November 29, 2022
For the past 25 years, the TREE OF HOPE, a focal point in the Landmark District, has been a bright symbol of inspiration and hope to our community. However, Kelowna residents are likely unaware of the unique story of how the tree came to be!
It all started with a 160-foot construction crane standing idle next to the completed shell of the Landmark 2 Tower in 1997. The idea struck when Al Stober realized that his company could not use the crane until after the Christmas season. “What if we could dangle a giant Christmas tree from the lifting hook of the crane?”, Al wondered.Inspired, Al drew a little sketch on a napkin at a local restaurant. He showed the drawing to his sons (Ken and Mark) and before they left the restaurant a plan was in place.
By early December that year, the tree was finished, casting its glorious radiance across the city - a glowing reminder of the spirit of the Christmas season. And so was born the tradition of the Tree of Hope at the Landmark District.
Over the years, the tree has undergone some evolution. The tree now shines with 25,000 LED bulbs illuminating the Landmark Centre and stands over 120 feet tall. Furthermore, the Tree of Hope symbolizes not only the start of the holiday season, but also shines light on important societal issues and charities that need our collective attention.
This year, the Tree of Hope campaign, a fundraising campaign that is matched dollar for dollar by the Stober Foundation, is fundraising was for YMCA of Southern Interior BC and BGC Okanagan – two local charities that are united in sharing their common goal of raising healthier families and communities.
Donations will be directed to programs such as child care, summer camps, workforce training and leadership development for youth, nourishment for children with breakfast programs, mental health and early-intervention programs and so much more.
The Stober Foundation will be matching all funds raised up to $500,000 and directing them to the YMCA of Southern Interior BC and BGC Okanagan – two local charities that are united in sharing their common goal of raising healthier families and communities. T
From Late November until January, the Tree of Hope is a visible reminder to the citizens and visitors of Kelowna that the Christmas season is a time of generosity and compassion, bringing joy to friends and family.