Skip to main content

1995: 1995? - Middleton Road Established

Middleton Road may be relatively newly established but the Middleton family for whom it was named arrived in the area in 1903.

The first of the Middleton family to move to this area were William and Catherine Middleton. They had five children — Louisa Alexandra, Morrice Smith, Mary, Elsie and William Alexander — all born between 1879 and 1887.

The Middletons came from Scotland in 1892, arriving in Vernon by rail. They had been approached in Scotland by Lady Aberdeen and asked to come and help on Lord and Lady Aberdeen’s Coldstream Ranch. It was said that Catherine was more anxious to emigrate than William as she was in awe of Lady Aberdeen’s enthusiasm for their prospects in Canada.

William learned early that dairy farming was not very profitable as the Vernon market had a population of 200 at the time and most of the families owned at least one cow. So after only five months, on November 1, 1892, William bought 30 acres of land at the west end of the Coldstream Ranch. The Middletons named their ranch Mirmar, which was the name of a castle near their home in Scotland.

During the next twenty years, the Middletons expanded their property to the area known as Middleton Mountain. In 1903, they bought more land — sixty acres in south eastern Vernon. They also had land at BX and Lavington, and they preempted 400 acres in the Commonage overlooking Okanagan Lake.

The Middletons’ lives were centered around their family and home. Catherine’s health began to deteriorate in 1920, she suffered a stroke in 1924 and died on November 24th of that year. William eventually turned over most of his land and holdings to his sons. In 1936, at the age of 87, William passed away.

Williams and Catherine’s son, Bill Middleton, became a well-known orchardist as well as serving as the Fruit Trade Commissioner in London before the outbreak of World War II.

Bill and his wife Jessie had two sons, Doug and Robert. At only 19, Doug enlisted in the armed forces and returned home safely after serving his time as a tail gunner on the bombers.

In 1952, Doug married Evelyn Cools. Their reception was held at Okanagan House, Evelyn’s parents’ home. After their marriage, Doug and Evelyn settled in Whiskey Cove where they had two children.

Evelyn’s father died in 1951 and her mother died four years later, leaving Okanagan House and its 12 acres to Doug and Evelyn.

Evelyn had taken art lessons as a child and in 1955 she and Doug established “The Paddock Fine Arts Centre”. Evelyn taught classes and Doug was involved in the sales end of the business. The Paddock offered everything from painting, music and dance to French conversation classes. The classes were not very big (10-25 students) which made the business more a labour of love than a viable business. After they closed the school the Middletons moved to Winfield where they raised their five children.

Two of Evelyn’s paintings are a part of a permanent collection at the Kelowna Art Gallery. One of these paintings is of Andrew Carr’s Homestead (1946). Another of her paintings, of an unknown woman, is in the collection of Lake Country Museum.

Sources: The Calendar, 1989; Baughen, Penny. Carr’s Landing. A History. Carr’s Landing, BC: Carr’s Landing Community & Recreation Association, 2006; Middleton, R.M. “William and Catherine Middleton. 1849-1936 and 1850-1924.” Okanagan History. 50th Report of the Okanagan Historical Society. Vernon, BC: Okanagan Historical Society, 1986. pp. 152-156.