Mayor Sharon Shepherd presented Senator Fitzpatrick with the Freedom of the City award on May 26, 2008.
D. Ross Fitzpatrick
Senator Ross Fitzpatrick was born in 1933 to a family rich in agricultural history. Upon graduation from the University of BC he was appointed Research Director to the Royal Commission into the Tree Fruit Industry of British Columbia, which made valuable recommendations to both the BC and Federal Governments. Upon completion of the royal Commission he worked for BC Tree Fruits and Sun Rype Products before pursuing post graduate studies in the United States.
In pursuit of his vision to promote agriculture in the Okanagan, the Senator established CedarCreek Estate Winery and pioneered the planting of vinafera grapes to produce premium quality wines. CedarCreek was named Canada’s Winery of the Year twice in a five year period thus focusing national recognition on Kelowna and the Okanagan Valley as a centre for the production of world class wines.
Senator Fitzpatrick unfailingly supports deserving non-profit organizations and community groups including his service as Honorary Patron of the Okanagan University College Foundation and as Honorary distinguished Patron of the Okanagan International Children’s Festival. He is an Honorary Member of the Kelowna Yacht Club and an Honorary Member of the British Columbia Dragoons Associate Officers Mess. He is also a member of the Okanagan Vintner’s Estate Winery Association, the Kelowna Art Gallery, the Canadian Club of Kelowna, the Kelowna’s Rotary Centre for the Arts, the B.C. Children’s Hospital and the Okanagan Partnership.
Senator Fitzpatrick has been a member of both a majority government and a minority government and he now sits in opposition. Regardless of status, he has always made it his priority to keep important local concerns on the government agenda. Upon his 1998 appointment to the Senate, he chose to designate himself as representative for the Okanagan-Similkameen so he could concentrate his efforts on issues affecting this region. During Senator Fitzpatrick’s term in office his hard work has produced vital federal government financial assistance to Kelowna and throughout the Okanagan-Similkameen for many essential local projects.
Senator Fitzpatrick continues to be a tireless advocate of economic prosperity guided by the principles of social justice and informed by concern for the environment at both the local and national levels.