Vernon's interesting City HallThis town of 40,000 (in 2019, almost double 1999’s population) is the major business centre for the northern Okanagan. It is located at the junction of four valleys, the Priest, the Pleasant, Coldstream and Mission. The pleasant Valley stretches 75 north past Armstrong and Enderby to Sicamous on Shuswap Lake. The town is also bordered by three lakes: Okanagan, Kalamalka and Swan and has great sandy beaches accessible to all.

The natives called this place “Hun-cul-deep moose-chin” or jumping over place. The city is named for George Forbes Vernon the Chief Commission of Lands and Works. In the 1860s George Vernon and his brother Charles where settling in. Cornelius O’Keefe was driving cattle all the way from Oregon to the Cariboo to provide beef for gold-seekers.

O’Keefe realized that the area’s natural meadows with benchgrass that was chest-high, he could raise cattle right there. By 1867, he had bought land and breeding stock and went on to become the area’s leading cattle baron. The first orchard in the area was planted in 1891 by Scottish-born Lord Aberdeen and his wife, who bough 5,367 hectares from George Vernon and renamed it Coldstream Ranch. It went on to become one of the largest producers of fruit in the British Empire, and Lord Aberdeen also became Canada’s Governor General.

By 1917, after Lord & Lady Aberdeen had moved from the area, the Coldstream Ranch produced over a thousand boxcars of apples and other fruit, worth over $1 million. Vernon’s cooler wetter climate than the Okanagan makes it better suited for fruits like apples, prunes, plums, and crops like hay and alfalfa.

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Attractions-intown

Greater Vernon Museum & Archives

Civic Centre Complex. 3009-32 Ave
250-542-3173
Various exhibits open Monday to Saturday.

Greater Vernon Museum & Archives

Civic Centre Complex. 3009-32 Ave
Vernon
250-542-3173
Located in the Civic Centre, the Greater Vernon Museum and Archives presents the history of the North Okanagan through
streetscapes, dioramas, and changing exhibits. Highlights include the Allan Brooks Gallery, military displays, natural hisory
specimens, native artifacts, and an extensive archival collection. The gift shop specializes in books on antiques and local history plus unique jewellery. Wheelchair accessible.

Kal Beach on Kalamalka Lake

Interior Space & Science Centre

2704 Highway 6.
Vernon
(250) 545-3644
This museum not only includes a mini planetarium, but also optical ilusions,
and explains the science and technology behind the energy and foreestry
industries. Open 10 am to 5 pm, Tuesday through Sundays.

Okanagan Spring Brewery Tour

2801-27A ST
250-542-2337
This micro-brewery does its brewing on Fridays and offers tours if you call ahead.

Attractions -around town

Atlantis Waterslides, just north of Vernon

Atlantis Waterslides

5 km north of Vernon
250-549-4121
This attraction features waterslides, hot tubs, mini golf, RV camping. Open June through August.

Okanagan Landing

6 km west of Vernon
This community was the northern terminus of barges and steamers on the Okanagan Lake until 1936, when the arrival of highways changed everything. In 1886 Captain T.D. Shorts launched the area’s first steamer the SS Sicamous. Visit Paddlewheel Park, which commemorates the history of paddlewheelers to the area, with the SS Naramata on display.

Silver Star Ski Resort

Silver Star Rd, 17.5 km east of highway 97
250-542-0244 or 1-800-663-4431
This resort is the most northerly in the region, and has 55 runs (and night skiing) and a 485 metre vertical drop. The detachable quad chairlift runs along 3 km, and is North America’s longest. There are also 8 kilometres of groomed cross-country trails, connecting to a regional network. In the summertime, the resort features a turn of the century mining town, and offers scenic chairlift rides up 300 metres.

Silver Star Provincial Park

Silver Star Rd, 19.5 km east of highway 97
This 8,714 hectare day-use park offers 80 kilometres of cross-country ski trails and 25 kilometres of snowmobile trails in the winter time.

Swan Lake Bird Sanctuary

5 kilometres north of Vernon
This undeveloped swampland is a protected area for birds, and is home to white geese, swans and herons.

O’Keefe Historical Ranch

about 13 kilometres on highway 97, west of the 97A junction after Swan Lake
250-542-7868
This ranch, on the northern tip of Okanagan Lake was one of the first ranches in the area, founded in 1867 by Cornelius O’Keefe. The 8,094 hectare ranch became a major cattle operation, and the historic ranch site includes a Roman Catholic church, a general store a post office, the O’Keefe Mansion, and the Cowboy Ranching Gallery, which is a museum with old cowboy gear including guns and saddles.

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Vernon Area Wineries

Here are the wineries in Vernon & Area:

Bella Vista Vineyards

3111 Agnew Road,
Vernon, BC, V1T 5J8
(250) 558-0770

Winemaker: Larry Passmore
Since 1986, this winery’s plantings have been free of pesticides and herbicides and enabling a natural habitat of native weeds, flowers and grasses between rows.. The wine tasting room is open May 1st until the end of September. Tasting room hours are noon until 4:00 PM. Plans to change the tasting room to a public wine lounge and restaurant. Cellar tours are by appointment, so call ahead for a booking or ask your host when you arrive

 

Hunting Hawk Winery

4758 Gulch Road, O’Keefe Ranch (9380 Hihgway 97)
Armstrong, BC
250-546-2164 or 250-308-6433

Winemaker: Gary Strachan
This historical ranch was established in 1860, and the winery is part of the restoration of this beautiful historic site to the status it enjoyed in its heyday. Hunting Hawk has planted two acres of Ortega (white) and Marechal Foch grapes on a well drained, fertile bench on the north side of the 64-acre O’Keefe property. A fully functional winery has been established in one of the Ranch buildings and our tasting and sales area occupies a portion of the Gift Shop.
Tastings are free and scheduled tours of the vineyard and winery are included with admission to the Ranch. Tour buses and large groups are welcome.

The Rise

701 Highway 97 South
Vernon, BC V1B 3W4
(250) 542-5111 or (866) 383-5111

Hours: 9am-5pm daily:


Vernon  Area Festivals & Events

Here is the festivals listing for this community:

Event

Date

Description

Vernon Winter Carnival & Hot Air Balloon Festivalearly FebruaryVernon Winter Carnival Society is responsible for co-ordinating and promoting the 100 events that take place, such as the parade, BC snow sculpture competition and hot air balloon fiesta. Silver Star Resort 250–545-2236 Fax:250–545-0006
Spring Festivallate AprilSilver Star Mountain 250–542-0224
Vernon Louis Estates Rodeoearly MayAttracting cowboys & cowgirls from all over Canada to enjoy the sport of rodeo, it is a great event for the whole family. Over 10,000 fans have enjoyed this event so far. Louis Estates Rodeo Arena 250-542-4527
Cherryville Daysearly JuneCherryville days is the annual major fundraising event for the community of Cherryville. Entertainment for all ages include a parade, pancake breakfasts, horseshoes, other contests, tea garden, concession, face painting, Bavarian garden, demonstrations, races, dances, community barbecue & more. Cherryville Community Hall, Cherryville 250-547-9639
Sunshine Downtown Street FestivalJuneDon’t miss one of the largest street fair & sidewalk sale in the North Okanagan which draws in 10,000 visitors. Downtown truly comes alive with block after block of outstanding bargains, entertainment, childrens activities, outside street cafes, art, cultural performances & more. Downtown 250-542-5851
Creative Chaos Craft Fairearly JuneThisis one of the largest craft sales in Western Canada with over 200 artisans & crafters in 3 buildings, a food fair with performing arts & creative activities. No admission fee, non-perishable food donations appreciated. Vernon Recreation Centre 250-545-6963
Funtastic Sports & Music Festival Vernonend JuneThe Vernon Funtastic Festival features an adult Slo Pitch Tournament & a Music Festival with various performers. Prizes for Slo Pitch Teams with best costumes Various Locations In & Around Vernon 250-558-7756
Lumby Daysmid JuneLumby Days held in the Community Park Complex is a fun & exciting family festival with various events including a parade, amusement rides, agricultural fair & Lumby Air Races. Never a dull moment, & no charge to enter the parks. Community Parks Complex, Lumby 250-547-6360
Lumby Hang Gliding Championshipsmid JuneThe 4th Annual Lumby Air Races are being held for Hang Gliders & Paragliders. This will be a fun filled event with multiple flights allowable per open window. 2 classes for Hang Gliders & Paragliders. Since 2006. Coopers Mountain, Lumby 250-547-6841
Canada Day CelebrationJulyPancake breakfast, food booths, face painting, fish tank, bounce & play, checkers, balloons, opening ceremony, stage performers & 10:15 pm fireworks to end the day. Canada Day Celebrations 250-545-1361
Funtastic Sumerfest and Slowpitch FestivalJulyVarious Locations 250–558-7756
Midsummer’s Eve of the ArtsJulyMidsummer’s Eve of the Arts. This annual gala garden party & art auction includes refreshing beverages, delicious fare & the opportunity to bid (live and silent auction) on outstanding art by local artists. Tickets available at Vernon Public Art Gallery. Vernon Art Gallery 250–545-3173
Okanagan Landing RegattaJulyPaddlewheel Park 250–558-1063
Civic Sounds ConcertsJuly & AugThe free concerts will be held each Wednesday throughout the summer, from 7:00 pm to 9:00 pm Bring your own lawn chairs & blankets to take in the sounds of summer. Vernon Library & Museum 250-542-5851
Greater Vernon Dragon Boat Race & Festivallate JulyTeams from across Western Canada join together to race in this event & celebrate the culture & heritage of China. Throughout the festival spectators can enjoy traditional Chinese entertainment, as well as, many other entertainers. Kalamalka Lake Beach, Coldstream 403-286-6810 or 604-657-7505
Komasket Music Festivalend JulyThis Grassroots Cultural Dynamic Festival is one of a kind, held on First Nations Sacred Land on beautiful Okanagan Lake. Visit website for more information. Komasket Park 250-558-5455
Cowboy Festival and Wild West Showearly AugustA celebration in honour of the cowboy! An action-packed weekend of cowboy poets, musicians, artists, and gunslingers. Come out and be a part of it all. But don’t forget your spurs! (250) 542-7868 250–828-9700
Restoration Music FestivalAugust
Annual Beer Festivalmid SeptemberSilver Star Mountain 250–542-0224
Fall Fashion GalaOctoberDowntown Vernon Association 250–542-5851
Okanagan Wine Festivalmid-OctoberConsistently ranked as one of the top wine festivals around, the Okanagan Fall Wine Festival is sure to leave a lasting impression on wine lovers. With over 100 events on-hand to help celebrate the fall harvest during this 10-day celebration, you’re sure to be impressed. various locations 250–861-6654 Fax:250–861-3942
Vernon Festival of Christmas Traditionsend NovA showcase of the wonderful products that downtown Vernon has to offer. Complete with a marshmallow roast, carriage & pony rides, entertainment, carollers, live nativity scenes & of course the great downtown merchants & their Christmas cheer. downtown Vernon 250-542-5851
Downtown Christmas Light-UpDecemberDowntown Vernon Association 250–542-5851
Summer Wine Festivalearly AugThe Okanagan Summer Wine Festival is held every second weekend in August at Silver Star Mountain Resort in Vernon Silver Star Mountain Resort 250-503-0822

Vernon, British Columbia Area Map