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Thursday, July 13, 2017

Vintage Kalamalka (Long) Lake Postcard Views

I like to collect a few vintage postcards of the North Okanagan region of B.C. One of my favourites is Kalamalka Lake. Kalamalka used to be known as "Long Lake" and it is thus referenced in the below postcards. The lake further south in the pictures was known as Pelmewash Lake and is now known as Wood Lake. The two lakes were once thought of by the Indigenous peoples as one lake and they called it “Chilutsus” (Chil-loot-sus) meaning “long lake cut in the middle”. 

The isthmus separating the two was called “The Railroad”  which “likely referred to a rail (corduroy) road made by the Okanagan people by cutting and laying down closely intertwined poles or willows to facilitate their crossing of the isthmus.” The top card refers to this "railroad" where the town of Oyama is now located. 

The two postcards are taken from a remarkably similar vantage point. The older one (on top) is post-dated 1920 from Lavington ( just outside of Vernon) while the other seems to be from a later unknown date ( probably c. 1930's). 

If one looks closely at the top card they can see in the distance (and to the left) what appears to be one of the buildings that is shown closer up in the lower card. The main house shown in the lower card does not seem to be built yet in the older card. 

For more information on the history of Kalamalka Lake please click here.

Here is another view point of the isthmus:

Sunday, July 9, 2017

A Bio-Sketch of Allan Brooks: Okanagan Ornithologist and Artist

A well-known resident of Okanagan Landing (now part of Vernon, BC) was the renowned ornithologist and painter Allan Brooks. His works can be seen at the Allan Brooks gallery located in the Greater Vernon Museum and Archives and his namesake is also honoured at the Allan Brooks Nature Centre at the top of Mission Hill.

Allan Brooks was born in Etawah, northern India in 1869 and after many travels he eventually decided to call Okanagan Landing home in 1905. Brooks' interest in birds and their habitat and his wonderful talent for art later resulted in the contribution of sketches for such publications as The Audubon society and National Geographic. Ron Candy notes: "At least four major museums offered jobs to Brooks in his early years including the Provincial Museum in Victoria.  He turned them all down.  He was a free-lancer and a steady job would have driven him mad."

Brooks was also a sniper in WW1 but that experience seemed to have changed him and afterwards he focused less on big game hunting and more on ornithology and art. His acre of land in the Landing  “ became a sanctuary and nesting site for over 34 species of small birds”.

No less than Robert Bateman has credited Allan Brooks with being an inspiration to his work as an artist.

For a much more in-depth biography of Allan Brooks please see this article By Ron Candy, former curator or the Greater Vernon Museum and Archives

"Then God saw everything that He had made, and indeed it was very good..." Genesis 1:31