This week, Feb. 17 to 23, is British Columbia’s Heritage Week.
This is the 29th year that Summerland has selected a heritage building, a heritage site and a heritage tree.
For this year, the Heritage Advisory Commission’s heritage building is the Ted and Ina Atkinson home located at the corner of Hillborn Street and Canyon View Road; adjacent to Summerland Sweets.
This year’s heritage site is the location of the legendary Sam McGee home on Lister Avenue.
The heritage tree is the twin stewarti cypress trees at 6310 Peach Orchard Rd., at the second house below Switchback Road.
Ted and Ina Atkinson were two of our town’s most respected citizens.
He started to work at the Summerland Research Station in 1929.
For 36 years, he was a world renown fruit scientist. He was also a municipal councillor for nine years and our reeve for eight years.
He was the Chamber of Commerce president in 1940 and again in 1964.
His very popular company, Summerland Sweets, first became operational in 1962.
The Atkinsons were co-winners of the Good Citizen’s Cup in 1955.
The Atkinson home was built in 1936 by Bill and Tom Nelson.
The architecture of the home features several tudor elements including, half-timbering, steep pitched roofs and prominent central doorways.
Following each selection of a heritage home, Summerland artist Ken Ballantyne provides a pen and ink drawing of the building for our museum. The complete collection of drawings are prominently displayed at the museum.
The heritage site is the location of the Sam McGee home on Lister Avenue in Prairie Valley.
The poet Robert Service’s poem, The Cremation of Sam McGee, is one of the best-selling poems of all time. There really was a Sam McGee and he moved to Summerland in 1909.
One of the reasons he chose Summerland was because his wife Ruth, had two sisters who lived here.
McGee was a road engineer and he worked for the District of Summerland. He moved to Alberta in 1912. His Summerland home was destroyed by fire in 1935.
Summerland’s Peach Orchard area has a unique mirco-environment where many types of plants only grow well in this location. A good example is this year’s heritage trees: stewarti cypress.
These twin trees are located along Peach Orchard Road.
The trees prefer cool moist climates and does not tolerate heat and sunshine. It is native to southwest Oregon and northern California and rarely seen in the Okanagan Valley.