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Historic Westbank History

Dates and Events of Impotance


For over 100 years Westbank was an unincorporated town just like many others in BC and across Canada. This is a timeline of what was Westbank and the issues and problems that might help to explain what has happened to the community of Westbank.

1811---Before Westbank became a settled area, it was recognized as an early trading centre and became the place where the fur traders met on the Old Caribou Trail--the Cairn at the corner of Main St. and Old Okanagan Hwy commemorates this.
1811-1848--First Name of Area---Area named MacDonald's Plain after an officer with the Hudson's Bay Company, This name was forgotten in 1848 with the abandonment of the Okanagan Brigade Trail following the settlement of the International Boundary in 1848.
1842---Chief Tomat born, place of birth unknown--in 1920 became the first chief of the Okanagan Indian Band which included the West bank area--Chief Tomat School is named in his honour.
1872---Susan Allison became the first white woman to settle on the west bank of Okanagan Lake.
1872-1881--Second Name of Area--Area named Sunnyside by Susan Allison. (Allison home-- Quail's Gate Wine Store) After the disas trous loss of 1000 head of cattle in the winter of 1880-81 the Allisons left Sunnyside. The name Sunnyside was lost for there were no other settlers to remember. In 1931 an article appeared in the Vancouver Province about a book about the pioneers. Dorothy Gellatly corresponded with the author of a book in which Susan Allison's recollections were published and so the revival of the name Sunny side".
1873--First white child born on west bank of Okanagan Lake--Jan. 2nd Susan Allison gave birth to her 4th child, Louisa 1890--Robert Goldie pre-empted the flat once known as MacDonald's Plain (at what was to become the new town site of Westbank) Here he built a home -later abandoned. The house is is still standing on Elliott Rd. in Westbank. This is the oldest building in Westbank.
1889---Billy Powers pre-empted the flat -it became known as Powers Flat. It was abandoned in 1890. Powers Creek is named after Billy Powers.
1894--First white Birth recorded--(Royal BC Archives)--John Clarence Davidson--District of Westbank.
1897---First school opened to serve children of the Shannon Lake area.
1900--First settlers into Glenrosa area--David Strang and his mother. Three yrs. later 1903--Mr. LD Hitchner 1900---The Gellatlys arrive to take passion of the area known as Powers Flat. This area became known as Gellatly Flat. The land was cleared, greenhouses were built and tomatoes were planted. Mr. Gellatly became known as the "Tomato King of the Okanagan." Some of the original buildings can be seen at the Gellatly Heritage Park and the Gellaly Nut Farm in Westbank.
1901---Third Name of Area--Westside--Leonard Hayman always claimed that the entire stretch of country on the west bank of Okanagan Lake from Whitman's Creek south was generally known as "Westside."
1901--The next settlers took up land around a lake known as tenas by the Indians (meaning small) The lake became known as Shannon Lake.
1901--Fourth Name of Area--Hall's Landing. After Mr. Goldie's departure Mr. Robert Hall entered into partnership with Shannon Mar shall to grow grain on the "Goldie Flat." Equipment for harvesting was delivered on the beach of Okanagan Lake where a small wharf called Halls Landing was built.
1902---Fifth Name of Area--Westbank The first Westbank Post Office was started at Shannon Lake. The post office was named Westbank by John Davidson and Shannon Marshall was the first Post Master.
1903---Post office established at Gellatly--closing in 1926--it's later quarters being in the "big house" Mr. Gellatly built as a surprise for his wife while she was holidaying in Scotland in 1908.
1908--The Westbank post office located at Shannon Lake,was moved to the new town site of Westbank.
1908--School built in new town site of Westbank.
1912---Sub Westbank Post Office established in Glenrosa--closing in 1933.
1913---School Built in Glenrosa--closed in 1942 because there were only 8 children attending. Glenrosa students attended school in West bank.
1914/18-WW 1 -Westbank men that gave their lives for Canada -Henry Richmond, Cryil Gore, Walter d'Aeth.
1922---Westbank Irrigation District formed.
1924--Captain Len Hayman launched Aricia -Ferry known as the Kelowna-Westbank Ferry.
1927---Westbank Community Hall built by volunteer material and labour.
1928---Westbank Women's Institute -members worked to better conditions in their somewhat scattered district which reached from the Westbank ferry landing across from Kelowna to the Peachland boundary. They were instrumental in naming many of the streets in honour of the early pioneers and founded the Westbank Fall Fair.
1939---Electric power to Westbank.
1939---Westbank and District Chamber of Commerce was formed--first called Westbank Board of Trade.
1939/45-WW 2-Westbank men that gave their lives for Canada -names on Cairn outside Westbank Community Hall --Flt.Sgt. Leonard Hoskins RCAF, Flying Officer Vernon Yeulett, Tpr. Frank Browne, Flying Officer Rev. George Pringle--minister at Peachland and Westbank United Church. (school named after him) Cpl. TR Clough, Flt. Lt. Fred Ewer, Jack Currie--(Korean War).
1947---Veterans Land Act VLA (Lakeview Heights-named by Geoff Gray in approx.1951) divided into 12 acre parcels for Canadian re turning servicemen.
1949---Rose Valley Dam built.
1950---MLA WC Bennett declared that long range plans call for a modern highway on both sides of Okanagan Lake from Penticton to Vernon with a bridge across the center of the lake between Kelowna and Westbank. That year Westbank's Board of Trade entered a float in the Kelowna Regatta depicting the missing link--the bridge-- and won first prize in it's class.
1950---Old pump truck converted to Westbank's first fire truck.
1950---Casa Loma consisted of three families
---VLA (Lakeview was just being settled,)
---Glenrosa -10/15 families
---Bear Creek -3 families
---The children from all of these areas attended school in Westbank.
---Westbank was the hub of all these areas and they all considered themselves a part of Westbank.
1951---Gorman's Lumber and Box Company started.
1958---The Centenial year of Brithish Columbia's history, marking the foundation of the Colony of Brithish Columbia, the Kelowna to Westbank bridge was officially opened by HRH Princess Margaret.
1958---Lakeview Heights Community Hall dedicated.
1963--Our local Indian Band separated from the Okanagan Indian Band and took the name Westbank First Nation to be in harmony with the place in which they lived, Westbank. The settlers had been using the name Westbank since 1902.
1965---Pendozi Ferry returned to Westbank as the Westbank Yacht Club located in Gellatly Bay.
1965---Constable Neil Bruce was shot in Powers Creek Canyon and died from his wounds. Constable Neil Bruce Middle School is named in his honour.
1967---Regional District formed and divided the area into Electoral Area G--Lakeview Heights north to the north of West Shore Estates and Area Electoral H -Westbank, creating an official provincial split in the community.
1969/75-Many of the first subdivisions were started (eg.Green Bay, Sunnyside, Glenrosa, Shannon Lake). 1970---The V0H 2A0 Westbank, BC postal code which applied to all the land from the bridge to Peachland was divided into V1Z Kelowna, BC. and V4T Westbank BC ,further dividing the community with a separate delivery system, postal code, and name. From this point on, some people that moved into the V1Z area began identifying with Kelowna and some thought they were living in a part of Kelowna. Public input not allowed in this postal change.
1972---The Westbank section in the local phonebook was removed and the Westbank names, addresses and phone numbers were mingled with the Kelowna section. Further loss of our community identity. Public input was not asked for or allowed in this change.
1974---Public discussion of incorporation failed to go to referendum.
1980---Referendum including Area G and Area H to determine incorporation. It was defeated by 87%.
1982---Westbank Museum officially opened.
1982---The Westbank and Lakeview Heights Fire protection Districts amalgamated in response to a growing population to form the Westside Fire Protection District.
1985---Creation of the couplet- businesses wanted the traffic, residents didn't want it. Province forced it. Public input not listened to.
1987---An aquatic center was built by the community of Westbank as a memorial to the Johnson and Bentley families who tragically lost their lives. There were heated disscusions as to where the pool would be built, either at Mt. Boucherie Complex or downtown West bank and this caused a rift between some residents in Area G and Area H. A referendum was held in Lakeview - Area G to determine if the taxpayers in those communities would share in the ongoing costs. It was defeated. Westbank taxpayers bore the capital costs of the aquatic centre alone.

For more information on what the Historic Westbank Association is all about we would invite you to view our "about us" page.

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