Westside founding family donates temporary parkland to West Kelowna

The Mar family has a long history in the Central Okanagan

One of the Westside’s founding families has dedicated some of its land in Rose Valley for temporary public park use.

The Mar family moved to Kelowna in the 1920s from Revelstoke, where the family operated a laundry after emigrating from China. In Kelowna, brothers Mar Jok and Mar Fee opened the Golden Pheasant Restaurant on Bernard Avenue, which was used as a soup kitchen after hours during the great depression to help feed the hungry.

Jok and Fee purchased a 400-acre homestead in what is now known as Rose Valley in the 1950s. A few of the fruit trees and asparagus the family grew is still remaining on an undeveloped parcel of approximately 25 acres east of Mar Jok Elementary School, named in honour of Jok.

READ MORE: RCMP, BC Coroners Service investigate fatal collision in Kelowna

READ MORE: Hot, dry and windy conditions will make Brenda Creek fire more aggressive: BC Wildfire

When farming stopped, the family sold much of the land. Fee’s youngest son Quentin kept the remaining land but allowed the community to use it.

Now that land will be used for just that. After Quentin died, his wife Ann and the family have sold a portion of the remaining property to the City of West Kelowna for soccer fields and donated land for a new walking/cycling trail.

“The Marr family is pleased to continue our longstanding support and contribution to the Rose Valley community and the City of West Kelowna, through this interim land use partnership with the City, for the residents and their pets to enjoy,” said Quentin’s son Adrian Marr.

Left to right – Jok (younger brother to Fee), Quentin (Fee’s son), Fee (older brother to Jok), May (Jok’s daughter) and Henry (Fee’s son). (Contributed)

Left to right – Jok (younger brother to Fee), Quentin (Fee’s son), Fee (older brother to Jok), May (Jok’s daughter) and Henry (Fee’s son). (Contributed)

The Mar family also approached the City of West Kelowna to collaborate on the establishment of a temporary off-leash dog park with a cycling, jogging and walking area. The park will combine undeveloped lands owned by both the city and the family.

“The Marr family has a long history of giving back to this community and this is no exception,” says Mayor Gord Milsom. “Ensuring this section of their family homestead will remain a piece of West Kelowna’s history is a wonderful tribute to a community they have called home for decades. Allowing the public to temporarily use this land creates a large connected park space for walking dogs, sports, biking and more. It is an exceptional way to give back for years to come and carry on the family legacy.”

The parkland is located between McDougall and Westlake Roads, south of Rosewood Drive.


@michaelrdrguez
michael.rodriguez@kelownacapnews.com

Like us on Facebook, follow us on Twitter and subscribe to our daily newsletter.

City of West Kelownahistoryparks