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Seven Young Brits From Oyama

Seven Young Brits

In 1922 seven young, tanned orchardists from Oyama visited the Summerland Experimental Station, presumably to learn some of the science behind growing apples. All were from England, some having arrived very recently. Thank you to Diane Eyles Turner for the photograph and identifications. They are, left to right:

Jim Brown, age 25 and single, immigrated to Canada with his parents in 1903 and in 1922 the two-generation family was established on Lot 16 on Broadwater Road. They had planted 9 acres of their land by 1922, not yet in production.

Bill Talbot, age 32 and married to Evelyn, arrived in Oyama in 1920 and purchased an established orchard (Lots 41 E1/2 and 42), 10.6 acres of which were planted with 270 trees.

Charles Lewis “Tony” Cliffe, age 28 and married to “Molly,” immigrated from England in 1921 and purchased Lot 15 on Broadwater Road.Tony Cliffe came to Oyama because he had met the Aldred’s in 1919 in England where they ran a store. He had 8.3 acres planted in orchard but not yet in production in 1922. Tony and Molly moved to Vancouver in 1925 and in 1931 sold their land to Bill Allingham.

Harry Aldred, age 24 and single, had immigrated to Canada in 1911 with his parents who ran a store at the crossroads in Oyama before returning to England for the duration of WW1. On their return to Oyama the elder Aldreds established a store beside the Oyama School while Harry purchased lot 40 (20 acres) under the Soldier Settlement program, not yet in production in 1922. Harry later went into the trucking business and remained in Oyama until his death.

Duncan and Rupert Eyles, ages 26 and 23 and single, came to Oyama following a recommendation from Oyama orchardist, W. T. Heddle, to their father, who owned W. H. Eyles Fruit Merchants in Bristol, England. Eyles financed the trip and the purchase of land for his sons who took lots 25 and 26 on Oyama Road in 1919. They initially worked at the Heddle packinghouse but soon built a shack on their property and planted their orchard, not yet producing in 1922. Rupert sold his property to Duncan in 1925, who in turn sold it to Derek Eyles in 1959.

Charles Townsend, age 31 and married to Maud, had immigrated to Canada in 1911 and went to war, after which he purchased Lots 20 and 21 (total 18 acres) under the Soldier Settlement program. He must have purchased one established orchard because 425 of his trees had been planted before the war and in 1922 he had planted another 360 trees.

These seven men were but a few of the many young men who settled on the East bench of Oyama in the immediate post WW1 era.  Many purchased land under the Soldier Settlement program, land originally part of the Wood Lake Fruitlands Company subdivisions. Enthusiasm was high because the war years had been very profitable for established orchardists.


  • Thanks for this informative article.

    • We are glad you liked it Chris!

  • This caught my attention today trying to look up some people from Oyama. We were 4 British girls travelling throughout Canada in 1974 and stayed in a fruit picking cabin (no longer used at the time for fruit picking) which we had help with by Joyce Young and her husband, Richard. We stayed living there for 6 months before heading off to Vancouver having travelled across from Toronto. We had a lot of fun in Oyama and met some great people. I would love to go back for a visit. We did some fruit picking whilst there and being from London, it was a far cry from city life. We bathed in the two lakes on either side of us as we had no bath or shower and in the winter used the wood stove for heat and cooking although we were not very good at it. I would love to know if these cabins are still there.

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