Castlegar played host to a group of New Zealanders earlier this month.
Sponsored by the Sunrise Rotary Club, the visit was part of the Kiwis group friendship exchange. Prior to visiting Castlegar, these Kiwis spent three or four days at each of three other centres in Rotary District 5080. Beginning in Walla Walla, moving on to Spokane, and sliding north to Grand Forks, this group spent every day touring facilities, learning about parks, trying wineries and cheese outlets, and being wined and dined by local Rotarians. Then they descended upon Castlegar for a whirlwind tour of many of our featured spots.
In each town or city along the way, these visitors were hosted in local homes, mostly by local Rotarians. The idea is that the visitors were to experience how people lived in their own homes. Beyond that, the tours of the local areas were to have the visitors see and understand local events and facilities.
After picking up the visitors at Nancy Greene Lake, Rotarians took them to their host homes for a bit of relaxation. On the next full day, they were taken on a circle tour up to Kokanee Park to see the kokanee run, on to a ferry ride to the artisan markets at Crawford Bay, down to Creston to Baille Grohman Winery, and back over the Kootenay Pass to home.
On the next day, they experienced a magnificent tour of Kalesnikoff’s Mass Timber operation. This was followed by a visit to the Castlegar Golf Course and lunch at the 19th Restaurant. In the afternoon, they went on a guided tour of Castlegar Sculpturewalk and chose their favourite sculptures for the ballot. The day finished with a potluck dinner.
On the final day of their visit, the Kiwis took a bus from the Columbia Trust Building and had a remarkable tour of the Brilliant Power Dam. At lunch, they came to Tail Out Brewery for libations and pizza. In the afternoon, they did a walkabout of Zuckerberg Island trails and chapel house before continuing by strolling along the river trail all the way to Millennium Park.
In the evening, Castlegar Sunrise Rotary set up a special dinner and invited Rotarians from around the district to meet the Rotarians.The New Zealanders sang their national anthem in both Maori and English to begin the festivities. The gathered crowd had the opportunity to help former mayor Audrey Moore, an honorary Rotarian, celebrate her 96th birthday. The evening and the tour itself finished with an exchange of banners.
The second half of the friendship exchange will take place Oct. 30 to Nov. 12 as visitors from this Rotary District travel to New Zealand and experience life from New Plymouth to Wellington on the southern part of the North Island.
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