Ryga house up for sale

The former home of playwright George Ryga, for many years a literary landmark, is now up for sale.

George Ryga lived in Summerland from 1962 until his death in 1987. Much of his writing was done at his home on Caldwell Street.

The former home of playwright George Ryga, for many years a literary landmark, is now up for sale.

Keith Ferlin, chair of the George Ryga Centre Society, said the society does not have enough money to maintain the aging house on Caldwell Street.

The asking price is $437,000.

The house has been designated as a heritage building and as a result, the new owner cannot have it taken down and cannot make drastic modifications to the building.

“You have to leave the exterior as it is,” Ferlin said.

Ryga lived in Summerland from 1962 until his death in 1987 at the age of 55. The majority of his plays were written in the house.

Ryga was a pioneer in establishing modern Canadian theatre. His most famous play, The Ecstasy of Rita Joe, was written in 1967 and has become a modern classic, taught in post-secondary institutions worldwide.

Other plays include Grass and Wild Strawberries, Captives of the Faceless Drummer and Hungry Hills. Another book, Summerland, contains unpublished selections from stories, plays, poems, novels and essays written while he lived here.

The centre was established in February, 1996 and functioned as a cultural centre and occasional writers’ retreat until early 2012.

Over the years, the Ryga Centre held concerts and workshops with Bill Henderson, Roy Forbes, Valdy and Gary Fjellgaard.

Peter Hay, a former publisher who worked with Ryga, said efforts were made to keep the house as a cultural centre.

Three years ago, the society had looked to have Okanagan College to take over the house, but this plan fell through.

“Okanagan College was the only viable solution,” Hay said.

Ferlin said the response to the Ryga Centre in Summerland had not been enthusiastic.

“This community was never going to embrace the centre,” he said.

While the society is folding, Ferlin and Hay said they want to ensure Ryga’s legacy continues.

Once the house is sold and the bills paid, the remainder of the money will likely go to a foundation to fund a scholarship in Ryga’s honour.

Ferlin said Ryga was able to get his start as a writer when received a scholarship to the Banff School of Fine Arts in Alberta.

Ryga’s legacy is also being honoured through the annual George Ryga Award for Social Awareness in Literature.

 

The award, initiated by the George Ryga Society, B.C. BookWorld, CBC Radio in Kelowna and Okanagan College, has been presented annually since 2003. It is given to a B.C. writer who has achieved an outstanding degree of social awareness in a new book.

 

 

Just Posted

Stolen car now returned to Summerland dealership

Vehicle was stolen on same day as attempted carjacking incident

Summerland graduates receive awards and bursaries

Presentations were made during Summerland Secondary School’s graduation

South Okanagan could be home to the area’s next craft brewery

A public hearing about the proposed brewery will take place at Penticton city hall on Aug. 6

Okanagan society sends seniors, shut-ins on boat excursions

Okanagan Quality Life Society has been providing Okanagan Lake boat rides for nearly 30 years

A rainy July is normal for the Okanagan

Rainy days in July haven’t been seen since before 2014

Kelowna’s Okanagan Regional Library may not look like the one you grew up with!

New technology and arts programming transforms library operations

Canada Forces Snowbirds making quick trip to South Okanagan

Planes will be touching down at the Penticton airport to refuel

Olympic softball qualifier gets $150K boost from provincial government

2019 Americas Qualifier to be held in Surrey from Aug. 25-Sept. 1

Gas price inquiry questions Trans Mountain capacity, company denies collusion

The first of up to four days of oral hearings in the inquiry continue in Vancouver

Okanagan woman heads up college foundation board

Gladys Fraser of Vernon brings experience to role as chair of Okanagan College Foundation board

‘Benzos’ and fentanyl a deadly cocktail causing a growing concern on B.C. streets

Overdoses caused by benzodiazepines can’t be reversed with opioid-overdose antidote naloxone

Rock the Lake music festival in Okanagan nears Saturday night sellout

Aug. 10th show is nearly sold out and three-day weekend passes are almost gone as well

Police recover $12,700 in stolen pet food from North Shuswap property

Chase RCMP execute third search of property where stolen vehicles, illegal firearms seized

Hergott: Medical cannabis and ICBC

ICBC might start reimbursing the expense of cannabis just like they do for prescription medications

Most Read