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Vernon ‘jigsaw guy’ turns iconic Penticton channel into 1,000 piece puzzle

Penticton Rotary Sunrise selling puzzles to raise funds for local projects
Penticton Sunrise Rotary members Margo Fleming, Colleen Lister and Holly Stengel holding their newest fundraising effort - a 1,000 piece puzzle depicting floating down the Channel. (Monique Tamminga Western News)

When visiting Penticton, one thing on everyone’s to-do list is floating down the river channel.

The seven-kilometre float connects Okanagan Lake to the entrance of Skaha Lake.

The lazy river is enjoyed by tens of thousands every summer.

So when Penticton Sunrise Rotary decided it wanted to make a jigsaw puzzle depicting something truly Penticton, the channel was the obvious choice.

The next part was finding the perfect picture of people floating the channel.

For that, they turned to well-known local photographer Mike Biden. His photo shows dozens of colourful floaties meandering down the channel.

Then it was finding a business to make the puzzle.

“We really wanted to find someone local to keep this fundraiser as local as possible,” said Rotarian Margo Fleming.

That’s where the Jigsaw Puzzle Guy comes in.

The Vernon puzzle maker has been creating custom puzzles for over a decade now.

“He gave us the best price he could so that’s how we did it.”

The Rotarians’ first test was showing off the new puzzle at the Peach Fest Sandcastle competition that rotary hosts at Skaha Lake. Thousands of tourists and locals attended. The Rotary puts on the sandcastle competition as a fundraiser for its local projects including building a new splash pad at Skaha Park.

“People were coming up to us and saying they had just floated down the channel so they wanted the puzzle as a memory of their vacation. Or people were buying them for a family member who has come here every year to float the channel.”

It’s brought up a lot of nostalgic conversations, said Rotarian Colleen Lister.

“Everyone has a memory of going down the channel,” she said.

On the back of the puzzle, it reads: “Enjoy completing the jigsaw puzzle while making your plans to do the ‘real thing.’”

The money raised from the $45 puzzle sales will go to local Rotary projects like the breakfast program, Penticton Foundry, creating a pollinator garden at Rotary Peace Park and building a new splash pad at Skaha Lake Park.

Puzzles will be for sale at some Saturday markets and you can purchase them online at or email If you live in Penticton, Margo will even deliver the puzzle to you.

Monique Tamminga

About the Author: Monique Tamminga

Monique brings 20 years of award-winning journalism experience to the role of editor at the Penticton Western News. Of those years, 17 were spent working as a senior reporter and acting editor with the Langley Advance Times.
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