Vernon (British Columbia)Vernon is a city of about 45,000 people (2016) in the north end of the Okanagan Valley of British Columbia, Canada.
HistoryThe site of the city was discovered by the Okanagan people, a tribe of the Interior Salish people, who named the community Nintle Moos Chin, meaning "jumping over place where the creek narrows". This name refers to a section of the Swan Lake that passes through Downtown Vernon, the community's central business district. Some of these were part of the Okanagan Indian Band, a First Nations government part of the Okanagan Nation Alliance. This name was followed by Priest's Valley, which serves as an Indian reserve, and its present name, in honour of Forbes George Vernon, a pioneer member part of the Legislative Assembly of British Columbia for Yale. The Okanagan people settled around the city's two lakes, Okanagan Lake and Swan Lake, obtaining seasonal sources of food.
In 1811, fur traders began travelling around the area. After one of these, David Stuart, began working with the Pacific Fur Company, which was bought out by the North West Company; Luc Girouard became the first white settler. The North West Company was forced to merge with the Hudson's Bay Company in 1821. A number of fur traders decided to camp in Vernon, which started to develop in 1863, following a gold discovery at the Cherry Creek, Monashee Mountains, Mission Creek and the east side of Okanagan Lake. After the development began, numerous ranches were constructed. Centreville, the community's original central business district, was formed in 1885. That same year, a post office, hotel, general store, and school house was constructed. A Hudson's Bay Company store was established in 1887, in a rough wooden structure. Historically a major economic hub destination in the Okanagan, Vernon was home to many cattle ranches and fruit orchard areas, attracting British families.
Vernon's growth accelerated beginning in 1891, after the Canadian Pacific Railway was opened. Fruit trees were planted in Vernon, which first grew by the early 1890s. In 1908, the Okanagan Mounted Rifles military program was formed in it, thus bringing a number of people to the area during World War I and World War II for lessons.
By carVernon is accessed from the north or south by Hwy 97. It is a 30-40 minute drive from Kelowna and just over an hour from Kamloops. Travel time from Vancouver (via Kamloops and the Coquihalla Hwy 5) is 4½-5 hours. Hwy 6 connects Vernon to Lumby, the Slocan Valley and Nelson to the east.
By planeVernon has a very small airport but no commercial flights. , between Kelowna and Vernon about 30 min to the south, is served by Air Canada, Westjet, and sometimes Horizen/Alaska Air.
Vernon is quite spread out. Many of the restaurants and hotels are located close to the town center while the attractions are often at the edge of town. Having a car will be the most efficient way to get around and see the sights. The Vernon Regional Transit System operates local buses that connect the downtown Vernon bus exchange with outlying areas. The routes cover a number of the attractions but service tends to run every 35 or 70 minutes. Adult cash fare for travel within Vernon (including Coldstream) is $2 or $5 for a day pass.
phone: +1 250 549-3266address: 3111 Davison RdA family-run apple orchard that has become a popular family attraction. There are some sheep, goats and chickens (feed is available for 25¢), two playgrounds, lots of tractors to look at (or climb onto), and a 20 minute tractor-drawn ride (the Johnny Popper Tour) through the orchard where the guide explains some of the history of the orchard and what they do. A bakery and cafe sell freshly baked goods, including the popular apple cider donuts, and the shop sells local fruit and their cold-pressed fresh apple juice.
phone: +1 250 542-7868address: 9380 Hwy 97One of the first ranches created in the Okanagan, the buildings are now a heritage site open to the public. Many of the buildings have been restored and their are exhibits on the history of the ranch and ranching in British Columbia. Notable sites include the O'Keefe Mansion, the church, the old school, the Greenhow Museum (with a large model railroad upstairs) and the farm animals. There is also a corn maze to explore for an extra fee.
phone: +1 250 542-8088address: 5011 Bella Vista RdBee farm with glass hives that allow you to watch the bees make the honey, honey and mead tasting, and a gift shop with a large selection of honey products. For a small fee, there are information presentations available daily in July/Aug and on weekends in June and Sept that provide more info on bees and beekeeping. The bees are active year round but are most active in the summer.
phone: +1 250 550-3916address: VernonStep by step painting painting classes which are hosted in local venues such as pubs, coffees shops and studios in Vernon, Armstrong, Salmon Arm, Revelstoke, Kamloops and Kelowna. Events are approximately two hours long, and you leave with the canvas you created. Dates, venues and other info is posted on their website.
- Silver Star, the local ski hill, is one of the top cross country ski areas in Canada.
- Golfing at Predator Ridge, The Rise Golf Course, Hillview Golf, Vernon Golf & Country Club
- Enjoy Kalamalka & Okanagan Lakes
address: 13836 Kalamalka Rd (in Coldstream)Sandy beach at the north end of Kalamalka Lake with a swimming area, beach volleyball and picnic tables. A concession stand is open in the summer.
address: access from Kidson Rd or Cosens Bay RdDay use park with picnic areas, beaches and many hiking trails with some nice views that show off Kalamalka Lake's vibrant colour in summer. The terrain is hilly with a mix of grassland, forest and wetlands. Mountain biking is allowed in some areas of the park. Note that all beach access requires some walking. The park is undeveloped and only has pit toilets.
address: 7248 Tronson RdSandy beach on an arm of Lake Okanagan. There's a swimming area, beach volleyball court, playground and picnic tables in mature trees.
- Lots of shopping including most of the big box stores (Walmart, Home Depot, Best Buy).
phone: +1 250-558-7899address: 2916 30th AveLocated in the downtown core. Great food, big portions.
phone: +1 250-549-2112address: 4215 32 StA bit of everything on a large menu.
phone: +1 250-558-1919address: 3302 29th StMexican food.
phone: +1 778-475-5981address: 7673 Okanagan Landing RdWaterfront restaurant with a patio overlooking Lake Okanagan. Serves breakfast, lunch and dinner. Part of the Blue Heron Marina.
- Safeway Deli
- Food Court at the Village Green Mall
phone: +1 250 549-3485address: 2705 32nd StTwo level pub with roof top patio and big screen TVs. Menu includes usual pub fare like burgers, sandwiches, wraps, bowls and fish & chips. Daily drink and food specials, like cheap wings on Thurs and Sun. Voted best pub in local Reader's Choice awards 2013-2015.
- Squires Four Pub
phone: +1 778-475-4232address: 7905 Greenhow RdAll-suite hotel with every room having a deck or balcony, fireplace and a full kitchen. Luxury touches include pillow-top mattresses, stainless steel kitchen appliances and rainfall showers. There is free Wi-Fi, an outdoor pool and hot tub, and a free continental breakfast. There are one and two bedroom suites, and reviewers indicate rooms are spacious.
phone: +1 250-275-1556address: 888 Sparkling Pl149-room resort with one of the largest spas in Canada. Room amenities include floor-to-ceiling windows, Swarovsky crystal fireplaces, two person soaker tubs and mini-fridge. Rooms also include a complementary hot breakfast buffet, Wifi and use of the fitness facility. The architecture of the hotel is unique with its estimated 3.5 million pieces of crystal. The setting is also quite nice — the resort is built on a ridge overlooking Lake Okanagan, which affords some very nice views of the lake and the Monashee Mountains.
phone: +1 250 542-4434address: 4204 32nd StAir-conditioned rooms equipped with refrigerators.
- Head south on Hwy 97 to see the rest of the Okanagan including Kelowna and Penticton.
- Head east on Hwy 6 to see the mountains and lakes of the West Kootenays, including Nakusp, New Denver and Nelson.
- Head north on Hwy 97 to the 97A and 97B to see the Shuswap lakeside towns of Salmon Arm and Sicamous.