Warning: Illegal string offset 'active' in /home/osoyoosm/public_html/templates/js_cascada/html/overrides/pagination.php on line 29

Warning: Illegal string offset 'active' in /home/osoyoosm/public_html/templates/js_cascada/html/overrides/pagination.php on line 35

Warning: Illegal string offset 'active' in /home/osoyoosm/public_html/templates/js_cascada/html/overrides/pagination.php on line 29

Warning: Illegal string offset 'active' in /home/osoyoosm/public_html/templates/js_cascada/html/overrides/pagination.php on line 35

Warning: Illegal string offset 'active' in /home/osoyoosm/public_html/templates/js_cascada/html/overrides/pagination.php on line 29

Warning: Illegal string offset 'active' in /home/osoyoosm/public_html/templates/js_cascada/html/overrides/pagination.php on line 35

Warning: Illegal string offset 'active' in /home/osoyoosm/public_html/templates/js_cascada/html/overrides/pagination.php on line 29

Warning: Illegal string offset 'active' in /home/osoyoosm/public_html/templates/js_cascada/html/overrides/pagination.php on line 35

Warning: Illegal string offset 'active' in /home/osoyoosm/public_html/templates/js_cascada/html/overrides/pagination.php on line 29

Warning: Illegal string offset 'active' in /home/osoyoosm/public_html/templates/js_cascada/html/overrides/pagination.php on line 35

The History of Agriculture in Osoyoos

The Railroad

First Train Arrives – 1944
(from the Osoyoos Times ‘Pioneers Edition’, November 15, 1973)

Thursday, December 29th, 1944, found the 1200 residents of Osoyoos clustered around two strips of metal approaching from the north that represented a quarter of a century of petitioning and hard work.  The railway had finally arrived in Osoyoos.

Twenty-five years prior to the arrival of the first train, the Provincial Government had entered into an agreement with the railway that outlined the construction of a railway from Penticton to Osoyoos as development warranted.  This plan was prompted by a vision held by Premier John Oliver, who envisioned the south Okanagan as a valley of thriving agriculture and happily settled war veterans.

These nine and one half miles of steel track from south of Oliver to Osoyoos were the first laid since the war – other than what was essential for the war effort, that is.  The track was an extension of the track beyond Oliver and ran to the newly constructed depot [which now houses the Lake of Osoyoos Sailing Club] nestled on the edge of southern Osoyoos Lake.

The railway was finally brought to Osoyoos in part due to the growing population, which had doubled in the past three years, and in part due to the blossoming fruit industry.  There were 1800 acres of orchard land already under cultivation at this time, and another 1500 available for development.  The valley aimed to become the richest orchard district in Canada within ten years.  The $300,000 railway allowed for easy shipping of the fruit up the valley to larger centres and connected the little town of Osoyoos to the rest of Canada.

The coming of the railway was said to mark the end of an era for the little town.  As Reeve R.J. MacDougall commented, “Osoyoos is no longer a cow corral.  The whistling of this train bids farewell to cowboy and miner.”  As predicted, the coming of the train encouraged the continued growth of the fruit industry and promoted the area as a tourist retreat.

The first train to pull into the Osoyoos Station was a five-car special train; it was welcomed by the Oliver High School brass band and the throngs of townspeople and visitors who waited in the cold for the monumental arrival.  The honour of driving in the last spike was given to George Fraser, a pioneer resident and then-president of the Osoyoos Co-operative Growers’ Association.

The arrival of the train was followed up with a great luncheon at the community hall and a night of games and dancing.

This article in the Times consisted of another article, one written by Jack Strickland, a correspondent for the Vancouver Daily Province, who was present at the event.  Osoyoos did not have its own newspaper at that time.