Paul's tomb

The Paul’s Tomb Trail in Kelowna leads to wonderful cove where you can relax on a stone beach, or swim inside a protected area lined with buoys. The trail is relatively flat, which attracts many people strolling, running and exercising their dogs.

Hot temperatures continue, but cooler nights are the first sign another glorious summer in the Okanagan is slowly, inexorably coming to an end.

Last Sunday, the Sheriff and Constant Companion Carmen revisited what has become one of our favourite strolls along the shoreline of Okanagan Lake in Kelowna: Paul’s Tomb and Lochview Trail.

When you think about it, they are such a contrast. The trail to Paul’s Tomb is basically a relatively flat gravel service road with no sign of human habitation between you and the shoreline, and up the hillside. It’s so easy that it always has lots of people walking, running and exercising their dogs.

Lochview Trail, on the other hand, is narrow, involves much more elevation change, is not crowded, and has boat docks below and multi-million-dollar homes above.

The panoramic views are the best on Lochview, but it’s hard to beat the protected cove at Paul’s Tomb for swimming.

And always, people wonder how Paul’s Tomb got its name. The Sheriff dug through his archives and found the following article, The Legendary Rembler Paul, written by Lynda (Paul) Doyle, his great, great granddaughter.

In fact, the Sheriff has the same Sept. 10 birthday as Rembler Paul, both of us have (had) beards, we both love horses and Rembler Paul also worked in the print industry.

“Who was Rembler Paul? He was a generous, strong, confident character who was concerned with the humane treatment of animals. An eccentric, a cunning entrepreneur, an adventurous soul, a pioneer, a practiced disciplinarian and a good Conservative. Rembler Paul was a man who cared about his family.

“As I grew up, my mother enjoyed relating to us kids all of the family history. While her side of the family was keenly interesting, my dad’s side held the intrigue. (My dad was Bernard George Paul).

“My older brother and I had the opportunity as young teens to go on a camping vacation with our grandma and our uncle (circa 1965), and one of the stops in British Columbia was to see the Paul Tomb.

“Our great, great grandfather, Rembler, and his wife, Elizabeth, were buried there, and we could not wait to embark on this adventure. Family lore suggested that the eldest son of each generation could be buried there, thus setting my brother, Barrie, up for many occasions of taunting sibling rivalry. My mom also told us that the family cat was buried with Elizabeth.

“When we finally saw the tomb, we were a bit disappointed. A load of gravel was pushed up against the old door in the middle of a greyish wall entrance into a hillside. It was a letdown after a long walk to get there, and all the fantasy.

“This did inspire me, however, to find out about the man within. A family historian was born and since about 1974 and even into the present, I continue to learn more about my eccentric relative, even imagining how I could be as colourful as he. This is his story.

“The adventurous life of Rembler Paul began with his birth as he was born on landing in Montreal, Que. on Sept. 10, 1832 to his proud parents, Thomas and Sarah Paul, from Norfolk, England. The family spent its first four years in Quebec before moving to Toronto. Thomas Paul was a veterinary surgeon, and opened the first repository for the sale of horses and carriages in Toronto, at 49-53 Adelaide St. W., just west of Bay Street today.

“One of Rembler’s early undertakings was an apprenticeship in Kingston, Ont. at the British Whig, learning to set type in the printing trade. Finding this tedious and dull, he lost interest and soon began his wandering career westward.

“Rembler had followed his father’s occupation of veterinary surgery for about 20 years and carried on the repository for a year after his father’s death in 1855.

“Retiring from his profession in 1879, he engaged in his adventure north and west. Real estate speculation and mines were his interest. He had owned the St. Paul Gold mine on Monashee, approximately 60 miles from Vernon, a silver mine in Thunder Bay, Ont. and a coal mine in Bancroft, Ont.. He did well as a stock trader and moneylender too.

“It is written in The Okanagan Historical Society-1960, Paul’s Tomb by Gladys E. Herbert, that Rembler had a wandering career in the west. He was known as one of the first white men to explore land east and west of the Rockies. Regina, Sask. became his home where he ran a coal business.

“He had owned 3,000 acres of land 11 miles south of Regina. Here, he stocked horses and small farm animals and even grew 300 acres of grain (1883). He later sold his land to incoming farmers.

“In 1905, he and his family moved to Kelowna. He had married Elizabeth H. Davis, daughter of Calvin Davis of Toronto, in 1852. They had one son, Samuel G. Paul. They had spent three winters at their home in Tucson, Ariz. before establishing their permanent home in the downtown area of Kelowna where the Pauls owned approximately eight acres.

“The area extended from Bernard Avenue north to the site of the Okanogan Telephone Company, and was bounded on the east by Richter Street (then known as Cameron’s Lane).

“On the west, it was bounded by the Rattenbury property, later donated to the First Kelowna Scout Troop. In 1956, Grace Baptist Church was built on what had been the Pauls’ garden.

“The church relocated in 1974 and a jewellery store now occupies that lot on Bernard Avenue, the second building from the corner of Bertram (2008). He also had a summer cottage built in 1912 near the site of the tomb. It was the second house on the lake immediately north of Kelowna. Building materials were transported by barge to the site.

“Rembler and Elizabeth loved gardening and kept great gardens at their properties, including the site of the tomb. It is said of Rembler that horses were his second love, family being first. He is remembered for his many kind acts towards animals. People were also his concern.

“He played Santa. With a team of horses and wagon, he would distribute Christmas hampers. In his later years, Rembler wore a perfectly groomed full white beard, which would give him even more the appearance of Santa.

“Near the end of his life, he wanted to leave a tribute to his family in the form of the tomb and it was built in 1910.

“Rembler’s wife Elizabeth was an invalid for many years and died of cancer on June 5, 1914 at 83 years. She was the first to be laid to rest in the family vault. Rembler, not feeling well, went to Edmonton, Alta. with Mr. Gibb, a school chum, and died at age 85 on Nov. 23, 1916. He was the second and last to be laid to rest in what we know as the Paul Tomb.

“Coincidentally, at the time of his interment and after the service, friends opened Elizabeth’s coffin. The copper casket had a small glass insert and the friends witnessed a perfectly preserved Elizabeth.

“The tomb: the crypt was built 100 feet above Okanagan Lake and 100 yards back by George Patterson and his son, James. The vault itself was built of 16-inch concrete. Taylor Safe Works built the great steel door with its combination lock. Inside, the shelves - supported by pillars of cement — run the length of the interior with a passageway in the middle.

“The crypt itself is approximately 15 feet long and nine feet wide and seven feet at its highest. The ceiling is arched at top. Eight coffins could be accommodated. The combination to the lock was kept in the files of the The Royal Trust Company in Vancouver.

“This is now moot as reported in the 1971 article by The Spectator, The Canadian Magazine, titled “WE’RE NOSY, YOU’RE NOSY, THEY’RE NOT AMUSED Do not knock, ring or other wise intrude” by Tom Alderman. The impregnable tomb had been busted into by vandals. A local contractor placed 10 feet of soil in front of the door to prevent further incidence.

“Footnote: From the end of Poplar Point Drive, one can walk along a well-maintained path to the site of Paul’s Tomb and the flat spot on which the Paul cabin stood. The mound of soil still protects the front of the tomb (as of 2008) but about 18 inches of the arched front can still be seen with the embossed date of AD1910.

“Mrs. Paul’s lilacs still bloom and her irises are slowly spreading down the bank to the lake. Information for this write-up came from family knowledge and the 1960 Okanagan Historical Society publication.”

J.P. Squire, a.k.a. the hiking, biking, kayaking and horseback riding Sheriff, is an avid outdoors enthusiast. His column appears every weekend.

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