Local History Collection

The Local History Collection consists of materials covering the Okanagan Valley from Osoyoos to Vernon. Visitors to the library have access to print and microfilm materials covering this topic. We have hundreds of commercial, governmental and privately published material in many subject areas in the form of books, reports, periodicals, videos and sound recordings. The majority of the material is housed in a glass case in the Reference area of the library. In many cases there are two copies of each book, one copy for circulating, and one copy available for use in the library only.

The Library subscribes to the Penticton Herald and has a microfilm copy of the Herald dating from August 1906 to April 1959 and, January 1960 to the present. We have one microfilm machine where the reels can be viewed. To have a copy made, you must speak to someone at the reference desk (250-770-7781 ext. 4502). 

In the video collection we have all 8 videotapes comprising the Heritage Tales at the Penticton Museum hosted by Randy Manual with a variety of guest speakers. We also have a copy of the 1955 World Hockey Championship: Penticton Vees vs. Russia game in black and white.

The Okanagan Historical Society has taken responsibility for writing and publishing the local history of the Okanagan Valley of British Columbia, Canada for over seventy years. These annual reports are available with a comprehensive subject index covering the first report to the fifty-fifth.

The Library has also begun a special collection called "Okanagan Facts and Stats" housed next to the local history collection. Gathered here are government reports such as the Official Community Plan, BC Stats Infoline, Apex Mountain Recreation Area and Mine Proposal, Okanagan Parks and Proposals and Arbitration Between Blackwell Stores Ltd. and Naramata Irrigation District. A non-circulating collection, materials from here may be photocopied for 25¢ per page.

In conjunction with the Penticton Museum and Archives located just across the corridor from the Library, historians have complete access to the rich history and culture of the Okanagan Valley. The following are just a few titles you will find in our Local History Collection.

In Search of Ogopogo: Sacred Creature of The Okanagan Waters by Arlene Gaal (2001)
A creature shrouded in mystery, sighting the Ogopogo would be a once-in-a-lifetime event that has thousands of people flocking to Okanagan Lake every year. This is just one book dealing with the evidence and history of this local phenomenon.

Venture: The Story of The Okanagan Summer School of the Arts 1960-1981 by Jean Webber (1981)
The Okanagan Summer School of the Arts is recognized in Canada and the Pacific Northwest thanks to the diligence and dedication of many people. This book details the history from this once amateur effort into the current professional entity that exists today.

Steam on the Kettle Valley: A Railway Heritage Remembered by Robert D. Turner (1995)
This book is a project of the Kettle Valley Railway Heritage Society in co-operation with the Royal British Columbia Museum. The story of the Kettle Valley Railway comes alive in this beautifully illustrated book.

Late Glacial History and Surficial Deposits of the Okanagan Valley, British Columbia by Hugh Nasmith (1980)
Bulletin 46 of the Province of British Columbia, Ministry of Energy, Mines and Petroleum Resource. This report presents an account of the late glacial history of the Okanagan Valley.

Geology of the Kelowna Area and Origin of the Okanagan Valley British Columbia by Kelowna Geology Committee (1995)
This book is designed for the local lay-person, visitors and educators. It aims to heighten the understanding of how the evolution of this landscape affects the lives of the people living here.

Fruit Ranching in British Columbia by J. T. Bealby (1911)
A thorough investigation by a resident of London, England contemplating and inquiring about the possibilities of growing fruit profitably in British Columbia in the early 1900's.

Pictographs (Indian Rock Paintings) In the Interior of British Columbia by John Corner (1968)
Comprising maps, photographs and explanations, this is not a complete record of all interior pictographs but is a very thorough record of all sites known to the author.

The Okanagan by Gordon Peachey (1984)
Chapters include winery tours, road trips, Sunday walks, nature, history, and other tours with black and white and color photography.

The Salish People: The Local Contribution of Charles Hill-Tout by Charles Hill-Tout (1978)
Charles Hill-Tout is a self-educated ethnologist. These volumes are his field notes of time spent with the Salishan Indians.

British Columbia Heritage Series
These 9 volumes introduce the native peoples of British Columbia through the language boundaries known as Athapasca or Dene, Tsimshian, Haida, Kwakiutl, Bella Coola, Nootka, Coast Salish, Interior Salish & Kootenay.

Historical Souvenir of Penticton, B.C. 1867-1967 On The Occasion of the Centenary of the Dominion of Canada (1967)
This book attempts to record the contributions of the pioneers who aided in the development of the City of Penticton.

Mines of the Eagle Country Nickel Plate and Masco by Doug Cox (1997)
The Nickel Plate Mine was one of the oldest, longest producing gold mines in British Columbia. The author has put together an account that covers both the technical aspect of mining and the social aspect of the people who worked here.

The Life and Times of Grand Forks: Where the Kettle River Flows by Jim and Alice Glanville (1997)
Covering the complete development and rich history of this diverse area since its beginnings in 1897.

The History of Okanagan Mission: A Centennial Retrospect by Primrose Upton (1958)
A history of Okanagan Mission signed by the author and written as one of the Okanagan Mission Centennial projects.

Summerland: the First 100 Years: A Nostalgic Look at Summerland's Past compiled by K. C. Jones (1999)
The chapters in this book are organized in time-line order and by specific event. For example, the first consolidated grade school in British Columbia was established in Summerland in 1911.

Vernon, British Columbia: A Brief History by Theresa Gabriel (1958)
This short book covers the history of Vernon up to 1957.

A Short History and Description of Osoyoos by Dorothy Fraser (1967)
History, geology and natural history are all covered in this title.

Okanagan Facts and Stats Collection

Reports, studies and statistical information pertinent to this area is shelved in the Reference area.

Sample information contained in this collection:

  • Arbitration Between Blackwell Stores Ltd. and Naramata Irrigation Board
  • B.C. Stats InfoLine
  • City of Penticton Parks, Recreation and Cultural Master Plan (1994-2003)
  • City of Penticton Okanagan Lake Marina Planning Study, 1993
  • Crystal Peak Garnet Project Environmental Assessment, 1997
  • Dewdney Trail
  • Okanagan Nations Pre-Settlement Procurement Realm
  • Proposed Cascade Wilderness
  • Resource Analysis and Mapping for Apex Mountain and Nickel Plate
Back to Top