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Monday, December 5, 2016

How Much Do You Know About Vernon, British Columbia?

Surrounded by three beautiful lakes, Vernon is located in the north of the Okanagan Valley. It boasts a colourful history and an incredible amount of amenities!

For more information about Vernon please visit the websites of Tourism Vernon or The City of Vernon

For further info on the History of Vernon please see 8 Fascinating Facts About the History of Vernon, BC & Area or 5 Fascinating Facts About Kalamalka Lake: Treasure of the Okanagan

Your participation and results in this quiz remain anonymous unless you choose to make them public.

"The LORD is my shepherd; I shall not want. He makes me to lie down in green pastures; He leads me beside the still waters. He restores my soul..." Psalm 23

Thursday, December 1, 2016

How Well Do you Know Prince George, BC History? (Quiz)

*Your participation and results in this quiz will remain anonymous 
unless you choose to make them public.

For 7 Fascinating Facts About the History Of Prince George click here . 
"He shall be like a tree Planted by the rivers of water, That brings forth its fruit in its season, Whose leaf also shall not wither; And whatever he does shall prosper." Psalm 1:3

Tuesday, November 29, 2016

What Do You Know About Jesus? (Quiz)

Thanks for taking a look at this quiz. It is a very basic quiz designed to help inform those who are interested in learning a bit more about who Jesus is in 
a quick and fun format. The  correct answer to each question will appear after you have chosen your answer. Your participation and individual results will remain anonymous 
unless you choose to make them public. Have a great day! 

Sunday, November 27, 2016

How Well Do You Know the History of the Robson Valley, B.C. (Quiz)

*Your participation and results in this quiz will remain anonymous unless you choose to make them public.

"Before the mountains were brought forth, or ever You had formed the earth and the world, even from everlasting to everlasting, You are God." Psalm 90:2

Saturday, November 26, 2016

How Well Do You Know the History of the Okanagan Valley, B.C. ( Quiz)

*Your participation and results in this quiz will remain anonymous unless you choose to make them public.

"The LORD is my shepherd; I shall not want. He makes me to lie down in green pastures; He leads me beside the still waters. He restores my soul..." Psalm 23

Wednesday, November 23, 2016

12 Fun Facts about the PAW Patrol (Trivia)

Although my daughter has almost ( emphasis on the "almost") grown out of the PAW Patrol stage, my 2 year old son is just discovering it. He likes it so much that he will grab the TV remote control, give it to me and say "Woof" - that is my cue to turn on a PAW Patrol episode. 

If you are a parent like me than you have probably watched countless episodes of PAW Patrol - but here are some fun facts you may not have known! 

#1 The PAW Patrol is a Canadian production. The intellectual rights belong to Spin Master Entertainment which was founded in 1994 by two childhood friends and University of Western Ontario grads, Ronnen Harary and Anton Rabie. Another classmate, Ben Varadi, soon joined in as well. 

#2 The PAW Patrol was created by British TV producer, Keith Chapman, after he was approached by Spin Master. Chapman once worked for Jim Henson International and is also the creator of the immensely successful “Bob the Builder”.

#3 You’ll notice “PAW” is spelled in all capital letters. According to Spin Master filed trademarks in which PAW stands for either “Pups at Work” or “Protect and Wag”. 

#4 Each pup is a specific breed of dog except for Rocky who is described as a “Mixed Breed”. Chase is a German Shepherd, Marshall is a Dalmatian, Skye is a Cockapoo, Rubble is a Bulldog, Zuma is a Chocolate Labrador, Everest is a Husky and Tracker is a 

#5 Zuma is described as the youngest pup at 5 years old and Everest is the oldest at 8 years old. Since even 5 “dog years” is considered to be 36 human years I assume they are aging the “pups” as if they were human beings.   

#6 All of the vehicles used by the PAW Patrol are numbered – apparently in order of their creation. Ryder’s ATV is 01, Chase’s police truck is 02, Marshall’s firetruck is 03, Skye’s helicopter is 04, Rocky’s recycling vehicle is 05, Rubble’s rig is 06, Zuma’s hovercraft is 07, The PAW Patroller is 09, Everest’s snow vehicle is 09, the Air Patroller is 10 and the newest pup vehicle ( Tracker’s jeep) is 11. 

#7 The numbered vehicles seem to also indicate when that particular pup became a member of the PAW Patrol. The only hiccup there is that in Rubble’s origin story, Zuma is already a member of the Patrol but is numbered after Rubble. What’s up with that?

#8 All of the pup’s names are rather obvious to their calling. While I wondered about “Zuma”, it appears he is named after the famous beach in Malibu, California. 

#9 In addition to North America, Paw Patrol is televised in over 160 countries. It is especially popular in the U.K. ( where there are different voice actors to reflect the accent) and France. 

#10 In 2016, PAW Patrol Live: Race To the Rescue , (a live stage show) began touring North America. 

#11 PAW Patrol’s theme song was nominated at the 41st Daytime Creative Arts Emmy Awards for Outstanding Original Song. And if you’ve ever heard the Pup Pup Boogie song you know it’s even more addicting. 

#12 The first season of Paw Patrol ran in TVOKids in Canada starting in August 2013 and was later picked up by the American Kids TV giant Nickelodeon. A third season is already running (much to the delight of my children) and Spin Mastered has confirmed that fourth, fifth and sixth seasons are in the works. 




``Stretch out Your hand from above;
Rescue me and deliver me out of great waters...`` Psalm 144:7a

Friday, September 9, 2016

Athanasius and the Deity of Jesus Christ: 5 Fascinating Facts About One of the Most Important People in Christian History

“In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, 
and the Word was God.” John 1:1

 “The Jesus whom I know as my Redeemer cannot be less than God.” Athanasius 

As modern Christians it can sometimes be difficult for us to understand the early church fathers and their writings. Although they had mistaken thinking on certain issues they were, in fact, slowly discovering God’s truth as revealed in Scripture and to them we owe our orthodoxy of today – including the major creeds of our faith and our statements of faith in our individual churches. And of course God used many of these early believers to discover and determine what the actual canon of Scripture really was (that is to say what are the true inspired Words of God as opposed to mere writings of men). 

One such early Church father who immensely helped in the forming of the canon of Scripture and in Christian orthodoxy itself was a man you may never have heard of – Athanasius of Alexandria. It can hardly be overstated how much God used this man to articulate and preach the doctrines of the Trinity and the Deity of Jesus Christ when the majority of the Church at the time was ambivalent if not outright hostile to these ideas. Here are 5 fascinating facts about Athanasius:

#1 His Origins 

Not his Origens, his origins ( cheesy Christian history joke). Athanasius was born around AD 298 in Alexandria, a major city in Egypt that had been founded by Alexander the Great over 600 years earlier.  Though nothing is known for sure of his early life, it is said that he was raised in a Christian home. There is also a story of how the current Bishop of Alexandria saw Athanasius playing as a youth with his friends in the ocean. He was pretending to baptize them -  the Bishop later called them all to the ministry. 

The name Athanasius means “Immortal” in Greek but his enemies often referred to him as “The Black Dwarf” as he was short and presumably dark-skinned – and not a little stubborn. However as his legacy endured he came to be known by other names such as “The Father of the Canon of Scripture” and no less than “The Father of Orthodoxy”. Recently, Trevin Wax, of The Gospel Coalition, named Athanasius as the most important Theologian in Church history (outside of the Bible writers). 

#2 Arianism vs The Trinity 

Arianism is named after a priest named Arius who was a contemporary ( though older) of Athanasius’. It is an age old heresy that teaches that Jesus Christ was made by God like a creature, and therefore not equal with God. Today this view is firmly held by the Jehovah’s Witnesses that come knocking at your door.  Although this has been an obvious heresy for hundreds of years there was a time when it was the norm for the religious elite of the day – and that time was the time of Athanasius. 

Fresco of the Council of Nicaea 

The Council of Nicaea was held near present day Istanbul in the year AD 325. It was summoned by the Roman Emperor Constantine I in order to clear up the question of Arianism vs the doctrine of the Trinity which claims that the Bible clearly teaches that God is one God yet in three persons and that each member of the Godhead ( The Father, The Son and The Holy Ghost) are equally God. Many years of controversy followed but ultimately the Creed formed at Nicaea and confirmed at the First Council of Constantinople (AD 381) won out and has laid the foundation for nearly every statement of faith that has come since in both Catholic and Protestant (including Evangelical) Churches ( See portion of Nicaean Creed below). 

#3 Exiled 5 Times

Athanasius was present at the Council of Nicaea as a deacon to the Bishop of Alexandria and for the rest of his life he would battle unbiblical Bishops and Roman Emperors in the fight for the Deity (Divinity or Godhood) of Christ.  Athanasius became the reluctant Bishop of Alexandria in AD 328. In total he would be exiled 5 times but the people of Alexandria always maintained that he was their Bishop and not the replacement sent by Rome. He would often flee out to the Egyptian desert where he had many Christian friends living as semi-isolated monks. One such man named Antony so influenced him that he wrote a biography of him that heavily influenced monasticism and later so convicted Augustine that he became a Christian soon after reading it. 

In one instance his enemies tried to frame him for the murder of a Bishop named Arsenius – even producing a human hand as evidence. Things became awkward though when Arsenius was brought in by a deacon who had found him hiding in a monastery – he had both hands intact.  Another story is told by Timothy Paul Jones (PhD) that when the Emperor Julian’s soldiers had caught up to Athanasius escaping on a boat they asked the man on the boat if he had seen Athanasius (not knowing who he was). Athanasius answered truthfully “Yes! He is just ahead of you and if you hurry you shall overtake him.” The Bishop escaped once again.  

#4 His Fight for the Deity of Christ

Athanasius fought for the doctrine of the Trinity which meant he also believed the Holy Ghost to be one with and equal to God but his major life’s work was to defend the deity of Jesus Christ. He declared: “The Jesus whom I know as my Redeemer cannot be less than God.” Christianity Today records that:  “To Athanasius this was no splitting of theological hairs. Salvation was at issue: only one who was fully human could atone for human sin; only one who was fully divine could have the power to save us.”

In his work “Contending For our All: The Life and Ministry of Athanasius”, Dr. John Piper reminds us:  “There are doctrines in the Bible that are worth dying for and living for. They are the ground of our life. They are the heart of our worship. The divine and human nature of Christ in one person is one of those doctrines.” Athanasius perceived this same truth over 1600 years ago. 

#5 His Legacy 

To Athanasius we owe much. God chose him as a vessel through which to articulate, defend and preserve the truth of His Word. His defining work, “On the Incarnation” did much to uphold the deity of Christ and has been called a masterpiece by no less than C.S. Lewis (see excerpt below).  Not unlike Biblical characters such as Moses, Elijah and Paul, he received God’s called and stood for the truth when almost no one else would. In fact, the phrase “Athanasius Contra Mundum” became common in his time – it means “Athanasius against the world”. 

Dr. Piper says again: “This single-minded love for Jesus Christ expressed itself in a lifelong battle to explain and defend Christ’s deity and to worship Christ as Lord and God.”  In the face of seemingly insurmountable odds and at the constant risk of his life Athanasius held to this doctrine. I thank God for men and women like Athanasius in the history of the Church. 

“When He had been baptized, Jesus came up immediately from the water; and behold, the heavens were opened to Him, and He saw the Spirit of God descending like a dove and alighting upon Him. And suddenly a voice came from heaven, saying, “This is My beloved Son, in whom I am well pleased.”  Matthew 3:16-17

“For in Him dwells all the fullness of the Godhead bodily…” Colossians 2:9

Sources & Further Reading:

For a more detailed account of Athanasius’ life and legacy and some clarification on his teachings please see John Piper’s “Contending for Our All: The Life and Ministry of Athanasius.”


A Portion of the 325 version of the Nicene Creed: 

“[We believe] in one Lord Jesus Christ, the Son of God, begotten from the Father, only-begotten, that is, from the essence of the Father, God from God, light from light, true God from true God, begotten not made, of one essence with the Father, through Whom all things came into being, things in heaven and things on earth, Who because of us men and because of our salvation came down and became incarnate, becoming man, suffered and rose again on the third day, ascended to the heavens, and will come again to judge the living and the dead…” 

John Piper elaborates further on this Nicene Creed: “The key phrase, homoousion tõ patri (one being with the Father),was added late on the insistence of the emperor. It made the issue crystal clear. The Son of God could not have been created, because he did not have merely a similar being to the Father (homoiusion tõ patri), but was of the very being of the Father (homoousion tõ patri). He was not brought into existence with similar being, but was eternally one with divine being.”  

From ‘On the Incarnation’ by Athanasius:

“For the Word, perceiving that no otherwise could the corruption of men be undone save by death as a necessary condition, while it was impossible for the Word to suffer death, being immortal, and Son of the Father; to this end He takes to Himself a body capable of death, that it, by partaking of the Word Who is above all, might be worthy to die in the stead of all, and might, because of the Word which was come to dwell in it, remain incorruptible, and that thenceforth corruption might be stayed from all by the Grace of the Resurrection.”  

Tuesday, August 23, 2016

A Prayer For Gord Downie

It was my cousin Tammy who first introduced me to the Tragically Hip with a mix tape in the early 90’s. Songs like “Courage”, “Wheat Kings” and “Scared” stood out to me and became lifelong favourites. I’ve always admired the way Gord Downie has stuck to writing poetry about our national stories and not just going commercial. Here’s to you Gord . I’m praying for your body, heart, mind and soul… Let's just see what the morning brings.

“…that they should seek God, and perhaps feel their way toward him and find him. Yet he is actually not far from each one of us, for ‘In him we live and move and have our being’; as even some of your own poets have said, “‘For we are indeed his offspring.’ Acts 17:27-28 (Paul quoting the Greek poet Aratus)

Thursday, July 7, 2016

5 Fascinating Facts About Bishop A.H. Sovereign: A Builder of Vernon, BC and Silver Star Provincial Park

"Let us never forget or speak scornfully of the past. It is to the present, what roots are to a tree. Remember, all the way the Lord Thy God hath led thee .” 
Bishop A.H. Sovereign (OHSR 32:190)

#1 Origins & Education 

Arthur Henry Sovereign, the man whom most in the North Okanagan will associate with our world class Nordic centre, was born in Woodstock, Ontario in 1881.  The descendant of United Empire Loyalists he was a brilliant student earning the John Hopkins Oratorical Medal at Woodstock Collegiate and then the John MacDonald Scholarship in Philosophy from the University of Toronto. 

He did not stop there, pursuing his Master of Arts (with Honours) and then a post-graduate degree in Philosophy and Theology at Oxford. During the course of his career he would receive many other degrees including Doctorates of Divinity from Wycliffe College (Toronto) and Emmanuel College (Saskatoon). He was also a well accomplished athlete competing in college baseball, football and hockey. 

Bishop Sovereign PC: Yukon Archives

#2 Life, Family & Ellen Ellison

Although he first considered studying medicine, he was persuaded by the Bishop of Montreal, Canon Farthing, to pursue the ministry. After his education he began his ministry as an assistant at Christ Church in Vancouver and was later ordained in the Church of England in 1906. In 1909 he became the first rector of St. Mark’s Kitsilano and went on to found a youth camp on Howe Sound where he influenced many of Vancouver’s future leaders. He stayed at St. Mark’s for 22 years until he was appointed as the Bishop of the Yukon. He spent just a year there before being elected to be Bishop of Athabasca – a region covering some 600,000 square miles of Northern Alberta and the Northwest Territories. 

Being much interested in the outdoors and mountaineering, Arthur Sovereign attended the annual summer camp of the Alpine Club of Canada. It was there, in 1912, that he met his future wife, Ellen Ellison, daughter of Price Ellison who was the Minister of Finance and Agriculture for the B.C. government and a well-known man in the history of Vernon, BC (Ellison Provincial Park is named after him). They were married in Vernon in 1913 and went on to have one son and three daughters. 

#3 “Retirement” in Vernon, BC

After doctor’s orders to retire from his 18 years of strenuous ministry and labour in the Athabasca territory, Bishop Sovereign and his wife Ellen decided to retire to her hometown of Vernon in the Okanagan Valley. The term “retirement” is used loosely as both Bishop and Mrs. Sovereign went on to contribute heavily to the history, development and growth of Vernon. In fact, Arthur began his retirement by serving as Rector at Vernon’s All Saint’s Parish while they awaited the arrival of their official Rector. He would go on to write a book on the history of All Saint’s as well entitled “A Tree Grows in Vernon”.  He is quoted as saying, “May this day be a spring-board to greater adventure, deeper devotion, a dynamic loyalty to Christ and His Church, ever increasing in generosity and sacrificial service... We pay our debt to the past by making posterity indebted to us.” (OHSR 32:191) 

As an avid outdoorsman, Arthur Sovereign was instrumental in the founding of both Garibaldi Provincial Park and Vernon’s own Silver Star Provincial Park serving as the chairman of the Government Board of Commissioners for Silver Star. Another crowning achievement was his key leadership in the founding of the John Howard Society and of bringing branches to the Okanagan and Kamloops. He was also chairman of the library program in Vernon and was integral in its growth. In 1958 he was named Vernon’s “Good Citizen of the Year”(his wife would later be given the same honour).  

#4 Sovereign Lake 

As was mentioned, Bishop Sovereign was very involved in the founding and growth of Silver Star Provincial Park. So much so that Vernon Lake atop Silver Star Mountain was later named in his honour. The lake was dammed by the city in 1920 and “…channels were constructed connecting directly to BX Creek.” It contributed to the water supply for Vernon. 

The Silver Star Ski Club was started in 1938 and the North Okanagan Cross Country Ski Club was established in the ‘60’s - it has become what we know today as the Sovereign Lake Nordic Centre where many locals and travellers go to ski, snowshoe and even toboggan.  Sovereign Lake Nordic Centre has hosted a 2005 World Cup event and the Sparkling Hills Masters World Cup in 2011. Prior to that many athletes from around the globe used the Nordic Centre to train for the Vancouver Olympics. 

#5 His Legacy 

In Vernon, BC at the northeast corner of Highway 97 and 32nd Avenue (just across from the Staples) you can see a large mural painted on the side of a building. It celebrates the history of cross country skiing in our city and among other things, you will see a large portrait of a friendly  Art Sovereign. Though he moved here for his so called retirement, he left Vernon a much better place to live and raise a family. His son, a pediatrician, would later help to establish N.O.N.A. (The North Okanagan Neurological Society). Among the many accomplishments already listed in this article Bishop Arthur Sovereign’s legacy also includes being a chaplain to several units during the Great War and preaching at both St. Paul’s Cathedral and Westminster Abbey in England. 

Yet for us of the North Okanagan, it is his work as an ordinary citizen and humble minister for which we are most grateful. Sovereign Park and Beach on Kalamalka Lake is also named in the family's honour. The Canadian Churchman said this of Arthur, “He is a statesman of the church in Canada…one of the most gracious and splendid illustrations… of devotion to Christ, and to those who are forgotten by their fellow men.” Bishop Sovereign passed into glory in 1966 and left for us a rich legacy and a better community. 

Sources & Further Reading:

Okanagan Historical Society Reports 29:60-64 and 32:160, 190-191 

History of Sovereign Lake Nordic Centre:

"...our Lord Jesus Christ...who is the blessed and only Sovereign,
 the King of kings and Lord of lords.." 1 Timothy 6:15

Monday, June 6, 2016

7 Fascinating Facts About the History of Prince George: The Capital of Northern B.C.

Although I currently live in Vernon, BC, I was born in Prince George in 1978. I moved to Valemount when I was 3 years old but promptly returned to the city I knew and loved at the age of 18 eventually graduating from the College of New Caledonia. My fond memories of this northern community have inspired me to research some of its history and write this hopefully fun and informative blog. 

This is by no means a complete history of the City but rather some highlights to get a person interested in further study.  As always I am open to suggestions and corrections of the historical content. 

“Not far from the geographical centre of British Columbia there is a lovely valley where the clear waters of the Nechako join with those of the muddy Fraser. Here at the meeting of the waters is situated the young and enterprising 
city of Prince George.”  
Rev. F.E. Runnalls 

#1 The Lheidli T’enneh First Nations

The Lheidli T’enneh First Nations’ traditional territory lies at the confluence of the Nechako and Fraser Rivers and where portions of the City of Prince George now stand. Once known as the Fort George Indian Band, the traditional name consists of two Native words - “ The word Lheidli means "where the two rivers flow together" and T'enneh means "the People".

The Lheidli T’enneh (pronounced Klate-lee – Ten-eh) are a sub group of the Dakelh First Nations also known as the Carrier Indians. Chief Dominic Frederick has said “The history of our people is a big part of the history of the City of Prince George…Today, we can collectively work together, side-by-side, and build upon the economic prosperity that will see Lheidli T'enneh take its rightful place alongside our local government, the City of Prince George, and the entire region." 

#2 Simon Fraser & 
the Original Fort George 

It is Alexander Mackenzie, in 1793, who is credited as being the first white man to see the area that is now occupied by the City of Prince George. But it was another Scotsman, Simon Fraser, who founded the original Fort George in 1807 as a NorthWest Fur Company Trading Post and dubbed the surrounding area “New Caledonia”, presumably after his parent’s Scottish homeland (Caledonia is the Latin name given to the area of Scotland by the Romans).  
Simon Fraser 

Fraser named the Fort after King George III of England and on May 22, 1808, he began his infamous and intrepid journey down the Fraser River from what would become the City of Prince George. 

#3 The Grand Trunk Pacific Railway 

In contrast to our present “Capital of Northern B.C.” , Bev Christensen tells us in her chronicles of the city that “ During its first 100 years Fort George slumbered in the wilderness while…Ft. St. James and Quesnel were drawn into the historical spotlight." The famous Cariboo Wagon Road didn’t even stretch its length to Fort George. However, the fortunes of Fort George would soon change when in July of 1903 The Grand Trunk Pacific Railway and the federal government signed a contract to build a railway from Winnipeg to Prince Rupert via the future site of Prince George. 

PC: Exploration Place 

This instigated a flurry of real estate activity in the area and its first real population boom. Soon the Grand Trunk Pacific (GTP) had reached Tete Jaune Cache and from there as many as one hundred scows a day would set afloat on the Fraser River with supplies for Fort George. The modern city of Prince George would soon began to form. 

#4 The 3 Georges

Unlike the relative unity we see today, the city of Prince George was once three separate town sites all vying to become the best. By 1909 two competing communities had already emerged – South Fort George on the Fraser and Central Fort George (also called “Fort George”) on the Nechako. South Fort George had the advantage of being the landing site for most of the sternwheelers and also having the first sawmill in the area. The founder of Central Fort George, George Hammond of the Natural Resources Security Company, was not one to back down though. 

South Fort George 

The main goal, of course, for each town site was to have the terminus of the Grand Trunk Pacific Railway built in within their community – this would determine predominance. A long and bitter battle between the 2 communities and the GTP Railway ensued but in the end the GTP built a new town site on the area surrounding the old Hudson’s Bay trading post (between the other two communities) and christened it “Prince George”.  The area now known as “The Crescents” in Prince George was actually purposely designed by the founders of the new town as a blockade to Central Fort George. In the end, the name Prince George stood and the other two communities eventually joined – Central Fort George in 1953 and South Fort George in 1975. 

#5 The Name 

As far as Simon Fraser was concerned Fort George was named in honour of King George III of England.  King George III who lived from 1738 -1820 was one of the longest reigning monarchs of all time and was on the throne during the American Revolution and the Napoleonic Wars. 

Prince George Duke of Kent 

However, since the new GTP town was named Prince George in 1915 there has been some dispute as to who the city is named for. Some say it was King George V (the father of King George VI and a character in the movie “The King’s Speech”).  A new theory has come into being though that portrays Prince George, a grandson of George V and an uncle of Queen Elizabeth II, as the City’s namesake. This man went on to become the Duke of Kent and married the Greek princess, Marina. He later died while serving in the Royal Air Force. Today we have another young Prince George who has made the city just a little more popular in the world media – perhaps one day he will visit. 

#6 The Paddlewheelers

While many paddlewheel ships (also known as sternwheelers) travelled the mighty Fraser to the Prince George area perhaps none was more famous than the BX – known as “The Queen of the Upper Fraser”. Commissioned by the B.C. Express Company, the BX Sternwheeler was built in Soda Creek in 1910 by Alexander Watson Jr. Though it had to ply some of the most treacherous waters in B.C. it was still a grand boat built with luxury in mind. She was comprised of three decks, staterooms for 70 passengers (and deck room for another 60) and was steam heated, with running water and fine china imported from England.   When ship first landed at South Fort George (to the consternation of Central Fort George) on June 24, 1910 many excited residents gathered to meet her. 
The BX 
Captain Owen Forrester Browne

Another interesting facet of the BX’s story was her captain – Owen Forrester Browne. He was a man of Hawaiian descent (known then as Kanakas) and was well respected as the best captain on the Upper Fraser. Browne piloted the BX for the entirety of her career. He later married Margaret Seymour of South Fort George who happened to be the daughter of the famous Granny Seymour. 

#7 The Forest Industry 

While it was the railroad that sparked the first boom of Prince George in the early 1900’s, it has been the Forest Industry which has sustained the city through much of the rest of that century. Bev Christensen records for us “ By 1919 the Prince George Board of Trade reported there were 18 sawmills operating between Prince George and McBride. Most of the 33 million board feet produced that year was exported to the Prairies.” 

Then the first Pulp Mill was opened in 1966. In 1981 Prince George was , in fact, the second largest city in all of British Columbia edging out even Victoria. A popular symbol of Prince George today is “Mr. PG” – a large log shaped figure which first appeared in a parade float in 1960 and went on to become known throughout the province as emblematic of the city’s close relationship with the forests that surround it. 

"He shall be like a tree
Planted by the rivers of water,
That brings forth its fruit in its season,
Whose leaf also shall not wither;

And whatever he does shall prosper."
Psalm 1:3 

Sources & Further Reading:

Prince George: Rivers, Railways, and Timber by Bev Christensen (1989 Windsor Publications Ltd.) 

A History of Prince George by Rev. F.E. Runnalls: 

Exploration Place website: 

Tourism Prince George website:


Wednesday, May 25, 2016

5 Fascinating Facts About the SS Sicamous Sternwheeler: The Queen of Okanagan Lake

My wife’s grandmother has told us stories of when she rode this magnificent boat up and down Okanagan Lake and having visited both the Okanagan Landing Station House Museum and the SS Sicamous Heritage Park my appreciation for this rich history has inspired me to write this little blog that will hopefully inspire others to look into the “Queen of Okanagan Lake”…. 

Her Birthplace – Okanagan Landing

1892 was an historic year for the Okanagan Valley as it signaled the completion of the Shuswap & Okanagan Railway. The S & O was a spur line that connected the CPR’s transcontinental railway in Sicamous to the shores of Okanagan Landing just south of Vernon. 

Where the rail ended the boats began and Okanagan Landing became the gateway to the entire valley for both freight and people. To quote Ron Candy, former curator of the Greater Vernon Museum, “You can compare (Okanagan Landing) to the Kelowna International Airport of the time” (Vernon Morningstar). It was here where the SS Sicamous, the third of a line of stately CPR Sternwheelers, was assembled and, on May 19th, 1914, launched into the waters of Okanagan Lake. She was named for the town of Sicamous from whence the railroad came and it is said that the Native word means “Shimmering waters” or “River circling mountains”. 

Today you can revisit this epic history with a trip to the Okanagan Landing Station House Museum and Art Gallery located alongside Paddlewheel Hall at Paddlewheel Park. 

Her Building & Design

The SS Sicamous was indeed the most impressive of all boats to ply the waters of Okanagan Lake and rightfully earned the name “The Queen of Okanagan Lake”.  The steel hull of the Sicamous was forged in Port Arthur, Ontario (now part of Thunder Bay) and shipped by rail to Okanagan Landing. She was then registered officially at Victoria.


The ship was 228 feet long overall and 40 feet wide. She was originally built with five decks and a capacity for 500 passengers, 900 tons of cargo and 17 knots of speed. According to the Okanagan Historical Society Report of 1964, “The two cabin decks had 40 staterooms… four saloons, one  observation lounge and one smoking lounge on each deck at the bow  and the stern. …  The 65-foot long dining room accommodated 48 persons at a sitting… Writing desks and reading lamps were on the balcony above the dining room.  The staterooms, furnishings and fittings of the steamer were  beautifully finished in British Columbia cedar and Douglas fir, Australian mahogany, and teak wood from Burma—a combination that  gave an effect of unusual richness.”  

The brass hardware was imported from Scotland and the entire ship had electric lighting and steam heating. In those older days, the men would have one end of the ship to fraternize in while the ladies and children would gather at the other end. 

Her Ports & Landings

We think now of the major population centres on the lake such as Vernon (Okanagan Landing), Kelowna, West Kelowna, Peachland,  Summerland and Penticton, however the SS Sicamous made many stops along her way. Such important stops included Ewing’s Landing, Fintry, Carr’s Landing, Okanagan Centre, Gellatly, and Naramata. In fact, “It was during the years of service of the "Aberdeen," the "Okanagan" and the "Sicamous" that the fruit industry developed and the new towns of Peachland, Summerland and Naramata came into existence.” (OHSR 28: 37)

Okanagan Landing today

One old timer who lived during the era of the sternwheeler enthusiastically tells of their signifance: “It is difficult now, No! Impossible to imagine the importance steamboats played before there were adequate roads. They were the only link to the outside; their passing told the hour. They came to shore, to the beach of a settler in answer to a fluttering flag and a whistle blast summoned  a homesteader to his landing to receive freight, groceries or lumber, to pick  up a crate or two of strawberries or to land a crock of Christmas rum.  Sternwheelers were loved by those who dwelt along the lake. (OHSR 36:167)”

And whether it was the Landing, Kelowna, Penticton or anywhere in between locals would always gather when the ship came to the shore to see what treasures it bore that day. 

Her Passengers

Passengers came from all parts of the world – often across Canada on the transcontinental railway and then to Okanagan Landing – to board the SS Sicamous to various parts of the Valley. Some of the most famous passengers included Prime Ministers William Lyon Mackenzie King and Arthur Meighen and of course the future King of England himself, Edward the VIII ( although he soon famously abdicated his throne).

But more important were the everyday folks who populated the Valley and to whom the Sicamous was a lifeline for communication, travel and emergencies. Many local lake folks would even hop on the Sicamous to have a brief but well deserved vacation.  The ship carried many of the workers that built the Kettle Valley Railway and also carried soldiers off to war and back home again - “At war's end she brought back the survivors and loudly  announced their return with long blasts of her whistle as they neared  their destination. (OHSR 28:31)”


It would be remiss to not mention the esteemed captains of the SS Sicamous throughout the years. They were: John C. Gore ( maiden voyage, June 12, 1914), George L. Estabrooks (1914), Otto L. Estabrooks (1915), William Kirby (1915), George Robertson (1915-1919), J.A. McDonald (1920), George Robertson (1921-1922) and finally Joseph B. Weeks (1923-1937). 

Her Resting Place – Penticton 

Many factors led to the demise of sternwheeler traffic on the lake. The Great Depression and the rise of the automobile and roughhewn roads were one but the completion of both the Kettle Valley Railway and the CN Rail line from Vernon to Kelowna were significant as well. In 1935 the ship underwent a descaling in which the upper deck and part of the hurricane deck were removed.  The SS Sicamous was retired from passenger service in 1936 and finally, after hauling freight for another year, was left to float at its mooring in Okanagan Landing. 

This is the point where nearly all sternwheelers soon met their end – but not the SS Sicamous. She is, in fact, the largest sternwheeler left in all of Canada.  Although the mighty ship could have ended up working the frigid waters of the North West Territories, the CPR, fortunately, was determined to preserve it as a heritage marker. In 1949 the City of Penticton purchased this grand boat for $1 from the CPR and 2 years later she was floated down the lake and beached at her present site on the north shore of Penticton. 

Integral in this process was the Penticton Gyro Club, the City of Penticton and eventually the SS Sicamous Marine Heritage Society (est. May 1988) which has restored the boat and operates her now.  For many years while in Penticton the SS Sicamous served as the local museum and then as a variety of restaurants. Today, under the guidance of the SMHS, she is displayed in her former glory for the elder to reminisce and the younger to learn of our beautiful history. A visit to the SS Sicamous Heritage Park will bring back the wonder of the days when sternwheelers were the queens of Okanagan Lake.

"The LORD is my shepherd;
I shall not want.
He makes me to lie down in green pastures;
He leads me beside the still waters.

He restores my soul..." Psalm 23

Sources & Further Reading:

The Okanagan Historical Society Reports ( Various) :

SS Sicamous Heritage Park Pamphlet 


Tuesday, May 17, 2016

5 Fascinating Facts about the the Year of Jubilee: Redemption, Restoration and Rest

“And the LORD spoke to Moses on Mount Sinai, saying, ‘Speak to the children of Israel, and say to them: ‘When you come into the land which I give you, then the land shall keep a sabbath to the LORD… And you shall consecrate the fiftieth year, and proclaim liberty throughout all the land to all its inhabitants. It shall be a Jubilee for you; and each of you shall return to his possession, and each of you shall return to his family.” 
 Leviticus 25:1-2, 10 

#1 Origins

Most of what we read about the year of Jubilee is found in the 25th chapter of the Book of Leviticus ( the 3rd book of the Bible). Strong’s Concordance tells us that the Hebrew word for Jubilee is “yowbel” meaning:  the blast of a horn (from its continuous sound); specifically, the signal of the silver trumpets; hence, the instrument itself and the festival thus introduced:—jubilee, ram's horn, trumpet.

In Leviticus 25 we read that Jehovah commands a Sabbath (or “Rest”) every 7th year for the land and then also commands the Jubilee to be celebrated every 50th year (although some say its every 49th year). James, Faucet & Brown sum it all up rather eloquently: 

“This most extraordinary of all civil institutions, which received the name of "Jubilee" from a Hebrew word signifying a musical instrument, a horn or trumpet, began on the tenth day of the seventh month, or the great day of atonement, when, by order of the public authorities, the sound of trumpets proclaimed the beginning of the universal redemption. All prisoners and captives obtained their liberties, slaves were declared free, and debtors were absolved. The land, as on the sabbatic year, was neither sowed nor reaped, but allowed to enjoy with its inhabitants a sabbath of repose; and its natural produce was the common property of all. Moreover, every inheritance throughout the land of Judea was restored to its original owner.” 

Other Scripture passages referring to the Year of Jubilee include Leviticus 27, Numbers 36:4, Ezekiel 46:17 (“Year of Liberty”) and Isaiah 61:1-3. 

#2 Lessons of Jubilee

As is always the case for God’s commands there is reasoning behind it and lessons to be learned. One of these lessons was to remind the people of Israel that they were ultimately brothers and sisters and to treat each with equality and equity.  ‘Therefore you shall not oppress one another, but you shall fear your God; for I am the LORD your God." Lev 25:17

The Year of Jubilee by Henry Le Jeune 

The 7th year Sabbath and Year of Jubilee were also instituted to encourage trust in and dependence on the Lord and not in their own strength.  ‘And if you say, “What shall we eat in the seventh year, since we shall not sow nor gather in our produce? Then I will command My blessing on you in the sixth year, and it will bring forth produce enough for three years.”  Lev 25:20-21

As William Baur writes in the ISBE:  “They should never lose sight of their being brothers and citizens of theocratic kingdom. They owed their life to God and were subject to His sovereign will. Only through loyalty to Him were they free and could ever hope to be free and independent of all other masters.” 

The ultimate themes of Jubilee were redemption, restoration and rest. 

#3 Agricultural Purposes

Not only were there spiritual and ethical reasons for the 7th year Sabbath and Year of Jubilee – there were practical and physical reasons to allow the land to rest. In fact, farmers have been using this practice for millennia. explains:  “The core philosophy behind crop rotation is to never allow crops to completely deplete the soil of any one nutrient. Alternating different plants helps keep that balance intact. Letting a field lie fallow, free from any cultivated crop, is often part of a good crop rotation program. By remaining unsown, the ground rests and fertility can be restored.” 

#4 Modern Usage

You may have heard the word Jubilee used in more modern times. It is especially used of the anniversary of royalty both in the United Kingdom (as in Queen Elizabeth the II’s Diamond Jubilee) and many other countries. When you see the name of a hospital with “Jubilee” in the title it is usually in honour of a Royal Jubilee.  

Logo for Jubilee 2000

As the turn of the century approached a global effort called Jubilee 2000 was mobilized. Its goal was to have the debt of third world countries forgiven by the year 2000. Originally a movement within the Anglican Church ( and founded on the basis of the Biblical Jubilee), it became widespread including benefit concerts led by the likes of Bob Geldof and Bono. 

#5 The Jubilee and Jesus

Isaiah 61:1-3 is widely believed to refer to the Year of Jubilee ( “the acceptable year of the LORD) as well: 

“The Spirit of the Lord GOD is upon me; because the LORD hath anointed me to preach good tidings unto the meek; he hath sent me to bind up the brokenhearted, to proclaim liberty to the captives, and the opening of the prison to them that are bound;
To proclaim the acceptable year of the LORD, and the day of vengeance of our God; to comfort all that mourn;
To appoint unto them that mourn in Zion, to give unto them beauty for ashes, the oil of joy for mourning, the garment of praise for the spirit of heaviness; that they might be called trees of righteousness, the planting of the LORD, that he might be glorified.”

It is no coincidence then that Jesus chose to read this passage of Scripture at the synagogue in Nazareth and he made it plain that it spoke of Himself (Luke 4:16 – 21)  “This day is this scripture fulfilled in your ears.”,  He said. Although the Jews had likely not celebrated the Year of Jubilee in many years, Jesus here symbolically links it to His ministry on earth – one of redemption, restoration and rest! 

Matthew Henry comments that the Year of Jubilee began on the Day of Atonement ( Yom Kippur) … “When they had been humbling and afflicting their souls for sin, then they were made to hear this voice of joy and gladness (Ps. 51:8). When their peace was made with God, then liberty was proclaimed; for the removal of guilt is necessary to make way for the entrance of all true comfort (Rom. 5:1, 2). In allusion to this solemn proclamation of the jubilee, it was foretold concerning our Lord Jesus that he should preach the acceptable year of the Lord.” 

This Jubilee of redemption, restoration and rest is only truly fulfilled in Jesus Christ and is only truly experienced as we believe in Him and receive Him …. Coming to know Him personally. May we all experience that personal Jubilee in Jesus and then pass on its benefits to our brother, sisters and neighbours. 

“Come to Me, all you who labor and are heavy laden, 
and I will give you rest.” Jesus, Matthew 11:28