Columnist Glenn Mitchell pitches the City of Vernon rebrands itself to ‘Kalamalka’. (Jennifer Smith - Morning Star)

Columnist Glenn Mitchell pitches the City of Vernon rebrands itself to ‘Kalamalka’. (Jennifer Smith - Morning Star)

MITCHELL’S MUSINGS: Rebranding Vernon for the new millennium

Columnist Glenn Mitchell tosses around a few name change suggestions to modernize city name

“What’s in a name? That which we call a rose by any other name would smell as sweet.”

Yes, but would they still be $60 a dozen on Valentine’s Day if they were called sauerkraut?

And roses sound better, look better and, yes, smell better than pansies in the flower kingdom.

Even in football, there’s a Rose Bowl, in fact it might be the biggest bowl game of them all, but, alas, no Pansy Bowl. Or Sauerkraut Bowl for that matter.

It was Juliet who uttered the opening line above to Romeo in Shakespeare’s Romeo and Juliet. She was trying to make a case for Romeo to change his name from the dreaded Montague clan so they could get married and their true love would flourish for eternity, or something like that. Spoiler alert: it doesn’t work out so well in the end.

So names do count after all.

To be brutally honest, I’ve never liked mine that much. My parents tell me they struggled a bit with what to name me and only did so when they were forced to come up with one upon leaving the hospital.

They dropped frontrunner Ian for Glenn and I’m glad it’s the latter. I’m even more happy they added the second ‘n’ to make it more modern, even if I did have to correct other people’s spellings of my name for the rest of my life.

My older brother’s name is Kevin, which was way hipper, cooler, modern, especially for 1957, and probably the real reason for my jealousy and feelings of inadequacy. It’s okay, that’s probably why I’m funnier, ha.

Besides we both got Mitchell which is Grade A when it comes to surnames.

And speaking of surnames, Vernon is named after Forbes George Vernon, a former B.C. MLA who helped establish the Coldstream Ranch.

I guess we can count ourselves lucky our city isn’t called Forbes or George, but I think we also have to admit its present name isn’t the coolest or hippest.

Now, don’t get me wrong, I love this place. I grew up here, went to school here, helped publish a much beloved community newspaper here for over 30 years (that’s this one, silly), got married and raised my kids here and would defend it to my last breath if necessary (although, I’d appreciate not being put to the test on the last claim).

Still, when you compare Vernon to many of our sisters and brothers names, we come out looking a little unimaginative, a little white, a little boring, and yes, there may be a little jealousy and inadequacy involved too.

I mean, it’s bad enough the city to the south, which at the turn of the century was actually smaller than Vernon, has the downtown on the beach, Ogopogo, fancier cars, an airport, wineries, an increasing number of skyscrapers, terrible traffic (ha, ha), a university and the unique, cool name of Kelowna, from the Okanagan language meaning grizzly bear. Of course it does.

Then there’s Penticton, an Okanagan word meaning “a place to stay forever” which accounts for its large seniors population. And then there’s Kamloops, Osoyoos, Keremeos and even Salmon Arm – all cooler, hipper names than Vernon.

I realize that it might be too late to change our name at this point. We’ve grown fond of it over time and too many businesses, especially car dealers, would have to change their names as well.

However, I looked into the possibilities anyway. Apparently the Interior Salish first named this community Nintle Moos Chin which may be too original, and doesn’t quite roll off the tongue.

And then it was Priest’s Valley and Centreville, again not eliciting any jealousy from neighbouring communities when it comes to rebranding.

And then it came to me, drum roll please — Kalamalka. It’s perfect. It’s indigenous, it rolls off the tongue, it salutes the prettiest lake in Canada, it starts with “K’ like Kelowna and Kamloops, and dare I say it’s cool, hip and even fun to say.

I know it’s a lot to take in but do give this modest proposal some consideration.

Kalamalka – Where Vernon Used To Be. We can work on the motto a little.

Glenn Mitchell is a columnist and former editor of the Morning Star.


Just Posted

Dawn Low is the first female CAO for the City of Revelstoke. (Jocelyn Doll/Revelstoke Review file)
Armstrong welcomes new CAO

Dawn Low previously served as CAO in Revelstoke since 2019

18-year-old skier Logan Leach follows his guide, Julien Petit, down an alpine track. The Lumby athlete who is visually impaired has been named to Alpine Canada’s Ski Team ahead of the 2022 Paralympic Games in Beijing. (Contributed)
Lumby’s Logan Leach named to national ski team

The 18-year-old visually impaired athlete officially joins Canada’s Para-Alpine roster ahead of Beijing 2022

Sovereign Lake Nordic Club is the first ski area in Canada to signify its commitment to ending working poverty, by paying all its staff and contracted workers a living wage. (Contributed)
Vernon ski area first in Canada to pay living wage

Sovereign Lake Nordic Club invests in staff and contracted workers

Fair-goers take a ride at the 120th annual Armstrong Interior Provincial Exhibition and Stampede Aug. 28-Sept. 1, 2019. (Katherine Peters - Morning Star)
Armstrong’s IPE not eligible for COVID-19 grant designed for major attractions

Shuswap MLA Greg Kyllo criticized the rigidity of the provincial program’s criteria

A young child has been taken to hospital after being struck by a vehicle on 30th Avenue in Vernon Friday, June 11, 2021. (Jennifer Smith - Morning Star)
Child struck by vehicle in downtown Vernon

The young child has been taken to hospital with unknown injuries following the incident on main street

At an outdoor drive-in convocation ceremony, Mount Royal University bestows an honorary Doctor of Laws on Blackfoot Elder and residential school survivor Clarence Wolfleg in Calgary on Tuesday, June 8, 2021. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Jeff McIntosh
‘You didn’t get the best of me’: Residential school survivor gets honorary doctorate

Clarence Wolfleg receives honorary doctorate from Mount Royal University, the highest honour the school gives out

“They will never be forgotten, every child matters,” says Sioux Valley Chief Jennifer Bone in a video statement. (Screen grab)
104 ‘potential graves’ detected at site of former residential school in Manitoba

Sioux Valley Dakota Nation working to identify, repatriate students buried near former Brandon residential school

The Queen Victoria statue at the B.C. legislature was splattered with what looks like red paint on Friday. (Nicole Crescenzi/News Staff)
Queen Victoria statue at B.C. legislature vandalized Friday

Statue splattered with red paint by old growth forest proponents

Police cars are seen parked outside Vancouver Police Department headquarters on Saturday, January 9, 2021. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Darryl Dyck
Vancouver police officer charged with assault during an arrest in 2019

The service has released no other details about the allegations

Denmark’s Christian Eriksen receives medical attention after collapsing during the Euro 2020 soccer championship group B match between Denmark and Finland at Parken stadium in Copenhagen, Saturday, June 12, 2021. (AP Photo/Martin Meissner, Pool)
Denmark soccer player Christian Eriksen collapses during game against Finland

Eriksen was given chest compressions after collapsing on the field during a European Championship

Members of the Department of Fisheries and Oceans’ Marine Mammal Response Program rescued an adult humpback what that was entangled in commercial fishing gear in the waters off of Entrance Island on Thursday, June 10. (Photo courtesy Marine Mammal Response Program)
Rescuers free humpback ‘anchored’ down by prawn traps off Vancouver Island

Department of Fisheries and Oceans responders spend hours untangling whale

As stories of the horrors of residential schools circulate after the Tk’emlups te Secwepemc First Nation announced it had located what are believed to be the remains of 215 children, Grand Chief Stewart Phillip of the Union of B.C. Indian Chiefs said he feels a connection with the former students. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Darryl Dyck
2 sides of the same coin: Ex-foster kids identify with residential school survivors

Grand Chief Stewart Phillip says the child welfare system takes Indigenous children from their families

Nathan Watts, a member of the Tseshaht First Nation near Port Alberni, shares his story of substance use, a perspective he said isn’t seen enough. (Photo courtesy of Nathan Watts)
Public shaming, hate perpetuates further substance use: UVic researcher

Longtime addict Nathan Watts offers a user’s perspective on substance use

Most Read