Straight From DeHart - November 1, 2023

La Vela Pizzeria has opened downtown at 444 Bernard Avenue. Owned and operated by partners, Harwinder Sidhu, Jag Sandhu and Manny Sandhu, the authentic wood fire pizza oven came straight from Naples, Italy. The restaurant is open for lunch and dinner, six days a week, and is closed on Tuesdays. Le Vela offers a selection of both pizze pomodoro and pizze bianche, along with a selection of salads, pasta, desserts, beverages and specialty coffee. Our group sampled four pizzas including Funghi (Cremini mushrooms, black summer truffle, garlic, arugula, black pepper), Delizia, Sweet & Spicy (Soppressata salami, red onion, ricotta, honey, spicy oil), Rustic Italian (Genoa salami, soppressata salami, Italian sausages) and Luna Rossa (San Marzano tomato sauce, pepperoni, anchovies, capers, parmesan, oregano and Fior Di Latte mozzarella). We also tried the homemade meatballs and shared a homemade tiramisu for dessert. All the pizzas were thin crust and all were absolutely delicious, as were the meatballs and the tiramisu. Le Vela offers vegan, vegetarian and gluten-free options. When asked what our favourite pizza was, I said I liked them all.     

Husband and wife team and fitness enthusiasts Todd Swaby and Christina Allan are the new owners of Kelowna Bootcamp, 1845 Spall Road, which has been in business for the past eight years. They offer 30-minute high-intensity interval training (HIIT) workouts. These workouts are quick, and an easy in and out for any busy schedule. A variety of class times throughout the day are also available. The classes are suitable for all levels, are beginner-friendly, and are coached by a team. The workouts are designed to get results in the shortest possible time. Todd and Christina’s journey to owning Kelowna Bootcamp began with their own path to discover a new level of fitness. You will find them in the office, coaching classes or on the floor training alongside their members. Visit   

A new technology company, has started making waves in the home care space in the Okanagan. Based in Kelowna, the company understands the many challenges in our health care system, and also a lack of awareness about home care options available for those seeking care. CEO, Co-founder and entrepreneur, Jeff Van Dyk, Chief Medical Officer and Co-founder, Dr. Kevin Wade as well as Business Development Manager/Investor, Monica Kyveris have built Gravitii to help. provides a platform where home care aides and those seeking care can connect to create their own care experience. It's like UBER but for home care. They support the Okanagan and its people to find the home care they deserve and ultimately keep people independent and comfortable at home longer, so they can age in place successfully. The company is hosting an open house on November 9th from 4:00 to 6:00 p.m. at Barn Owl Brewing, 4629 Lakeshore Road, to learn more about the company and their services. Register for Cheers to Care: An Evening with Gravitii to secure a spot for this free event at    

Potters Addict Ceramic Art Centre, the Okanagan’s first pottery school is celebrating its 33rd year in business and its 21st year giving pottery, clay and art classes at the Rotary Centre for the Arts. Owned and operated by established artist, Bonnie Anderson, along with teaching adults and children clay art, pottery wheel, hand-building techniques, glazing and decorating techniques, they also teach about the ancient art of Raku, a firing technique along with many other firing methods using clay as the medium. They teach different painting methods and unusual techniques such as oil on water, acrylic watercolour, alcohol ink printmaking, collage and other high-end art techniques to children. Both Bonnie’s daughter Moira Roberts and her grandson Kurtis Roberts help in the studio.  

The Kelowna Legion Branch #26 Poppy Campaign is in desperate need of people to distribute poppies at all locations. If you can help call the Poppy Office at 250-762-2961.

Dr. Samantha Lenci has been appointed Okanagan College Provost and Vice President, Academic effective December 1st, 2023. Dr. Lenci is relocating from Lethbridge College in Alberta, where she is currently Provost and Vice President. Prior to Lethbridge, she was the associate Vice President of Academic Services at the Southern Alberta Institute of Technology (SAIT) and also worked at Mount Royal University and Bow Valley College.  

As the newly appointed Resource Development Specialist at the Kelowna Gospel Mission (KGM), Spencer Larsen brings six years of service to KGM and our diverse community, working to assist those experiencing homelessness. In his role, Spencer’s primary objective is to further extend their support by sourcing essential funding through the generosity of donors. He is eager to connect with residents who share their commitment to being a part of the solution. If you are interested in joining their mission and making a difference, reach out to Spencer at;   

Jennifer Vulcan is the new manager of programs and services for Third Space Charity taking over for Megan Woodruff, who has stepped into the role of Executive Director. An administrative professional, Jennifer previously worked as Project Operations Manager at Epic Real Estate Solutions. Third Space Charity builds capacity and supports community mental health through an intensive, high-level internship practicum program for clinical counsellors in training and accessible supportive care counselling services for young adults between the age of 18 and 29. Service is available on a pay-what-you-can-basis for those who can and are able to. For those who cannot, counselling is free. 

This year, the long-time, popular Innkeeper’s Gala at the Eldorado Resort – Manteo & Hotel Eldorado, will support the KGH Foundation’s Cancer Care program with their theme being purple which is the Cancer Care colour. The dress attire is formal gala wear/black tie. The evening will be filled with live music, a live auction, a raffle, delectable food stations, and a selection of local wine, beer, and enticing beverages. The event commences at 7:00 p.m. on Saturday, November 18th and goes until late in the evening. This year will also feature a limited number of VIP tickets for an exclusive pre-event featuring live entertainment, elevated food and beverage tastings. It's sure to be an eventful evening for a good cause and the biggest Innkeeper’s Gala yet. If you have not attended an Innkeeper’s gala, this year would be the year to experience this exceptional event. The Eldorado Hotel is also welcoming sponsorship to support this event at Visit You can take the elevator home with a special overnight package rate at the Hotel Eldorado that includes their fabulous brunch buffet for two the next morning. Jessica Pearce is the General Manager of the Eldorado Resort.

Fernando Calderon is the Strategic Partnership Coordinator at BrainTrust Canada in Kelowna. BrainTrust is a non-profit organization that has been servicing the Okanagan since 1986 and whose mission is to bring the issue of brain injury to the forefront, reduce preventable brain injuries and maximize the potential of those who have been affected by brain injury through programs and advocacy. They recently moved into a new downtown office to better service their clients and are hosting their 2nd annual event, Infinite Possibilities: Brain Injury Networking on November 15th from 5:00 to 9:00 p.m. at #100 – 215 Lawrence Avenue. Tickets are available on There will be a silent auction, with all proceeds going towards funding and the services and programs that they offer their client.    

You will not want to miss this incredible speaker and her topic. ICD Okanagan will be hosting Alexandra Wrage, an internationally recognized expert on ethics and anti-bribery on November 7th at The Kelowna Yacht Club from 4:30 to 7:00 p.m. Networking from 6:00 to 7:00 p.m. Alexandra consulted in the making of the recently released movie on the $4 Billion OneCoin Fraud: Queen of Crypto. To register click on the November 7th event at 

Delta Hotels by Marriott, Grand Okanagan Resort and Mission Hill Family Estate Winery are hosting two locations for the Festival of Trees Okanagan 2023. Sponsored by Scotiabank, for a second year in a row, the Delta Grand has hosted this venue. This year all funds raised will support BC Children’s Hospital to help conquer childhood cancer. To help, you can sign up to sponsor a tree, decorate your tree at the event on Thursday, November 16th, visit event locations throughout the holidays from November 17th to January 5th, and then donate and vote on your favourite tree. To obtain a sponsor package and details contact Shannon Rivers at or call 250-258-8725

Birthdays of the week – Shaun Pierce (Nov. 1); Nathan Flavel (Nov. 1); Mark Whittle (Nov. 1); Gabe Cipes (Nov. 1); Janet McCartney (Nov. 1); Greg Pidlaski (Nov. 1); Alex Recsky (Nov. 2); George Colpron (Nov. 2); Don Urquhart (Nov. 2); Doreen Gray (Nov. 3); Corinne Reid (Nov. 3); Ross Carviel, Veteran (Nov. 3); Les Crosby (Nov. 4); Ezra Cipes (Nov. 4); Terry Hoogewoonink (Nov.5); Paul Sawetzki (Nov. 6); Joachim Nierfeld (Nov. 7); Reinhard Foerderer (Nov. 7); Geoffrey Couper (Nov. 7); Missy MacKintosh (Nov. 7).       

Maxine DeHart is a Kelowna City Councillor and local hotelier. Phone her at 250-979-4546 or 250-862-7662. E-mail