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Edward Allan Horning, or Al as many know him, has been fighting for Rutland for over 40 years. Born in 1939 in Saskatchewan, Al’s family came to Kelowna on vacation in the winter of 1944 and never looked back.
While attending Rutland Secondary School, he found a passion for sports that carried through into his adulthood. Al entered the workforce at age 16, working at the Rutland Sawmill, which was one of the biggest employers in Rutland at the time. In his free time, he pursued his love of sports by participating in city sport teams. One day, his team was faced with an issue that changed the outlook of his career.
“They wanted to charge us money to play on the field, so we got together and fought it,” explains Al, “and we won that fight.”
This was one of many battles won by Al throughout his political career which began shortly after. Al became an Alderman for Kelowna City Council in 1980, serving four two-year terms before being elected to the House of Commons of Canada for the Progressive Conservative Party.
From working on the YLW International Airport expansion to focusing on recreation and business development in Kelowna, he touched many parts of the city throughout his career. In 2005, he was elected to the legislative assembly of British Columbia, representing Kelowna-Lake Country as a member of BC Liberals.
Al recognizes that local politics have changed drastically with new issues to tackle and different priorities “it’s not like it used to be” he says. When asked if he’d like to be a politician today, he says that he would not, further explaining “you knew what was coming those days, so it was easier to fight for things as they came up — there was more unity, a solid backing.”
Observing many changes in the Rutland community, Al believes “Rutland has gotten older and wiser.” When he first arrived, Rutland was a smaller community, with a single general store, a sawmill, canneries, packing houses, and family homes, he notes that “agriculture was always big… Everyone worked in the packing houses those days, but we’ve moved from apples to cherries and grapes now.”
Reminiscing on the days he would call out “Rutland Rules” with his friends, Al hopes the next generation can carry the same pride for the community, and toss aside the misconceptions that it’s captured over the years. His dream for Rutland’s future is to garner the attention necessary at the political level to continue expanding the economic wellness of the community, “we seemed to only get what’s left over, but we’ve gotten tired of that over the years, and we need to keep fighting” he says.
Uptown Rutland Business Association (URBA) and NowMedia Group are partnering up to bring you a special column, highlighting the faces of Rutland. This column aims to provide insight into the history of the Rutland community and the lives of those who define it.
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