Honourable William Andrew Cecil Bennett, PC December 8th, 1952
William Andrew Cecil Bennett was awarded Freedom of the City due to the honour he brought upon Kelowna with his appointment as Premier.
W.A.C. Bennett first arrived in Kelowna in 1930 from Vancouver. Purchasing a hardware store, he became very active in the community and took a strong interest in Kelowna’s development encouraging the tree fruit industry and the development of a local radio station. He also fought for better roads, ferries and communication. In 1941 he won the provincial election and sat as a conservative in the provincial legislature. In 1951 he left the conservatives to sit as an independent, shortly thereafter joining the Social Credit Party. 1952 brought a hard-fought election and the Social Credit Party edged out the CCF by one seat; as House Leader W.A.C. Bennett was asked to form the government.
During the next 20 years he focused on highways and transportation facilities, as well as educational and medical needs. New hospitals and extended care units were established, and the Medical Services Plan came into being.
A member of the Queen’s Privy Council, the Honourable W.A.C. Bennett and his wife May hosted annual garden parties on the grounds of their Ethel Street home for many years. When his government was defeated in 1972, W.A.C. was the longest standing Premier of B.C. with 20 years of provincial leadership to his credit. He retired in 1973, and died in 1979.