Opinion

Burnett: Former Westside ferry wharf snack shop fondly remembered

A little bit of Kelowna/Westbank local history for today’s column.

Brian Sprout posted the picture seen with today’s column on Facebook a while back.

It made me recall my good pal and former music band mate Bill Campbell, who had mentioned to me on several occasions that a relative of his owned the snack shop at the Westside ferry terminal.

I sent him the picture and here was his response.

“Yes…that was operated by my Uncle Johnny and Auntie Nan (Cameron). Uncle Johnny was an Olympic caliber diver (or swimmer—not sure which) and there was an incident where a car crashed through the gate and into the ferry slip late one night and Uncle Johnny tried to save the occupants inside

“But the effects of holding his breath and diving down again and again blew out his lungs and he was never the same afterwards.

“I believe the people drowned anyway. Also,  if you look at the right side of the building, you will notice that the building extends over the water on stilts…The place had an ‘indoor’ outhouse (with a big can directly under the seat).

“Every evening Uncle Johnny would open a large window in the extension and empty the can (containing the days toilet offerings) right into the lake! The next morning my Auntie Nan would give Red Cross swimming lessons to the local kids (and me) right in the area where Johnny dumped the can the night before.

“I am not sure when they began operating the snack bar but it was at least from when I was 4 (1954) onwards until they closed it down.

“I remember them talking about the bridge, which was beginning to be constructed, and how the ferry service would ‘someday’ end, along with their business.

“They moved to Cultus Lake just after the bridge was finished. That picture really starts the old memories flowing! Thanks for sharing it with me!”

Prior to the opening of the first floating bridge in 1958, the Okanagan Lake ferries were just part in parcel of our everyday lives.

Trips to the coast and even just to visit friends on the Westside were tied to the ferry schedule just as they are today for folk living on the Sunshine Coast or Vancouver Island.

Once the bridge was a reality, the population of the Central Okanagan took a surge in numbers just as it did in 1949 when the hope Princeton Highway was completed.

There were two other events that did the same thing—the Rodgers Pass in 1962 and the Okanagan Connector in the lates 1980s.

***

Another fabulous excursion to the North West Flower and Garden Show in Seattle has been completed and as usual we had a wonderful time.

The tour bus from Kelowna was packed with gardeners and non-gardeners alike.

This year, Ken Salvail and his wife Wendy accompanied us on the trip so we didn’t do our regular Saturday morning radio gardening show.

We will return with stories to tell this Saturday at 8 a.m. on AM1150.

 

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