A lot of people travel from all over the world to experience West Kelowna’s amazing wineries, farms and trails. From our expanding wine trail to our hikes with million dollar views, West Kelowna is the perfect city to spend an afternoon touring around. What a lot of people may not know is that between all the attractions that the city has to offer is some of Old Westbank’s history. We set out one afternoon to explore some of West Kelowna’s historic sites and found that it is a great way to discover the beauty of the city.
Here at the Westbank Museum and Visitor Centre, we have put together a self-guided tour for anyone who wants to learn the history and see the historic sites for themselves. With the guide in hand, we set off to find some of the old sites that are still preserved. We first visited the Glenrosa Gym, which is a beautiful wooden structure built in 1912 that has had its place in the community for over a century. From a gospel hall to a grade school, it has served a variety of functions and it is nice to see the original building still standing. For more information on the Gym, check out September’s issue of the Westbank Express.
Making our way down from Glenrosa, we made a quick stop at Gorman Brothers Lumber. There is a quaint museum situated on the property encapsulating the mill’s history. A viewing of the museum is usually accompanied by a tour of the mill so making an appointment in advance is required.
Our next stop was Gellatly Heritage Park, which is a quaint memorial park with a stunning view of the Gellatly Bay area. The combination of rustic structures, beautiful gardens, picnic areas, paved paths and benches with lakeside views make this the perfect spot to visit. Not only can one take in the history of the area with the informative plaques around the park, it is a great spot to pack a lunch and snap pictures of West Kelowna’s charm. A minutes drive from Gellatly Heritage Park is Gellatly Nut Farm, which is the perfect way to complete your history lesson on the Gellatly Legacy. The nut farm has been around for more than a century, and is full of vibrant trees that still produce nuts. The Nut Farm is beautiful year round, and bustles with activity in the fall when the nuts are ready to harvest and the leaves have turned to rich shades of red and yellow. The park is located on the lake so if the trees alone aren’t breathtaking enough, the Okanagan’s iconic water and mountain landscapes are available for one’s viewing pleasure too.
The last stop we made was at the Allison House located on the beautiful grounds of Quails’ Gate Winery. Quails’ Gate is one of West Kelowna’s finest wineries complete with a remarkable restaurant and gorgeous views. Quails’ Gate embodies the perfect blend of history and modernity, as its historic charm is celebrated through state-of-the-art architecture. Visiting the Allison House allows one to appreciate the history of West Kelowna as well as enjoy the rest of the winery that has become a staple of the Westside wine trail.
While we only were able to make a few stops, there are a number of sites available to visit surrounding the History of Old Westbank. The self-guided tour provides a complete listing along with information on each place so it is a great resource to pick up for an afternoon of exploration.