Okanagan Falls resident Eric Bilow stands in front of his famous tree full of stuffed animals. (Robin Grant-Penticton Western News)

Okanagan Falls tree full of colourful stuffed animals is popular with tourists and locals

Resident says stuffed animal decorations started to slow traffic

It started with a giant stuffed toy snake sprawled across a tree branch to slow traffic on their quiet street.

Seven years later, the maple tree in the front yard of Eric Bilow and his wife Wanda Wilson’s home is decorated with more than 20 adorable stuffed animals in all sorts of vibrant colours.

READ MORE: Try your luck at winning a summer supply of wacky milkshakes

“There’s a lot of locals who have given me toys,” says Bilow, pointing to a yellow duck that was donated by a woman in town. “And somebody just dropped that blue bird just the other day.”

One of the nicest stuffed toys, he says, was a four-foot abominable snowman that was delivered brand new in the packaging. The generous donor remains a mystery to this day.

“We have so many of the smaller ones that we use them for Christmas decorations in the yard. We make ice skating rinks and put everybody in it.”

READ MORE: IRONMAN Canada to return to Penticton in 2020

Bilow says the tree is successful in slowing some of the traffic but it has also become a tourist attraction in Okanagan Falls.

Visitors from all over the world have heard about the sight on Cedar Street and drop by to take pictures.

“How many trees do you see like this?” he asked. “I think it’s popular because of the yard and A-frame of the house. It’s just kind of cozy and the tree just goes with.”

The toys are switched up whenever they become weathered and begin to fade but there is one — a frog in a tiny outhouse that sings, What a Wonderful World by Louis Armstrong — that has lasted all seven years. It has sentimental value to Bilow.

When he lived in Alberta, Bilow says he worked for the government in the forestry department. He ran a fire tower and there was no plumbing at the time. He built the toy in memory of what he described as his special time there.

READ MORE: First DPA community market of 2019 was “fabulous”

“We had an outhouse and the outhouse faced a big buffalo pasture. In the morning, I’d leave the door open and all the buffalo would come and look at me. That was a really good experience and I enjoyed that. So that’s me up in the outhouse singing, What a Wonderful World.”

To report a typo, email: editor@pentictonwesternnews.com.


Robin Grand
Reporter, Penticton Western News
Email me or follow me on Twitter
Follow us on Facebook | Twitter | Instagram

Just Posted

A pickleball debacle unfolds in Lake Country

Pickleball players and frustrated residents discuss the sport court

Lightning causes three wildfires east of Osoyoos

It is believed the fires started by a lightning storm

Kelowna man found guilty of second-degree murder awaits sentencing

A Kelowna jury found Steven Randy Pirko guilty of the second-degree murder in June

Kelowna cab driver charged with sexual assault

RCMP received a report May 28 alleging a taxi passenger had been sexually assaulted by a cab driver

Trial delayed for West Kelowna man charged with murdering his wife

Kevin Costin’s trial is on hold until the Crown and defence work out a few kinks

VIDEO: Young couple found dead in northern B.C. had been shot, police say

Chynna Noelle Deese of the U.S. and Lucas Robertson Fowler of Australia were found along Highway 97

Lightning causes three wildfires east of Osoyoos

It is believed the fires started by a lightning storm

Backhoe ‘burned to a crisp’ in South Okanagan

South Okanagan fire chief said the situation could have been a lot worse

Air ambulance called to second collision on Highway 1 west of Salmon Arm

Emergency crews respond to motor-vehicle collision near Second Nations Road intersection

Crash closes Highway 1 near Tappen

The collision happened about 3:30 p.m. by James Road

VIDEO: Man found dead near B.C. teens’ truck could be linked to a double homicide

RCMP said they are looking for Kam McLeod, 19, and Bryer Schmegelsky, 18, of Port Alberni

Latest plan is to fly trapped fish by helicopter over Big Bar slide

Multi-pronged plan set in motion to freesalmon blocked by landslide in the Fraser River

Controversial anti-abortion film to be screened in the South Okanagan

Unplanned will be shown at the Penticton Landmark theatre

Okanagan-based pop star Andrew Allen is back with a new band

Singer-songwriter Andrew Allen is bringing his new band home for a concert this Friday

Most Read