Treasure Tours help unravel South Okanagan mysteries

Penticton father and daughter offer self-guided tour packages highlighting the region's history

Don and Elissa Fordyce

Don and Elissa Fordyce

In 1896, a man by the name of Matt Roderick stole three gold bars from Camp McKinney, a former mining town near Oliver. Soon after, Roderick was shot down by officials, and it’s speculated that the three gold bars, now worth vast sums of money, are buried somewhere near the Camp McKinney site.

It’s historical events such as this one that a new Penticton business is hoping to harness through self-guided tours around the region.

B.C. Treasure Tours, run by father-daughter duo Elissa and Don Fordyce, offer the tour packages that guide interested tourists and locals alike through Penticton, Oliver, Peachland and Hedley. However, these tours aren’t your standard fare — they have a mysterious twist the owners hope will entice and engage participants.

“We’ve combined fiction and non-fiction to create interest and flow,” said Don, citing the Oliver tour as an example.

“You determine where the shooting was, and the tour of the mystery tour solves that particular puzzle.”

Some other scenarios that are played out in the tour packages are a murder mystery, a spy versus spy situation and uncovering the causes behind a past KVR derailment. These mysteries are solved while the participants take in the history, sites and sounds of the different towns.

A typical tour would have those participating travelling to different monuments and points of interest, where they would then look for clues, sometimes in the form of words on a plaque or details one wouldn’t normally pick up on.

After the tour has been completed, participants can enter their solution to the mystery via website, and if correct they are entered into a draw for $500.

The Fordyce family spent a number of years travelling and going on different tours in many foreign countries, where the inspiration behind treasure tours came from, said Fordyce.

“It’s something that we’ve pieced together from different ideas throughout our travels,” said Fordyce.

“There doesn’t appear to be anything like it in North America.”

To promote their business, the Fordyces have hired a local high school band, Johnny and Da Band, to play at public events and areas and hand out promotional materials.

Those wishing to embark on one of the B.C. Treasure Tours can purchase one off their website at www.bctreasuretours.com, or at the treasure tour base camp at Bean to the Beach at 250 Marina Way.