Ivan Grbesic

Ivan Grbesic

Memorial unveiled

A ceremony honoured 11 individuals who died while at an internment camp during the First World War.

A permanent memorial recognizes those impacted by a dark chapter in Canadian history.

On Saturday, a ceremony was held at the Pleasant Valley Cemetery to honour the 11 individuals who died while at the Vernon internment camp during the First World War.

“We gathered to recall Canada’s first national internment operations, when thousands of men, women and children were rounded up and transported to 24 camps across our country, including one of the longest operating camps, that at Vernon, whose gates did not close until 1920,” said Ivan Grbesic, with the Endowment Council of the Canadian First World War Internment Recognition Fund.

“We have also provided a voice to those who perished at the Vernon Internment Camp. This was a historic injustice and one that forms an integral part of the historical narrative of Canada.”

The internment camp was where W.L. Seaton Secondary School is located today.

The ceremony was organized by the Vernon and District History Society and funded by a grant from the CFWWIRF.

Among those in attendance was Defence Minister Jason Kenney.

The Canadian First World War Internment Recognition Fund was established to support projects that commemorate and recognize the experiences of all of the communities affected by Canada’s internment operations from 1914 to 1920.

There were 8,579 so-called “enemy aliens,” including women and children, interned, including Ukrainians, Alevi Kurds, Armenians, Bulgarians, Croatians, Czechs, Germans, Hungarians, Italians, Jews, Ottoman Turks, Polish, Romanians, Russians, Serbians, Slovaks, and Slovenes.