Okanagan Explosion

Socials 9 By: Erin Brown

Early Agriculture


In 1886 Charles ora Card spent weeks travelling through the boundary Country and the Okanagan looking for land. Charles was unable to easily find land because most of it was owned by the cattle kings. Hiram F. was recorded as planting the first trees in the Okanagan, which were carried in from hope. In 1875-76 George Whelan and Alfred Postill were the earliest orchardists in Kelowna. In the late 1890s and the early 1900s were boom days in the fruit belt of the southern interior. The earliest reports of the Okanagan had all emphasized the potential for cattle raising in the area. This situation curtailed the development of the valley as it could only sustain a limited number of these huge ranches.


The valley had a perfect condition for orchards because of its soil and drainage. The locations assets were it's climate, the lake and the altitude. The Aberdeen's bought land and wanted to produce fruit growing. They sold land hoping it would bring in more settlers to the Okanagan. Selling orchard land to overseas buyers was highly questionable and it caused great distress to many improperly informed inexperienced purchases. As settlers came in more and more orchard grew and produced leading to the Okanagan being one of the main fruit suppliers in Canada. Canada was the biggest region for apple production in the country and second for grapes and soft fruit.

Role in the Okanagan fur Brigade trail

As the Aberdeen's bought so much land they split it up and sold it for orcharding. Lots of land was for sale therefor many settlers came flooding in to the valley. The settlers got here by the Okanagan fur brigade trail. The trail played a big part as the most efficient way to travel in and out of the valley. If the trail had not of been there things would have been very different and history would of been changed dramatically for the Okanagan.

Early European Profie- Lord Aberdeen

Early History

Lord Aberdeen was born in Edinburg Scotland. Later in 1877 he married Isabel Maria Marjoribanks. People say there marriage was a perfect love match as they had been good friends long before. Together the two had five children George, Marjorie Adeline, Dorothea, Dudley Gladstone and Archibald. He then later entered the house of lords following his brother and became lord lieutenant of Aberdeenshire in 1880. During a period of political transition the lord served as governor general of Canada from 1898-1898

Reasons for Settlement

Lord Aberdeen absolutely adored Canada so therefor travelled here often and on one occasion in 1900's his family visited Canada for Lady Aberdeen's heath. They were convinced by G.G Mackay to purchase land and that's exactly what he did, they bought 480 acres of land in the mission. In 1891 he got the ball rolling by buying hectare ranch from Vernon brothers and sowing it with fruit trees. He planted apples, peaches, apricots and cherries. As these very first crops were successful soon companies were formed to buy up land around the area.

He also purchased cold stream ranch and named it Guisachan after Lady Aberdeen's fathers estate in Scotland. The lord pursued the railway to expand causing settlers from all over to pour into the valley by train, seeking to stake land claims. The settlers were attracted by the new opportunities promised by the second change in the region, started by himself lord Aberdeen. His new idea had hit and was very popular of growing fruit orchards in the Okanagan valley's summer climate.

Early Accomplishments (Europe and United States)

Lord Aberdeen succeeded to the title and the family estates In Scotland at the early age of twenty-three. He lived in Scotland in his early life then travelled over the Atlantic and spent most of his time in Canada. Other then his estates in Scotland most of his accomplishments were in different parts of Canada. He spent Lots of time travelling with his wife but never accomplished much that was worth recording. Most of his best accomplishments took place in Canada, one of the main ones being Governor General.

Legacy Today

The Aberdeen's contributed to the start of sun ripe in the Okanagan. Being the first orchardist it started up fruit production later on and lead people to start orcharding. The Aberdeen's grew the Coldstream Ranch into one of the largest producers of fruit in the British Empire. Following the Aberdeen's early footsteps other commercial growers began planting large orchards which later on led to the large fruit production system we now have in the Okanagan. Also the S.S. Aberdeen was named after Lord and Lady Aberdeen. It was the first C.P.R. stern wheel steamer on the Okanagan Lake. The boat was built at Okanagan Landing and launched there in May, 1893. The 'Aberdeen' burned wood until 1902 and then was converted to a coal burner. The Aberdeen's impacted the Okanagan in a huge way bringing orchardists and settlers in to then form and begin our town.

Interesting Facts

-1840s in fort Langley the first apple trees in the Northwest were grown on the Hudson's bay Company farm at fort Vancouver.

-Another name for an apple box was bushel box and the apple boxes weighed 50 pounds.

- Lord and Lady Aberdeen were enthusiastic supporters of outdoor sport in Canada, and participated in curling, hockey and sleighing

What was the impact Lord Aberdeen had on the growth and development of the Okanagan Valley?

Lord Aberdeen basically started populating the valley. Deciding to buy land impacted the Okanagan intensely as it brought new settlers and orchardists into the town. There large piece of land was split up into smaller pieces and sold as more and more people came. He set an example that people followed and agreed with. Even though orcharding in the winter was not good the summer climate and aspects made up for it. Also starting up these huge orchards affected the future fruit production which is now sun ripe. Orcharding became huge in the Okanagan and kept growing as it became so successful. Another way he affected the valley was he encouraged the railway to expand making transportation in and out of the valley a lot easier. This only brought in more settlers and easier transportation another positive contribution to the valleys growth. If while he was touring Canada and he didn't stop in the Okanagan the town would of expanded a lot slower and not as prosperous. He helped start and create the area that is so fantastic today.