Historical Ranches in BC: Coldstream Ranch

In the 1860s, Charles Frederick Houghton established the Coldstream Ranch in the Okanagan region, initially claiming 300 acres but eventually expanding to over 13,000 acres. Houghton’s interest in exploration led him to trade the land to the Vernon brothers, who began significant improvements, including a grist mill and irrigation infrastructure.

In 1891, Lord and Lady Aberdeen purchased the ranch, renaming it Coldstream Ranch. They introduced fruit farming to the area, planting thousands of fruit trees and establishing a jam factory and butcher shop. The Aberdeens also invested in irrigation projects, damming lakes to create the Grey Canal and Vernon Irrigation District.

Under their management, the ranch flourished, becoming a hub for fruit and vegetable production and attracting immigrants to purchase small plots for farming. The Aberdeens’ vision and investments laid the groundwork for the agricultural success of the Vernon area.

In 1994, the ranch was purchased by timber, road building and cattle entrepreneur, Keith Balcaen. Over the years, new ownership continued to run the ranch much in the same way it has been managed since its inception in 1863. Today, Coldstream Ranch continues to operate primarily as a cattle ranch spanning around 12,000 acres.

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