Skip to main content

Goodbye Okanagan Valley

View this video with a transcript: Coldstream, 1898 (closed captions available in EN and FR)

The Aberdeens remained optimistic that their dream of a profitable Okanagan fruit farm would finally happen. Their last visit, while still living in Canada, was in the summer of 1898. The Aberdeens decided to return to Britain in November, thus ending Lord Aberdeen’s term as Governor General a bit earlier than planned. The Aberdeens’ expenses had been very heavy, partly due to their official duties, entertaining, travelling, generous benefactions, and to the two fruit farms’ failure as a source of income.

Black and white photo of a gravel road with commercial buildings on each side. Crossing the road is an evergreen Welcome sign.

Welcome arch for the Aberdeens’ visit, 1890s


The Aberdeens’ arrival in Vernon was met with the usual excitement.  Large crowds of locals came out to welcome the well-known ‘fruit farmers.’ From excited crowds meeting their train, to a ‘WELCOME’ banner in downtown Vernon, the Aberdeens were well received. The Aberdeens enjoyed their holiday, which as usual, was filled with various events, people, and places to visit.

The orchards at Coldstream Ranch were finally maturing.  As Lady Aberdeen noted in her journal, “The orchards now look beautifully cared for the trees have grown marvellously, so that they look quite established and old instead of young plantations about which there is only hope to feed on.

Black and white photo of a man standing at the back of a flatbed wagon loaded with boxes of fruit.

Prunes, Coldstream Orchards, c. 1910

The weather had cooperated with plenty of rain, lessening the need for irrigation. That year produced a bumper crop of apples, pears and plums.  The new fruit packinghouse was busy making boxes and crates to pack the ripe fruit for market.


On their last day at Coldstream, the family spent the day saying their goodbyes to their many friends and neighbours, including those who had bought fruit farm lots from the Aberdeens.  As a final goodbye, the town of Vernon sent the Aberdeens off with fanfare-  fireworks, decorations, and speeches!

Black and white photo of a large crowd of well-dressed people at two-storey train station with a stationary train on the right. In the crowd, there are horses and carriages.

Reception for the Aberdeens at Vernon, c. 1894


Always optimistic, Lady Aberdeen’s final words were, “All going well there and it is to pay its way this year, they say, without doubt.”