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

Just Posted

On second toke, Penticton council changes its mind on cannabis store

Council members heard a presentation from Starbuds co-founder

Craft breweries showcased during Penticton Beer Week

To celebrate, all seven of the city’s breweries will be collaborating on a limited release draft

Reason to Smile: Tim Hortons cookie campaign benefits school breakfast program

The smile cookie campaign runs Sept. 13 - 22 at participating Tim Hortons from Summerland to Osoyoos

Death race runners to artists, popular Penticton speaker series has it all

The Pecha Kucha Penticton series returns with the theme of: We Made It

Affordable housing project in Okanagan Falls ready for tenants

South Skaha Place now accepting applications for affordable housing units

‘It’s almost surreal’: Penticton fire chief, sidekick Sammy recap rescue mission in Bahamas

Chief Larry Watkinson and Sam the disaster dog spent 8 days assisting a search and rescue team

Defense says burden of proof not met in double murder case against Victoria father

Closing statements begin in trial for man accused of killing daughters Christmas 2017

B.C. dog breeder banned again after 46 dogs seized

The SPCA seized the animals from Terry Baker, 66, in February 2018

Surrey mom allegedly paid $400,000 for son in U.S. college bribery scam

Xiaoning Sui, 48, was arrested in Spain on Monday night

Three dogs found shot dead in Prince George ditch

The three adult dogs appeared to be well cared for before being found with gunshot wounds, BC SPCA says

Auntie Says: Even good kids make mistakes

Faye Arcand is a freelance writer living in the South Okanagan

Vancouver police could be using drones to fight crime by end of year

The police department has already purchased three drones, as well as three others for training

B.C. party bus company to be monitored after 40 intoxicated teens found onboard

Police received tip teens and young adults were drinking on party buses and limousines in Surrey

Okanagan ski racer chosen for grant in end game

Makena Kersey, 18, has called it a career following a gruesome leg injury, but story inspires grant

Most Read