A MESSAGE FROM THE PRIME MINISTER The transition from summer to autumn in British Columbia cannot be summed up as one single picture. It would take a thousand artists to catch the thousand moods of this Province as days grow shorter and nights longer. British Columbia covers such a vast area, entertains so many different moods of nature, that a lifetime of autumns would not suffice to cover them all. As this issue of Beautiful British Columbia Magazine once again proves, this Province is blessed with beauty, at every season, and in every area.
A a greeting from W.A.C. Bennett in the fall, 1971 edition of Beautiful British Columbia Magazine.

I’m a huge geek when it comes to history. I especially love British Columbian history so when I was in Kelowna last week I thought I’d track down the grave of the one of British Columbia’s most colourful and influential historic figures.

Peter Gzowski described W.A.C. Bennett as “the man who for the 20 years he served as premier was British Columbia and in the hearts and minds of many people still is.” Gzowski spoke those words in 1977 and I think they still hold true to this day.

Bennett served as premier (or prime minister) under the conservative and populist BC Social Credit banner from 1952 until 1972 – the longest tenure of any premier.

He oversaw rapid development of British Columbian industry and infrastructure. Among his accomplishments he nationalised the ferry system, expanded post-secondary education, and created BC Hydro, a public electric utility. The W.A.C. Bennett Dam and the W.A.C. Library at Simon Fraser University are both named in his honour.

Most deceased premiers are buried in Victoria and their grave markers are usually indistinguishable from those on surrounding plots. Bennett’s memorial, however, is quite ostentatious.

W.A.C. Bennett grave site
Standing next to W.A.C. Bennett's tombstone.
Standing next to W.A.C. Bennett's tombstone.
The tombstones for W.A.C. and May Richards Bennett.
The tombstones for W.A.C. and May Richards Bennett.
May Bennett She was a very strong but quiet lady, very family oriented, known and loved by thousands of people across the province. She wasn't one who sought the limelight.
May Bennett She was a very strong but quiet lady, very family oriented, known and loved by thousands of people across the province. She wasn't one who sought the limelight.
W.A.C. Bennett  He loved British Columbia with a passion and raised her, like a child to maturity in the family of Canada
W.A.C. Bennett He loved British Columbia with a passion and raised her, like a child to maturity in the family of Canada
Plots for sale on one of W.A.C. Bennett's grave markers.
Plots for sale on one of W.A.C. Bennett's grave markers.
Bennett Memorial Columbaria
Bennett Memorial Columbaria
 



His grave site is marked with a large tombstone standing approximately 1.5 metres (about 5 feet). The tombstone is surrounded by a small park which includes six above ground monuments as well as a memorial wall. The two above ground monuments in front of the tombstone, which loosely resemble coffin lids, are fronted with markers for both Bennett and his wife May Richards Bennett.

The grave site, which has been developed and marketed as a centrepiece of the Kelowna Memorial Park Cemetery, pays tribute to Bennett’s free market ideology. For $2,110 you can have your ashes interned in the monument over Bennett’s grave.

These days the B.C. Social Credit are largely inactive so there’s little hope of ever voting them back into government again. You can, however, spend the rest of eternity with W.A.C. Bennett in this last plot of Social Credit dirt.