George Ryga’s legacy should continue

A glorious celebration was held on George Ryga’s 81st birthday, on Saturday afternoon, July 27, at his former home on Caldwell Road.

by Keith Ferlin

A glorious celebration was held on George Ryga’s 81st birthday, on Saturday afternoon, July 27, at his former home on Caldwell Road.

Through the gracious invitation of the new owner of the Ryga heritage house, Dianne Hiebert, the George Ryga Cultural Society brought together friends and family of the late writer to share in music, stories, good food and wine.

We all felt George’s spirit as we gathered in the lower garden, now lovingly tended to by Ryan Hiebert, Dianne’s son.

What a blessing that Dianne had the vision and courage to undertake the required repairs and upgrades that were beyond the resources of the Society and to embrace the spirit of the property that first captivated George and Norma back in 1962.

As we sat around reconnecting with old friends and meeting new ones, I felt a return of the spirit that was once a hallmark of gatherings at the Rygas’ home. This collaborative spirit with which George approached life and work had its roots  in his Depression-era upbringing in the scattered farming community of Athabasca.

Then I thought how good it would be to extend his approach to our own community in Summerland.

If we all could provide support to the efforts of various volunteer groups ­such as the Philosophers Café,  Good Will Shakespeare, the Friends of the Library or the Ornamental Gardens, the Art Gallery, to mention but a few — how much richer all our lives would be? That’s why I’d like to see George Ryga’s birthday observed around each July 27 with a festival celebrating him and our living artists.

The proceeds from the sale of the house now allow the Society to help fund such new initiatives for Ryga Week, and to continue support for the long-established  George Ryga Book Awards.

The Ryga Society looks forward to working with various groups to celebrate the contribution George Ryga made to Canadian culture and to keep alive his progressive humanitarian legacy.

Keith Ferlin is the president of the George Ryga Cultural Society.


Just Posted

COLUMN: Much to enjoy at Ryga Arts Festival

As I learn about George Ryga and his contributions, it is clear why this festival carries his name

Art and music at Summerland Ornamental Gardens

Second event of the summer will be held Sunday, Aug. 25

New Penticton/Kelowna transit route ready to roll out

Route 70 Penticton/Kelowna will provide a direct trip to Kelowna from Penticton and Summerland

South Okanagan powwow strikes a chord on the human level for federal minister

Canada’s Minister of Indigenous Services Seamus O’Regan was the special guest at powwow

Summerland’s downtown has gone through numerous changes

Main Street has been commercial hub of community for many years

VIDEO: Could we BE any more excited? ‘Friends’ fans go crazy for merch

Movie theatres will show select episodes to mark the NBC series’ 25th anniversary

Penticton man sentenced in non-fatal 2017 shooting

Elkena Michael Knauff sentenced to seven and a half months in jail

Bodies of two missing Surrey men found near Ashcroft

Ryan Provencher and Richard Scurr have been missing since July 17

Kamloops RCMP locate and arrest man who fled from police

The 22-year-old male was wanted in relation to a domestic violence investigation

Five hedgehogs quickly adopted after being left at BC SPCA

Lucky new owners picked up their pets from Maple Ridge branch on Aug. 20

Okanagan RCMP superintendent helps with arrest

Vernon Supt. Shawna Baher arrests man for theft; turns out to be suspect in assault and robbery

Kelowna man arrested after allegedly setting blaze near Fire Department

The man was allegedly seen lighting bushes on fire near the Kelowna Fire Department

B.C. cricket players get interrupted by racist remark

Community has had protocols in place for years to respond to prejudice

Most Read