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Welcome to 2010 beyond the mountains: "why did the loyalists' descendants cross the Rocky Mountains?".

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That's just one of the many fascinating questions that will be explored when the United Empire Loyalists' Association of Canada holds its ninety-sixth Annual General Meeting in the northern Okanagan city of Vernon, British Columbia, from June 3rd to 6th, 2010.

"We have a wine tour, fantastic speakers, lunch at an orchard, gold panning, cowboy dinner and entertainment and much more," said Sally Harrison UE, President of the host Thompson-Okanagan Branch, which is co-sponsoring the event with the other Pacific Region branches: Chilliwack, Vancouver and Victoria.

"Why not make a vacation of it and enjoy this wonderful part of your country?" she asked.

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Set in the gorgeous scenery of the northern Okanagan Valley, one of the finest agricultural regions in Canada, the conference will introduce UELAC members, friends and family to a true taste of western hospitality courtesy of the four-star Prestige Inn, which names its conference and meeting rooms after the pioneers and founders of Vernon.

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Mike Roberts, weathercaster for local TV station CHBC since 1980, will open the conference on Thursday, 3 June, by telling some of the most popular stories from his documentary series Gold Trails and Ghost Towns.

On Friday, conference-goers will choose between two options: a day-long winery tour; or a morning dedicated to the discovery of B.C.'s Loyalist heritage followed by lunch and tours at the busy Davison Orchards.

The morning agenda includes:

* Dave Sayers, an actor from the gold rush town of Barkerville, presents the heart-rending tale of John A. "Cariboo" Cameron, a Loyalist descendant who preserved his wife's body in alcohol and carried it by toboggan, sailing ship and overland to her original home in Upper Canada.

* Christine Pilgrim will present the story of The Overlanders, the harrowing tale of one hundred and fifty men and one woman with a secret, Catherine O'Hare Schubert, who travelled with Thomas McMicking UE in 1862 on foot from Fort Garry, Manitoba, to the land that would eventually be named British Columbia.

* Peter Moogk UE, PhD, and an active member of the Vancouver Branch, will discuss Loyalist history and its importance for British Columbia.

"I will try to sketch out the fives of some of the Loyalist descendants who settled here," Dr. Moogk said. "Not only will we try to trace their migration to B.C. but I hope to find out if consciousness of their Loyalist ancestry had any effect on the descendants' careers."

Moogk noted that few people are aware of the fact that two of the most famous European explorers of British Columbia, Alexander Mackenzie and Simon Fraser, are both descendants of Loyalists.

Friday night features an authentic cowboy barbeque, gold-panning, black powder demonstrations and tours courtesy of the historic 1867 O'Keefe Ranch, home of the first post office in the Okanagan and a true jewel in the history of British Columbia. Our special guest speaker is Ken Mather, a contributor to the Online Dictionary of Canadian Biography and a long-time friend of the ranch.

Saturday will be devoted to the ninety-sixth Annual General Meeting and the UELAC Gala Banquet, featuring a special performance from Christine Pilgrim, as Isabella Grant, the mother of famed B.C. explorer, Simon Fraser, who tells the tale of her harrowing journey from Scotland to New York and finally to Upper Canada with her orphaned children.

Guests and family members will have the opportunity to tour the city of Okanagan and see such sights as the twenty-seven Heritage Murals, the annual Creative Chaos Craft Fair, the largest event of its kind in Western Canada, or search the lake for the legendary Ogopogo, an unconfirmed descendant of the Loch Ness Monster.

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The convention closes on Sunday with an opportunity to join a local church service in the style of our ancestors followed by an informal lunch.

The Thompson-Okanagan Branch is arranging travel arrangements to and from the airport. Please contact Sally Harrison with your requirements at: sally_harrison "at" telus.net.

For further information and the latest details, please look for the Ogopogo logo and 2010 Beyond the Mountains highlights posted on the Dominion web site at: www.uelac.org\BTM2010.html.

Editor's Note: The Registration Form can be downloaded at: http://www.uelac.org/PDF/2010AGM-Registration-v2.pdf.

Tour the Rockies

The party starts early for those who join a pre-conference sightseeing tour of the Rocky Mountains.

UELAC members will gather in Calgary on June 1 for an all-inclusive bus tour arranged by West Trek Tours Inc. This exclusive package includes transportation, double-occupancy accommodation for one night in Banff and one night in Golden, two breakfasts, two dinners, pius admission to the parks and sights under the guidance of an experienced tour guide/driver. For details, please send an e-mail to: wendycosby "at" shaw.ca.

The tour will end at the Prestige Inn at Vernon in time for the opening of the UELAC 2010 Beyond the Mountains Conference and ninety-sixth Annual General Meeting.

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by Dan Hilborn, Vancouver Branch
COPYRIGHT 2009 United Empire Loyalists' Association
No portion of this article can be reproduced without the express written permission from the copyright holder.
Copyright 2009 Gale, Cengage Learning. All rights reserved.

Article Details
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Author:Hilborn, Dan
Publication:The Loyalist Gazette
Geographic Code:1CANA
Date:Sep 22, 2009
Words:833
Previous Article:2009 Dominion-Conference.
Next Article:Zig Misiak, MET, Brantford, Ontario: UELAC Honorary Vice-President.
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