Peachland gets a cozy castle steeped in history

‘He was fighting the government and everyone’

Peachland is currently the proud owner of a castle that’s central to an unusual chapter of local history.

The castle that Eddy Haymour built at 6239 Renfrew Road went up for a sale last week, due to back taxes owing.

For the cool price of $15,792.08 — a figure that represents three years of taxes and administration fees— the property could have been purchased by anyone, but nobody made a bid so the District of Peachland picked it up.

The current owner has one year to pay the bill and redeem title, explained the district’s director of finance Doug Pryde.

“If they don’t, then its transferred to the district,” Pryde said, adding that it’s unlikely that will happen. “There’s only one instance when the property was transferred to the district.”

If it does, it will mean that Peachland will be the keeper of a building that was once tied to the larger-than-life dreams of Haymour.

In 1970, Haymour bought Rattlesnake Island — a five-acre parcel of land that is now part of Okanagan Mountain Park — with the intention of building a theme park.

READ MORE: SIX PEOPLE VIE TO BE PEACHLAND’S NEXT MAYOR

He told everyone that he was going to build Moroccan Shadou Theme Park, which would have a mini Taj Mahal, a three- storey camel that would have ice cream served from its belly, rides and a whole host of tourism-centric fun that was, in part, a reflection of his Lebanese heritage.

“He was going to have a castle with a bridge across the highway and a big dock so people could go park and (boat) across Rattlesnake Island,” said Don Wilson, with the Peachland Museum.

“He had a barbershop in Peachland, and he went back and forth with his barge to the island every day. It was exciting to watch. But his dreams were always bigger than his finances, and he had a lot of problems building it.”

Among other things, the provincial government passed building regulations that stopped Haymour from completing the project. Sewage system plans were rejected and the ministry also blocked access to the dock serving the island.

In July 1973, Haymour was in dire financial need and suffering from mental stress from both government and local efforts working against him. He offered to sell the property to a neighbour who was suing him for $146,000. This offer was refused and things got worse for Haymour.

READ MORE: WORLD OF WHEELS SPINS THOUGH PEACHLAND

He was charged in late 1973 with threatening to send a letter bomb to former B.C. premier W.A.C. Bennett, although proof was never found. And after being held for extensive psychiatric examination, Haymour wanted to plead guilty to the lingering charges, but the Crown urged the provincial court to enter a plea of not guilty by reason of insanity.

In July 1974 — when he had been in custody for seven months and had just learned his wife was divorcing him, his children were on welfare, his home had burned down with its insurance expired and the island property was being foreclosed on — the government had Haymour sign the deed for the island for $40,000 and he was transferred to Riverview mental hospital. He was later released and left the country.

After his release, he continued to plead his case through unusual methods. He went to Lebanon and with five cousins held about 20 hostages at the Canadian Embassy in Beirut for a week. Nobody was injured.

“He was fighting the government and everyone,” said Wilson, who saw Haymour this summer and said he always enjoys the colourful conversations they share.

“He’s pretty old and frail now. He’s been living in Edmonton since 2003 and his daughter lives here. Every time I see him we have a good chat, he’s an interesting man to talk to and he was a fantastic barber.”

Don Knox, president of the Central Okanagan Heritage Society, said that Haymour really did get screwed over.

“There was a whole court case about it because his point was, if I was crazy then I shouldn’t have been able to enter into this negotiation and if I wasn’t crazy then I shouldn’t have been incarcerated,” he said.

In 1985, Haymour won $105,000 for ”wrongful and deliberate acts by the government.” The British Columbia Supreme Court awarded him $150,000 the year before.

The courts ruled that Haymour ”suffered great harm as a result of wrongful and deliberate acts by the government.’’

He used that money to build the castle that is there today.

“At the time, it was an amazing story,” said Knox. “It still is. It’s movie worthy.”

To report a typo, email:
newstips@kelownacapnews.com
.


@KelownaNewsKat
kmichaels@kelownacapnews.com

Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter.

Just Posted

Okanagan RCMP look for owners of various keys located during arrest

RCMP seek to reunite the owners of various keys found at the arrest of suspects in a stolen vehicle.

VIDEO: This is what buying legal pot in B.C. looks like

Take a look inside B.C.’s first and only legal pot shop located in Kamloops

BC Green already planning Princeton expansion

Company purchases ore land in industrial park

Don’t be dazed and confused about cannabis legalization

Sitting down with an Okanagan lawyer to clear the haze of marijuana rules

10 things still illegal in the new age of recreational cannabis

Pot is legal – but there are still a lot of rules, and breaking some could leave you in jail

Mellow opening to B.C.’s only legal pot shop

About five people lined up early for the opening of the BC Cannabis Store in Kamloops.

VOTE: Nature in Focus reader’s choice photo contest

The Penticton Western News Reader’s Choice photo contest

Jagmeet Singh says marijuana pardons are not enough

Trudeau government will streamline pardon process for Canadians convicted of simple possession of marijuana in the past

BC Ferries begins taking debit in two-month pilot project

Company is giving customers option to use Interac on two-month trial on select vessels

Caregivers banned from smoking, growing cannabis around children-in-care: MCFD

Ministry has limited cannabis use for caregivers, stating it may “pose a risk to children and youth.”

Cheaper strains sell out within minutes on online BC Cannabis Store

Province says new strains will become available in the coming months

Only 40% of B.C. car dealerships have electric cars available: report

Researchers found buyers frustrated at the lack of options

VIDEO: Millionaire Lottery returns to give back and win big

Since 1996, Millionaire Lottery has raised $52 million for the VGH+UBC Hospital Foundation

Most Read