Don Burnett’s mom and her class in the Mission Creek School. - Image contributed

Burnet: Family entrenched in Kelowna

In 1934 another family moved to Kelowna: This one from Calgary.

Last week I ended my Burnett family story with my dad and grandpa building their first greenhouses through the 1930’s changing the name of the business from A. Burnett to A. Burnett and Son Greenhouses.

In 1934 another family moved to Kelowna: This one from Calgary. My maternal grandparents Leigh and Helen Henderson with their three youngest, Evelyn (my mom) Harold and Kathleen (Kay) came down the lake on the SS Sicamous landing in Kelowna in December of that year.

Grandpa Henderson was a dental mechanic and set up shop in the basement of their new home on Sutherland Ave. right beside the large brick home of the Harvey family.

The family joined the congregation at the 1st United Church and that’s where my mom and my dad first met at a young people’s get together.

From what I can gather it was mom who became fond of dad’s wonderful tenor voice filling the church from the choir loft and the rest is history.

At the time, my mom was teaching school after completing Grade 12 at Kelowna High School with the four other students in the 1934 graduating class and then two years at the Vancouver Normal School.

While in Vancouver mom stayed with her Aunt Lou, my grandmother’s sister in North Vancouver.

The Normal School was on Cambie and 10th right across from the brand-new city hall so each morning she would need to catch the street car at Lonsdale then a ferry across the water and another street car to the school with the same process at the end of the day.

My Aunty Kay did the same thing a few years later.

Harold joined the armed forces and was able to achieve his doctorate in dentistry while with them. Mom’s first teaching engagement was at Shuswap Falls near Lumby.

Next, she was hired to teach at the Mission Creek School on the corner of KLO and Benvoulin.

After a respectable courtship mom and dad were married in August of 1942. A year later the first of the Burnett children was born: Eve Lynn Kathleen.

During this time, A. Burnett and Son Greenhouses was growing in leaps and bounds.

As well as vegetable bedding plants, it was now supplying Kelowna gardeners with annual flowering plants.

My dad told me a story once of the first flower seeds they ordered from Stokes Seed Company of St. Catharines, Ontario.

When grandpa opened a package of Lipstick Petunia seeds he was surprised at how small they were, only filling a tiny corner of the seed pack, and in order to be sure he got his value, proceeded to count every seed on the kitchen table using a magnifying glass.

He had a little Scot’s blood in him.

Through the forties a few more greenhouses were built and grandpa sold the lots on the west side of the property along Aberdeen Street.

These sold for $100 each with the corner lots going for $150. With that huge influx of cash he was able to take a trip to California to see all the vast vegetable farms and bring back ideas to improve the Burnett operation.

Well I’ve run out of space again so there will be more next week along these lines. I promise before long I will get back to gardening topics.

Listen to Don Burnett and Ken Salvail every Saturday Morning from 8am to 10am presenting the Garden Show on AM 1150 now in its 34th year.

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