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Irrigation--British Columbia
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Correspondence index

  • GR-1024
  • Series
  • 1918-1981

Series consists of subject index cards to W files and O series correspondence relating to water rights and water resources development. Includes file references to irrigation districts, dams, rivers and streams, improvement districts, water users' committees, dyking districts, fire protection districts, flood control, and drainage.

British Columbia. Surveys and Land Records Branch

L.J. Bettison interview : [Orchard, 1966]

RECORDED: [location unknown], 1966-02-03 SUMMARY: TRACK 1: Mr. Leo J. Bettison recalls some of his experiences in the central interior of BC, 1912 to 1914; and in the south Okanagan, 1918 to 1922. He describes his arrival in Victoria in 1912; work on Saltspring Island; work surveying and trapping in the Fort George area; joining up for World War I; travels; people in the Fort George area, including Billy Seymour and "Six-Mile Mary"; a potlatch on Saltspring Island; more details about the Fort George area; incidents in the bush; his return to Canada after the war, and his work in Saanich. TRACK 2: Mr. Bettison describes the making of straw;berry jam; going to the Okanagan and his early work there; farming near Oliver; a story about a deer shot near Fairview; Fairview and the people there; orchards in Oliver; irrigation; an anecdote about soldier-settlement schemes; buying hay from "Old MacIntyre"; Bill Skunover; stories about Indians in the Oliver area.

F.H. "Tommy" Wilmot interview

CALL NUMBER: T1088:0001 RECORDED: [location unknown], 1964-11-11 SUMMARY: TRACK 1: Mr. F.H. "Tommy" Wilmot discusses his father's travels and life in the Vernon area from 1890 to 1914. He begins by describing the Middleton family; Wilmot's father; polo matches; a story of; his father crossing the prairies by cart; ranching near Pincher Creek; Victoria and the Cowichan area; more about family and how they returned to England; how his father was persuaded to come to the Okanagan; he came to Coldstream in 1905; sports; ranchers in Alberta; a story about Billy Humphries; his mother; Policeman Clarkson; polo grounds and race tracks. TRACK 2: Mr. Wilmot continues by discussing raising ponies; Pat Burns and the Calgary girl's polo team; the pony business; polo in the Okanagan; his first impressions of the valley in 1905; Coldstream compared to then as to now; Hayden; recollections of Vernon; the pace in those days; sports; social life; the cordwood and ice business; young Englishmen; the country club; banker G.A. Henderson of the Bank of Montreal; Judge Spinks; ;Shorty Mardsen.;

CALL NUMBER: T1088:0002 RECORDED: [location unknown], 1964-11-11 SUMMARY: TRACK 1: Mr. Wilmot describes the year-round in the orchards; more on the sports played; impressions of Price Ellison; George Anderson; W.C. Ricardo; the slump on Coldstream after WWI; a story about Ricardo and Dr. Morris; Ricardo's cart; a description of Ricardo; Dr. Morris; work as an electrician; a man shot in a dispute over irrigation water; a story of the sale of Postill Ranch and cattle; Indians; general comments about Indians; and the Douglas Lake Cattle Company polo team. [TRACK 2: blank.]

Jack Durrell interview

CALL NUMBER: T0594:0001 SUPPLIED TITLE OF TAPE(S): Ranching in the Chilcotin region PERIOD COVERED: 1891-1940 RECORDED: [location unknown], 1976 SUMMARY: TRACK 1: Mr. Durrell discusses family background: father, Harry Durrell, came to Chilcotin in 1894; after several false starts, began Wineglass Ranch in 1906; father's experiences in establishing the ranch; parents married in 1917; Durrell born in 1919. Chilcotin ranches. Food and supplies in the early part of the century. Telephones. Cattle drives to Williams Lake and Ashcroft. TRACK 2: More on cattle drives. Clothing. Effects of the Depression on the ranchers. Hired help. Local place names. More on hired help. Description of irrigation methods. Irrigation works on the Wineglass Ranch. Education by correspondence. Problems of education in an isolated place. Personal background. CALL NUMBER: T0594:0002 SUPPLIED TITLE OF TAPE(S): Chilcotin ranching PERIOD COVERED: 1900-1960 RECORDED: [location unknown], 1976 SUMMARY: TRACK 1: Mr. Durrell describes: working with horses; techniques of harvesting "swamp hay"; changes in game population; more on horses; the seasonal round of work on a Chilcotin ranch; problems of wintering cattle; use of cow dogs; problems of medical attention; use of indigenous herbal remedies; more on dogs; lack of success with sheep in Chilcotin; Gristmille; problems of wintering cattle; law enforcement. TRACK 2: Anecdotes about cattle rustling. Cattle drives to Grand Trunk Pacific Railroad. (End of interview)

Ronald Helmer interview

CALL NUMBER: T1072:0001 RECORDED: [location unknown], 1963-02-28 SUMMARY: TRACK 1: Mr. Ronald Helmer talks about agriculture and life in the Okanagan, 1900 to 1910. He explains how he came to Canada; incidents on the train; his arrival in the Okanagan; his impressions of ;the valley and of the people and the economic situation; cooperatives; the Combines Act; why he came to BC; his arrival in Vernon and going to see W.C. Ricardo; fruit growing at that time; odd jobs; Coldstream Ranch; the Indian hop pickers; an incident with an Indian in a store; and how people were trustworthy. TRACK 2: Mr. Helmer offers an anecdote about two men in Kamloops; banquets at bull sales in Kamloops; an anecdote about the bull sale committee; the development of irrigation; financial problems over irrigation; irrigation districts; irrigation systems; a man shot over stealing irrigation water in 1913 or 1915; remittance men in general, and a story about one in particular.

CALL NUMBER: T1072:0002 RECORDED: [location unknown], 1963-02-28 SUMMARY: TRACK 1: Mr. Helmer discusses early jobs; working on CPR lots at Summerland; working for fruit farmer R.H. Agur at Summerland; work with the government fruit inspector; he became the first superintendent; the Summerland Dominion Experimental Farm in 1914; a story of a trip to Penticton by wagon; work at an experimental farm working on tomato growing and fruit experiments; World War I and seed production; the importance of the experimental farm to the valley; and the Okanagan Horticultural Club. TRACK 2: Mr. Helmer discusses the organization of Chautauquas; a discussion of varieties of apples; the development of strains of apples including Delicious and McIntosh; grape growing; varieties; illustration farms; cover crops; vegetable growing; tomatoes; big influx of people from 1900 to 1910; other fruit experiments.

CALL NUMBER: T1072:0003 RECORDED: [location unknown], 1963-02-28 SUMMARY: TRACK 1: Mr. Helmer compares fruit to vegetable growing; and discusses fertilizer salesmen; cover crops; ploughing; the people who came out to grow fruit; types of fruit grown in various parts of the Okanagan; winter kill; a story about the Bank of Montreal in Vernon and banker G.A. Henderson; steamboats on Okanagan Lake; how Mr. Helmer left the experimental farm; work on a stock farm at Nicola; running for office for Kamloops and Yale and losing. [TRACK 2: blank.]

D.W. Hodgson interview

RECORDED: [location unknown], 1965-05-24 SUMMARY: TRACK 1: Mr. D.W. Hodgson talks about his experiences in the Cariboo, coast, and southern Okanagan regions of BC, 1904 to 1946. He describes how he came to BC in 1904 and offers his impressions of Vancouver and Victoria at that time; various early jobs; encounters with Indians; automobiles in the Cariboo in 1910; looking for a railway pass in the Chilco area; impressions of Lillooet; stories abo;ut working with a survey crew for the BC Electric Railway; a discussion of early railway surveying; stories about survey crews; a discussion of work on the BC coast; examining inlets for hydro electric power possibilities in the early 1920s. TRACK 2: Mr. Hodgson continues with more stories about work on the coast in Rivers Inlet, Queen Charlotte Sound, and Knight Inlet, including details on the ;coastal landscape; looking for irrigation water for the south Okanagan before World War I; irrigation in the area; details of the soldier settlement scheme; irrigation; and orchard development in the Oliver/Osoyoos area after World War I.

Public Utilities Commission Engineering Dept. records

  • GR-1160
  • Series
  • 1943-1972

This series contains the records of the Engineering Department. Included are correspondence, memoranda, reports, appraisals and investigations of the Chief Engineer and the Investigations Auditor. The records relate to applications for public utilities (water, gas, and electric) and their construction, expansion and operation, including applications for rate revisions, extension of natural gas and electric distribution lines, and improvements in sub-station transmission systems and municipal water supplies. There is a 1943 report on rates and service of the B.C. Electric Railway Company and miscellaneous files on cemeteries. This unit includes records relating to the application of B.C. Hydro and Power Authority, Gulf of Georgia Transmission Co., and others for a natural gas pipeline to Vancouver Island and Powell River, consisting of correspondence, briefs and exhibits presented at the 1972 hearings, and supplementary data.

British Columbia. Public Utilities Commission

Working papers and other material

  • GR-1284
  • Series
  • 1951-1954

This series contains working papers, drafts and photographs, 1951-1954, used in the preparation of the illustrated "Water Powers, British Columbia, Canada", 1954 edition which was published by the Department of Lands and Forests, Water Rights Branch, Victoria.

British Columbia. Water Rights Branch

Chief Hydrographer correspondence

  • GR-0836
  • Series
  • 1911-1912

This series consists of letterbook copies of correspondence outward from the Chief Hydrographer regarding water surveys, irrigation projects, dams, etc. Includes nominal index.

British Columbia. Water Rights Branch

Kathleen Dewdney interview

RECORDED: [location unknown], 1964-11-15 SUMMARY: TRACK 1: Mrs. Kathleen Dewdney discusses how she and her father, John Robert Ferguson; came to Trail in the Kootenays in 1894, but left upon deciding that the smelter was bad for their health. He decided to move the family to Midway in the Okanagan [actually in the Boundary Region] to have an orchard. She describes the town of Midway as it was when he arrived, including the people there and the ;irrigation system which was in place. She discusses what happened to Midway when the irrigation stopped; the wooden irrigation system and why it failed. Then she describes Trail as a beautiful town,; until the smelter was established in 1896; her father's store in Trail; a Chinese man who lived in Trail and how he dressed and lived; how the smoke from the smelter killed all of the vegetation; the; journey by stage from Trail through the US to Midway the year before the CPR arrived there; what their orchard grew and its success; how they would sell their produce at Greenwood to the workers in t;he smelter; incidents at Midway involving bandits who came from the US to rob people; her memories of Father Pat, including his physical description and manners, and a story of him at Midway, and another of him visiting a sick miner; her job as a teacher in Midway, and incidents there. [TRACK 2: blank.]

Walter Wright interview

RECORDED: [location unknown], 1964-11 SUMMARY: TRACK 1: Mr. Walter Wright recalls Summerland from 1909 to 1915. He describes coming from Ontario in 1909; a description of what Summerland was like when he arrived; problems with irrigation; people ;who were brought to the valley by J.M. Robinson; the character of people who came to the area; stories about Tom Kelly and Sam McGee, who allegedly knew Robert W. Service, and inspired a story; Major Hutton; the Gartrell family; Harry Dunston and his bride; speaker's club in Summerland; public works; the Baptist college and its effect on the community, including sports; the history of the college building above the town. [TRACK 2: blank.]

Winifred Innis interview

RECORDED: [location unknown], 1965-05-28 SUMMARY: TRACK 1: Mrs. Winifred Innis talks about life in the Okanagan, 1896 to 1910. She describes her family background, including travels and her father's work, as well as coming to Vernon in 1896. She offers her impressions of Vernon while discussing the orchards and irrigation; Lord and Lady Aberdeen; her father's work in Vernon and building a road to Nickel Plate Mine; Penticton and its people in 1;900; the development of Penticton; life on Green Mountain; the people of Vernon and Lumby; her husband's background; Keremeos and its people from 1906 on; her impressions of Hedley; mining there; Duncan Wood; Jimmy Reardon; dances; land promotion at Olalla and other people in the area. [TRACK 2: blank.]

W. Alister Cameron interview

RECORDED: [location unknown], 1965-11-06 SUMMARY: TRACK 1: Mr. W. Alister Cameron talks about life in Kelowna and in the area, 1903 to 1920. He describes his family background; his first impressions of Kelowna in 1903; the family orchard; early days; a description of the countryside; the development of Kelowna and the apple industry; work at a bank; surveying work; looking for reservoir sites; Okanagan Falls; paper chases; the McDougall family and their land; Dave McDougall; and the land at the headwaters of Mission Creek. [TRACK 2: blank.]

R.E. Gamman interview

CALL NUMBER: T0322:0001 RECORDED: [location unknown], 1964-11-15 SUMMARY: TRACK 1: Mr. Robert E. Gamman recalls life in the Okanagan; 1908 to 1914. He describes how he came to the Okanagan in 1908 via the U.S.; odd jobs in Vernon; trapping; J.M. Robinson and Naramata; land dealings; irrigation; life as a greenhorn in a cabin; the man who lent him the cabin; "real men"; a story of a man who froze to death on a trail; Nahun Landing; trapping in the Monashee area; the story of how he came to Naramata; work there and surveying. TRACK 2: Mr. Gamman describes early days in Naramata; survey work in the South Okanagan; an encounter with wild cattle; Mrs. Kruger and her boys; hospitality then as compared to today; Okanagan Falls; packing into Camp McKinney; the story of Arnott, who had owned the site of Kaleden, and his partner Bill Hines; their ranch; other characters; a visit from a game warden regarding deer; and the town of Fairview.

CALL NUMBER: T0322:0002 RECORDED: [location unknown], 1964-11-15 SUMMARY: TRACK 1: Mr. Gamman describes surveying and the construction of the Kettle Valley Railway; accidents; survey work; work in Northern BC; surveying the watershed of Deadman River; an anecdote about the; beginning of World War I; Kelowna and remittance men, including one who pretended to own a ranch; a description of Kelowna; Vernon; bad debts back then; other people such as Tommy Wilmot and Paddy Acland; early days in Penticton; Naramata; more on J.M. Robinson who was "a real pioneer"; early growth in Naramata and irrigation. TRACK 2: Mr. Gamman tells stories of people in Naramata; development ;in Naramata over World War I; land between there and Penticton; his own early life there; the Green family of Green Mountain; a story about getting locked up overnight in Kelowna; various odd jobs such as prospecting and pruning trees.

H.C.S. Collett interview

RECORDED: [location unknown], 1964-11-13 SUMMARY: TRACK 1: Mr. H.C.S. Collett discusses irrigation and life in general in the south Kelowna - Okanagan Mission area from 1912 to 1924. He discusses several characters and the history of the area; expe;\riences when he lived in Cumberland; his first impressions of the area; bringing irrigation from McCulloch Lake, which is above Kelowna; distribution of water; development of irrigation and details of; irrigation systems; and 'the boom' from 1911 to 1914. He describes his experiences doing odd jobs and goes into great detail about Okanagan Mission, the area and the people; grape growing; difficulties with private packing houses; trials and tribulations of an orchardist, especially the problems of apple growing. TRACK 2: Mr. Collett offers an anecdote about finding an area to develop a reservoir for even distribution among the orchards. More on irrigation and Belgian people in the Okanagan; selling fruit to private packing houses; the reorganization of the industry.

F.W. King interview

RECORDED: [location unknown], 1965-05-25 SUMMARY: TRACK 1: Mr. Frederick William King talks about the development of Kaleden from 1911 to 1930. He describes how he came to Kaleden in 1911; a discussion of Jim Ritchie, who was the founder of Kaleden; the beginnings of the orchards; the effects of WWI; changes in ownership of the orchards; the Kaleden Hotel; Mr. King's own life; work in Kaleden; stories about irrigation problems; people in the are;a; packing houses; fruit co-ops; financing irrigation; general comments on Kaleden and the area; and more on Jim Ritchie. [TRACK 2: blank.]

Boyd Affleck interview

RECORDED: [location unknown], 1964-09-08 SUMMARY: TRACK 1: Mr. Boyd Campbell Affleck came to the Kootenay/Arrow Lakes region in 1907 from Ontario. He took up a surveying job near Nakusp. He discusses settlers and speculators. He describes Fruitva;le in 1907; the development; the early settlers. Then he discusses irrigation and then more on Fruitvale; the impact of WWI on the region; fruit grown; a picnic in the 1930s; settlers; clearing land; and the Fruitvale town site. Mr. Affleck settled near Fruitvale in 1918; lost his hand and was forced back into survey work. He surveyed the town of Salmo. He offers an anecdote about the red light ladies of Erie and then offers more about Fruitvale; the impact of the Trail smelter; and recalls the forest fire of 1939. TRACK 2: Mr. Affleck continues with more on the forest fire. Then he dis;cusses the Trail smelter; effects on fruit farms; Columbia Gardens and survey work at Nelson. He offers more on Fruitvale and Nelson in 1907; transportation; the rivalry between the CPR and GN boats.; He tells a story of how Kaslo tried to steal the Nelson Board of Trade in the 1890s. He discusses the Fruitvale power system in the 1920s; Nelson City Light. He describes the rivalry between West Kootenay Power and Light, and Nelson City Light.

Agriculture today : reel 20, part 2

The item consists of a reel of 16 mm film which includes the following:
Measuring depth and weight of snow for water resource estimates. Use of measuring equipment. Taking stream-flow measurements from a bridge. A wooden flume system; escaping water. Building a new asbestos-cement pipeline. Opening a dam. Testing water from a hand pump. Checking outdoor instruments. Man climbing down a manhole.

Growing Canadian apples

The item is an instructional film in two reels:
"Part One deals with the initial stages of growing and training an apple tree, and shows the steps taken from cross-pollination to seed selection and on to budding, pruning and top working. Part Two begins with bridge grafting and then shows entomologists in the laboratory studying insects that attack fruit trees. The various life stages of the codling moth are examined and explained. A horse-drawn spray unit moves through an orchard in British Columbia. The need for three and four applications of spray are explained and the stages at which it must be done. Scene of a spray and dust manufacturing plant. Blossom time in Quebec. Cultivating around the bottom of the trees to prevent the moisture being sapped by weeds. A grass mulch around the base of trees. Wire protectors around the trunk to discourage mice from eating the bark. Scenes of irrigation works in British Columbia, showing sluices, flumes, etc., costing about $14.00 per acre-foot. Thinning fruit in July, remaining apples left about six inches apart. Ripe apple in sunlight. Much of this film was shot on an experimental farm, probably in Ottawa." (Colin Browne)

Agriculture today : reel 28, part 1

The item consists of a reel of 16 mm film which includes the following:

  1. Sorting apples; fruit processing machines. Laboratory for research on preparation of fruit products, new equipment, and packaging. Label: "Sun-Rype Sliced Fresh Peaches". Apple-peeling machine. Apple pulp press. Grinder. Sign: "Barkwills Ltd. Fruit Processors". View of plant. Peach canning operation, including processing machinery and boxing. Boxes marked "Royal City Peaches Halved" and "Brentwood Peaches Sliced".
  2. Automatic sprinkling system: control panel; sprinkler heads in operation. Various orchard sprinkler systems.

Agriculture today : reel 29, part 2

The item consists of a reel of 16 mm film which includes the following:
C. The Kamloops area is well-suited for raising beef cattle. Bill Hubbard [?] of the federal agricultural research station at Kamloops explains how to increase hay production on a "three-cut" basis; the right variety of forage; soil preparation, fertilizer, watering. Irrigation and sprinkler system. Cutting and stacking. (00:05:50)
D. Showing bulls. An indoor cattle auction. Sign: "Kelowna Ranches". Showing a bull. Auctioneers and bidders. Sign: "Polled Herefords". Bull in outdoor corral. (00:11:17)

Agriculture today : reel 20, part 1

The item consists of a reel of 16 mm film which includes the following:
Tractor pulling irrigation pipes in orchard. Sprinklers at work. Controlling growth of fruit trees for effective watering [?]. Horses, barn, old steam tractor, corral. River, cattle, corral. People gathering at ranch house. A field day; presentation of prizes from Southern Interior Stockmen's Association and B.C. Livestock Producers Co-Op Association. People at indoor meeting.

Agriculture today : reel 1, part 2

The item consists of a reel of 16 mm film which includes the following items:
D. At Cawston, an entire unprofitable apricot orchard is cut down. The cut trees are shredded and dispersed as mulch. At Revelstoke, three deep wells are being drilled to provide water for irrigation and domestic use.
E. Orchard scenes.
F. The golden nematode, a pest of tomatoes, potatoes and eggplants, infested Vancouver Island in 1965. The plant protection of the federal Department of Agriculture eradicated the threat using quarantine, soil preparation and fumigation.
G. The federal Department of Agriculture's national potato-breeding program. At a research station in Fredericton, researchers select the best varieties for each region of Canada.

Royal Commission Investigating the fruit industry (and inter-related conditions) of the districts territorially known as the Okanagan, Kootenay and Kettle River (1930)

  • GR-0904
  • Series
  • 1929-1930

This series consists of records of the Royal Commission Investigating the Fruit Industry (and interrelated conditions) of the Districts Territorially Known as the Okanagan, Kootenay, and Kettle River of the Province of British Columbia, 1929-1930. Commission records consist of correspondence and the report.

Royal Commission Investigating the Fruit Industry (and interrelated conditions) of the Districts Territorially Known as the Okanagan, Kootenay, and Kettle River of the Province of British Columbia

Water Rights Branch operational records

  • GR-0884
  • Series
  • 1901-1967

This series consists of records of the Water Rights Branch. Records include government publications, reports, memoranda, correspondence, statutes, regulations, indexes and maps pertaining to water rights, irrigation projects, water reserves, and water power developments, 1901-1967. Includes unpublished reports on the history of irrigation, water power resources policy, public utility regulation, and the Water Rights Branch, the Water Board, and the BC Conservation Fund.

Box 1-2 contain general files.

Box 3 contains the Provincial Water Power Index, ca. 1925-1933. Files are arranged alphabetically by Water District, with Water Rights Branch index numbers, Commission of Conservation index numbers, and Dominion Lands Branch index numbers. Also includes Water District maps showing locations of power site developments, water reserves, applications, and horsepower outputs.

Box 4 contains the Water Reserves Notices Index, 1901-1963. Files are arranged alphabetically by Water District, redone and rechecked February 13, 1963.

Box 5 contains Acts and regulations.

British Columbia. Water Rights Branch

Reports on water management and power projects

  • GR-1427
  • Series
  • 1941-1978

This series contains special studies and reports on water management, power projects and related topics.

British Columbia. Water Management Branch

Commission on Dyking, Drainage and Irrigation (1946)

  • GR-0680
  • Series
  • 1946

This series consists of the records of the Commission on Dyking, Drainage and Irrigation (1946). Records include transcripts of proceedings, exhibits, report, subject files and correspondence.

British Columbia. Commission on Dyking, Drainage and Irrigation (1946)


  • GR-1289
  • Series
  • 1922-1954

This series contains copies of Hydro-electric progress reports in Canada, issued by Canada, Dept. of Northern Affairs and National Resources, Water Resources Division and its predecessor agencies. This mimeographed progress report highlights projects under development in British Columbia and the other provinces.

British Columbia. Water Rights Branch

Irrigation report

  • GR-0368
  • Series
  • 1911

"Report on irrigation conditions of British Columbia and recommendations for the initiation of government work on irrigation investigations," by Prof. B.A. Etcheverry, commissioned by the Dept. of Lands.

British Columbia. Water Rights Branch

Lands correspondence

  • GR-0360
  • Series
  • 1896-1936

This series consists of selected correspondence files from the several branches of the Department of Lands and works, and its successor the Department of Lands: Lands, Surveys, Water Rights, and Forests. Records include requests for information concerning the availability of land in British Columbia, Water Rights Branch correspondence concerning various power projects and irrigation, forest fire reports, and files on Forest Branch launches. Note: "WRB" refers to Water Rights Branch.

British Columbia. Dept. of Lands and Works

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