Vernon historian uncovers footage of Ellison Farm in Oyama from 70 years ago

Life on the farm in 1953

Today's trip down memory lane features one of the most prominent families in the Okanagan.

Vernon historian and videographer Francois Arseneault shares footage of life on the Ellison Farm in Oyama that was captured by a then 27-year-old Ken Ellison in 1953.

“The Ellison family were early pioneers in the North Okanagan, with Price Ellison arriving in 1876,” says Arseneault. “Farming and orchards were a big part of the family in the early years.”

Ken’s diverse interests included cinematography, which he had a natural sense for.

The results include work on the farm, a social gathering with the Vernon Girl’s McIntosh pipe band, working in the farm’s sawmill, and plenty of people, “perhaps a few faces may be recognized,” says Arseneault.

Much has changed in the past 70 years since the footage was captured.

“I had the pleasure of knowing Ken, a truly fascinating and kind man. He had local historical knowledge that never ceased to amaze me,” Arseneault says.

According to the Lake Country Museum, Ken Ellison died peacefully at his home in Vernon on June 21, 2016. He was born in Vernon to Vernon and Mabel Ellison. Ken was the last surviving grandchild of Vernon pioneers Price and Sophie Ellison.

He grew up in Oyama, where he attended school through Grade 12. During the Second World War, Ken served with the Royal Canadian Naval Volunteer Reserve as a seaman. In 1949, he received a B.Sc. in agriculture from the University of British Columbia. He returned to Oyama in 1954, where he operated the family ranch and orchards.

Ken was interested in the postal history of Canada and the history of the North Okanagan. He was a life member of the Okanagan Historical Society and volunteered tirelessly at the Vernon Museum.

Arseneault is always looking for more information on the vintage footage he digs up, and he encourages people to add their input in the comments section on his Youtube page.

He has an extensive collection of vintage footage, and he is looking for more.

Anyone who may have old 16 mm or 8 mm film footage of the Vernon and Okanagan area is invited to email Arseneault at [email protected].

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