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Backward Glances: Pretty Road

On New Year’s Day we came home from a great day of snowshoeing with friends at Beaver Lake to a phone message from friend Dan Pretty; his dad had died the previous evening. George Pretty was one of the builders in this community when I was young, both literally and figuratively.  He was a carpenter and a builder and he was good at it, and so is his son.

One of the Lake Country Museum’s current projects is researching the origins of our longer established roads and the people for whom they were named. I well know for whom Pretty Road was named — for George and Neva and their family. Dan’s call made me remember back to childhood days of walking down the hill to Lakeshore Inn for swimming lessons and then some fun time in the water. I’d cross through Caldow’s orchard, then through the thickets above the springs before coming out at Prettys where we’d meet, then down the hill through the scrub where AGM now sits. But again I digress.

George and Neva moved to Lake Country in         and first lived in Okanagan Centre. Then, around      George built their home, just up the drive above the “crooked tree”. There were very few houses on that road back then, McDonagh’s at the bottom of the north end,  Einnarson’s, Charlie and Win Christian’s, with Bert and Tiny Ramsay’s at the Robbie’s Hill end. There were only a few others whose names escape me. There were four children: daughters Daryl and Bonnie and  two sons, Wayne and Dan. The kids grew up before leaving to establish their own lives, Daryl to Australia for a visit that has lasted a lifetime, Bonnie to Calgary, the boys to Vancouver for education at UBC.

Wayne never came back but he will long be remembered for putting little Winfield on the map in a big way. He represented Canada in the 1956 Olympics in Melbourne, Australia, winning a silver medal in rowing. I’d like to share more of the story  about those Olympics another day…you may not have heard, “the rest of the story”. Dan’s major at UBC was in Recreation, a prerequisite as he explains it, to moving home and building fine custom houses. He and I also did some rowing, but I think our best result was a ribbon at the Kelowna Regatta.

In the 1960s, George purchased Crystal Waters campground which he operated for seven years (1964-1971).

Source: Rich Gibbons. Director of Lake Country Museum.

Richard Gibbons’ column Backward Glances was originally published in The Calendar.

See also: Pretty Road.