Sharron Simpson will sign copies of The Kelowna Story: An Okanagan History at Coles in Vernon Saturday. The novel shares the common links between Vernon and Kelowna.

Vernon plays a leading role in story of Kelowna

Vernon author Sharron Simpson will be signing copies The Kelowna Story Saturday at Coles

Knowing the rivalry that’s existed for more than a century, Sharron Simpson wasn’t sure she should promote her history of Kelowna in Vernon.

“When Harbour Publishing asked me about a book signing in Vernon, I thought it would be interesting,” said Simpson, author of The Kelowna Story: An Okanagan History.

The event takes place at Coles in the Village Green Centre Saturday from noon to 3 p.m.

Simpson hopes Vernonites will be open to her writing.

“Maybe we can generate some discussion. There are lots of Vernon stories in it,” she said.

In fact, much of Kelowna’s early beginnings are interwoven with those of its northern counterpart.

“Vernon was the dominant city in the valley (a century ago),” she said of it having the railway terminus and the extensive shipyards in Okanagan Landing that provided access to the rest of the valley.

“Once people ended up in Vernon, they continued on to Kelowna.”

It was from Vernon that developers and land investors looked for opportunities to the south.

“Kelowna would have gone nowhere if Vernon hadn’t started the whole development.”

Legendary pioneers played a critical role in both communities — Forbes Vernon, G.G. MacKay, Lord and Lady Aberdeen and Coutts Marjoribanks and Capt. Thomas Shorts.

But it didn’t take long for the rivalry between Kelowna and Vernon to become evident.

Perhaps no better story demonstrates it more than the opening of Kelowna’s hospital in 1908. MLA Price Ellison, who lived in Vernon, showed up late and questioned why his Kelowna constituents couldn’t just travel to Vernon for their medical needs.

“He didn’t want it (hospital),” said Simpson. “He didn’t want to  divert some of his money to Kelowna. There was some disdain there.”

Skip forward a few decades and the situation hadn’t changed much.

Residents across the valley began lobbying the provincial government to open a college in the 1960s. Both Vernon and Kelowna wanted to be selected as the host community.

Simpson says she wrote the book to pay tribute to her hometown but to also capture the rich stories and shared experiences of the entire valley.

“I asked the publisher to call this an Okanagan history because this isn’t just a Kelowna history.”











Just Posted

Coldstream rainbow crosswalk defaced

Vandals cover colours with white paint sometime overnight Saturday

Okanagan-Shuswap Weather: Summer sun for Sunday

The forecast for the week ahead shows some rain but plenty of sun and warm tempertures.

Dragon boats help fundbreast cancer treatment at Vernon hospital

The Dragon Boat Festival at Swan Lake on July 13 raised $2,020 for VJHF

Our History In Pictures

Band entertains crowd at downtown Vernon Eaton’s in 1960

Vernon speaker to motivate Cariboo residents after mill shutdowns

Change management speaker Mark DeVolder will deliver town hall keynote in 100 Mile House

When walls talk: Vernon murals see generation II

“This new movement, an app, will bring the strength of some of those same Vernon visionaries together again into a newdigital form”

Police on scene at Penticton beach

RCMP were at a what is believed to be a crime scene near Skaha Beach Sunday

Community service ordered for Princeton man who stole from firefighters

A young man who stole food and money from the Princeton Volunteer… Continue reading

B.C. VIEWS: NDP pushes ahead with Crown forest redistribution

This isn’t the time for a radical Indigenous rights agenda

Two dead in two-vehicle crash between Revelstoke and Golden

RCMP are investigating the cause of the crash

Ottawa fights planned class action against RCMP for bullying, intimidation

The current case is more general, applying to employees, including men, who worked for the RCMP

Alberta judge denies B.C.’s bid to block ‘Turn Off the Taps’ bill

He said the proper venue for the disagreement is Federal Court

Hespeler had connection to Mennonite migration

Home in Summerland was built in 1907, moved when the highway was changed

Most Read