Building great people, because great people build great families and great families build great communities.
To God be the glory!

Tuesday, March 22, 2011

Some Osoyoos History

The Aboriginal People roamed the Okanagan Valley for centuries. They stopped at Spotted Lake above Osoyoos, for physical and spiritual healing. They made Osoyoos a favourite meeting place, and they named our town "Sooyoos" a Native Okanagan word meaning the “narrows of the lake” or “meeting place”.

The narrows afforded a natural crossing, so that, even before the days of the brigades, there was a junction at this point of important trails. Osoyoos Lake is British Columbia’s warmest lake and it crosses the border into the United States. Osoyoos, a version of that word, is pronounced: O-sue-use.

The "O" prefix is not indigenous in origin and was attached by settler-promoters wanting to harmonize the name with other O-names in the Okanagan region (Oliver, Omak, Oroville, Okanagan).

In the 1800’s, Osoyoos was merely a rest stop for fur traders seeking a better route for sending their furs back to Europe.

The extension of the Canadian Pacific Railway to the town in December of 1945 gave orchardists and producers a better way to market their produce.

The first school opened in 1917. There were six pupils.

In 1946, Osoyoos was incorporated as a Village and the railway arrived. Rail service was discontinued a number of years ago, but the Village has grown to be a Town.

In the early 1950's, immigrants from Portugal settled in the South Okanagan. Over the years they proved themselves expert orchardists, proudly making their mark as successful growers of fruit and vegetables and vital members in the community. In recent years, more land has been cleared to make way for vineyards, and the orchards are being redeveloped by an enthusiastic Indo-Canadian Community.

Osoyoos Indian Band The Osoyoos Indian Band has lived for thousands of years in the desert, harvesting fish, roots, berries, and wildlife for food and clothing. Today, over 400 people live on 32,000 acres of Osoyoos Indian Reserve land and have continued their resourceful ways. The band also regularly holds ceremonies at Spotted Lake that it owns and values for its healing properties. One must be creative in order to live life in the desert, and the Osoyoos Indian Band is a living proof of how this can be achieved.

John Carmichael Haynes In the mid-19th Century, the settlement of Osoyoos was born. Haynes had decided to make Osoyoos home after riding on horseback through the area and being struck by Lake Osoyoos' beauty. He is credited with being the first non-Native settler of Osoyoos as well as its first colonial officer and judge. While he did not build a hotel or restaurant, he and a partner did establish cattle ranches to feed nearby mining camps. Osoyoos’ commercial fruit-growing industry was born when an engineer purchased some of Haynes’ land and planted 30 acres of plums, apricots, apples, and other fruit in 1907. Soon after, the Irrigation Canal was built to supply local orchards with water so that crops could be reliably grown. Haynes Point Provincial Park and the Haynes Point Wetlands Trail are named after Haynes in honour of his importance to Osoyoos’ establishment as a community.

Osoyoos is home to Canada’s only official desert.

Fruit production remains a major industry, but Osoyoos has grown into a hot tourist destination since its first hotel was established in the 1920’s. Osoyoos today has retained its agricultural heritage. The ideal climate has resulted in the area producing a variety of fruits, vegetables and vineyards, catering to the early seasonal markets. The climate also has attracted many visitors who flock to the area beaches to enjoy the warm waters of Osoyoos Lake.

Never Before

Never before in our life time have we been aware of such devastating news and medical epidemics. Wide range food shortages, record high fuel prices, and natural disasters of floods, earthquakes, cyclones, tornados and volcanic eruptions, housing defaults, and foreclosures are reported daily. Food prices have fuelled riots in Haiti, Cameroon, Egypt, Mexico, Philippines, Indonesia and Ivory Coast. And most recently the earthquake in Japan. Looking at all this, one cannot help but wonder “What in the world is going on?”

We at the Gathering Place believe that it is of the utmost importance to be in right relationship with Almighty God. I know churches can let you down, and certainly Christians can let you down, but the Word of God is Rock Solid. The Bible can be trusted as the one source of reliable information about the meaning of the events of our day and what those events tell us about our hope for the future. The lyrics of an old country music song written by Roy Acuff and Odell McLeod (recorded by Hank Williams) say it all.

There’s a mighty battle coming and it’s well now on its way.
It’ll be fought at Armageddon, it shall be a sad, sad day.
In the book of Revelation, words in chapter sixteen say:
There’ll be gathered there great armies for that battle on that day.

All the way from the gates of Eden to the battle of Armageddon
There’s been troubles and tribulation, there’ll be sorrow and despair.
He has said “ye not be troubled for these things shall come to pass.”
Then your life will be eternal when you dwell with him at last.

Turn the pages of your Bible, in St. Matthew you will see,
Start with chapter twenty-four and read from one to thirty-three.
In our Savior’s blessed words He said on earth, He prophesied,
For he spoke of this great battle that is coming by and by.

There’ll be nation against nation, there’ll be war and rumor of war.
There’ll be great signs in heaven, in the sun, the moon, the stars.
Oh, the hearts of men shall fail them, there’ll be gnashing of the teeth.
Those who seek it will receive it, mercy at the Savior’s feet.

A message of hope from “That” Church in Osoyoos, The Gathering Place.