Town of Osoyoos marks 75th birthday

Happy birthday, Osoyoos!

Happy birthday, Town of Osoyoos!

Seventy-five years ago today, January 14, 1946, the small village at the time was incorporated, holding its first official meeting as the Municipality of the Village of Osoyoos at the CPR station a few weeks later on Jan. 31.

William Andrews was elected chairman of the board, Gordon Kelly and Joseph Armstrong were elected village commissioners.

The terms mayor and alderman were adopted in 1968, then changed to mayor and councillors in 1993, according to a brief historical writeup from current Mayor Sue McKortoff in honour of the birthday.

The recorded population in 1951 was just 899, and in 1983, the Village of Osoyoos became the Town of Osoyoos due to an increase in population. The most recent census had Osoyoos at 5,065 residents in 2016.

"While the Okanagan Valley area has been the home of First Nations people for 10,000-15,000 years, the Osoyoos area was a natural stop on the fur trading route by explorers and fur-traders working for the Pacific Fur Company and the Hudson's Bay Company," McKortoff writes.

"The discovery of gold at Rock Creek brought an influx of gold seekers. Ranching and planting of 30 acres of soft fruit and apples in 1906 made it necessary to consider irrigation in the valley, which led to the 'ditch' at the South Okanagan Lands Project in 1927."

McKortoff has some suggestions of books for anyone looking to dive deeper in to the history of Osoyoos, including "The Story of Osoyoos: September 1811 to December 1952" by George J. Fraser, "A Short History and Description of Osoyoos" by Dorothy Fraser and "A Rich and Fruitful land, The History of the Valleys of the Okanagan, Similkameen and Shuswap by Jean Webber.

"Many of the names mentioned in these books are easily recognized, as their descendants still live in Osoyoos," McKortoff writes.

"Happy 75th birthday Osoyoos!"

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