Tours 2022

Walking tours

Join us for a walking tour of downtown Williams Lake! From bank robbers and bootleggers to parties and prisons, the handful of blocks around the Potato House are chock-full of colourful history. Whether you’re just driving through or have lived here all your life, come for a stroll of unforgettable stories for all ages!

House tours

Come visit the Potato House and celebrate one of the last standing heritage houses in downtown Williams Lake! We are in the midst of exciting construction projects this summer and we welcome you to see what we’re up to and discover the surprising stories behind our structure and materials.

Compost tours

Do you know your greens and your browns? The ideal temperature for killing off pathogens? How we turn your food waste into some of the best soil in town? Come for our hands-on tour of the only drive-in composting site in Canada!

Booking your tour!

Feel free to drop by and say hello during business hours (weekdays 9:00 – 5:00 pm). Better yet, to make sure we’re available to give you a tour, please send us a message through the form below. We can offer any combination of the three tours, so just let us know what you’re up for!

Girls Guiding The Way!

Wow were we ever happy to have the Williams Lake Brownies at the Potato House on April first 2021. As we prepare for our upcoming basement renovation, or as Mary Forbes jokes, “Putting the pants on the house”, all hands are needed on deck! The entire yard of the Potato House will be needed for machines to come and go during our upcoming construction. Therefore, these girlies were much appreciated as we carefully clear up space! Along the way we explored the stages of composting and the importance of healthy soil. 🌱👍🏼


can you believe it?

We are the one and only drive through composting site in British Columbia!

Please don’t bring…


choose your fighter

Bacteria, Fungi, and Actinomycetes. Now which one do you think does the heavy lifting in our composting journey? Bacteria make up 80 – 90% of the micro organisms found in compost. Animal-like Fungi can break down the toughest polymers (building blocks). Actinomycetes, a fungi-like bacteria, produces many of the antibiotics used in medicine! Not to mention, they are the producers of that “good soil” smell.


Adding compost to our soil enriches our crops with vital nutrients. Not only will our agriculture have richer nutrient density, it will have a better resistance to common diseases.

Eliminating the need for pesticides, herbicides, and chemical fertilizers.


We hope that by encouraging the community to utilize our composting site, we can lessen compostable waste from entering landfills and producing methane gas.

Did you know that 35-70 % of what we throw away could be composted?

Water Retention

Lets pretend you own one acre of land…

For every 1% of organic material added, your soil gains the ability to retain 1600 Gallons of water.

By using organic material, we don’t have to strain our natural water sources.

Airways in organic matter (from our bacterial fungi friends) invite room for water and oxygen; encouraging root growth, and minimizing run-off and erosion.

2020 Xmas Spirit

As the holidays come to an end, we reflect on the spirit we witnessed in the community despite our current restrictions. We witnessed historic storytelling during our auction pickups, creative juices flowing as we renovate our upstairs attic space, and courage from all members of the community as they practiced their new typewriting skills!

Typewriter Event: Christmas Letters

It was difficult for many people to get into the Christmas spirit this year, and just as difficult to provide an event for the community to enjoy. On the week leading up to Christmas Day, we invited members of the community into The Potato House to write typewritten letters, tags, labels for loved ones this year. Meetings by appointment, in COVID – safe style, the typewriter was used to express feelings of gratitude, love letters to grandparents that could not be seen this year, and even a poem for a newborn niece. We hope to bring the typewriter out again for Valentines Day this year. Comment on our Instagram and let us know what you want to see from us this spring 2021!

Attic Reno

On a scale 1 – 10 of how excited we are for the new attic updates, we would choose 11 and our contractor would choose 20! Renovating a 100 year old house is tricky… and this lady has curves… making our contractor put his skills to work! We are so excited to chat with you all soon about our new updates and maybe even a big reveal? 🤭

The colours we choose

The paint colours we choose to include on our heritage site are given a lot of thought.

There is a step by step process when choosing a colour:

Is what we are painting an original artifact of the house, and if so, what was its original colour? If so, can we get the exact replica of the original paint made?

Potato House Bathtub Green

Does the colour we like fit the time of the home?

Can we find the colour in a paint that can be recycled?

Can the colour be one of the 17 Steps To Sustainability colours?



The Potato House is a one-and-one-half storey wood frame residence located at 49 Borland Street in the original downtown area of Williams Lake, British Columbia. The property includes an extensive rear yard area and mature fruit trees. A stone wall with a simple wooden gate extends along the Borland Street frontage.


The ‘Potato House’ has historical value as a reflection of the pioneering history and characters of the Cariboo area. Built in the 1930s, the house is the last of a series of buildings constructed by the Borkowski brothers still standing in Williams Lake. Although the Borkowski brothers were not trained as carpenters, they taught themselves the trade using borrowed books. This small vernacular structure is a valued reminder of these local builders and their contribution to the development of Williams Lake. 

The property is also valued as an example of Williams Lake’s agricultural history. When the house was purchased in 1956, the new owner established an iconic market garden on the property. The primary product of this garden was potatoes, hence the name given to this property by the community was the ‘Potato House.’ In 2012 the property was purchased by the Potato House Sustainable Community Society and converted into a centre for the promotion of community agriculture and sustainability. It is now used as a meeting space and community garden. 

Source: City of Williams Lake, Planning Department


Key character-defining elements of the Potato House include: 

– The one-and-one-half storey gable-roof form, with small porch on northern façade 
– Surviving original exterior features and materials, including the shingle roof, wooden façade and wooden window frames 
– Surviving original interior features and materials, including the hardwood floors, trim, solid wood staircase, and knob-and-tube electrical wiring 
– Mature fruit trees located in various parts of the property, including varieties of Heritage Yellow Apple and Cherry Apple 
– The general rear yard area, which was used for market gardens 
– The name of the property: ‘The Potato House’ 
– Original skeleton key locks 
– Remnants of the wooden boardwalk in rear yard