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

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 their 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.”

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

Just Posted

File
Court awards $150K to car crash victim near Revelstoke

The incident occurred in 2015 during a snowstorm on Highway 1

(Pixabay photo)
Morning Start: Kentucky has more bourbon than people

Your morning start for Thursday, May 6, 2021

A woman wears a face mask and shield to curb the spread of COVID-19 while walking in North Vancouver, B.C., on Wednesday, January 6, 2021. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Darryl Dyck
57 new cases of COVID-19 in Interior Health region

Thirty people in the region are in hospital, 16 of whom are in intensive care

Grizzly bear. (File)
Malakwa man bitten by grizzly bear on dog walk

The man and dogs were not seriously injured

Protesters attempt to stop clear-cutting of old-growth trees in Fairy Creek near Port Renfrew. (Will O���Connell photo)
VIDEO: Workers, activists clash at site of Vancouver Island logging operation

Forest license holders asking for independent investigation into incident

Two passengers were recently fined thousands of dollars after they faked their pre-flight COVID-19 test results. (Paul Clarke/Black Press)
2 Canadians fined thousands for faking their pre-flight COVID-19 test results

The government issued a warning Thursday to others thinking of doing the same

(File)
With revenge porn on the rise in 2021, B.C. seeks feedback for new legislation

New legislation could help victims take down images and receive compensation

Join Black Press Media and Do Some Good
Join Black Press Media and Do Some Good

Pay it Forward program supports local businesses in their community giving

Some of the funding will provide more EV charging stations, such as this one at Rogers Pass. Kootenay Rockies Tourism photo.
StrongerBC provides funding for tourism projects in Kootenay Rockies region

A number of initiatives to enhance tourism are underway across the Kootenay Rockies

(Kamloops This Week file photo)
Federal police unit takes over probe of B.C. regional district’s spending

Financial Integrity Sensitive Investigations Unit is now reviewing the case

Photo: Kathleen Saylors
Grand Forks votes down letter to support Penticton in homeless shelter battle

Grand Forks city coun. Neil Krog insisted Penticton’s issue with Victoria is about city bylaws, not homelessness

A black bear made a visit to downtown Vancouver Tuesday, May 4. The animal was spotted on train tracks in Gastown shortly after at 2:30 p.m. (Twitter/Craig Minielly)
VIDEO: Black bear spotted meandering around downtown Vancouver

The bear was reportedly tranquilized by conservation officers Tuesday afternoon

Southbound traffic was reduced to single lane on Highway 97 as a vehicle involved in a collision was being retrieved by a tow truck on Thursday morning, May 6, 2021. (Jennifer Smith-Vernon Morning Star)
Collision causing delays on Highway 97 near Vernon

Southbound traffic reduced to single lane

Most Read