The Honourable D. Ross Fitzpatrick was born in 1933 to a pioneer Okanagan agricultural family.
Upon graduation from UBC with a degree in Commerce and Business Administration he was
appointed Research Director to the Royal Commission into the Tree Fruit Industry of British
Columbia. Following completion of the Royal Commission he worked for B.C. Tree Fruits and Sun-
Rype Products Ltd. before pursuing post graduate studies at the University of Maryland and
Columbia University, New York.
After a successful business career founding and developing companies in aerospace, oil & gas
and mining, he returned to the Okanagan in 1986 to promote value added agriculture and
founded CedarCreek Estate Winery to pioneer the planting of vinifera grapes to produce
premium quality wines (sold to Von Mandl Family Estates in 2014).
Mr. Fitzpatrick is Proprietor
and Chairman of Fitzpatrick Family Vineyards at Greata Ranch, a Sparkling Wine House located
9km south of Peachland which opened April 2017 (www.fitzwine.com ). From 1998 to 2008 Ross
Fitzpatrick served in the Senate of Canada representing both Canada and the
Senator Fitzpatrick served as a member of the Senate of Canada for 10 years. Upon his appointment to the Senate in 1998, he chose, in addition to national responsibilities, to designate himself as representative for the Okanagan-Similkameen to concentrate on issues affecting the region. During the Senator's term in office he gave leadership to, and secured federal partnership funding for, many projects of great and lasting importance to the environmental, economic and social sustainability of the Okanagan-Similkameen region.
Throughout his career he has worked tirelessly to protect the environment, promote green
economic development and to contribute to the public and community's well-being. He has
received numerous awards for his work including the Order of BC 2009, Freedom of the City of
Kelowna 2008, Queen Elizabeth II Golden Jubilee Medal 2002, Queen Elizabeth II Diamond Jubilee
Medal 2013, Freedom of the City of Oliver 1998, the Canadian Confederation Medal 1992,
recipient of Honorary Doctorate of Laws from Okanagan University College in 2003 and UBC
Okanagan in 2012, recipient of the BC Wine Industry Recognition Award from the B.C. Wine
Institute 2014 and the Order of Canada 2021.
~ Upgrading the sewer system in Rutland.
Expansion of the Mission Creek Greenway Trail.
~ Water treatment plant in Kamloops. Water treatment plant in Summerland.
~ New sewer lines for the Westside, Westbank Indian reserve and Peachland.
~ Upgrades to water and sewage facilities in Vernon, Naramata and Osoyoos.
Funding to the Okanagan Indian Band for purchase of Spotted Lake and surrounding acreage.
~ Extension of sewer line from Peachland to Antlers Ridge.
~ Funding a study for the creation of a new national park reserve in South Okanagan-Similkameen.
~ Preservation of the Gellatly Nut Farm.
Leadership support for the development of the South Okanagan Desert Centre and the Osoyoos Indian Band Interpretative Centre
~ Kelowna Cultural Development Project.
~ Rotary Centre for the Arts.
~ Kelowna Women's Shelter.
~ Kelowna Youth Detox Centre.
~ Kelowna to support the Community Partnership Initiative.
~ Kelowna Drop-In and Information Centre.
~ Kelowna Community Food Bank Society.
~ The Kelowna Gospel Mission society.
~ St. Vincent de Paul Society.
TeleHealth Video Conferencing System Development for the B.C. health care system
~ Children's and Women's Health Centre in Vancouver.
~ New aquatic centre in Revelstoke.
~ Okanagan Thompson International Sculpture Symposium.
~ Okanagan Families Society.
~ New Opportunities for Women Canada Society.
~ Upgrades for Little Mountain Sports Complex Society in Salmon Arm.
~ Washrooms for the Caravan Farm Theatre in Armstrong.
Advancements in Economics
He was involved in Kelowna International Airport Runway Improvement to allow larger aircraft to land; a new control tower and instrument landing system to improve safety and reliability of aircraft landing during poor weather; and funding for a 757 training facility.
The Okanagan Partnership Funding by the National Research Council. Upgrading Penticton's Trade and Convention Centre.
Funds to regional district authorities to study green sustainable economic growth.
Economic development funds to the Osoyoos Indian Band. Rebuilding the Kingfisher Boat Ramp in Coldstream.
Funding for the Green Sustainable Economic Development Study that aimed to balance industry and the environment.
Initiating The Okanagan Partnership to foster co-operation throughout the Okanagan Valley in establishment of Green Economic Growth. Research Chairs for Okanagan University College.
Rebuilding the Myra Canyon trestles following the 2003 firestorm. A new building for the Dominion Radio Astrophysical Observatory headquarters at White Lake, near Penticton.
In addition to carrying out regional responsibilities as a member of the Senate of Canada, Senator Fitzpatrick performed his duties at the national level. In 1998 he sponsored Bill C-29, the Canada Parks Agency bill, to modernize that institution, and Bill C-53, the Canada Small Business Financing bill, to increase the availability of financing for the establishment, modernization and improvement of small businesses within Canada.
Senator Fitzpatrick guided Bill S-33, Carriage by Air bill, through the Senate which consolidated and modernized the global regime common rules for carrier liability during international transportation.
In 2003 Senator Fitzpatrick sponsored Bill C-3, the Canada Pension Plan Investment Board bill, which completed the investment policy reforms to the Canada Pension Plan begun by the provincial governments and the federal government in 1997.
He sponsored Bill C-11, The Westbank First Nation Self Government Bill, through the Senate legislative process which gave effect to the first stand alone, self-government agreement ever negotiated under the federal government's Inherent Right Policy. The agreement that Bill C 11 implemented was the product of many years of negotiations by the Westbank First Nation with the assistance of Senator Fitzpatrick.
Subsequently, Senator Fitzpatrick sponsored Bill C-20 which gave effect to the First Nation Fiscal and Statistical Agreement. This historic bill allows First Nations across the country to take greater control of social and economic development within their communities.
Senator Fitzpatrick was actively involved in the work of the Senate's committees including Transportation and Communication, Agricultural and Forestry and Natural Resources. As a member of the Standing Senate Committee on Banking, Trade and Commerce, he participated in the review of proposed financial legislation and crucial issues affecting the national economy and crusaded the reform of payday loan operators, review of consumer protection in the financial services sector, the United States' Western Hemisphere Travel Initiative and a review of the Proceeds of Crime (money laundering) and Terrorist Financing Act.
Senator Fitzpatrick served as Vice Chairman of the Canada U.S. Parliamentary Association and carried the file on Softwood Lumber negotiations with members of the U.S. Senate and House of Representatives in Washington, D.C
Fitzpatrick Vineyards is owned and operated by the Fitzpatrick founders of Cedar Creek in Kelowna. This farm winery sits below the highway upon lake side property.
The veranda has an amazing view of lush
vineyard, mountains and the sparkling Lake Okanagan.
In 1994, Ross purchased Greata Ranch, and embarked on a restoration project, hauling truckload after truckload of old buildings, tires and garbage off the once proud orchard. Once complete, grapes were planted including Pinot Noir and Chardonnay, the two that make up the backbone of our traditional method sparkling wine production today. In 1996, Ross convinced his son Gordon to move to the Okanagan to run CedarCreek Estate Winery. Together they elevated the winery to a higher level of quality winning every BC and national wine award you can think of, and expanding the winery to include vineyards in Osoyoos. But by 2014, it was time for new challenges when CedarCreek was sold. Greata Ranch was excluded from the sale and would now benefit from the family's undivided attention.
FitzpatrickVineyards is a boutique winery specializing
in sparkling wines. The new 7,500 case boutique winery will specialize in Sparkling Wine but will also produce Chardonnay, Ehrenfelser, Riesling, Gewürztraminer, Rosé, Pinot Noir and Meritage.
Originally the property was an orchard the Fitzpatrick family purchased the
land in 1994 and developed vineyards. The 16 hectare produced Pinot Noir, Chardonnay
and Pinot Gris. The orginal winery was called Greta Ranch.