Okanagan Falls resident Eric Bilow stands in front of his famous tree full of stuffed animals. (Robin Grant-Penticton Western News)

Okanagan Falls tree full of colourful stuffed animals is popular with tourists and locals

Resident says stuffed animal decorations started to slow traffic

It started with a giant stuffed toy snake sprawled across a tree branch to slow traffic on a quiet street.

Seven years later, the maple tree in the front yard of Eric Bilow and his wife Wanda Wilson’s home is decorated with more than 20 adorable stuffed animals in all sorts of vibrant colours.

READ MORE: Try your luck at winning a summer supply of wacky milkshakes

“There’s a lot of locals who have given me toys,” says Bilow, pointing to a yellow duck that was donated by a woman in town. “And somebody just dropped that blue bird just the other day.”

One of the nicest stuffed toys, he says, was a four-foot abominable snowman that was delivered brand new in the packaging. The generous donor remains a mystery to this day.

“We have so many of the smaller ones that we use them for Christmas decorations in the yard. We make ice skating rinks and put everybody in it.”

READ MORE: IRONMAN Canada to return to Penticton in 2020

Bilow says the tree is successful in slowing some of the traffic but it has also become a tourist attraction in Okanagan Falls.

Visitors from all over the world have heard about the sight on Cedar Street and drop by to take pictures.

“How many trees do you see like this?” he asked. “I think it’s popular because of the yard and A-frame of the house. It’s just kind of cozy and the tree just goes with. We enjoy it.”

The toys are switched up whenever they become weathered and begin to fade. But there is one — a frog in a tiny outhouse that sings, What a Wonderful World by Louis Armstrong — that has lasted all seven years. It has sentimental value to Bilow.

When he lived in Alberta, Bilow says he worked for the government in the forestry department. He ran a fire tower and there was no plumbing at the time. He built the toy in memory of what he described as his special time there.

READ MORE: First DPA community market of 2019 was “fabulous”

“We had an outhouse and the outhouse faced a big buffalo pasture. In the morning, I’d leave the door open and all the buffalo would come and look at me. That was a really good experience and I enjoyed that. So that’s me up in the outhouse singing, What a Wonderful World.”

To report a typo, email: editor@pentictonwesternnews.com.


Robin Grand
Reporter, Penticton Western News
Email me or follow me on Twitter
Follow us on Facebook | Twitter | Instagram

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Comments are closed

Just Posted

Booze on beach extended through summer in Penticton

Pilot project will stay in place until Oct. 15

Princeton ATV rider slapped with numerous charges after complaint of near miss on the KVR

‘I would never defend actions like that’ - Ed Vermette, Princeton ATV Club president

Anarchist Mountain Fire Department extinguishes ‘flaming river’ on Highway 3

Blaze caused by truck that caught fire and leaked diesel across the road

Lower Similkameen Indian Band closes beach near Cawston to non-band members

The COVID-19 crisis “has not gone away” and “remains an ever present threat” says the LSIB

Morning Start: Dogs can smell cancer

Your morning start for Tuesday, July 7, 2020

84-year-old Okanagan resident finishes 12,000-piece puzzle

Willie Tribiger started the puzzle in 2013, completing it in six and a half years

Aces aplenty at Okanagan golf course

Vernon Golf and Country Club has 14 recorded holes-in-one since April 30

Fraser Valley woman complains of violent RCMP takedown during wellness check

Mounties respond that she was not co-operating during Mental Health Act apprehension

B.C. sees 12 new COVID-19 cases, no new deaths

Three outbreaks exist in health-care settings

Lost dog swims Columbia River multiple times searching for home

The dog was missing from his Castlegar home for three days.

Sad ending in case of missing Okanagan senior

Body of Vernon man Wayne Orser found floating in Okanagan Lake Tuesday, July 7

COVID-19: B.C. promotes video-activated services card

Mobile app allows easier video identity verification

ICBC to resume road tests in July with priority for rebookings, health-care workers

Tests have been on hold for four months due to COVID-19

Vernon murder case back in court

Voir dire held for one of two accused in death of William Bartz in July 2017

Most Read