Maurice Gillis arrived in the Shuswap area in the early 1900's. First settling in the community of Seymour Arm. During the first world war when an internment camp was established at Two Mile, he operated the supply boat that serviced both camps at Two Mile and Swansea Point. In 1924 he acquired 32 acres of land along the Sicamous end of Mara Lake. Shortly after that he established the first tourist camp called Fort Gillis, at what is now White Pine Resort. During this time he also set up a boat rental business just west of the CPR Hotel. The rental boats were double ended varnished cedar row boats and his advertising noted that if you went fishing and did not catch a fish you did not have to pay for the rental boat. The sign simply said, "No Fish, No Pay".
Just as a reminder of how much times have changed, in the mid 1940's, Maurice Gillis was selling lots along the Sicamous end of Mara Lake for $200 per lot. In addition to Gillis Avenue in Sicamous there are Gillis Meadows and Gillis Lake, north of the community of Seymour Arm.
This picture above taken in 1917 at the Two Mile Internment Camp, shows Maurice Gillis in the wheelhouse of the supply boat. Soldiers were members of Rocky Mountain Rangers which was the unit guarding the prisoners.
The picture above taken in the late 1920's shows Gillis' boat "Tourist" and in the background the CPR Hotel and Station.