James Ritchie’s Garnet Valley Land Company developed Garnet Valley in Summerland, and his company created the valley’s water and road systems.
On Saturday June 6, 1908, the company’s dam at Garnet Lake failed. A huge wall of water raced down Garnet Valley and down Peach Orchard Road into Okanagan Lake. The road, bridges and culverts were damaged.
Jim Mitchell’s orchard at the entrance of Garnet Valley and J.M. Sutherland’s orchard were severely damaged.
Hector Sutherland’s home at the top of Peach Orchard Road was completely destroyed by the flood. Hector Sutherland, former MLA of Manitoba had just moved to Summerland the year previously.
The flood of 1908 is not the first time Summerland has been affected by flooding.
Trout Creek sustained flood damage in 1972. High water in 1948 caused flood damage in Summerland and around the Okanagan Valley.
In 2017 and 2018, high snow pack levels resulted in two consecutive years of flooding in the Garnet Valley area and at Okanagan Lake. Some of the damage from these floods can be seen today along parts of the shoreline in Summerland.
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