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Wharf has been part of Summerland’s history

Canadian Pacific Railway constructed wharf in 1910
Summerland’s wharf was in use beginning in 1910. By the 1970s, it had deteriorated and was demolished in the 1990s; (Photo courtesy of the Summerland Museum)

A pier on Okanagan Lake in Summerland has a long history.

In the early days of Summerland, transportation was a challenge. Roads connecting Summerland to neighbouring communities were poor. Travelling to Penticton usually included the “Back Road,” which is Shingle Creek Road. Going north to Peachland included going “Over the Hump,” the government road that crossed the bridge over Garnet Lake and then the steep descent to Peachland.

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There was a Lakeshore Road by 1907, but the road was subject to flooding as there was no control of lake levels.

The best choice was by boat for passengers and freight.

In June 1910, the Canadian Pacific Railway built its wharf in Summerland. This new wharf suddenly changed the economy of Summerland. The community now had a bigger market for its produce. The process included the use of railway cars. Cars would be filled, and with the use of a barge and steamer, sailed to Vernon and connected the cars to the CPR railway.

The cost of the new wharf was $50,000. The engineer was E.A. Jamieson. The wharf included a cold storage facility , plant station, freight shed and the slip dock with the railway cars. At the shoreline of the wharf was a packing house. The large timbers for the wharf was supplied by James Fyffe.

In July 1910, there was a fruit packing school and the first term included 15 students.

With the completion of the wharf, the 1910 Fall Fair was held at the packing house. Summerland attempted to coordinate the fall fair with the arrival of Sir Thomas Shaughnessy’s Annual CPR Inspection Tour.

Shaughnessy’s Summerland Development Company had built the community’s water, electrical and road systems. During Shaughnessy visit in 1910, he sold these three utilities to the District of Summerland. The reeve (mayor) at that time was R.H. Agur.

By the 1970s, the wharf was starting to show its age and eventually the wharf was demolished.

In the 1990s, the Summerland Kiwanis Club, the Summerland Rotary Club and with the help of numerous donations, funded and built a new wharf at the same location. The wharf was officially opened July 1, 1999.

At present, the wharf’s timbers are failing and unsafe.

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Sternwheelers were once docked at the wharf in Summerland. (Photo courtesy of the Summerland Museum)
The wharf has had an extensive history, dating to 1910. (Photo courtesy of the Summerland Museum)

John Arendt

About the Author: John Arendt

John Arendt has worked as a journalist for more than 30 years. He has a Bachelor of Applied Arts in Journalism degree from Ryerson Polytechnical Institute.
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