Citizens for a Historic Westbank
Too Protect - Preserve and Promote - Westbank, BC - V4T

Westbank History


     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 further information and more recent History of  Westbank, please go to the "What Has Happened" link or  CLICK  HERE

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