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The Okanagan Valley Land Company — a bit of history

Okanagan Valley Land Company map, 1906
Okanagan Valley Land Company map, 1906

Land development in Lake Country was initiated by the Maddock brothers who, in 1892, bought up thousands of acres of land spanning a good part of Lake Country, an area from the Rainbow Ranche south to McKinley’s Landing, and from Okanagan Lake east to the flats of Winfield.

Vincent and Homer Maddock were from eastern Canada, and are believed to have purchased the land in the Okanagan as absentee owners. They were instrumental in the development of the area although they didn’t actually move to Okanagan Centre until 1906. They began development immediately thereafter, undoubtedly encouraged by earlier property developments in Peachland, Summerland and Naramata where irrigation infrastructure allowed for subdivision of rangeland into highly productive orchards. By 1908 the Maddock brothers had nearly completed the main line of an irrigation system from Beaver Lake to Okanagan Centre.

Opening of the Okanagan Valley Packinghouse, 1908
Opening of the Okanagan Valley Packinghouse in Okanagan Centre, 1908

The two brothers sold their holdings to the Trusts and Guarantee Co. Ltd. of Toronto in 1908. To develop and sell the subdivided lands, that company set up the Okanagan Valley Land Company Ltd. and the Okanagan Centre Irrigation and Power Company Ltd. With C.P.R sternwheelers stopping daily at the community wharf, Okanagan Centre had access to the markets of the world and was ready to boom.

Photo Sources: Okanagan Valley Land Company map is courtesy of the Kelowna Public Archives; the Opening of the Okanagan Valley Packinghouse in Okanagan Centre photograph is the property of the Lake Country Museum and Archives. Click photographs to enlarge.

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