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The Adventure West: the Okanagan Valley

Once the Aberdeens bought their new Okanagan Valley property, they returned home to Great Britain. Lord and Lady Aberdeen, with their daughter Marjorie, returned a year later to Canada to check how Coutts was managing with their new fruit farm. After the long journey west, they arrived in Sicamous, B.C.

View this video with a transcript: The Aberdeens arrive in the Okanagan Valley (closed captions available in EN and FR)

“Here we are at last at our destination! The starting of the first passenger train to Vernon was quite an excitement at Sicamous this morning.”

Black and white train photo of part of a passenger car and flatbed car with people standing on It, with a building behind.

“First Passenger Train to Vernon. Wed. Oct 14th 91.”


At the half way point to Vernon, the train stopped in Enderby where Lady Aberdeen Kodaked Lord Aberdeen inspecting the new train. The train continued on to Vernon where they arrived just in time to take in Vernon’s First Agricultural Fair. Lord Aberdeen was asked to judge the fair, as the Honourable Mr. Vernon had been detained in Victoria. Much to the family’s delight, produce and animals from their new farm won prizes. The fair was great fun!

A circular watercolour of a small steamboat on a lake at sunset with hills behind.

SS Redstar, “Mr. Lequime’s little steamer” in 1891

Coutts met the Aberdeens in Vernon, anxious to start the final stage of the journey.  Unfortunately, the SS Penticton, the passenger steamboat, was not running, as the workers had been given a holiday to attend the fair. Luckily, their new neighbour, Mr. Lequime, offered to bring the family to their new home on his “little steamer.”

The four-hour voyage was spent singing and enjoying the trip and moonlight. The Aberdeens were dropped off on shore, arriving unannounced.   They enjoyed the two-mile walk to their new home by moonlight.

As they approached their new property, the Aberdeens were not disappointed. They found themselves in hills that looked more like their “Scottish Guisachan” than anywhere else in Canada. As they approached the gate to their new property, they were excited to explore and see what Coutts had accomplished.

“Oh, if only that were our gate! murmured Lord Aberdeen. But that’s just what it is, answered Coutts, my brother.”

Ink drawing of a farm gate framed by two trees with a forest behind.

Gate into Guisachan Farm in 1891