West Kelowna  

Local history hits big screen

One of the Okanagan's most interesting stories is hitting the big screen. 

If Eddy Haymour had gotten his way, Rattlesnake Island, located across Okanagan Lake from Peachland, would be a Middle Eastern theme park today, complete with a giant camel ice-cream parlour, a large pyramid, submarine rides, mini golf and pony rides.

Instead, the pyramid's foundation and remnants of the mini golf course serve as the only remnants of Haymour's dream, and the island is now part of Okanagan Mountain Provincial Park.

Haymour, who had emigrated from Lebanon in 1955, purchased the island in 1971, and got to work building his dream.

Despite there being no regulations governing construction on the private island, Haymour came upon opposition to his plans from Okanagan residents, which culminated in the province “improperly using its power to stop the development,” according to a BC Supreme Court decision in Haymour's favour that came many years later.

Before his court win, which saw him awarded more than $100,000, his 15-year battle with the government led to the break-up of his marriage, a court-ordered stay at Riverview mental health facility, a return to Lebanon where he held the Canadian embassy hostage for several hours in protest, and finally, his return to Canada where he built a castle in Peachland.

There's enough twists and turns in the Haymour story for a very compelling documentary, and that's what Artaban Productions' Greg Crompton and Tony Cerciello, director and producer of the film respectively, intend to do.

Crompton grew up in Kelowna, and his father actually visited Rattlesnake Island with Haymour in the 1970s.

Vancouver-based Artaban Productions produced a short documentary about the Haymour story a little over a year ago as part of their Vancouver Was Awesome series.

“The story's so much bigger than the five minutes we did,” Crompton said. “Eddy's been trying to get it told a lot, but for a variety of reasons it hasn't happened."

Artaban received funding from Telus Optik last summer, kicking the production “into high gear.”

Crompton and Cerciello have since interviewed the 87-year-old Haymour, who now lives in Edmonton.

“We've gone out there to interview with him, we've brought him out to B.C., we took him to Rattlesnake Island for the first time he's been there since the seventies,” Cerciello said.

“He was excited but then he said himself that it was sad because it was something that was taken from him unfairly.”

Crompton and Cerciello are now looking for old footage for their film.

“We're on the hunt for as much sort of news coverage or any sort of video footage that people might still have related to the events,” Cerciello said.

“We'd love coverage of when he took the Canadian embassy hostage in Lebanon and some of the coverage of when he returned and potentially coverage of his court case.”

Anyone who has old footage of Haymour can reach out to Cerciello by email at [email protected]

The pair hope to screen their completed film at several major festivals, including Vancouver International Film Festival, Hot Docs Canadian International Documentary Festival and Sundance Film Festival.

More West Kelowna News

Recent Trending



Soft 103.9

Kelowna SPCA Featured Pet

Albert Eggstein
Albert Eggstein Kelowna SPCA >


West Kelowna Quick Links City of West Kelowna
Central Okanagan Regional District
West Kelowna Discussion Forum
District of Peachland
Interior Health
School District 23
Westside Tourism
Okanagan Regional Library
Castanet Proud Member of RTNDA Canada