Construction of the Leir House began in 1927 under the supervision of Hugh Charles Leir. Mr. Leir kept the mill he owned running during the depression by setting his workers to the task of building a new family home. The walls of the house are solid 2×4’s laid on end and it is one of the only stone faced buildings in Penticton.
The Leir family grew to include eleven children. Mrs. Leir was known for organizing the first Teen Town in BC and Leir House was a gathering place for young people.
In 1951 the house was sold to the Penticton Regional Hospital and used as a nurses’ residence. In 1979 the Penticton and District Community Arts Council advocated that the City of Penticton purchase Leir House as a Cultural Arts Centre.
In 1980 the Leir House Cultural Centre was officially opened with a gala reception attended by the public. Five of the eleven Leir children and many of their children and grandchildren were in attendance. Leir House Cultural Centre has since been administered by the Arts Council and is home to many arts organizations and several artist studios.
On September 23, 2018 the Clint George sculpture “Bringing Back the Salmon Chief” was added as a permanent installation.
George’s magnificent steel sculpture was the People’s Choice winner of the 2017 Public Sculpture Exhibition along Lakeshore Drive, and it tells the story of how the coyote brought the salmon back to the Okanagan Valley. This legacy acquisition is on view at the front of the Leir House Arts & Culture Centre, for the enjoyment of visitors and our entire community for years to come.