Okanagan Explosion

By: Courtney Sinclair


The first claim of gold was found in 1887. The town of Fairview is located on the benches above Oliver to the west. Fairview was founded in 1890. Fairview became home to gold miners, ranchers and businessmen. The town of Fairview's post ended in 1926. Reed and Ryan panned for gold in the mountain creeks on the west side of the Okanagan Valley in 1869. Prospectors staked gold mining claims in the mountains on Oliver in 1887. Small mining towns started to for in 1888. From 1890 to 1902 mining activity expanded in both areas (Fairview and Camp McKinney).

Mining paid a very important roll in the formation of the Okanagan Valley. Mining in the Okanagan was that in encouraged more settlers to the Okanagan. Also there were a lot of mines in the Okanagan.

The Okanagan Fur Brigade Trail was used by miners heading to the gold fields. The Cariboo gold field was known to miners using it as the Brigade Trail.

Early European Profile: David Douglas

David Doulas was born June 25th, 1799 in Scone, Scotland. He was a son of a stonemason. Douglas made three separate trips from England to North America exploring the Scottish highlands, North America, and Hawaii.

His reason for settlement in the Okanagan was that he was sent by the Hudson bay Company to explore more land.

David Douglas was compelled to climb a peak called Mount Brown to take in the view. This made him the first mountaineer in North America. Also he introduced the Douglas-fir into cultivation in 1827. He introduced almost 254 plant species of plants to Britain.

When he was in the Okanagan Valley, he found gold along the Okanagan lake. This making him the first person to find gold there.

Today David Douglas is know for a lot of things. Not only for finding gold in the Okanagan area, but for all of the plant species he found, like the Douglas-fir. A monument was built were he died in Hawaii and a Douglas-fir is planted there. Plants and animals have "douglasii" in their scientific name.

Driving Question

The impact that David Douglas had on the growth and development of the Okanagan Valley was that he was the first person to discover gold along the Okanagan Lake. Without David Douglas's discovery, the Okanagan Valley would not have been as great of a settlement . Mining was so important to the Okanagan. If no gold was discovered at that time in history, settlers would not have been convinced to move to the Okanagan. Thanks to David Douglas the Okanagan is a very successful settlement.

Interesting Facts

David Douglas Park was used in World War 2 as interim housing for shipyard workers living in trailers. There is a high school in Portland, Oregon named after David Douglas. David Douglas explored the Bear Creek area.