Okanagan Explosion: Final Task

By: Sean Steeves

History of the Missionaries in the Okanagan Valley

Origins/ Dates

The last of the fur brigades passed through the Okanagan Valley in 1847, this was about the time that the Catholic Church decided they needed a presence in the new land. So they sent a group of Oblates which included Father Pandosy. This group left Europe in 1847, the same year the last of the fur brigades passed through the Okanagan. Father Pandosy and other Missionaries brought new settlers to the land that they were developing which helped start Father Pandosy`s Mission. This group of Missionaries, including William Peon who was a friend of Father Pandosy and the first person to claim Mission Creek, were given permission to develop the Okanagan area from the Aboriginals.


The Missionaries were able to start one of the first settlements in the BC interior and bring in new settlers, using the Fur Brigade Trail, which increased the population of the area. They were able to bring in many materials to help develop the area with the help of this trail as well.

Okanagan Fur Brigade Trail and the Missionaries

The Okanagan Fur Brigade Trail was a trail that ran from Fort Astoria to Fort MacLeon. This trail provided a reliable, safer route for people to travel on. It also helped in allowing more people to come in and out of the Okanagan Valley which helped to increase the population and develop the area greater. The Fur Brigade Trail was also a great route because it was much safer than other dangerous routes; it allowed people to bring supplies to the Okanagan easily and it eventually became a route for miners.

Interesting Facts

  • Father Pandosy built his churches with Gothic, arched windows
  • Today, there is a care taker that gives people tours of the Pandosy heritage site

Charles John Felix Adolph Pandosy

Early History

He was a part of a small group of Oblates, at age 24, who left their mother house near Marseilles in 1847, and sailed to the new world. He began planning to start a new, in the Colony which was British Columbia in 1858, but before he went to do this, he gathered supplies from Coleville, just across the border, and bought settlers who wanted to join him. After arriving, he was given permission to settle from Chief Capot Blance, one of the Aboriginal cheifs in the area, who he happened to be friends with.

Reasons for Settling

Some of the reasons for Pandosy to settle was that he wanted to be able to start a new and the area he was starting a new in was a very plentiful land that was good for growing. Also, they had access to the Fur Brigade Trail. This was great for him because he wanted people to be able to travel in and out of the Okanagan Valley so that he could make his Church and School in the Mission popular.

Early Accomplishments

He was 24 when he left France to travel to the new land so being part of the Oblates took up the majority of Father Pandosy`s life in Marseilles, France. He was also the representative for the Catholic Church in the new land from England.

Accomplishments in the Okanagan

Father Pandosy had set up a Church and a school in the Mission area he had created. He had attracted many settlers to the area with his Mission area, which was the first non-aboriginal settlement in the BC interior aside from small HBC forts. Father Pandosy`s Mission lived on for many years after his death, being rebuilt after partially surviving fires, and is now a heritage site.


Father Pandosy`s Mission had been a place of worship for 44 years, but, 1947 saw the property sold again. Father Pandosy`s original sawn wood church was sold and moved from the area. In 1983, the original mission site was designated as a BC heritage site. Pandosy`s Mission ins now 4 acres and other historical buildings have been put there.

Driving Question

The impact Father Pandosy had on the growth and the development of the Okanagan valley was that he developed and started the first civilization in the Okanagan and he brought along with him, both the Catholic presence, and many other settlers to become part of his civilization. He created a church and a school which started the development of the area. His settlement invited more people in because it was located in the rain shadow and it was on a very plentiful piece of land. Also, it was very close to the Fur Brigade Trail so it allowed people to travel to Father Pandosy`s mission even easier.