The Vernon Cadet Camp Museum opened on June 28 for the summer season said Francois Arseneault, the museum curator.
The museum tells the story of the military history of Vernon since 1912 when troops first trained on the hill on the southern outskirts of the City of Vernon. The 30th BC Horse was formed that year and a permanent annual district summer training camp for cavalry and infantry militia units was established.
During the First World War, over 11,000 soldiers trained in the summers of 1915 and 1916. Summer training for militia regiments continued through the 1920s and 30s. Canada entered the Second World War in Sept 1939 and the camp was constructed between 1940-43. Tens of thousands of soldiers were housed and trained on the hill. With the end of the war in August 1945, the camp quickly demobilized.
Since 1949, the significant focus has been on the training cadets. That first summer, some 1,000 army cadets from B.C. and Alberta arrived by passenger train and trained for 10 days. A further 240 stayed behind to take six weeks of trades training. Since 1949 over 85,000 cadets from across Canada have trained at this famous camp. Training has evolved over the years; current emphasis is on leadership, adventure training, and fitness, all with a military flavour. In 2019, the Cadet Training Centre will be celebrating its 70th anniversary.
The museum contains a large collection of photographs, military items and cadet and officers uniforms from the Second World War to the present. A recreation of a barracks room circa the mid-1970s captures the essence of that time from the cadets’ point of view.
The museum will be open every Thursday through Sunday from 10 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. through Aug. 23. The museum is located at the Vernon Military Camp (Vernon Cadet Training Centre) in Building C39. Visitors can access the museum via the tunnel under Highway 97. Parking is available on the west side of the highway at the north of the parade square. Admission is by donation.