If you’re a Peachlander, whose street are you on? Most of our 129 or so streets are named after someone significant to our town’s history. There’s a small committee of people here who work with the District, and one by one, they’ve determined the history behind each name. Don Wigfield is the author of The Roads of Peachland: The Historical Origin of Their Names. He very kindly lent me a copy of this book (while he works on a second edition!), and I’m happy to share his research here. I’ll add to this list every now and then! Don’t see a street you want to know about? Send me an email – email@example.com
Beatrice Rd: Unlike some of our roads, Beatrice Rd – which is just off Ellison Ave, up Princeton – is the location where the person named actually lived. In this case, Beatrice Topham and her family. They arrived here in Peachland in 1911. It was Beatrice and Fred’s sons Art and Ted who bought their Beatrice Rd property in a 1928 tax sale. Beatrice passed away in 1981 at the age of 98.
Topham Place: In 2011, the family marked 100 years since they first settled here. According to Don Wigfield’s book, The Roads of Peachland only two other longtime families have roads named after them – the MacKinnons and the Shaws.
Don’s research traced the Tophams to England, where Fred and Beatrice were married in 1904. They wanted to live in Canada, and first arrived in Winnipeg. By the time they moved to Peachland in 1911 (Fred, a stonemason was wowed by a brochure he saw of our town), the Tophams had four children, two girls and two boys. Over the years, another four kids – three boys and a girl, were born here.
The Tophams had a lot to do with the fabric of Peachland – Fred Topham (Sr) was the mayor at one time. About 15 years later, his sons Ted and Peter also served in local government. Ted served as Mayor and as a councillor, and Peter was a councillor in 1950, the same year Ted was Mayor (or Reeve, as they called it then).
Later generations were also involved – Grant Topham used to be Peachland’s Fire Chief. His dad is Charles Topham, who was Fred and Beatrice’s youngest son. And Karen Topham Martin, the daughter of Fred and Beatrice’s eldest daughter Polly, is also mentioned in Don Wigfield’s book.
Two of the Topham boys – Art and Ted, were also known for planting about 50 cherry and 600 peach trees, and this grew into the Topham Bros. fruit growing operation. Topham Place is where part of the once-flourishing orchard was located.
Topham Rd is located between Renfrew and Bulyea Rd.
Clarence Rd: According to Mary Smith, the mother of local historian Richard Smith, Mrs. Ellen Mary Clarence was a feisty lady. She ran the Edgewater Inn – one of many early owners, from about 1910-1920. The hotel business was something unexpected in her life – when her husband died, she sold the land they had bought together and used the funds to buy the Edgewater Inn. Clarence Rd is right off Trepanier, just across from Hainle Winery.
Clements Crescent: Mary Clements was related to explorers who mapped the Arctic, and so perhaps it was with this spirit she and her husband James arrived in Peachland in 1908. Like the Tophams, they had heard about our town and wanted to make their home here. The Clements had six children – four girls and two boys. James opened a general store and served as a town councillor (as would, eventually his two sons) and Mary, a talented baker, became well-known for her bread. Their business flourished and over the years they added an ice cream parlour, which was open until the start of WW2.
In the 1930s, James and Mary bought land along Trepanier Creek that had originally belonged to the Lamblys, another early Peachland family. Originally used for farming and a dairy operation, the land over the years was subdivided. One of those divisions of land, in the 1970s resulted in the construction of Peachland Elementary and in later years, the Peachland Mall. Therefore, the road leading to the shopping centre and school is Clements Crescent.
Aitkens Road: There’s only a handful of driveways off Aitkens, located between Lipsett Ave and Gummow Rd. This road was named after a family who lived here in Peachland for 70 years or so. ’Clem’ Aitkens arrived in Peachland as a 38 year-old, along with his brother Ferdinand and cousin Lionel. Ferdinand decided to settle in Penticton, Lionel went off to fight in WW1 and decided to live in England afterwards, and Clem was a resident here until his death in 1936. He and his wife Mary had three children – Bill, Ernie and May. According to Don Wigfield’s book The Roads of Peachland, Bill (who worked as a fruit inspector) and his wife, Kathleen (a local newspaper reporter) built a log cabin on Clem’s property and lived for many years. Kathleen passed away in 1970, and the Aitkens connection to Peachland, as Don says, came to an end.
Inga Street: It’s basically the road to Maple Springs Bible Camp, just off Princeton. And it has an interesting connection to a clairvoyant who helped gold prospectors here long ago. According to Don Wigfield’s book, JM Robinson was seen as a hard-nosed businessman – but he also wanted help from people with psychic abilities. Enter Inga Mastad. She was a spiritualist and appears in the photograph below. It’s believed that Inga Street was named after her.
McDougald Road: It’s another one right off Princeton, and it leads to our new water treatment plant and a local snowshoe / hiking trail. There’s a lot on this page about Peachland founder JM Robinson, but what about his sister? Margaret Elizabeth McDougald raised five children alone – her youngest was just a baby when her husband died (The Roads of Peachland author Don Wigfield says in his book he couldn’t find any info on Mr. McDougald.) Back in Brandon, where the Robinson family was from, Margaret opened a boarding house, which she operated until she moved to Peachland. At first, she worked for her brother’s company, The Peachland Townsite Company Limited. Its main office is where the Edgewater is today. The building also housed our town’s first post office, and it was Margaret who ran it for many years. During that time, the post office was moved to a separate building that was also the McDougald’s house, on First St at what is now Waldo Way. The building is long gone, but during its demolition in the 1960s, a couple really cool things were found – an original hand cancellation stamp from 1898, along with some unsent letters which had quite literally, fallen through the cracks.
Margaret McDougald, who was the postmaster for most of her life, passed away in 1925. Her son Archie and daughter Candace took over her former position at the post office. She was the last McDougald to hold that position – she passed away in 1954.
Vernon Ave: I always assumed this road off Princeton, just past Elliott Ave was named after the city. But Pat Vernon was an RCMP officer who in 1939 arrived here with his wife Hazel. He served on the Trepanier Water Users Committee before moving on to Summerland after several years living in Peachland.
BUT there’s an update to this knowledge! Don WIgfield, as I’ve mentioned is working on an updated edition of the Roads of Peachland book, which I’m using for this series on street names. He sent me an email saying that Vernon actually was not named after the RCMP officer. Subsequent research has revealed another reason why this street is named the way it is. “But I’m afraid you and everyone else will have to wait for the second edition to read about it!,” says Don. Can’t wait!
Beach Ave: While it’s obvious why it’s named this way, I though I’d add a few interesting things I’ve learned from Don Wigfield’s book, The Roads of Peachland: The Historical Origin of Their Names. Our main street downtown stretches four kms, from Princeton to where Buchanan meets the bottom of Drought Hill (Hwy. 97). But many, many years ago the road stretched further south. Before the highway was built, Beach Ave extended all the way to Antler’s Beach. The route was a little different – it continued along the lake past the intersection with Princeton, until the 6000 block, where it was really rocky and the road went up into the hillside. It returned to lake level at what is now the beginning of Renfrew Rd and actually continued along Renfrew, south to Antler’s Beach. Eventually Hwy 97 was built alongside the lake, all the way to Antler’s. Because of the construction at that point, Beach Ave was in two different pieces – one section went through the business district of town, and the other started considerably further south, with the two pieces separated by the highway. So, it was decided that it would be Beach Ave downtown, and the southern section would become – you guessed it – Renfrew Road.
Long ago, there were buildings on the lake side of Beach Ave. The last one standing on that side was the Walter’s Ltd Packing House – until it burned down in 1979. The land it occupied became Heritage Park, which as we all know, is undergoing some change this summer with construction of a splash pad.
Don’s book has an interesting picture of what everything looks like after that fire:
Renfrew Rd, Renfrew Crt: It’s the road with some of the best views in Peachland, and its namesake, Bill Renfrew came from a very well-known family. Today, there’s eight Holt Renfrew high-end clothing stores across Canada. According to Don Wigfield’s book, The Roads of Peachland: The Historical Origins of Their Names, Bill and his wife Winnifred arrived from Toronto. Bill had just returned from service in WW1 and in 1922, he bought a house in Peachland (he originally settled for a little while in the Vernon area). After securing his house, he went to Winnipeg, married Winnifred, and they spent the rest of their days in Peachland. They had a son, Doug, in 1928. He was a talented construction guy, and did a lot of excavation and landscaping work in Peachland. Doug and his wife, Marion had five children. Bill, who was known to get great enjoyment from his apple and peach orchard, passed away in 1978, and Winnifred in 1981.
Sundstrum Court: When Don’s book was published in 2011, this was a new road. And as I write this, I haven’t had a chance to drive there and see whether this Google map is outdated and houses are actually there now. Anyway, it’s a relatively new road in Peachland named for a family that goes back generations. Gust Sundstrum and his wife Mary were both born in Sweden, but didn’t meet until 1925, when Gust was working at a Bear Creek logging operation owned by Mary’s uncle Otto Sandberg. Mary was only 13 when she was married to Gust (she had a sad story, in that she was living with her aunt and uncle in Kelowna because her mother had died in Calgary, during the 1918 influenza epidemic.) Gust and Mary settled first in Oliver, where they had one child. They then moved to Landis, Saskatchewan where they had three more kids, and then when they settled in Peachland, they had three more – seven kids in all. The family’s property here was on ten acres between Topham Place and Heighway Lane.
Tragedy struck the family over the years – their six year old daughter, a son and Gust all passed away. Mary lived until she was 82. Gust’s grandson Larry Sundstrum was the son of Gussie Sundstrum, who was Gust and Mary’s fourth child. He worked at Brenda Mine for 18 years, and had the honour of taking the very last load of rock to the crusher – his grandfather found the first ore at what eventually became Brenda Mine. Larry also worked at the District of Peachland, retiring in 2006. He’s a songwriter and singer, and his “Ballad of Peachland” was included in our town’s Centennial celebrations in 2009.
Dryden Rd: It’s up the Trepanier way, and yes – as I write this (on March 9,
2021), it’s looking a bit different, thanks to the water interconnect construction. No trees up there on the right! William M. Dryden was Peachland’s second-ever municipal clerk, serving in that position between 1912-1936. The Drydens, who had two children Willie and Jean, and Mrs. Dryden’s parents, arrived here between 1908 and 1909. They were active in the United Church, and in 1918, the family got devastating news: Willie had been killed in action at Vimy Ridge during World War 1. His name is inscribed on the Peachland cenotaph, and it was his father who first unveiled it back in 1921. In their retirement years, the Drydens made their home in Summerland.
Mack Road: It’s a family name that’s still around – and goes back to the early 1940s here in Peachland. Karl Mack (actually, the last name is Möck – the family is from Germany and the name was changed) married Marjorie Hawksley in 1944 and they had six children. According to Don Wigfield’s book, The Roads of Peachland, the family purchased a home and an orchard on Elliott Ave and when the land was subdivided, the new road was called Mack Road. Karl Mack was busy – he worked road construction and in the sawmill industry too. Marjorie attended Peachland’s 2009 Centennial celebrations, and a son and daughter – Dennis and Bernice, have made their homes here too.
Jackson Crescent: Ivor and Eva Jackson arrived a little later than most of those who have streets named in their honour – they came here in their retirement years, and became quite involved in the community. Ivor was a councillor from 1955 to 1957, before becoming Reeve (or Mayor) in 1958 and 1959. He was also a historian and compiled a history of municipal affairs from Peachland’s incorporation up to 1947. The document was retyped almost 30 years later and three’s a copy of it in the Peachland Museum. In 1977, Ivor passed away, then Eva four years later.
Eyre Road: It’s a short road just between Buchanan and the highway, and according to Don Wigfield’s book, not much is known about Mr. Eyre – even his first name. What is known is that he operated Peachland’s first feed store with a fellow named Arthur Cutbill. The building was on the lake side of Beach Ave, around 1st St, and was also the original site of the Edgewater Hotel, before it moved across the street to where it is today.
Sherburn Road: There’s a few streets like these here and there – Sherburn isn’t named after anyone historically significant to Peachland – it’s a road named by the developer. This road is behind Renfrew and ends in a pair of cul de sacs with newer homes.
Ferguson Place: Is a cul de sac road with more established homes, just off Sherburn and above Renfrew. The Ferguson family is one of the first to settle in Peachland. Alex Ferguson came from Winnipeg to help build some of Peachland’s first homes – his cousin, founder J.M. Robinson, thought that Alex, a carpenter, would be a good fit here. Alex’s wife and children made their way West too, and they bought one of the first available residential lots in Peachland. Alex also served as a councillor, and was owner of the Lakeview Hotel, which was built in 1898 in part, to help accommodate early settlers as they arrived. The Fergusons lived in Peachland until their deaths in 1940 (Alex) and his wife in 1949.
Elliott Avenue: There were actually two well-known Elliott families in Peachland, and both families were early settlers here. Thompson Elliott (described in Peachland Memories, a book by the local historical society, as a ‘big, round-faced Scotsman’), settled here in 1898. He and his wife were among the first purchasers of JM Robinson’s ten-acre lots he was selling to establish our town. Thompson Elliott was a blacksmith and a miner, and it’s believed he worked at Gladstone mine. According to Don Wigfield, author of The Roads of Peachland, he built a big family home above Lipsett Ave.
Jim, Charles and Alice Elliott were the other Elliotts – they were the grandchildren of James and Jane Elliott, who left Ireland and settled in Quebec, where the three siblings grew up. It was Jim who went West first: He worked on bridge-building crews with the Canadian Pacific Railway and as a deckhand on the Kootenay River before eventually making his way to Peachland. He met Charles Lambly (another early Peachlander) and he leased a ranch from him around when his brother (also named Charles) decided to join him. The two brothers then persuaded their mother Nancy and sister Alice to move here too. By 1900, all four family members lived in Peachland. Charles and Alice Elliott both worked as schoolteachers. Charles owned property at the top of Somerset Ave, and passed away in 1960. Alice, who walked two miles from Peachland to the Trepanier School every day, lived until the age of 98. She died in 1967.
Sutherland Road: It’s just off Trepanier Bench Road, and Sutherland is named after one of Peachland’s most established families. When William and Mary Sutherland moved here in 1936 (with four children in tow), they were hoping the warmer climate would improve Mary’s health. Sadly, she died that summer. William bought land on Vernon Ave, near the Peachland cemetery and with the help of his sons, established a farm and orchard. Four generations of the Sutherland family have remained in Peachland.
Victoria Street: This is a relatively easy one – Peachland was founded at the end of Queen Victoria’s long reign. Victoria connects with Gladstone Rd at one end, and extends to Turner / Minto at the other.
Gladstone Road: It’s a short, 200 m piece of roadway connecting the end of Victoria St to the top of Somerset Ave – but Gladstone Road has a long history in Peachland. Further up the mountain was where JM Robinson – Peachland’s founder – owned a mine. The Gladstone mine was likely named as such because some of the directors of the company that owned it, were likely from Gladstone, Manitoba. In fact, many of Peachland’s early residents were from Manitoba – so much so an unknown author wrote “with the general exodus from Gladstone and Brandon, of all the cousins and connections, friends and co-investors of JM Robinson to Peachland about 1898 – 1900, one begins to wonder if anyone was left in those Manitoba towns.”
Bradbury St: It’s no surprise that Bradbury St – named for the Bradbury family who came to Peachland in 1919 – is located near Law St. As mentioned earlier, Ivy Law grew up to marry into the Bradbury family. She was a major contributor to the preservation of Peachland’s early history. But before she was even in the picture, William Thomas Bradbury, his wife Eliza and five children (ranging in age from nine to 14), arrived here from England. It wasn’t a simple journey – William had actually arrived in Canada years before his wife and children. But when the First World War broke out, he found the only way to get back to England was to join the Canadian Army. He ended up serving in France until the end of the war, survived, and finally brought his family to Vancouver. They ended up in Peachland to find work in the orchards. That first summer, the entire family slept in a tent, but they eventually bought some land and worked towards a prosperous orchard and dairy business.
As the children grew, so did the branches of the Bradbury family tree – William and Eliza’s second son (also named William) married Birdie Mitchell in 1936. Their five children all grew up in Peachland, with the eldest marrying Jock MacKinnon (another road I’ll get to!)
According to Don Wigfield’s 2011 book, The Roads of Peachland: The Historical Origins of their Names, it was William and Eliza’s youngest child, Edgar, who acquired the land where Bradbury St. is located today. Edgar married Ivy Law in 1933 and they had three children. He served in the Second World War, and when he came home, his health wasn’t the same. The land was purchased the year after the war, in 1946. As mentioned before, when Ivy (Law) Bradbury passed away in 1998, she was the longest-living Peachlander, having been here since her birth in 1907.
Meldrum Place: Where Victoria St. And Turner Ave come together, is a small street called Meldrum Place. It’s named after George Meldrum. He didn’t come to Peachland after he retired in 1963, but his family were among the Okanagan’s earliest pioneers. Born in Armstrong in 1903, George spent his career on the railway, spending time as an engineer on the Kettle Valley and Coquihalla routes. From 1968 to 1973 he was a Peachland councillor – he and his wife Mary were very involved in the community. He passed away in 1979.
Thompson Drive: Also up Princeton way is Thompson Drive, which is the first right-hand turn off Forest Hill Drive. There’s a sweet potato connection here, oddly enough – I’ll get to it. Henry Huggard Thompson was a Peachland town councillor in 1930. But before then, he was a young Irishman on his way to Canada by ship. On that ship, he met a young woman, who he later married and together, they moved to Alberta. In 1910 they arrived in Peachland and had three children. But their middle son, Buzzy died in a house fire at their Trepanier Bench home. The family moved elsewhere in Peachland, but Henry, an avid gardener, wanted to keep trying new varieties of vegetables, because he liked the soil conditions in the Trepanier area. According to another book on Peachland history, Peachland Memories, Henry Huggard Thompson was the first person in Canada to try growing sweet potatoes. It earned him a nickname here in town – Sweet Potato Thompson.
Law Street: Just past the Peachland Riding Club (which is up Princeton, across from the public works yard), you’ll find Law St. The Law family was among Peachland’s earliest settlers. According to The Roads of Peachland: The Historical Origins of their Names, Roscoe E. Law came here in 1901 and acquired land in the Upper Trepanier area. He was from Qu’Appelle (Saskatchewan), and his wife Eva joined him in 1902. Sadly, Eva died in 1913 of pneumonia, leaving behind four children between the ages of three and 11. Of their four children, a daughter, Ivy was born in Peachland. She married a Bradbury (another street name I’ll get to), and when she passed away in 1998, she was the longest living Peachlander, at 91 years old.
As early settlers in the Trepanier area, the Law family, along with the Coldham family and the Morsh family build a dam at a lake above them to store water for irrigation purposes. Lacoma is the name of that lake, which still exists today.
Another sad fact about the Law family: Eva Law’s eldest sister Josie, and her family were the Needhams and they also lived in Peachland. Two of Josie’s sons went off to fight in the First World War, and they did not return home. Their names – Pte. Charles Needham and Pte. George Needham, are inscribed on our town’s cenotaph.
A couple interesting things I noticed about JM Robinson:
According to my copy of The Story of Peachland (available at the museum downtown), JM Robinson had a vision for a town that was based on fruit orchards, not gold mining. He organized land here into ten chunks, built it out and called it Peachland. This would have been in 1898. Just a few years later, in 1902, Robinson sold all his lots here and moved on to found two more towns – Summerland and Naramata. He built a home and lived there until his death in 1934. His wife, Eliza Catherine Lipsett, according to online records, passed away in Naramata in 1936.
Arthur Street: It’s a small side street off Lakeview Ave, which is the very first right-hand turn going up Princeton. This is another JM Robinson – named Peachland road: The Rev. Arthur T. Robinson was JM’s younger brother. He came to Peachland when it was first founded, conducting the first religious services here before leaving in 1900 for Regina and Nova Scotia. He married Ada Murcutt nine years later, and together they travelled the continent sharing their religious beliefs. Ada died in 1926 and afterwards he moved to Summerland, where he became an orchard owner. He passed away 15 years after his wife, and is buried in the Peach Orchard Cemetery. According to research done by local volunteers, Arthur Street actually linked up to Beach Ave at one time.
Turner Avenue: John Herbert Turner was BC’s tenth premier, serving from 1895 to 1898. He was a career politician – in the years before Peachland was officially founded, he served as an alderman and Mayor of Victoria, before moving up to provincial politics. He was Minister of Finance under three successive premiers, before becoming the Premier himself. He left provincial politics in 1901 and returned home to England, where he held another political position (Agent General for BC) before retiring in 1918.
So what does John Herbert Turner have to do with Peachland? His pro-business policies were likely admired by JM Robinson, Peachland’s founder (who was a keen businessman himself). Turner Ave is one of Robinson’s original street names that recognize prominent people of the time, in the ‘outside’ world.
Lipsett Avenue: Its the second left as you drive up Princeton and extends all the way to Bulyea Ave & Topham Pl (ahh more names!) Lipsett Avenue is another one of Peachland’s 14 original roads that appear on the 1902 survey map signed by John Moore Robinson, our town’s founder. Robert C. Lipsett was a surgeon, a veterinarian and an officer in JM Robinson’s Canadian and American Gold Mining Company. In fact, the two men were brothers in-law, as Robinson was married to Robert Lipsett’s sister, Eliza Catherine Lipsett. According to online records, she was born in Ontario in 1858 to a pioneer family who eventually made their way from the US to Manitoba. In Brandon, she and JM Robinson married before heading to the Okanagan in 1898. Robert Lipsett moved from Peachland to Summerland around 1906.
Bonnie Lane is a small street, just off Princeton right before Whinton Cres (near Turner Ave). The MacKinnon family – whose roots in Peachland go back to 1907 – owned an orchard , and when the property was subdivided, a road was created in 1968 and it was named in honour of Archie and Madeline MacKinnon’s only daughter, Bonnie Mae. She was a teenager at the time, and to date, the youngest Peachlander with a street named in their honour. Sadly, Bonnie Mae passed away ten years ago, at the young age of 56. She was an accomplished horsewoman and rancher, and her family name also lives on elsewhere in Peachland. MacKinnon Rd is located in the Trepanier area.
Minto Street is another of Peachland’s 14 original roads. It’s a windy one that starts at Somerset and ends up at Victoria St. The Earl of Minto served as Canada’s Governor General between 1898 and 1904, and would be one of the prominent people from the ‘outside’ world that J.M. Robinson chose for a street name. It’s interesting to note that on the original 1902 Peachland map, Minto Street is much shorter, linking Turner Ave with Ellison. The steeper part down to Somerset was built later.
Ellison Avenue: Up Princeton, the last right-hand turn before Turner Ave. Ellison is one of J.M. Robinson’s 14 original roads named on Peachland’s 1902 survey map. Price (not Prince) Ellison arrived in the Vernon area back in 1876, by way of Cheshire, England. He was a farmer, orchardist and rancher and represented the Okanagan as a member of the Legislative Assembly. He eventually served in a couple of cabinet positions, and his biggest accomplishment stemmed from his experience in agriculture – he was a huge supporter of subsidizing irrigation infrastructure for the Okanagan Valley, essential at the time because fruit orchards were springing up all over the valley, including in Peachland. Price Ellison lived until 1932 and passed away in Vernon.
Brandon Lane: Best known as the address of the Peachland Little Schoolhouse (seen on the cover of The Story of Peachland book), Brandon lane is tucked between 4st and 5st downtown. The name is a nod to the hometown of Peachland’s founder, James Moore Robinson. He was from Brandon Manitoba, where he served as editor of the Brandon Times. Many early settlers came to Peachland from Brandon. It’s interesting to note that although Brandon Lane must have existed very early in our town’s history (the schoolhouse was built in 1898), it appears the name Brandon wasn’t used until much later on.