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This photo journal features two towns south of Kelowna in the Okanagan Valley - Summerland & Keremeos. The main attraction for us in Summerland was the historic Kettle Valley Steam Railway tour over Myra Canyon trestles. In Keremeos, which we found fascinating, we wanted to see the historic Red Bridge & the historic Grist Mill.
SUMMERLAND Summerland (2011 population 11,280) has an idyllic location on Okanagan Lake. Tourism was a major industry at one time but sadly, that is quickly changing due to pressure from residential subdivision developers. Agriculture, featuring fresh tree fruits (peaches, cherries, apples and pears), and canneries, were the economic engine of the region until the late 20th century when focus shifted away from tree fruits to grape production to support of the burgeoning wine industry. Summerland is now home to several world renowned wineries. Despite being in an arid desert climate there are several golf courses, among many in the Okanagan Valley.
Summerland is also home to the historic Kettle Valley Steam Railway. The Kettle Valley Railway opened a station in Summerland in 1915. Passenger service ended in 1964 and freight service in 1989 with the demise of the railway. Built between 1910 & 1915, the KVRs Kootenay to Coast Connection not only took the areas fruit crop to world markets, but also transported area families & created employment. All of the tracks were removed except for a portion in Summerland which is now home to the historic Kettle Valley Steam Railway (KVR) tourist attraction which showcases a unique part of BC & Okanagan history. Originally built as a coal-burning locomotive in 1912 by Montreal Locomotive Works, locomotive 3716" was rebuilt in 1929. She was kept busy in various parts of the province over the years including the Kootenays, Crowsnest area, Port Coquitlam, & also worked on the Provincial Museum train touring the province. She also starred in many movies & commercials over the years. Her operating career on BC Rail ended in April 2001.
The KVR web site: http://www.kettlevalleyrail.org/
Excellent Myra Canyon web site with a photo gallery http://www.myratrestles.com/
Summerland links: http://www.summerland.ca/
KEREMEOS The villages attractive "Wild West" look dates back to 1909 when the postmaster of the now-abandoned community of Upper Keremeos, Mr. George Kirby, purchased land alongside the Similkameen River in anticipation of the V.V. & E. Railway passing through the area. He was right and other businesses soon followed. Keremeos was officially incorporated in 1956.
Keremeos' main industries include horticulture, agriculture, ranching, and wine making. Area attractions include Cathedral Provincial Park, the Red Bridge, the Keremeos Columns (dang, we missed those - photo here http://www.keremeos.ca/Visitors/Resources/item1b.jpeg) , the Keremeos Grist Mill, excellent fishing in area lakes and rivers, Apex Mountain Resort, Twin Lakes Golf Resort, Spotted Lake, the Hedley Mining Museum and the Mascot Mine.
Keremeos links: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Keremeos,_British_Columbia
article published 8/23/2012