Not all visitors come to the Thompson Okanagan for the lakes, beaches, wineries, golf courses or ski hills. Many come to experience the history and culture of the region's heritage sites, enjoying a look back at how people lived in days gone by.
One of the area's biggest heritage attractions is the old Kettle Valley Railway. A stretch of track from those early 1900s still exists near Summerland, and a fascinating and fun ride still gives visitors a glimpse into the glory days of the KVR.
Edmonton freelance writer Mifi Purvis recently enjoyed the exciting ride with her family, and her feature article – "OKANAGAN ESCAPADES: Everything is idyllic on the Kettle Valley Railway until the bandits arrive" – now appears in the Spring 2012 print edition of Canadiand Geographic Travel, a major travel magazine published by the very successful Canadian Geographic.
Here are excerpts from Purvis' story. A link to her full article in the online version of Canadian Geographic Travel is at the bottom of this page...
"The final few wisps of cloud are dissipating under a hot Okanagan sun and there is no wind, even in our open-air rail car. I'm with my family in the last of five cars lined up behind a gleaming 100-year-old steam engine. We have joined a fray of retirees, German tourists and others for this sold-out ride on the Kettle Valley Railway (KVR) ...
"Built in the early 20th century, the KVR moved people, fruit and freight across British Columbia's southern interior to Hope, where it met national rail lines. The non-profit Kettle Valley Railway Society now runs sightseeing trips from May to October from Summerland to Trout Creek Bridge, 16 kilometres away ... A dozen times every summer, a group that fundraises for local charities stages a theatrical event on the KVR called the Great Train Robbery, which is followed by a barbecue dinner for 280 ..."