DeHart: Local Italian club celebrates a special anniversary

The Canadian Italian Club is celebrating its 45th anniversary this year.

Contributed  Viva Italia…The oldest living member of the local Canadian Italian Club

Contributed Viva Italia…The oldest living member of the local Canadian Italian Club

My column today is dedicated to Charlie Elviss who passed away last week. He was a member of the Mission

Rotary Club, entertaining them with his humour and quick wit. Condolences to his family and friends.

The Canadian Italian Club is celebrating its 45th anniversary this year.

Founders of the club were Pietro Calissi (the only living founder), Pietro Turri and Mario Puppato, with 21 members forming the constitution in 1966. Santo Giordano was the first president and Josephine Vecchio, the First Lady of the Lake. In 1996, the club purchased a building at 770 Lawrence Ave. for club meetings and events. The current membership is 140, with Mario Manderioli, at age 99, the oldest living member. A celebration of the anniversary is being planned for Nov.19, with a dinner hosted by two chefs from Italy and dance music provided by  a popular Toronto band. For tickets call Joe Iafrancesco at 250-860-6325.

Coinciding with his sixth anniversary at the Kelowna Chamber of Commerce, chief executive officer Weldon LeBlanc will leave his job June 30 to explore other career opportunities. He plans to stay in Kelowna. Chamber president Karen Hawes said the search for a new CEO is now underway.

Sommelier Brent Belanger is the new director of hospitality at Summerhill Pyramid Winery, overseeing all aspects of the wine shop, bistro and catering departments.  Brenda Johnson, moves over to become the brand manager, giving her a greater role within the company and in representing the winery publicly. The wine shop facility has been upgraded with the addition of a private tasting room. A new bar has been added in the Sunset Bistro with chef Jesse Croy offering organic wine country cuisine. The interior of the winery has also been given a facelift to prepare for the winery’s upcoming 20th anniversary. Eric von Krosigk is the winemaker and Stephen Cipes the proprietor of Summerhill. Call 250-764-8000.

Gail Harrison, president of Cops for Kids, is the recipient of the Spirit of Kelowna Award for her dedicated and tireless commitment to the program and the recent successful RCMP Regimental Ball.

Next time you are in Oyama, take a detour and stop in at Oyama Sunblush, 14439 Oyama Rd., owned by Kate Warkentin. I had the opportunity to try some of their preserve products and they were unbelievably delicious. Try either the Sangria Conserve (strawberries, red grapes, white wine, oranges and blanched almonds); Savory Roasted Red Pepper in White Wine (roasted red peppers, white wine, white vinegar, cider vinegar, onions, lemon juice, garlic, herbs, spices); the Golden Wine Chutney (white wine, green grapes, apples, sweet peppers, onions, oranges, raisins, lemons, hot peppers, ginger, spices); or the Mulled Pears.  Open 9 a.m. to 5 p.m., Monday to Saturday. Call 250-548-3267;

Sparkling Hills Resort has been awarded the  Senses Wellness Award  for Best Spa Resort at the Tourism Fair in Berlin. Sparkling Hills was the only North American Resort to win in one of the seven judged categories involving some 600 resorts. Hans-Peter Mayr is the CEO of the resort.

Holiday Park Resort in Lake Country was one of only nine Canadian properties to make the list of the Top 100 Spots to go with your recreational vehicle on the continent. Compiled by the Good Sam Club, a U.S.-based RV owners group, the list was based on location, amenities, cleanliness, safety and comfort. Dan Sigal is the proprietor of the Lake Country resort.

Clements Turf Farm, 3330 Old Vernon Rd., has changed its name to Eco Turf Farms, to reflect the introduction of their new Eco Smart Blend sod, a drought tolerant turf, environmentally friendly, specially selected blend of grasses specifically suited to the Okanagan Valley. Owned and operated by Rene and Irene Dureault and their daughter Sue and her husband Barry Paull, they also offer 100 per cent Kentucky Blue Grass and Eco Blue Blend, which is a rich green grass, lush, cool with good drought tolerance, disease resistant, hardy and self healing. Call 250-765-9429;

The Okanagan Military Society has a new 2011 board of directors. Congrats to Bob Hadgraft (president); Tom Wolf (vice-president); Gordon Adey (treasurer) and directors Howard Hisdal, Wayne House, Chuck Knight, Robert Moore, David Pich, Syd Pratt, Paul Seguna, David Snyder and Frank Truman.

The two “Andrews” have started A&A Pools and Hot Tubs. Formerly with Interior Pool and Spa and after years of building, repairing and servicing swimming pools and hot tubs, Andrew Ford and Andrew Stevenson have decided to “go it alone,” specializing in the construction of high quality, yet affordable steel wall/vinyl liner residential swimming pools. They also offer a pool opening service special with two visits at an extremely reasonable price, being a one-stop pool shop. Call 250-859-6395;

One great chef—two great awards. Chef Willi Franz, with the Grapevine Restaurant at Gray Monk Winery, has received the 2010 Chef of the Year Award from the Okanagan Chefs Association. He was also named   Chef of the Year by the western region of the Canadian Culinary Federation of Chefs and Cooks. The Grapevine Restaurant re-opens for the season on April 1. Call 250-766-3168.

Sol and Robin Menard have started A Path of Heart Counseling Services, a business specializing in marriage or couples counseling working together as a couple (and individually). They are both trained in Emotionally Focused Couples Therapy, which boasts a 75 per cent success rate in helping couples change negative communication patterns and develop a supportive relationship. The Menards will  are launch an eight-week educational group that begins in May with free introductory sessions to meet them and see if their service is a right fit for you. Call 250-863-7863;

Kelly O’Connor, a graduate of Lester B. Pearson College of the Pacific who will begin her Master of Science in Refugee and Forced Migration Studies at Oxford in the fall is Mount Allison University’s 49th Rhodes Scholar. One of the most prestigious academic awards in the world, the scholarship is valued at over $100,000. O’Connor is one of 11 Canadian students and 83 worldwide to receive the award for 2011, which covers two years of post-graduate study at Oxford University in England. Mount Allison has had 49 Rhodes Scholars from among its students over the life of the scholarship. For a university of less than 2,500 students today (less than 1,300 when Mark Dickie of MacKay LLP was there in the 1970s—just a little trivia), that’s a pretty good record.

A while back I wrote about the new Pack-N-Stack Moving Boxes (the cardboard alternative) owned by Ash Burnell. The company now has a new website,

Kelly Deck, of Kelly Deck Designs and host of HBO series Take it Outside, will be at the new location of Sun Country Furniture, owned by Carol Dodge at 160-2463 Highway 97 North on March 31 to help launch their spring season. All attendees will be given up to $1,000 in coupons from their sponsors and a free Sunbrella lumbar cushion. To register or for more info call 250-860-9088.

Tourism Kelowna and 16 area golf courses have come together to form Canada’s newest golf experience, giving golfers access to a mass of diverse and quality golf courses. From Predator Ridge to the new Greg Norman course in Peachland, a new marketing program has been designed to position the area as Canada’s premier golf destination. Golf Kelowna is a long-term initiative, increasing the number of golfers traveling to our area. Not only will this positively impact golf, but accommodators, restaurants, car rental companies, retail stores and gas stations that service travelers will also benefit. The website also includes an on-line tee time and vacation package booking engine to ease the trip planning process.

More golf…The new Play Golf Kelowna Group will host an initiative called Take a Kid to the Course Nights at Kelowna Springs and Shannon Lake (Saturdays), Sunset Ranch and Two Eagles (Sundays) and Shadow Ridge and Two Eagles (Mondays). This new program starts mid-April through to late September for nine holes with great deals. Here’s how it works. Each twosome, threesome or foursome must have at least one junior golfer (boy or girl) 18 and under to be eligible for reduced green fees. Each adult then plays for only $15 and the junior plays for only $10 (plus HST). Visit for more details.

The RBC Plaza 33 retirees are again hosting their popular MS Book Sale on April 27 and 28, from 9:30 a.m. to 4 p.m. each day. Books can be brought into the branch before April 21, but please no encyclopedias or Readers Digests. For info call Phyllis Litz at 250-763-0095.

Kelowna’s Mamma Rosa Restaurant, 561 Lawrence Ave., will hold its ninth annual fundraiser in memory of Giacomo Anfuso on Monday, April 11, to benefit Kelowna General Hospital and the Canadian Liver Foundation. Dinner and two seating’s (5 and 8 p.m.) will be “Italian style” with all food sales, wages and gratuities being donated. They will also be hosting a silent auction. Tickets are $50 and must be purchased in advance at the restaurant. This event has raised over $131,000 over the past eight years. Call 250-763-4114.

Birthdays of the week: Amber Firkins (April 3); Ron Doig, Baxter’s (April 3); Milt Tyreman (April 2); Ron Jacobsen (April 1); Cynthia Waldek Peters (April 2); Shirley Henderson (March 28).

Maxine DeHart is a Kelowna hotelier.


fax 250-860-3173


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