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Internment mural planned for Vernon

A dark chapter in Canadian history could eventually be portrayed in downtown Vernon.

The City of Vernon has been asked to contribute funds to a mural that would focus on First World War internment camps, and particularly the camp set up at the current site of W.L. Seaton Secondary School.

“The roots for Ukrainian families run deep in Vernon,” said Coun. Patrick Nicol, who is hopeful the city will participate in the project.

The project is being initiated by the Canadian First World War Internment Recognition Fund and the lead artist would be Michelle Loughery, who is responsible for the heritage murals downtown.

“I want to start it here,” said Loughery of the project which will include murals across Canada.

During the First World War, many former residents of the Austro-Hungarian Empire, including Ukrainians, were considered enemy aliens. They were rounded up into camps, and in some cases, provided forced labour for construction projects.

“They opened up highways and built the national parks system,” said Andrea Malysh, a Vernon resident and executive director of the Canadian First World War Internment Recognition Fund.

One of Loughery’s uncles served in the local camp.

“I need to tell the story. This is an important story to tell our children,” she said.

An actual dollar amount has not been asked of the city and council has not made a decision yet.

The initial budget for the Vernon mural is $19,000 but some funding is already in place from a variety of sources.

 

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