The Historic O’Keefe Ranch will celebrate its 150th anniversary June 15 — just two weeks before Canada turns 150.
That was the date in 1867 when Cornelius O’Keefe and his two partners, Thomas Wood and Thomas Greenhow, decided to pre-empt the ranch land.
Photo: O’Keefe Ranch ca. 1930
The Ranch will hold an event from 12 to 2 pm that day to recognize the milestone.
“There will be a BBQ lunch, speeches by local dignitaries, a performance by the Skeetschestn Drum Group, tractor rides, and birthday cake of course,” says Kelly MacIntosh, Marketing and Special Events Coordinator. “The public is invited to attend from 12 – 2 pm, regular admission rates apply.”
The Ranch became a historic site in 1967 with buildings open to the public to learn more about the O’Keefe story.
The Interior Heritage Society operates the ranch as a registered charitable organization on a 50 acre parcel situated in the Township of Spallumcheen owned by the City of Vernon.
It’s open to visitors from May through October.
“It is important to understand our history and culture, where we came from, the people that built a foundation in Canada, BC, and the Okanagan. The O’Keefe Ranch does just that, through education and experiences that help us all to remember the importance of the past.”says Glen Taylor, General Manager
One of the goals of the Ranch moving forward will be to expand the story to include the Okanagan First Nations, who have inhabited this land for much longer than 150 years.
“We hope to build partnerships with First Nations artists, historians and storytellers in order to assist us in sharing and creating the history of the Okanagan for the next 150.”
Photos: Portrait of Cornelius, Mary Ann and James O’Keefe, ca. 1898, A.G. Blome, Ashcroft
St. Anne’s Church, May 2017, following an exterior restoration