up and comers for whom he was making a real difference.  Watch his interviews online.  Look at the man – not just the image or the circumstances.  Please do the research before you form an opinion on a life you know nothing about – that’s all I’m asking ** 

The last message I got from Hou was last July, he wished me a belated happy bday – we share the same – July 23.

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What can I say?  In the years that I’ve known Dimarjio (I always called him by his legal name), he had an insatiable zest for life, the kid just wanted to LIVE, to make a difference.  He was strong in his convictions, strong enough that he denied repeated record deals, choosing to stay in his own lane and have control over his music 🎶I don’t need you all I need is myself, I wasn’t asking nobody for help🎶


“I stand on that, because when you’re signed, people expect way more from you. Like, your numbers got to be up there, you have to make sure you maintain the way you look, maintain just your whole aura. Everything. But when you’re underground, you’re more in control. You’re still kind of in the field and making music, so you could do shit. You could drop a tape and if it flops, no one really cares. But if you’re signed and you drop an album and it flops, that’s a big deal”.

~ INTERVIEW WITH ALEX NINO GHECIU  FOR  COMPLEX CANADA


He was an enormous talent, was full of love and loved to joke around.  

At times he created lyrical genius while sitting at restaurants for breakfast or dinner. Once we were out for breakfast at Cora’s he grabbed a napkin, asked me if I had a pen in my purse and start writing lyrics to a track because something came to him while listening to beats he was sent.  Or, the one time we were out for dinner at his fave Italian place in Vancouver and he’d sit there and listen to beats that he was dropped to try and figure out his next big blow up. When I was visiting them in Vancouver, he’d ask me to drop him off at the studio for hours and hours on end, then pick him up on the way back to their house.

The video for Late Nights with Burna Bandz was actually shot in my Land Rover, which I no longer own.  I remember, I was so pissed at them because they had it for days to shoot the video and I needed it back so I could get to-from work … they sent me money for an Uber lol – seems like such small potatoes now.

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Hou was clear that he had a target on his back.  They wouldn’t have his rise – to get out of the city, to be the superstar he was destined to be.  The city has hardly been accepting of its up and comers. There’s no need to look any further than the stats on rapper deaths in the city THIS year ALONE!  Jealousy breeds hatred.  Success breeds hatred.  They wanted to take you out Hou.  And they did *cry*  Crabs in the bucket!


“𝘞𝘩𝘦𝘳𝘦𝘷𝘦𝘳 𝘺𝘰𝘶’𝘳𝘦 𝘧𝘳𝘰𝘮 𝘺𝘰𝘶’𝘳𝘦 𝘩𝘢𝘵𝘦𝘥 𝘵𝘩𝘦 𝘮𝘰𝘴𝘵.  𝘔𝘰𝘴𝘵 𝘳𝘢𝘱𝘱𝘦𝘳𝘴 𝘥𝘪𝘦 𝘵𝘩𝘦𝘪𝘳 𝘰𝘸𝘯 𝘤𝘪𝘵𝘺 𝘮𝘢𝘯, 𝘪𝘵𝘴 𝘢 𝘧𝘢𝘤𝘵.  𝘠𝘰𝘶 𝘬𝘯𝘰𝘸 𝘺𝘰𝘶 𝘩𝘢𝘷𝘦 𝘩𝘢𝘵𝘦𝘳𝘴 𝘸𝘩𝘰 𝘸𝘢𝘴 𝘪𝘯 𝘴𝘤𝘩𝘰𝘰𝘭 𝘸𝘪𝘵’ 𝘺𝘰𝘶 𝘢𝘯𝘥 𝘵𝘩𝘦𝘺 𝘮𝘢𝘥 𝘣𝘦𝘤𝘢𝘶𝘴𝘦 𝘵𝘩𝘦𝘺 𝘸𝘢𝘴 𝘪𝘯 𝘵𝘩𝘢𝘵 3𝘳𝘥 𝘨𝘳𝘢𝘥𝘦 𝘤𝘭𝘢𝘴𝘴 𝘸𝘪𝘵’ 𝘺𝘰𝘶 𝘣𝘶𝘵 𝘵𝘩𝘦𝘺 𝘥𝘰𝘯’𝘵 𝘩𝘢𝘷𝘦 𝘵𝘩𝘦 𝘴𝘢𝘮𝘦 𝘩𝘶𝘴𝘵𝘭𝘦 𝘢𝘴 𝘺𝘰𝘶.  𝘠𝘰𝘶 𝘬𝘯𝘰𝘸 𝘵𝘩𝘦𝘺 𝘩𝘢𝘵𝘦 𝘺𝘰𝘶 𝘧𝘰𝘳 𝘯𝘰 𝘳𝘦𝘢𝘴𝘰𝘯.  𝘛𝘩𝘦𝘺 𝘩𝘢𝘵𝘦 𝘺𝘰𝘶 𝘧𝘰𝘳 𝘺𝘰𝘶𝘳 𝘴𝘶𝘤𝘤𝘦𝘴𝘴.  𝘐𝘧 𝘺𝘰𝘶 𝘸𝘢𝘴 𝘢 𝘭𝘰𝘤𝘢𝘭 𝘳𝘢𝘱𝘱𝘦𝘳 𝘢𝘯𝘥 𝘥𝘪𝘥𝘯’𝘵  𝘩𝘢𝘷𝘦 𝘮𝘶𝘤𝘩 𝘵𝘩𝘦𝘺 𝘸𝘰𝘶𝘭𝘥 𝘭𝘰𝘷𝘦 𝘺𝘰𝘶.  𝘠𝘰𝘶 𝘥𝘦𝘷𝘦𝘭𝘰𝘱 𝘩𝘢𝘵𝘳𝘦𝘥 𝘪𝘯 𝘺𝘰𝘶𝘳 𝘰𝘸𝘯 𝘤𝘪𝘵𝘺.

~ Boosie in an interview with VLADTV


Hou was a natural and was taken from us MUCH TOO SOON! I’m ridiculously sad over this. He did not deserve it.  No one does.  No one deserves to be stalked, targeted and taken out in the prime of their  life/career.  Shit Hou, you still had so much to do fam 😭

While the majority of the coverage/social media is largely supportive and is in shock (I just saw a video of his Houligans 🎩 placing flowers and candles down at Blue Jays Way in memoriam) what’s eating me up inside (I’m an empath) is the negative press – the trolls – those who write with such conviction of what they don’t know.  As if their presumptions are facts and they spew hate with such conviction.  No matter the side of the coin you’re on, we can all agree that no one deserves to be murdered.

And then there’s this POS!IMG_7773

What the hell is this Toronto Sun? We all know you are trash media, but this is flipping sick. Making fun of his death?  For headlines?  To the great peoples credit, they took to social media to backlash this outrageousness.  This shit from The Sun has to stop.  For all media outlets and from everyone – violent death is not trivial.  I posted my disgust to Instagram it was mentioned in two separate posts.  I hope our collective disgust prompts action from The Sun (and since they’re a trash paper, I will not hold my breath).

From: Director X at wwetv_worldwide

“Houdini is a 21 year old rapper from the city who got shot dead the same day as George Floyd, downtown Toronto, beautiful sunny day, a 15 year old kid was also shot, apparently it was a friend of his, and a 27 year old woman that was just a bystander.  Toronto is in a crisis of gun violence.  There are young people getting shot and dying constantly in this city and a lot of bystanders.  So I can understand Toronto Sun being the equivalent of your racist uncle at Thanksgiving.  I can understand they don’t that they don’t care about a young rapper getting shot.  But, you also don’t care about the innocent people just walking around? You don’t care about that?  You don’t care that that could have been your daughter? You don’t care that that could have been your friend? That that could have been you? You don’t care about that either?  It’s all a big funny joke to you because the person who did die was a rapper, a 21 year old?  You can’t see past your own prejudice to see that a 21 year old kid losing their life as their life is really getting on track, you don’t see the tragedy in that? ….. Toronto Sun, whoever wrote that headline, approved that headline – the staff that works there that saw that headline on the front page and thought it was ok, that is sociopathic.  You have an inability to feel compassion for people outside of your circle.  It’s a problem.  And, I wonder if I’m gonna hear something from the mayor, from the city, from the police … about a newspaper that thinks its ok to crack jokes about the gun violence crisis we have in our city”

I CHOOSE to ignore the haters – cause the haters gonna hate and post nothing but LOVE  for Hou …. this is just a small snippet of the thousands and thousands of posts on social media.

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Memorial by Houligans outside the Bisha Hotel, Toronto

This is a blog I never wanted to write, and I’m not sure I would have had all that traffic had not been redirected here. 

My thoughts and prayers and deepest condolences go out to the entire Jenkins fam: his mom, dad, sisters, brother and rest of the fam for the loss of dadda. To his friends and Houligans  — #LLHou 

Rest in power Dadda 💔 Love you kid!

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On Travel: Awesome Day Trip! Big White, BC to Greenwood, BC

A couple of days ago, I posted a blog on my exploration of the abandoned 102 year old smelter in Greenwood (Anaconda) BC – what a cool experience! If you haven’t had a chance to read that blog – click here.

This blog will document our journey from Big White, BC to Greenwood, BC – with stops at Beaverdell, Rock Creek and Midway.

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We headed out on Highway 33 (Kelowna Rock Creek Highway), which is the main access road to where I’m staying up at Big White.  Big White is located near the apex of the pass between West Kettle and Kelowna.

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Beaverdell

The only other visible community on Highway 33 is Beaverdell, an unincorporated settlement in Monashee Country. It’s located midway along the West Kettle River between Kelowna and Rock Creek.

Interesting Little Tidbits on Beaverdell:

  • Beaverdell was originally called Beaverton. The post offices of Beaverton and Rendell were amalgamated and the name was changed to Beaverdell.
  • Silver was discovered here in 1897 and was mined right up until 1987.
  • 350 residents make this town their home.
  • Despite its proximity to Kelowna, Beaverdell receives about 25% more rain, due to its higher elevation.

We pulled in to fill up the tank.  They have a convenient gas station that also serves as a coffee shop/and auto repair shop – convenient, right?  If you happen to drive an electric car – they also have electric chargers to meet your charging needs.

Once we gassed up we headed back out onto Hwy 33 and continued straight.  Other than absolutely stunning views and vistas, there aren’t any communities to stop at.


Westbridge

Your next point of reference will be Westbridge – you can’t miss it, it’s a bridge.  You’ll turn right onto the bridge, turning left will get you to Christian Valley. The bridge crosses the West Kettle River at the community of Westbridge, BC.

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For the remainder of the drive to Rock Creek you will see utter forestry devastation on both sides and new builds where folk lost their homes.  In 2015 an aggressive wildfire forced hundreds of people to flee the area – not to mentioned the complete devastation to plant and wildlife.  It turns out the fire appeared to be human caused and burned more than 2500 hectares.  Vegetation has since regrown and wildlife has returned and 5 years later trees still stand bare, blackened, scorched.

We just drove through Westbridge – I’d like to check out more on the Skycliffe Humph Monastery Retreat. Apparently this centre is for spiritual awareness specializes in Buddhist Transcendental Meditation.


Rock Creek

Eventually Hwy 33 turns into BC-3 E (Highway 3, which is also known as the Crowsnest Hwy) and you’ll have arrived at Rock Creek, BC. Rock Creek is an unincorporated settlement in the Boundary Country.  It’s situated on the famous Kettle Valley Rail Trail that has stunning views of the banks of the Kettle River. 

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It’s also site of the Rock Creek Gold Rush of 1859.  I was actually excited to visit Rock Creek as I had heard about the western Canadian gold rush via the television documentary series Gold Trails and Ghost Towns, (Season 3, Episode 8).  I thought I may have had a chance to see something a bit more exciting than what I did.  I saw a very high, fast moving Kettle Creek (close to breaching its banks) and campers camping at various sites for the May 2-4 Long Weekend.  Rock Creek wasn’t super exciting for me – maybe next time I can do some panning for gold?  It’s a thing, you can!

After the initial mining boom, the residents of Rock Creek began to develop an economy in agriculture, forestry, and ranching.

Next stop …


Midway

The Village of Midway is in a tranquil valley surrounded by protective mountains between the Thompson Okanagan and Kootenay Rockies. The Village of Midway’s population is a whopping 649 people!

Honestly, I thought Midway was super cute.  Could have spent a little more time here.  Also, the museums and things I’d normally love to do were closed due to COVID-19, which is unfortunate, I love museums – so full of rich local history.

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Located at “Mile 0” of the Kettle Valley Railway, one of the Museum’s main attractions is the original Station House.

Midway is also home to the Ferry-Midway Border Crossing which connects the town of Curlew, Washington with Midway. The current US border station was built in 1936 Curlew, WA and is an unincorporated community with 118 residents based on the 2010 US Census.  You can connect to Copper Bute Mountain, WA via Midway.


Greenwood

We’ve arrived!  Greenwood, BC!  I really took a liking to this historic little city.  That’s right, city not town. It’s the smallest incorporated city in Canada Pop: 665 as of 2016 and has retained its “city” status despite declination in population and business/industry.  Although it’s the size of a hamlet, it was incorporated in 1897 as a booming city, the epicentre of the mining and smelting industry in Boundary country with a boisterous population of 3,500.

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On your approach to Greenwood (just outside the city) you’ll note a historic stop point or two, worth the quick stops.

Per my last blog on the BC Copper Company Smelter ruins as you enter Anaconda, BC – the unincorporated township just outside of Greenwood – where the smelter is located, you cannot miss the 100 ft mound of dark black slag and imposing 215 ft smoke stack. Deciding to “save the best for last” we first went to explore Copper Street and the Nikkei Memorial Site.

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Did you know that in 1998, several scenes of the Oscar nominated movie Snow Falling On Cedars (featuring Ethan Hawk) were filmed in Greenwood?  A lot of the Japanese extras were Japanese-Canadians who were interned during there war. Some of the phantom signs and shops remain.  The phantom signs and revamped store fronts helped transform their little mining town into the Puget Sound fishing village of Amity Harbor. The signs have faded over the years and unfortunately have not been up-kept.

These phantom signs and shops are still visible and are located on historic Copper Street.

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Nikkei Legacy Park

HOW WELL DO YOU KNOW YOUR WWII HISTORY?

Next we headed over to The Nikkei Legacy Park which is located just on the outskirts of downtown Greenwood.

In 1942, internment of Japanese Canadians occurred when over 22,000 Japanese Canadians, comprising of over 90 percent of the total Japanese Canadian population, from British Columbia were evacuated and interned in the name of “national security”. The majority were Canadian citizens by birth. This decision followed the events of the Japanese attack on Pearl Harbor, and the subsequent Canadian declaration of war on Japan during World War II. This forced relocation subjected many Japanese Canadians to government-enforced curfews and interrogations, job and property losses, and forced repatriation to Japan.

Beginning after the attack on Pearl Harbor on December 7, 1941, and lasting until 1949, Japanese Canadians were stripped of their homes and businesses and sent to internment camps and farms in the B.C. interior and across Canada. The internment and relocation program was funded in part by the sale of property belonging to this forcefully displaced population, which included fishing boats, motor vehicles, houses, and personal belongings.

On September 22, 1988, Prime Minister Brian Mulroney delivered an apology, and the Canadian government announced a compensation package, one month after President Ronald Reagan made similar gestures in the United States. The package for interned Japanese Canadians included $21,000 to each surviving internee, and the reinstatement of Canadian citizenship to those who were deported to Japan.

Among those interned at Greenwood were Isamu and Fumiko Kariya and their son Yasi, the grandparents and uncle of NHL star and Hockey Hall of Famer Paul Kariya; his father Tetsuhiko was born in internment.

Odds and Ends, Out and About Town

BC Copper Smelter Ruins

I wrote a specific blog about this, here’s the link, again.  It was super cool and I would strongly recommend exploring this!  Here are some awesome pics of that adventure. DO IT!


Deadwood

Next we went on the hunt for the abandoned ghost town of Deadwood, BC. We drove down Deadwood Rd. looking for some relics, some semblance that there once was a town here. Deadwood existed in 1897 and was located several miles west of Greenwood. A number of copper claims in the area gave rise to Deadwood. The Mother Lode Mine became a great mine although Deadwood disappeared within a few years. Deadwood contained two hotels, a store, a post office and a school.

There’s nothing left of the town, although there’s a large field where it once stood and two small shed like structures which were half falling town toward the other side of the road. However, they could have nothing to do with the former town. The name survives in Deadwood Road and Greenwood’s Deadwood Junction Small Town Coffee Shop.

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Well folks, that just about wraps up our day trip from Big White to Greenwood. It’s definitely worth spending a day exploring this route.

I hope this blog has helped you decide if this is a route worth exploring and what points of interest may be in each hamlet on the route from Big White to Greenwood.

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Exploring the 102 Year Old Abandoned BC Copper Company Smelter Ruins

DID THE COOLEST THING YESTERDAY!!! I explored the BC Copper Company Smelter Ruins in Greenwood, British Columbia (BC). IT’S BEEN ABANDONED FOR 102 YEARS!

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The weather on Big White (Mountain) called for rain all day, that was the perfect opportunity for a day trip! Initially planned to head to Penticton, BC and the weather was equally sucky there, so opted to head in the opposite direction and head down toward Beaverdell, Rock Creek, Midway and Greenwood.  I’ll post a separate blog on Greenwood, BC because I think it’s worth having a separate blog, it’s a super cute “city” with a colourful past and history. Today, I’m specially going to focus on the BC Copper Company Smelter ruins.

Visible to passersby just off Highway 3, travelling East (left hand side) is a HUGE black slag ridge and imposing  215 foot smokestack.

In searching for the entrance to the smelter, we came across this kind gentleman.  He owned a house near the Welcome to Greenwood sign. He wore a ball cap, had thin transition glasses on, which were in sunglass mode because he was outside gardening. IMG_7353He dawned a greyish/black moustache and had lightly greyed hair sticking out from his ball cap.  He described his little town, where he’d come from to settle there, and the inexpensive price of land.  He offered to take us to another abandoned mining town (City of Paris).  We rain checked and definitely will take him up on it some time in the future. He guided us to turn left at the road before you get to the Cango gas station to get up to the smelter (then turn left). 10 minutes or so into the conversation and, just as we were departing, I introduced myself,  he replied “my name is Pat”. This man not only looked like my dad, had some of his mannerisms … to boot his name was Pat. Ironically (or not) this weekend marked 5 years that we spread my dad’s ashes at the trailer (came up in my Facebook memories). Dad was undoubtedly saying “hi”.

The smelter was built by the British Columbia Copper Company, a new York-based organization that bought the Mother Lode mine in 1898. All of the material that was processed at the smelter came from the Mother Lode mine, which was about 8 kms away my rail. The smelter was erected on a 22-hectare site at the mouth of Copper Creek in Anaconda (just south of Greenwood), the smelter’s own little community.

The smelter operated 24 hours a day and during its 1st year in operation, 106,200 tonnes of ore were smelted.  January 18, 1902 marked a record day …. 416 tonnes (about 9 tonnes for every man employed), were smelted!

Throughout World War I the smelter operated at a reduced rate and on November 26, 1918 it closed its doors, forever. The plant was apparently sold to a Mr. Leon Lotzkar who then disposed of the machinery and gave the site to the City of Greenwood as a park.  Nothing has been done with the park other than erecting the gazebo type structure below, by no means is it a “memorial park”.

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As instructed by our local friend Pat, we turned left just prior to the Cango gas station and parked at the entrance … gates are closed for driving access and there’s a sign that suggests you enter at your own risk.  Contrary to the sign at the entrance, the mine is not active, nothing has been mined here in over 102 years.

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When you first enter you’ll see a house on the left hand side, I didn’t take photos of that (and I should have).  I assume this was the house of the person who operated and oversaw the smelter.

This must have been a very impressive operation, the ruins are massive!  Walking past the house, you immediately come to the large, and I mean large,  black mountain of slag. The smelter ruins mostly sit on the heavy ridge of slag. Very cool to see up close and walk on. Slag is the glass-like by-product left over after a desired metal has been separated (smelted) from its raw ore. Slag is usually a mixture of metal oxides and silicon dioxide. It was light (maybe a couple of ounces) “rock”, looked like glass and was very dark black/grey.  Every so often you come across slag in the shape of bells.

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The ‘bells’ are huge black slag cones which are referred to as “hell’s bells”.  They were a by-product of the smelter operation. Transported by bell-shaped rail cars (see last photo above – remnants of an old rail line), they were dumped onto the ground, red hot and glowing.  What a sight that must have been at night time – similar to molten lava from a volcano!

Walked up a bit further to find the entrance of what appeared to be a draft shaft and a side shaft.

Further up the trail appeared the smelter stack —- tada!  The original stack was built with sheet steel and was replaced by the present brick stack when the works were expanded in 1904. The brick stack is 36 meters tall, the highest in the province, and contains nearly 250,000 bricks.

Other building ruins have been graffitied – although not in keeping with the historical were pretty cool and created awesome photos.

A little further down from the building ruins, I came across remnants of mining materials which were not sold off.  These artifacts have been sitting and exposed to the elements for 102 years!  102 YEARS!  One looks like to could be some type of boiler or air compressor, the other large piece looks like it could have been part of something that belonged in the Blower Room.

Abandoned SINCE THAT TIME, the smelter’s huge slag pile and tall brick stack has become a landmark along Highway 3, with the site possessing a very appealing mystique. From the last I saw, the City was writing grants and looking for funds to develop the BC Copper Company Ruins into a tourist destination, that was in 2016, nothing yet.

I could have spent way more time at the smelter, really taking in the historical significance of where I was.  Getting really present to what an awesome piece of history I was standing on. I think it’s absolutely fascinating.

This is a must see/do in my books if you’re in/near Greenwood, BC.

Monster Hunt: My Search for the Ogopogo Lake Monster

COVID-19 social distancing walk and I’m out and about in the great city of Kelowna, British Columbia (BC). Whilst living up on Big White, a trip down to Kelowna would not be complete without taking the time to search for the legendary Ogopogo who reputedly resides in Okanagan Lake.

Lake Okanagan is about 400 kms east of Vancouver. The lake is 135 kms long and between 4 kms and 5 kms wide, with an average depth of 249 ft. Up to 800 ft deep in some places, ample space for a large creature.  

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I’ve long been fascinated by cryptozoology … intrigued with folkloric creatures with the likes of Loch Ness, Sasquatch, Chupacabra, Abominable Snowman, Kraken, Sea Serpents, The Mothman, Thunderbirds and Jersey Devil, just to name a few.  And since I’m here, I definitely could not pass up the opportunity to search out Ogopogo.  A few years ago I visited Toutes Aides, Manitoba (while I lived in Manitoba) in search of Manipogo (check out that blog here).


It’s not really a monster, it’s a spirit of the lake and it protects this valley from one end to the other,~ Pat Raphael of the Westbank First Nation


What is Ogopogo?

Claimed to be a distant cousin of the Loch Ness Monster and is said to reside in Lake Okanagan, near Kelowna, BC.  Ogopogo is to Kelowna what Nessie is to Loch Ness: a yet-to-be-identified cryptid that reputedly resides in the lake’s depths and surfaces just often enough to keep the legend alive.

Per the Kelowna Tourism BoardStories date back thousands of years where the Interior Salish First Nation people spoke of N’ha-a-itk, the spirit of the lake. Stories of N’ha-a-itk changed over the years as European settlers transformed the stories they heard into a creature, which later became known as Ogopogo, and the purported sightings over the years continue to strengthen the legend.”

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(Taken at the top of Knox Mountain)

What am I searching for?

Descriptions vary, but certain characteristics have been repeated through the decades: Ogopogo is green with a snakelike body about 25 meters long. Some say its head looks like a horse, while others say that it’s reptilian or goat-like.

What are eyewitnesses seeing?

  • Dark and multi-humped, with green, black, brown or gray skin.
  • The head is said to look like that of a snake, sheep, horse, seal or even an alligator.
  • Some eyewitnesses say it has ears or horns; others don’t.
  • 15 to 25 meters long.
  • Many sightings simply describe a featureless log that came alive.

Oddly enough, quite the similar description to when I posted about Manipogo!

Not to be confused with:

  • A giant sturgeon
  • An aquatic serpent
  • A wave
  • A floating log
  • A river otter
  • A beaver

It was 17° and partially sunny in Kelowna a couple of days ago when I was out and about, the weather was perfect!  To scope out Ogopogo, I decided to take a walk down by Kelowna City Park and the Waterfront Boardwalk. The park/waterfront/marina area is a beautiful location to go for a walk and enjoy the scenery of Lake Okanagan.  I loved breathing in the fresh air and soaking in the moments.  People were out today and maintaining/respecting the social distancing measures of COVID-19. I also searched out Oggy while taking a hike up on Knox Mountain.

Around town, Oggy takes the form of a cartoonish 15-foot-long green and cream coloured statue placed along Kelowna’s waterfront walk.  I also spotted another Oggy down at the Parkinson Recreation Centre at the kids water park (not open due to coronavirus).

I’m not going to get into all of the reported “sightings” in this blog.  You can easily search online and find all that you’re looking for there with one click.  My blog is to capture MY experience around Lake Okanagan, on searching out Oggy, and to capture the beautiful sights.

Here are a few shots of my walk about around Lake Okanagan down by the marina and Kelowna City Park.

I had about as much luck finding Ogopogo as I did Manipogo.  None.

That aside, Kelowna and the lakefront itself are absolutely stunning and 100% worth the visit.


If the Okanagan is on your places to visit list … make sure to keep your camera/phone ready, your eyes peeled, and your minds open …. you may be the one to spot Ogopogo!

Happy searching!


Unsolved Mysteries with Robert Stack – Season 2 Episode 17 – Full Episode

This episode includes: Thanks Captain Sharp, Harold and Ma, Over the Edge & UD and Ogo Pogo.

(Fast forward episode to 38:38)
 

COVID-19: Turning a Breakdown Into a Breakthrough

COVID-19 Week 8 Update.

Never one to stay down, always one to turn a breakdown into a breakthrough.

This time is no different!

If you’re a regular to my blog, you’ll know that my 12 month adventure of a lifetime all over South East Asia (SEAsia) has been “postponed” due to the global COVID-19 pandemic.  Everything changed literally overnight for me, I was set to depart on March 18, 2020 and the Friday prior our Prime Minister had halted all non-essential travel outside of Canada and Vietnam (the country I was starting my adventure in) had closed its entry to Visa On Arrival, which I had.  So, 4 days before I was set to take off and start a year of sightseeing, exploring, soul searching came to a screeching halt.

I had resigned from my job, rented out my condo and sold my car! See that blog here.  Ummm, what the actual heck was I going to do?

I was able to find temporary accommodations until the end of April and then … I was back it again, looking for a place to stay.  It’s difficult during COVID-19 …. not a lot of landlords have openings, folks are not moving as they usually would (due to fear of contamination or lack of money due to losing their jobs due to COVID-19) additionally, there’s not a lot of interest in short term rentals.  ENTER MY CORONAVIRUS MOVE to British Columbia (BC)!

At the end of every break down there’s always an opportunity for a break through, the key differentiator is … DO YOU SEIZE IT?  I’m usually one to not stay “down” for too long – I stay  in that moment for a short time (I don’t live there), and then plot on.  It’s MY life to create.  

WE can create opportunity and happiness just as easily as we can create misfortune and misery.  Use that super power you have … CHOICE! 

And I did just that!


Opportunity Knocked

I’ve always wanted to live in BC, even if for a just a short stint.  I’ve been three times and fell in love each time. I can see why folk decide to make this their home base.

  1. I spent my first time on Vancouver Island, traveling through Courtney/Comox, Uclulet, Tofino visiting my cousin and her family.
  2. I also spent some time in Windermere and Invermere at the radium hot springs and at friends trailer on the Lake Windermere – mixed that in on a trip to Calgary as they are on the Alberta border.
  3. My last time in Beautiful BC, I spent in Richmond, Vancouver and Squamish – see my adventures from that trip by clicking here.

Opportunity created!  Now to seize it! I rented a chalet on Big White!

I initially had the intention of driving, I had a whole week long adventure planned to drive out West with my pooch and then changed my mind and booked a flight (pooch is staying with an awesome friend).  The thought of driving was daunting, I just bought a new (new to me) vehicle and didn’t want to take it on its first real trip across the country in case something happened. However, the biggest thing is that I’d have to cross 4 provinces to get to my destination and the COVID-19 pandemic brings the unusual presence of police and government checkpoints to several of Canada’s inter-provincial borders, adding to restrictions on movement in a bid to slow the spread of the deadly novel coronavirus. So far, 8 provinces and territories have set up such checkpoints and travel restrictions.

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ENTER BIG WHITE MOUNTAIN …. tucked on the west side of Canada’s Rocky Mountains in the heart of the British Columbia’s Okanagan Valley lies Big White Ski Resort and I am fortunate enough to have rented a chalet on it for the next 2 months! YAY BABY! I imagine a lot of what I’d love to do while in the Okanagan Valley will be limited due to coronavirus, and I’ll still be able to take advantage of nature, secluded trails, the outdoors, and hiking – which are all free and do not require close proximity to others.


I’m Off … 

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Nothing really to mention about the 1st leg of the flight, smooth, no turbulence — I mean other than each passenger and crew member HAD to wear face masks at ALL times during the flight (unless you were eating or drinking, obvi!).  There was no food service – when you got to your seat it was pre-prepped with your food and two bottles of water.  Upon boarding you were provided with a disinfectant wipe, so that you could wipe down your seat – and we were practicing physical distancing in the plane – passengers were not sitting side by each.  Confused though, as that was all thwarted the minute we all got up and stood in the aisle waiting to deplane.


Arriving in Kelowna … 

Flying over the Rocky Mountains at night sucks – you miss the awesome view – and it is spectacular.  Major turbulence and air pockets on approach to Kelowna (we were flying into rain),  the last 10 mins were arm rest gripping!  Even the Flight Attendant said the to the Captain once the doors were open “Whew, that was a bumpy ride!”.

BC is on of the few provinces in Canada that are not mandating mandatory interprovincial quarantine – they only ask that you respect the standard COVID-19 rules – stay 6 feet apart and practice social distancing.

I’m starting my 2nd full day here on Big White – it’s sunny and there’s still snow!   The panoramic views are stunning. Today I plan on taking a hike around Big White (with a mask and not surrounded by people) and do my first real trek for the month of May.  Earlier this month, I created and launched My Better Life May 2020 Fitness Challenge.  Whereby participants set, crush and supersede any fitness goals they have set for themselves during this COVID-19 pandemic — over the whole 31 days in the month of May 👏🏻.

With the Prime Minister and Premiers starting to talk about reopening the economy – some of the COVID-19 restrictions may be lifted in the upcoming weeks.  Sure, this is not 12 month adventure of lifetime all over SEAsia AND it’s still awesome … opportunity seized — where I had no home, I now have a place to call mine for the next couple of months. I embraced the uncertainty.  Uncertainty is where new happens!  


Uncertainty is your personal pathway to opportunity. It’s the environment in which you grow, experience new things and produce new, unprecedented results. Uncertainty is where new happens ~ Gary John Bishop – UnF*ck Yourself


Photo:  views from my terrace at Big White 😍

Tell me, I’d love to know … what’s something uncertain you embraced recently?