1885: Prior to 1890 - Commonage Road
The Commonage Road was established prior to 1890. The original Commonage route was the main stagecoach route from Priest Valley (Vernon) to Oyama which then switched back over the ridge to the area known as Oceola Flats (Winfield) and then to its final destination at the Mission in Kelowna.
The Commonage route was one of the earliest trails leading into the area known today as Lake Country — Oyama, Carr’s Landing, Winfield and Okanagan Centre. The route took its name from the Commonage grazing area that extended east from Okanagan Lake to Kalamalka Lake, covering an area of about 24,000 acres. At one time this land was reserved from pre-emption, to be enjoyed by the First Nations and the white settlers for their continuous and common use as pastureland, hence the name Commonage.
The original agreement was dated May 18, 1876. In 1889 a new agreement was reached wherein the government would take over the Commonage in return for the establishment of an Indian Reserve on the north-west side of Okanagan Lake. The Commonage was put up for sale and after that, opened for pre-emption.
Commonage Road today is still, in some areas, unpaved, for example, from Carr’s Landing Road for approximately 2 kilometres. It is paved up until Charolaise Drive and then unpaved until it meets the entrance to Predator Ridge.
In the last decade, the Commonage has seen an increase in traffic due to the growth in the area and whenever the main highway between Winfield and Vernon is closed due to accidents or for repair. Some of the larger trucks find the route difficult because of the long hills and the narrowing of the road in the unpaved areas.
Source: Norris, L. “Some Place Names.” Second Annual Report of the Okanagan Historical and Natural History Society. Vernon, BC: OHNHS, 1927. p. 35; Harvey, A. G. “Okanagan Place Names. Their Origin and Meaning.” The Twelfth Report of the Okanagan Historical Society. Vernon, BC: OHS, 1948. p. 201; Penny Baughen in The Calendar, June 9, 1991; The Calendar, June 12, 1991.