He did not stop there, pursuing his Master of Arts (with Honours) and then a post-graduate degree in Philosophy and Theology at Oxford. During the course of his career he would receive many other degrees including Doctorates of Divinity from Wycliffe College (Toronto) and Emmanuel College (Saskatoon). He was also a well accomplished athlete competing in college baseball, football and hockey.
|Bishop Sovereign PC: Yukon Archives|
Being much interested in the outdoors and mountaineering, Arthur Sovereign attended the annual summer camp of the Alpine Club of Canada. It was there, in 1912, that he met his future wife, Ellen Ellison, daughter of Price Ellison who was the Minister of Finance and Agriculture for the B.C. government and a well-known man in the history of Vernon, BC (Ellison Provincial Park is named after him). They were married in Vernon in 1913 and went on to have one son and three daughters.
As an avid outdoorsman, Arthur Sovereign was instrumental in the founding of both Garibaldi Provincial Park and Vernon’s own Silver Star Provincial Park serving as the chairman of the Government Board of Commissioners for Silver Star. Another crowning achievement was his key leadership in the founding of the John Howard Society and of bringing branches to the Okanagan and Kamloops. He was also chairman of the library program in Vernon and was integral in its growth. In 1958 he was named Vernon’s “Good Citizen of the Year”(his wife would later be given the same honour).
The Silver Star Ski Club was started in 1938 and the North Okanagan Cross Country Ski Club was established in the ‘60’s - it has become what we know today as the Sovereign Lake Nordic Centre where many locals and travellers go to ski, snowshoe and even toboggan. Sovereign Lake Nordic Centre has hosted a 2005 World Cup event and the Sparkling Hills Masters World Cup in 2011. Prior to that many athletes from around the globe used the Nordic Centre to train for the Vancouver Olympics.
Yet for us of the North Okanagan, it is his work as an ordinary citizen and humble minister for which we are most grateful. Sovereign Park and Beach on Kalamalka Lake is also named in the family's honour. The Canadian Churchman said this of Arthur, “He is a statesman of the church in Canada…one of the most gracious and splendid illustrations… of devotion to Christ, and to those who are forgotten by their fellow men.” Bishop Sovereign passed into glory in 1966 and left for us a rich legacy and a better community.
Sources & Further Reading:
Okanagan Historical Society Reports 29:60-64 and 32:160, 190-191
History of Sovereign Lake Nordic Centre: http://www.sovereignlake.com/wp2012/wp-content/uploads/2015/09/SLNC-History-1st-ED-SEC.pdf