This week, the province of British Columbia celebrates Heritage Week from Feb. 15 to 21.
For the past 29 years, Summerland has chosen a heritage home, a heritage site and a heritage tree.
This year the selected heritage home is the C.J. Thompson home in Prairie Valley. This home is located at the southern end of Haddrell Avenue.
Summerland was incorporated at the end of the year 1906 and Thompson was on our first Council from 1907 until 1914.
Those last two years, Thompson served as Reeve (Mayor).
His home was one of the first houses built in Prairie Valley in 1904 to 1905.
The Thompson home is noted for its uniquely shaped roof.
From the founding of Summerland in 1902 until 1910, the community’s utilities were developed and upgraded by Lord Shaughnessy’s Summerland Development Company.
In 1910 Shaughnessy sold the utilities to the Corporation of the District of Summerland.
A major task of Thompson’s term on council was to continue to improve and expand the road, water and electrical systems.
Summerland was the first municipality in the Okanagan Valley to have an electrical system in 1905.
Summerland’s first electrical system used Shaughnessy Springs in Lowertown as the water supply to power the electrical generator.
To improve and expand the electrical system, Thompson’s council considered expanding the sources of water for the electrical generator to include the water from Prairie Creek and Aeneas Creek.
Water from Prairie Creek was to be stored near the Anglican Stone Church and Aeneas Creek water stored near the present day Legion.
The 2016 selected Heritage site is the bridge over Aeneas Creek in Garnett Valley. It is located at the southern end of Garnett Valley.
This bridge consists of large stones in Aeneas Creek.
It was used by fur traders and gold miners from 1826 to 1864. First Nations people used this crossing for thousands of years.
Each year a pen and ink drawing is completed of the selected heritage building and that drawing is posted at the Summerland Museum.
The theme of British Columbia’s Heritage Week is “distinctive destinations”.
For Summerland, this selection is an easy task. Summerland’s Kettle Valley Steam Railway is the most successful and most popular heritage attraction in the Okanagan Valley.
To celebrate the railway, the Heritage Advisory Commission will host railway author and historian Joe Smuin this Saturday. Joe will present the ”History of the Kettle Valley Railway” on Saturday, Feb. 20 at 1:30 at the old Summerland Library basement.
The public are welcome and admission is by donation.