Burnett: Summer fun in Kelowna resonated with the youngsters

My mother’s family, the Hendersons, moved here in 1934 from Calgary.

My mother’s family, the Hendersons, moved here in 1934 from Calgary. They first saw Kelowna from the deck of the paddle wheeler Sicamous, which they boarded in Vernon to get here. They stayed that first night at the Lake View Hotel across from City Park and never looked back.

Moving a family is still a huge undertaking but in those days it was truly an adventure.

Grandpa Henderson soon began plying his profession as a dental mechanic and opened his office and lab in his home on Sutherland Avenue, across the alley from the Harvey House.

The family consisted of Leigh and Helen Henderson and their children Evelyn (my mom) Harold and Kathleen. Leigh, the oldest son, stayed in Calgary working in sales for a dental equipment company.

I’m not sure when exactly but I believe it was during the Second World War years that Grandpa Henderson purchased a small lakeshore lot beside what is now Gyro Park in the Mission, where he built a cabin.

This cabin became the centre of summer activity for our families for many years, bringing us together as nothing else could in those wonderful days of my youth.

There was a clinker-built rowboat that was stashed in a little lean-to on the north side of the cabin. It could be used for fishing but mostly it was used just for fun.

I remember it took at least two adults to pull it down to the lake it was so heavy.

Our local families—the Harold Hendersons, the Don (Kathleen) McLeods and the Ernie (Evelyn) Burnetts—almost took this fabulous place we called Grandpa’s camp for granted although it was always a special treat to go there.

Meanwhile, the oldest Henderson son, Leigh,  had moved from Calgary to Vancouver and married Marguerite Tewksbury—yes, an aunt to the great Canadian swimmer Mark Tewksbury.

There he and “Megs,” as she was affectionately called, raised their family consisting of Marlene, Karen and Wendy who we always thought of as the Vancouver cousins.

Our summer vacations always included a visit with them in Kitsilano and their visit to the Okanagan always included many happy occasions at the cabin.

Unfortunately, Marguerite passed away in the 1970s and cousin Karen as well.

Marlene and Wendy continued to live at the coast with their families. As things sometimes go, we did not keep in touch over the years as we should have.

Last year, we reconnected when I shared my family history research done by the Okanagan Genealogy Society. It was mainly concerning the Henderson side of my family, so it was equally pertinent to them.

In one of my conversations with Marlene, she reflected on those summers at Grandpa’s camp on the lake. She felt they were some of her fondest childhood memories.

I believe there is no greater common denominator than that cabin when it comes to our family.

It was Grandpa Henderson’s vision after moving to this wonderful city that made it happen.

I am so saddened to say we lost Marlene last week after a battle with cancer so I want to dedicate this column to her.



Tune in to The Don Burnett Garden Show on AM 1150 on Saturday mornings from 8 to 10 a.m.


Just Posted

Cherry season has arrived in the Okanagan

Dust off those cherry pie recipes

Sun-Rype Products Ltd. and Mamas for Mamas announce partnership

The partnership will help support mothers in crisis

Foundry Kelowna makes health care impact

More than 1,000 people ages 12 to 24 in the past year have come seeking help

Canadian pet boutique expands to Ontario

The Bone & Biscuit Company looks to leave it’s paw print

Two artists put on divine feminine art show in Kelowna

The show will be on for the month of July

Homeless people living on ‘Surrey Strip’ move into modular housing

BC Housing says 160 homeless people are being moved into temporary Whalley suites from June 19 to 21

Port of Prince Rupert names Shaun Stevenson as new CEO

Stevenson has worked for the port for 21 years as vice president of trade development

Senate officially passes Canada’s marijuana legalization bill

Bill C-45 now moves to royal assent, which is the final step in the legislative process

Fake attempted abduction not funny to B.C. neighbourhood residents

Two teenage boys won’t face criminal charges after scaring girl

New craft brewery location chosen in Kelowna

Rustic Reel Brewing says it will produce beer at new location on Vaughan Avenue

Mosquitoes out in full force already? Blame the weather

But a B.C. mosquito expert says the heat wave will help keep the pests at bay

Man pleads not guilty in 1987 slayings of B.C. couple

William Talbott of SeaTac was arraigned Tuesday in Snohomish County Superior Court

New GOP plan: Hold kids longer at border – but with parents

Move would ease rules that limit how much time minors can be held with their parents

Without a big data strategy, Canadians at risk of being ‘data cows’

Presentation said artificial intelligence could give Facebook and Amazon even more power

Most Read