I had a recent trip up the road from Kelowna through the City of Vernon and on to the beautiful ski resort of Silver Star. I’ve been there several times previously with my partner, her family and our friends amidst the ski season on Christmas/New visits. This time it was to be a ‘dry run’ however, before the winter fun starts, hopefully promptly in November if snow conditions permit.
It’s been three years since my last visit on New Year’s Eve in 2005. On that occasion we skated on the excellent Brewster’s Pond at the resort. I whiled a couple of frigid but enjoyable hours on the ice, flipping a puck around with a rented hockey stick on that occasion. That was before retiring to a cosy bar to see in the UK New Year at 4pm Pacific Time.
This is a story about faith, courage and devotion. It’s a story about the man who is credited with forming the settlement through his mission in the Okanagan Valley which became the city of Kelowna in British Columbia, Canada
Father Charles Marie Pandosy was born in 1824 near Marseilles, France and was ordained into the Oblates of Mary Immaculate, an order of Catholic Priests founded in 1824 in France. Oblate translated means ‘total giving’ or sacrifice, and this is what those ordained set out to achieve by means of missionary work.
After a period working in Oregon in the US, Father Pandosy and Father Pierre Richard established a Mission in the Okanagan area in 1859. Their Mission in what is now known as Mission Creek was lovingly tended and nourished for thirty years. It became a local focus for religious, cultural and social happenings whilst they built up a large farm and cattle ranch. They also built the region’s first church and school.
Many years ago in the Okanagan region of British Columbia, Canada, workers and settlers were sought to provide vitality and prosperity to the valley. Someone at that time envisaged the notion of giving many of
the area’s pleasant towns and villages attractive place names to attract people from other parts of the country. Examples are such as Summerland and Peachland – both offer an enduring image of idyllic destinations with the accent on nature’s beauty. Another such place was the quaintly named Cherryville and it’s to this area we were drawn on two occasions during the past week. Specifically to visit friends at a camp site situated in Echo Lake Provincial Park.
Cherryville was originally a gold mining camp way back in the 1860s’ and was at that time populated by a hundred people, many of them Chinese miners. The area got it’s name from the wild Choke Cherries that grew along the banks of the local creek. Overshadowed by the spectacular Monashee Mountains, Echo Lake gains it’s name from the echo provided across the water from standing in the foothills of these mighty hills.
Driving north from Kelowna and past the now familiar Kalamalka Lake, we hit the small city of Vernon and turned right to the small community of Lumby before heading off down a gravel road which saw our little Mitsubishi skittering about the unmade surface, churning up a dust storm to match the one created by the pick-up truck being tenuously steered in front of us.