Oliver, British Columbia
|Town of Oliver|
"Borne of the Waters, Blest by the Sun"
|• Governing body||Band Council, Town Council, RDOS Board|
|• Chief/Mayor/Director||C. Louie, M.Johansen, R.Knodel|
|• Town||4.88 km2 (1.88 sq mi)|
|Elevation||310 m (1,020 ft)|
|• Density||1,000/km2 (2,600/sq mi)|
|Time zone||UTC-8 (PST)|
|Area code(s)||250 / 778 / 236|
Oliver is a town near the south end of the Okanagan Valley in the Southern Interior of British Columbia, Canada, with a population of nearly 5,000 people. It is located along the Okanagan River by Tuc-el-nuit Lake between Osoyoos and Okanagan Falls, and is labeled as the Wine Capital of Canada by Tourism British Columbia. It was once "The Home of the Cantaloupe" as well as the "Home of the International Horseshow."
Local industries include grape and fruit production, agri-tourism, wine production, ranching, golfing and recreation, retail and service trades. Some of the largest employers include Osoyoos Indian Band, School District #53, Interior Health and Okanagan Tree Fruit Cooperative.
Origin of name
Named after John Oliver (1856–1927), Premier of British Columbia. "Honest John" and his government brought irrigation water and settlement lots to the area with the South Okanagan Lands Project.:198
The people of the Syilx Okanagan Nation have lived in the South Okanagan for hundreds if not thousands of years and traditionally moved throughout their large territory to follow seasonal food resources. Many of their camps and village sites were on the shores of the lakes and glacial benches throughout the area. They relied on the river, creeks and valley lakes of the Southern Okanagan for their daily lives.
In the 1880s, free gold-bearing quartz was found at Camp McKinney (east of Oliver) which became a busy gold mine, attracting miners and merchants, and boasting a public transportation system. Fairview (just west of Oliver) miners found gold and fueled the growth of a boomtown but it lasted just a few years and no remnants of the town survive today, other than a heritage marker.
- Established in 1921, Oliver began as a settlement for unemployed veterans of the First World War as part of the Soldier Settlement Act of 1917. A gravity-fed canal was constructed to provide irrigation to the semi-arid area.
- On January 30, 1919, the South Okanagan Lands Project (SOLP) began work on the Intake Dam at the base of McIntyre Bluff. Over the next eight years the 23 concrete-lined miles of the main canal were dug southward to the boundary. Eighteen and a half feet across the top, five feet deep and delivering 230 cubic feet per second, SOLP designed it to enable farmers to put nearly a foot of water per month on every acre of bottom land in the southern Valley. To get the canal from the east side of the Valley to the benches on the west, the “big siphon”—now concrete, but originally a 1,940-foot (590 m)-long wood-stave pipe of six and a half-foot-diameter—was constructed. It runs directly beneath the centre of Oliver. The office of the lands project now houses the town office and the building that housed the BC Police built circa 1924 stands today as the Oliver & District Museum.
- A post office, Board of Trade, and the first official business (a general store) were established in 1921 and the BC government administered the area until 1945 when the village was incorporated and a council elected. In 1990, the community's municipal incorporation was upgraded to town, its current status.
- In 1922, electrical power was brought to Oliver by the West Kootenay Power and Light Co.
- In 1923, the Kettle Valley Railway (KVR) constructed a station in Oliver and rails to transport fruit north to Penticton. In 1931, it was leased to the Canadian Pacific Railway (CPR). The last train went through Oliver in 1977. The building now sits slightly north of its original position and houses the Oliver Tourism Association and Visitor Centre.
- In 1935, Oliver was featured in Ripley's Believe it or Not for the claim that none of the dogs in Oliver had fleas.
- In 1990, Oliver held the world record for baking the world's largest cherry pie.
- In 2002, on her Golden Jubilee Tour of Canada, Queen Elizabeth II gave the Royal assent that Oliver was the Wine Capital of Canada.
- Located east of Oliver is Area 27 Motorsports Park, which is the first and only track over 2 miles in Canada west of Ontario.
Oliver has been characterized by waves of migrants from different parts of the world. The first non-Indigenous settlers in the area, mostly war veterans and their families, came from the United Kingdom in the 1920s. This was followed by migration from Germany in the 1930s, and Hungarians in the 1940s and 1950s. Immigrants from Portugal arrived in Oliver starting in the 1950s, and soon owned most of the area wineries and orchards. The most recent migration has been of Sikh Canadians, many coming from the Lower Mainland and Calgary. As of 2017, Punjabi Sikhs own about 70 per cent of the area orchards and wineries.
Administration of water
- SOLP (1919–1964) South Okanagan Lands Project – established by the Province of BC 1921 and run by provincial government employees for over forty years. In the spring of 1964 the Oliver/Osoyoos Fruit Growers' Association was informed that the province was getting out of the irrigation business.
- SOLID (1964–1989) South Okanagan Lands and Irrigation District – On June 25, 1964 the Fruit Growers' Association volunteered itself to be the cornerstone of the locally constituted South Okanagan Lands Irrigation District which operated the system until 1989.
- Oliver Water (1989 to present) Town of Oliver – The water district was divided into two parts to be run by municipal governments. The Towns of Oliver and Osoyoos now deliver nineteen billion imperial gallons—nearly one hundred billion litres—to the Valley’s parched soils annually. 1990 saw the election of Water Councillors in both communities—a first in BC.
- CAU3 Paved Hard Surface 3200 ft by 50 ft
- Elevation: 1015 ft
- VFR - Lighted strip
- Owned by Town of Oliver
- Lat 49-10.24 N
- Lon 119-33.04 W
- Home to Oliver Flying Club (terminal and hangars), Okanagan Kootenay Air Cadet Gliding Program, VMR Aviation, Transwest Helicopters, Oliver Fire Department, Oliver-Osoyoos Search and Rescue and Big Horn Squadron Royal Canadian Air Cadets
Oliver’s major communities – Indigenous, Portuguese, Caucasian, and Sikhs live in cultural and social silos, with little or no informal social interaction other than in schools, shopping centres and work places.
|Canada 2016 Census||Population||% of Total Population|
|Visible minority group||South Asian||410||9%|
|Other visible minority||10||0.2%|
|Mixed visible minority||0||0%|
|Total visible minority population||570||12.2%|
|Aboriginal group||First Nations||145||3.1%|
|Total Aboriginal population||250||5.3%|
According to the 2011 Census, 79.57% of Oliver's population have English as mother tongue; Punjabi is the mother tongue of 5.21% of the population, followed by German (2.87%), Portuguese (2.55%), French (2.45%), Spanish (0.96%), Dutch (0.74%), Hungarian (0.74%), Russian (0.53%), and Ukrainian (0.53%).
- Town of Oliver: 4928
- Regional District Area 'C': 3473
- Osoyoos Indian Band: 900
- John Anderson, Admiral (Ret) Former Chief of Defense Staff, graduate of SOHS
- Laslo Babits, Competed in javelin at the 1984 Summer Olympics in Los Angeles, California, finishing in 8th place. Graduate of SOSS
- Bill Barisoff, former Speaker of the British Columbia Legislative Assembly, graduate of SOSS
- George Bowering, First Canadian Poet Laureate, graduate of SOHS
- Patricia Smith Churchland, philosopher and neuroscientist, born in Oliver
- Ross Fitzpatrick, Canadian Senator (Okanagan-Similkameen), graduate of SOHS
- Cody Kearsley, actor, known for his role as Moose Mason in the popular CW series Riverdale, graduate of SOSS
- Corban Knight, ice hockey player for the Philadelphia Flyers
- Clarence Louie, Chief of Osoyoos Indian Band, Order of BC
- Julie Skinner, 2002 Bronze Medal at Winter Olympics in Salt Lake City, Utah (Kelly Law team)
- Alison Smith, CBC TV anchor, graduate of SOSS
- Travis Turner, actor, lead role in the 2011 film Marley & Me: The Puppy Years
Oliver has a semi-arid climate (BSk) with hot, dry summers and cool winters. Annual snowfall is light, averaging just 18 inches (46 cm). Oliver is amongst the warmest communities in Canada with an average daily mean of 50.5°F (10.3°C).
|Climate data for Oliver, 1981–2010 normals, extremes 1924–present|
|Record high °C (°F)||16.0
|Average high °C (°F)||1.9
|Daily mean °C (°F)||−0.8
|Average low °C (°F)||−3.4
|Record low °C (°F)||−26.7
|Average precipitation mm (inches)||28.7
|Average rainfall mm (inches)||13.7
|Average snowfall cm (inches)||15.0
|Average precipitation days (≥ 0.2 mm)||9.9||8.0||9.0||9.0||9.9||9.9||6.2||5.7||6.2||7.9||11.9||11.7||105.1|
|Average rainy days (≥ 0.2 mm)||5.5||6.6||8.5||9.0||9.9||9.9||6.2||5.7||6.2||7.8||10.4||5.3||90.9|
|Average snowy days (≥ 0.2 cm)||4.9||1.5||0.7||0.0||0.0||0.0||0.0||0.0||0.0||0.0||1.9||6.9||15.9|
|Mean monthly sunshine hours||42.7||83.4||141.3||191.6||239.7||238.6||282.7||274.5||211.9||147.5||64.4||41.4||1,959.6|
|Percent possible sunshine||15.8||29.2||38.4||46.6||50.6||49.2||57.8||61.5||55.9||44.0||23.3||16.1||40.7|
|Source: Environment Canada|
- "British Columbia Regional Districts, Municipalities, Corporate Name, Date of Incorporation and Postal Address" (XLS). British Columbia Ministry of Communities, Sport and Cultural Development. Retrieved November 2, 2014.
- "2016 Census Profile". 2016 Census. Statistics Canada.
- Population and dwelling counts, for Canada, provinces and territories, and population centres, 2011 and 2006 censuses: British Columbia. Statistics Canada. Retrieved March 17, 2013
- Tourism BC website
- Akrigg, G.P.V.; Akrigg, Helen B. (1986), British Columbia Place Names (3rd, 1997 ed.), Vancouver: UBC Press, ISBN 0-7748-0636-2
- Based on the establishment of the SOLP and post office establishment dates as well as the establishment of the first business and Board of Trade. This information provided by the Oliver & District Heritage Society.
- "Oliver & District Heritage Society". Oliver & District Heritage Society. Retrieved 2020-09-14.
- "Oliver". BC Geographical Names.
- Jan 26, Oliver Chronicle |; Community, 2018 |; Featured | 0 (2018-01-26). "World's largest cherry pie puts Oliver back in spotlight". TimesChronicle.ca. Retrieved 2020-09-14.CS1 maint: numeric names: authors list (link)
- Mar 16, Colton Davies-; Story: 221234, 2018 / 5:00 am |. "Canada's real wine capital? - Penticton News". www.castanet.net. Retrieved 2020-09-14.
- Aug 24, Oliver Chronicle (24 August 2017). "Sikhs make world go round in Oliver". TimesChronicle.ca. Retrieved 23 April 2021.
- "SIKHS OF OLIVER: Hardworking, Proud To Be Part Of BC Wine Country's Flourishing Community". DESIBUZZbc. 29 August 2017. Retrieved 23 April 2021.
- "Oliver, Town [Census subdivision], British Columbia and Okanagan-Similkameen, Regional district [Census division], British Columbia". Statistics Canada. 21 June 2019. Retrieved 16 July 2019.
- Census Profile Oliver, T British Columbia http://www12.statcan.gc.ca/census-recensement/2011/dp-pd/prof/details/page.cfm?Lang=E&Geo1=CSD&Code1=5907014&Geo2=PR&Code2=01&Data=Count&SearchText=oliver&SearchType=Begins&SearchPR=01&B1=All&Custom=&TABID=1
- "Historical Municipal Census Data: 1921–2011". BC Stats. Archived from the original on December 31, 2012. Retrieved August 25, 2013.
- Canada, Environment and Climate Change (2013-09-25). "Canadian Climate Normals 1981-2010 Station Data - Climate - Environment and Climate Change Canada". climate.weather.gc.ca. Retrieved 2020-06-10.
- "OLIVER STP". 1981–2010 Canadian Climate Normals. Environment Canada. Retrieved 27 February 2017.
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