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.

mitchchap1@outlook.com.

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