History of the Summerland Pier

Summerland’s Pier: Evolution and Renewal

Due to the Okanagan’s mountainous terrain, road construction was difficult (still is!). The early Okanagan economy was dependent on boat transportation.  Fortunately for Summerland, its founder was Sir Thomas Shaughnessy, President of the Canadian Pacific Railway, with its CPR Okanagan Steamers.  In June 1910, his company completed the pier in Summerland.  The cost was $50,000 and the engineer was E.A. Jamieson. It consisted of two portions, the pier with a cold storage facility and a freight shed and a slip dock for railway cars.  The large timbers for the pier were supplied by James Fyffe.

With the addition of the car slips, freight cars could be loaded and then placed on tugs, making the transportation of produce much more efficient.  Adjacent to the pier were built fruit packing facilities and a fruit packing school.  Summerland’s Fall Fair took place in one of the packing houses in time for Shaughnessy’s annual inspection tour of C.P.R properties.

    Photo courtesy of the Summerland Museum

    In the 1990s, the Summerland Pier was showing its age and was eventually demolished.  Summerland’s service groups (Rotary and Kiwanis) and the local radio station, actively raised money to build a new pier.  On Canada Day in 1999, the new pier was officially opened.

    By 2023, the pier had become structurally unsound, and was removed by the municipality.  In response to tremendous support for the pier within Summerland, a commitment was made by Mayor and council to build a new pier.  Also, they agreed to partner with the Summerland Rotary Club to engage the community in fundraising efforts for enhancements to proposed new structure.