The Pandosy Mission consists of four acres of land in a rural setting in the Mission area of Kelowna, BC. This historic place contains seven nineteenth-century log buildings, including a chapel, a root house, a barn, and dwelling places. The Mission is a Provincially Designated Heritage Site.
The Pandosy Mission Cemetery was the first European burial ground in the region, located in a rural farm setting near the restored buildings of the Oblate Mission on Benvoulin Road. The level, treeless grassed terrain was farmed for a number of years, and no early headstones, grave markers or cemetery features have survived above ground. A stone marker and plaque commemorates the cemetery, which includes the grave of Father Pandosy. Also buried here is Father Florimond Gendre, the first principal of the Sisters of Saint Ann in Vancouver.
The Missionary Oblates of Mary Immaculate came to Canada from France in 1841 to promote Christianity to Indigenous people and new settlers. While many of their contributions were celebrated in the past, they have more recently issued apologies for their role in the residential school system and for the part they played in the “cultural, ethnic, linguistic and religious imperialism” towards Indigenous people.
The Mission was established in 1860 by Fathers Charles Pandosy and Pierre Richard, and originally spanned two thousand acres along the main traveling route through the area. The three buildings which stand on their original locations – the chapel, the root house, and the Brothers’ House – are important because they represent the impetus for all subsequent non-Indigenous development and settlement of the entire Okanagan Valley since 1859.
Pandosy Mission is also valued as one of the most important links to the Oblates of Mary Immaculate in British Columbia, one of only two early missionary groups sent into the interior of the province in the late 1850s. What survives of the original mission today holds significance as a reflection of the central facility at which the Oblate priests lived and worked, from where they made trips to outlying Indigenous and non-Indigenous settlements.