Treadgold

Letters from Kelowna written during the Second World War to a man who would become the city's mayor, published in a new book, cover some unexpected topics, such as homelessness and the struggles of people with mental health issues.

Old letters to a former Kelowna mayor provide a colourful and fascinating insight into the city's history, economic development, and social progress, authors of a new book say.

'Letters to Bill' is a compendium of 135 pieces of correspondence, covering a range of topics, that were sent to Bill Treadgold during the Second World War.

"The growth and development of Kelowna during this time frame is showcased through many of the letters from my Dad's parents, his family, and other Kelowna pioneers, including childhood friends stationed within Canada and overseas during the war," says Wendy Hamilton, one of Treadgold's children, who has prepared the book with her sister, Cathie Pavlik.

Treadgold was 21 when the war broke out in September 1939. Although his war service never took him outside Canada, he received many letters from friends overseas as well as those who remained in Kelowna.

While the letters from the soldiers provide gripping reading, the ones from Kelowna are the most informative and poignant.

"'Dear Bill' is, arguably, more so a memoir of battles on the home front, and the triumphs of an incredibly resilient family," reviewer Shelagh Ryan-McNee wrote.

Letters from Kelowna residents to Treadgold give an insight to daily life during the war years but also include references to topics that might surprise a reader, such as homelessness and the struggles of people with mental health issues.

After the war, Treadold was a successful Kelowna businessman, councillor, and mayor. He died in 2015, at age 96.

To order a copy of the book, see dearbill.ca