Okanagan Explosion

Social Studys 9 Joel Haymour

History of mining in the Okanagan Valley

Mining was the first step in many steps to the growth and impact on the beautiful Okanagan Vally. Gold was discovered in California in 1848 and after that miners were getting very wealthy for their discoveries of gold in California but were starting to run out of gold! Finding gold was getting harder and harder. In 1833 David Douglas was the first recorded man to find gold in the Okanagan. No one bothered to come over and search for gold how ever. That meant people waited and once the gold was discovered in California, the gold rush was on. The California Gold Rush was coming to an end and miners needed somewhere else to find gold. With the recording of gold in the Okanagan miners were starting to come over slowly but surely and more and more gold was being discovered right here in the Okanagan. In the year 1850 the first gold discovery was in the creeks near Kamloops. After that Bear creek on the westside of the Okanagan Lakes then in mission creek followed by Rock creek and lastly Fraser River. Miners were drifting west to find more gold near these locations. Thirty-Thousand miners had moved to B.C territory and had to fight with the natives to stake their clams. The Okanagan "Rush" was in full effect. With all of these miners coming down to the valley, It brought a great opportunity for Ranchers to come down as well and sell beef plus other meats to the miners. Now, with Miners and Ranchers in the Okanagan, other people were starting to realize what the Okanagan has to offer. Miners and Ranchers where starting to settle right here in Kelowna and that was a big step to the growth of the Okanagan Valley. Father Pandosy also had a big impact on the growth of the Valley by persuading numerous Europeans to come to the Okanagan and settle. Edgar Dewdney, a british engineer, was commissioned to build a wagon road from Hope through to the gold fields in the kootenays. With the fur Brigade trail running right through the Okanagan, it provided an easy way in and out of the valley. Also, since it was running through the okanagan it made the most sense for people to settle in the Okanagan which would allow them to get in and out of the valley the easiest and most efficient.

David Douglas Profile

Early History

David Douglas was born in the village of Scone, Scotland on June 25, 1799. Douglas worked at the Botanical Garden in Glasgow at the age of 11. He quickly became familiar with British botanist Sir William Jackson Hooker and attended many of his lectures. In 1823, Hooker's recommended Douglas to the Royal Horticultural Society to choose Douglas as a botanical collector. In 1824 he boarded a Hudson bay vesicle headed to Fort Vancouver. He then visited Fort Vancouver 4 more times. That was the start to Douglas' very successful career.

Reasons for settlement in the Okanagan Valley

David Douglas actually never settled in the Okanagan Valley, surprisingly. He was originally from Scotland but he shortly moved to London where he would rest after his trips down to either Fort Vancouver or the coast of California where he would make his recordings and discoveries. The reason why he didn't settle is because part of Douglas' duties were to send new plant species back to the gardens of Scotland and it was easier for him to send them from London appose to Fort Vancouver. Also the Company that he worked for was based out of London so it made the most scene to settle in London.

Early Accomplishments

In Europe, David Douglas joined the Botanical Garden at the age of 11 and seven years later was recruited by the Royal Horticultural Society to travel to North America and record new discoveries of plant species. Douglas discovered around 240 new plant species over the course of his 3 trips down the North America.

Accomplishments in Okanagan Valley

Although discovering over 240 new plant species in North America, he surprisingly did not make any recordings of new plants while in the Okanagan. He did find something, though, that dramatically helped the growth of the Okanagan its self. David Douglas was the first to record that there was gold in the Okanagan Valley near the Okanagan Lake in 1833. Now that didn't mean that all the miners came over to the Okanagan after this recording. It actually took them about 15 years to finally come over and start searching for gold according the Douglas' recordings. After that that Okanagan was increasing in people, size and resources. Douglas helped sparked this cites growth efficiently.

Legacy Today

In appreciation to Douglas' amazing plant discoveries, There were numerous plants named in his honour. Some of them including, the Douglas Fir, Douglas Maple, Douglas Spirea, Douglas Water-Hemlock and the Douglas Aster. There were also several Hawaiian plants named in his honour as well. Douglas introduced hundreds of species of plants to this world and his desire for plants was amazing. Therefor, plants have been named in his honour.

Driving Question

The impact David Douglas had on the growth and development of the Okanagan Valley was very important and is overlooked by most people. First of all, if he had not made his recordings of his findings of gold in the Okanagan, none of the miners would have thought to have come half around the world to this specific part called the Okanagan after the California Gold Rush was over. Miners after the California gold rush were trying to find new places to mine for gold. If David Douglas did not make this recording who knows where the miners would have gone. Thanks to Douglas, over thirty-thousand miners came into British Columbia Territories to search for gold. With 4 out of the 5 sightings being right here in Kelowna, it sparked this city dramatically. Also with all these miners down in the Okanagan it brought a great and successful opportunity for Ranchers to come down to the Okanagan and sell there meats to them. In conclusion, Douglas' impact may have been overlooked by many people but in reality we owe a lot of gratitude to David Douglas and we should be thankful he recorded something other than plants for once in his life!

Interesting Facts

Douglas was only the second European to reach the summit of the Mauna Loa volcano.

He died while climbing Mauna Kea in Hawaii at the age of 35 in 1834. He apparently fell into a pit trap and was possibly crushed by a bull that fell into the same trap.

In Vancouver and Washington he is remembered at the David Douglas Park which was used during World War II as interim housing for the Kaiser Shipyard workers living in little silver trailers, giving the area the brief nickname during the era of "Trailer Terrace Park.