Enderby and the gentle waters of the Shuswap River have played a key role in the history and growth of the North Okanagan as a vital transportation route for the Shuswap Indians and the early European settlers. It was in the vicinity of this river that the Spallumcheen tribe of the Shuswap Indians lived for hundreds of years, hunting and fishing along its banks. And it was just south of the present townsite that overlander Alexander Leslie Fortune pre-empted land in 1866, thus becoming the first white settler in the North Okanagan. Fortune's place on the bend in the Shuswap River made an ideal stopping spot for steamboats and paddlewheelers from Kamloops shipping supplies to settlers in the Okanagan.
Enderby was named in 1887 after a Jean Ingelow poem, in which the villagers were saved from a rising tide of water by the chiming of church bells playing the tune The Bridges of Enderby. With the completion of the Shuswap and Okanagan Railroad in 1892, the small town began to grow and prosper, with the construction of a flour mill, sawmill, and brickyard by 1895. The business district expanded accordingly, and the decision was made to incorporate the city in 1905.
The Shuswap River has retained its importance as a navigable river, but canoeists and kayakers have taken the place of steamboats. The river now links the small developed communities in the rural district, from Kingfisher in the east to Mara in the north, and the city of Enderby remains the centre of services for the rural area.
The City of Enderby is located 38 km (24 mi) north of Vernon and 39 km (24 mi) south of Sicamous on Hwy 97A.
The Enderby & District Museum Society was established in 1973 to collect, preserve, exhibit, and interpret the human and natural history of the City of Enderby and surrounding district in the North Okanagan. The museum features a look at the area's colourful past through changing and permanent displays. Included in the museum is a reference room for those interested in looking at photographs and newspapers or researching local events and family histories.
The Enderby Cliffs tower high above the city offering breathtaking views of the Shuswap and the North Okanagan. Hikers atop the cliffs can watch the soaring birds play on the updrafts created by the steep rock face and take a step back in time to the Tertiary age when the cliffs were formed.
Outdoor recreational opportunities including fishing, hiking and nature study are also provided amongst the small stands of old-growth Douglas-fir, the low elevational grasslands and at Reeves Lake.
Every fall the Coho, Spring, Sockeye, and Kokanee salmon return to their spawning grounds east of Enderby in the Shuswap River gravel beds. The numbers of returning salmon were on a steady decline until, in 1981, the Kingfisher Community club supported the concept of a hatchery and environmental interpretive centre to address the problem.
The hatchery conducts one of the most successful Salmon Enhancement programs in the country. About 500,000 fry are raised in incubators until they reach the Alvin stage, then they are released into the Shuswap to begin their journey to the Pacific.
The Kingfisher Hatchery is located on six hectares just beyond the Cooke Creek Recreation Site, about 26 km east from Enderby on Mabel Lake Road.
A popular day-use area for locals as well as travelers, Mara Park is noted for fishing, swimming, boating, and as a family picnic area. Note that this is a day-use park only: no overnight camping is permitted, and mooring of boats overnight is not allowed.
Snowmobiling rules in Enderby, home to the Hunters Range Snowmobile Association, which sponsors a number of annual snowmobiling events, including the popular Snowrama in February. This group operates a day chalet and shelter, and has marked groomed and non-groomed trails in the 200 square kilometres of great snowmobiling amongst the alpine meadows and bowls in the Hunters Range east of Enderby.
The historical Walking Tour of Enderby takes in many of the fascinating heritage buildings still standing in the town. A superb booklet and map are available at the Visitor Info Centre.
See beavers swimming in the water, turtles sunbathing on logs and rocks, and enjoy the sound of birds along the Jim Watt Riverwalk, a scenic walk along the beautiful Shuswap River. Wood ducks, eagles, ravens, and common songbirds can be seen searching for food, building nests, or resting in the reeds and treetops above. During the salmon season come walk the riverwalk and watch the salmon swimming by.
Mabel Lake Golf and Country Club is the premiere golf experience in the Okanagan Valley. It is designed and built by renowned course architect Les Furber.
This unique par 36, regulation size 9 hole golf course measures 3103 yards, featuring 3 par 5's, 3 par 4's, 3 par 3's, expansive transition areas, picturesque rock walls, challenging ponds, and paved cart trails throughout. Each hole consists of 4 sets of tees with fairways winding through mature forests offering a challenge for golfers of all skill levels.
Larch Hills Cross-country Ski Area, just 20 minutes west of Enderby, has groomed cross-country skiing trails for the advanced and beginning ski enthusiast.
The Shuswap River offers canoeists and kayakers miles of waterways to explore, from rolling rapids to calmer waters near the city. River tours are available for guided trips to the river channels.
Background Photo Credit: Destination British Columbia