Boitanio Park has rich history

Boitanio Park was a triumph of Williams Lake’s citizens who wanted to maintain and insure the wishes of Roderick Mackenzie were followed.

Museum of the Cariboo Chilcotin

Special to the Tribune/Advisor

Boitanio Park was a triumph of Williams Lake’s citizens who wanted to maintain and insure the wishes of Roderick Mackenzie were followed.

Originally, Boitanio Park was the site of a Shuswap village, probably one that was used in the winter months because there are the ruins of pit houses.

After the First Nations left the area it was used as a pasture before the PGE bought the land. Roderick Mackenzie bought much of the land where the park now sits in the early 1920s. It was purchased from the PGE as a gift to the newly-formed village of Williams Lake.

Mackenzie gave the land to the village with the stipulation that it was to be used as a golf course, but if and when the time came that it was no longer used for the purpose that it was to become a park.

It was the Williams Lake Golf Course for nearly three decades. After the golf course was developed on the other side of town the old course was just abandoned.

In 1967, Premier W.A.C. Bennett was presented with a petition that had been circulated around town by the Old Age Pensioners Association (OAPO) with the request that the golf course land be declared a park and control of it given over to the people of Williams Lake.

He gave the 55 acres, which the parkland had grown into at a meeting later that day.

After two years with no changes to the park made by town council, a group of people came together in an effort to improve the area as a Centennial Project. Council accepted the idea so local efforts for fundraising and improvements began.

At this time it was also determined that the park did not yet have a name.

A name the park contest was organized during Stampede. Boitanio was chosen for Antoine Boitanio, the oldest calf roper and a resident of Williams Lake since 1928.

The park now had a name and the work was coming along very well.

There was the development of a small stream and bridge as well as the construction of the Gwen Pharis Ringwood Memorial Amphitheatre.

By the late 1970s all the work done for the Centennial had fallen into disrepair and the park was no longer the gorgeous piece of parkland it once was.

Chunks of the property had been sold off throughout the years, Boitanio Mall taking a large section, as well as Kiwanis Park, provincial buildings and the Cariboo Memorial Recreation Complex.

In 1974, officials from the provincial archaeology department and three members of the Sugar Cane Band excavated at the site where Boitanio Mall was being built, looking for what appeared to be pit houses.

The provincial archaeologists became interested in the site when bones were discovered during excavation of the site by developers.

By the time the department was notified of the find the bones had been disposed of and the site destroyed.

Since the 1980s great efforts have been taken in the city to improve the park.

The Gwen Ringwood Memorial Amphitheatre was torn down and reconstructed and the Parks people have been making strides in improving the park’s overall appeal.

Communities in Bloom has two gardens recognizing sister cities adding to the variety of flowers found in the park. Concerts in the park has also done a great deal to bring people into the park.

The Museum of the Cariboo Chilcotin supplies this history of Williams Lake as part of the city’s 85th anniversary year. A celebration is planned for May 3.

 

 

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

Kari, a 12-year-old Belted Galloway, produced triplets Wednesday, April 27. Mother and babies are doing fine. (Kelly Sinoski photo -100 Mile Free Press).
Holy cow: triplets born in 100 Mile House

Linda and Don Savjord witnessed a rare experience last week at Bridge Creek Ranch.

Fireman’s Fairways between Chimney and Felker lakes is slated to open soon, following a clean up work bee this Sunday, May 9 starting at 10 a.m. (Photo submitted)
Cleanup slated for Sunday, May 9 at Fireman’s Fairways Golf Course

Fireman’s Fairway is an 11-hole, par 3 course, opened in 1994

A vial of the AstraZeneca COVID-19 vaccine is shown at a facility in Milton, Ont., on Wednesday, March 3, 2021. The White House says it is making plans to share up to 60 million doses of the Oxford-AstraZeneca COVID-19 vaccine. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Carlos Osorio - POOL
65 new cases of COVID-19 in Interior Health

The total number of cases in the region is now at 11,075 since the pandemic began

Williams Lake City Hall. (City of Williams Lake photo)
Williams Lake long-term debt decreasing

The city of Williams Lake’s long-term debt sits at $8,324,241, down from… Continue reading

Lakers Car Club members Paul Christianson (from left), Jake Derksen and Frank Ruyter stand alongside a 1977 Rolls Royce the club will be auctioning off in lieu of the annual Spring Roundup. (Photo submitted)
Lakers Car Club raffling 1977 Rolls Royce in lieu of annual Spring Roundup

The Lakers would like to the thank the residents and businesses of Williams Lake for their support

FILE – Pharmacist Barbara Violo shows off a vile of the Oxford-AstraZeneca COVID-19 vaccine at the Junction Chemist, an independent pharmacy in Toronto, Friday, March 12, 2021. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Nathan Denette
Looking for the nearest COVID shot? Tech entrepreneur creates texting software in B.C

Zain Manji says app took just one or two hours to create

Cannabis bought in British Columbia (Ashley Wadhwani/Black Press Media)
Is it time to start thinking about greener ways to package cannabis?

Packaging suppliers are still figuring eco-friendly and affordable packaging options that fit the mandates of Cannabis Regulations

Solar panels on a parking garage at the University of B.C. will be used to separate water into oxygen and hydrogen, the latter captured to supply a vehicle filling station. (UBC video)
UBC parkade project to use solar energy for hydrogen vehicles

Demonstration project gets $5.6M in low-carbon fuel credits

FILE – A student arrives at school as teachers dressed in red participate in a solidarity march to raise awareness about cases of COVID-19 at Ecole Woodward Hill Elementary School, in Surrey, B.C., on Tuesday, February 23, 2021. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Darryl Dyck
B.C. ‘should be able to’ offer 1st dose of COVID vaccine to kids 12+ by end of June: Henry

Health Canada authorized the vaccine for younger teens this morning

A woman in the Harrison Mills area was attacked by a cougar on Tuesday, May 4. B.C. Conservation Officers killed two male cougars in the area; the attack was determined to be predatory in nature. (File photo)
2 cougars killed following attack on woman in Agassiz area

Attack victim remains in hospital in stable condition

A woman wears a face mask and shield to curb the spread of COVID-19 while walking in North Vancouver, B.C., on Wednesday, January 6, 2021. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Darryl Dyck
B.C. CDC updates info, acknowledging small respiratory droplets can spread COVID-19

Large droplets, not aerosols had been fixture of public health messaging for many months

A picture of Shirley Ann Soosay was rendered from a postmortem photographer and circulated on social media. (DDP graphic)
B.C. genealogist key to naming murder victim in decades-old California cold case

In July 1980, Shirley Ann Soosay was raped and stabbed to death

Mary Kitagawa was born on Salt Spring Island and was seven years old when she was interned along with 22,000 B.C. residents in 1942. (B.C. government video)
B.C. funds health services for survivors of Japanese internment

Seniors describe legacy of World War II displacement

Most Read