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“A Remarkably Healthy Place”

Black and white photo of the front and side of a one-storey house with a wrap-around verandah. A woman is standing on the verandah waving.

Welcoming guests at Guisachan House, 1891


The locals were thrilled to be invited to Guisachan House for,  according to Lady Aberdeen, was the “first social” in the valley. It is not every day that regular folk were included in such a special invitation.  No one missed this event, including the minister Mr. Langille and the neighbouring Catholic Priest Father Charles de Vriendt! The evening of songs, music, recitations and refreshments was enjoyed by all.

“The entertainment consisted in A’s speech, two songs and a reading from Nicholas Nickleby, three French songs by Marjorie which brought down the house and two readings of mine.  It was quite a success with a tea of course in the middle handed around.”

The beautiful views, the hospitable generous people, as well as the long distances to travel, were all part of settler life in the Okanagan. Even a picnic on Long Lake was an all-day adventure.

Black and white photo of view of two lakes with a narrow isthmus with low hills in the distance.

View north towards Long Lake, c.1890

“On Tuesday we made an expedition to Long Lake, which lies alongside of Okanagan on the other side of the hills and which Lord Lorne called ‘the most lovely lake in Canada’…We lunched in the wood overlooking Long Lake…

Black and white photo of distant farm buildings and some trees with a lake in the lower-left corner.

The Postill Ranch and Duck Lake, c.1890s

Then we drove back to Postill’s Lake and tea there en famille, mother, son and his wife and baby boy and Mr. and Mrs. Langell [Langille] and their children…They gave us home-cured ham, home-made jam, home-made bread and then we started for home in the dark by an unknown road…at places Coutts had to walk ahead with a lantern.  But we did the 10 miles in 2 hours, which was good going after all under the circumstances.”

As their time at Guisachan came to a close, Lady Aberdeen wrote:

“The week has fled away and tomorrow we must say good-bye to this delightful place, where we have enjoyed a more real holiday that we have ever had before. We have sat in the verandah and basked in the sun and read and sketched.  We have wandered about… We have all found it, too, a remarkably healthy place.”

“I rather agree with Mr. Mackay that ‘if a man cannot be happy here, he cannot be happy anywhere’… nor a woman either, say I.”