DeHart: Makeover for Ramada Hotel conference facilities

Newer, contemporary look added to Kelowna hotel’s meeting room and banquet facilities

This week’s column is dedicated to Rod Dewhurst who passed away April 18. Rod was my first boss at the Scotiabank at 510 Bernard Ave. Back in 1971, Rod gave me a chance for an excellent position with the bank. He eventually transferred to the Scotiabank regional office in Vancouver. When my husband Chris was transferred to Vancouver with Telus, Rod again gave me a really great position on the 34th floor of the tower working with all the regional managers in the commercial loans division. Later, both of us ended up back in Kelowna. I have always been grateful for his friendship. Personal condolences to wife Arlyn, his entire family and many friends.

The Kelowna Ramada Hotel & Conference Centre conference facility has been completely renovated. The nine professionally designed meeting rooms range from 446 to 2,839 square-feet and can accommodate any style and size of meeting, from 15 people up to 250. The new contemporary look boasts modern neutral colours with warm wood trim and wide hallways with Okanagan artwork by local artists. The Ramada conference facility offers complimentary parking, free Wi-Fi, full audio visual capabilities and everything from muffins and coffee, lunches and themed coffee breaks to elaborate dinners, receptions and customized menus. Conference manager Sergio Cunial has been employed at the Ramada for 33 years and brings a wealth of conference knowledge and experience to help you plan your perfect event. Banquet manager Cindy Atkinson, with the Ramada for 18 years. Call 250-979-4540; email

Helen Jackman, former executive director of the United Way, is the new executive director of the Okanagan College Foundation and director of advancement at Okanagan College as of June 10. She replaces Kathy Butler who retired in December.

The global company IPMC Smart Technologies Inc. (Intercom Programming Manufacturing Company) was started in West Africa 27 years ago. Seven countries later and with more than 750 employees, IPMC has decided to make their way across the pond, officially opening their new North America headquarters in Kelowna on May 8 at 520-1632 Dickson Ave. (Landmark 3 tower). Jasbir Dhillon, director of Canadian operations, and Pierre Piche, regional sales manager, will head up the expansion. Why Kelowna? Because our city provides a research university and some very talented graduates, it is centrally located between Vancouver and Calgary and is close to the U.S. border, has a growing tech sector and an overall positive economy. IPMC’s Smart Technology software has 30,000 users in 25 countries across multiple industries with over 40 billion USD running through it annually. With their smart technology your company can take control over cash flow, streamline sale order processing, improve customer service, complete projects timely and on budget and improve resource allocation.

Uptown Rutland meeting

The next Uptown Rutland Business Association’s Business After Hours meeting is Wed. May 8, hosted by Valley First Credit Union, 110 Highway 33. Registration fee is $10/person payable at the door.

BabyQuip is a new baby/children’s equipment rental company in Kelowna. Owned and operated by Brett Ziegler, BabyQuip is not a franchise—it is independently owned and services the entire Okanagan. The company rents a wide assortment of equipment/gear you might need for children when traveling including cribs, high chairs, toys and car seats. It helps families pack light and travel without carrying all your home baby gear. BabyQuip delivers and sets up clean, safe, quality baby gear at a family’s hotel, vacation rental, private residence or wherever you might be staying away from home. This takes all the hassle of out carrying the gear with you in airports or packing your entire vehicle with large items that do not fit. They do not rent bicycles, helmets, life jackets, Dockatots or any other co-sleeping gear due to insurance eligibility reasons. Check out; call 778-214-2301.

The East Kelowna Market starts its fifth season on May 5 with a Cinco de Mayo Fiesta theme in the historical and quaint East Kelowna Hall 2704 East Kelowna Rd. The festivities will start with traditional Latin music, Mexican dancers and piñatas for children at noon. There will be 55 local and creative art, craft, farm and food vendors. Start your day with a decadent breakfast from Waffle A More Eh or a fish taco lunch from the Crasian Food Truck. The market is open Sundays starting this weekend until November, from 10 a.m. to 2:30 p.m., with a rotating roster of 200 vendors, so you are sure to find something unique and different each week. Contact Kathy Sawchuk at

Gifts to Grandmothers’ raise money to assist and empower vulnerable women and children in Africa by making and selling a variety of beautiful designer bags and other items. The profits go directly to help with micro-loans, housing and sponsorship for orphan children, health and education. The group will host a spring sale and open house on Thursday, May 9, at Trinity Church, 1905 Springfield Rd., from 10 a.m. to 8:30 p.m. You will find more than designer bags at the sale, including children’s items, kitchen items (aprons, micro wave pads, hot pads), tote bags, hippy bags, skirt purses, iPad and mini iPad bags, children’s wallets and infinity scarves. The gals have been creating and sewing for many months for this annual sale. If you would like to see all their items, donate fabric, donate funds or volunteer, check out their website at or contact Wilma Lepin at 250-769-7352.

Need a better maid?

Owned and operated by entrepreneur Lisa Jeffrey, Homes Maid Better is a new cleaning service for commercial, residential and post-construction clients. Along with being pet friendly, Lisa is WHMIS, CSTS and First Aid Certified. Her rates range from $30/hour (residential) to $40/hour (post-construction), along with mileage charges outside of the city. Call 778-821-3131 or email

Information session

It is rewarding to be a Master Gardener and deepen your gardening knowledge, but it’s not that easy to obtain. The Okanagan Master Gardeners Association of B.C. will host an information session about this certification program Saturday, June 15, 10 a.m., at the downtown Kelowna library branch, 1380 Ellis St. Register online at The course will run on Saturdays from Sept. 7 to Dec. 7, 9 a.m. to 4 p.m.

Brandon McKay, Natasha Di Ivoria, Melanie Auger, Kayla Chang, Tera Pemberton and Sean Garvey have joined the team at Csek Creative, 1600-1631 Dickson Ave.

Events in Kelowna

The Okanagan Irish Society will host Celtic Fusion 4, an evening of song and dance Wednesday, May 8, at the Kelowna Community Theatre, starting at 6:30 p.m. Featured will be Ceol na hEireann (Music of Ireland), Blakey Okanagan Irish Cancers, Piper from Kelowna Pipe Band, Diocese of Nelson Clergy Singers and a wonderful silent auction. Tickets available from the performing groups or at the door with proceeds to benefit the Seton House of Prayer. Cost is $25 adults, $15 students, children age 6 and under $5.

The Kelowna Buddhist Temple celebrates its third Asian Heritage Month – All Things Japanese on May 11 from 11 a.m. to 2 p.m. Located at 1089 Borden Ave., the temple invites the public to join them for a sale of books, gently used kimono and accessories, Japanese dishes, kitchenware and decorative items. There will also be temple tours and a limited amount of take-out style bento lunches—comprised of chow mein, gyoza, sweet and sour pork and rice—for sale. Inquiries at or 250-762-2653.

Willowstone Academy and the First Lutheran Church, located 4091 Lakeshore Rd., will host the Okanagan Festival Singers in concert May 4, 7:30 p.m. The festival singers will share the stage with the Kelowna Senior Secondary Choir, conducted by Sheila French. Both choirs will perform individually and then perform together with guest conductor Eric Lichte, from Vancouver. Tickets $25 (adults) and $12 (students), available either at or at the door.

Birthdays of the week

Samantha Hill (May 1); Rosemarie Gottschlag (May 1); Harry Grossmith (May 1); Dale Adamoski (May 3); Ric Lazare (May 3); Kevin Bojda (May 3); Gloria Jean Seymour (May 3); George Patridge (May 3); Kathy Jennens (May 4); Chris Cowan (May 4); Cathy Baker (May 4); Jock Hildebrand (May 5); Charlie Hodge (May 6); Marlies White (May 6); Phil Taneda (May 6); Danica Seaman (May 7); Brenda Bell (May 7).

Maxine DeHart is a Kelowna city councillor and local hotelier. Phone her at 250-979-4546 or 250-862-7662; e-mail

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