The Kin Race Track was believed to be the oldest active track in Canada, dating back to 1883 when Cornelius O’Keefe purchased the land and then, in 1885, locals organized the first race. (Greater Vernon Museum and Archives photo #1908)

Vernon history in pictures

Horse racing dates back to 1885 at the Kin Race Track, which saw the historic grandstands demolished recently

The Kin Race Track was believed to be the oldest active track in Canada. It’s history can be traced back to 1883, when Cornelius O’Keefe purchased an acreage of land just outside of Priest’s Valley(present-day Vernon), according to the Greater Vernon Museum and Archives.

In 1885, a committee of locals organized a horse race track on O’Keefe’s land, and horse racing became one of the largest social events in the region.

In 1892, the Vernon Jockey Club took over the organization of the races. The club leased the track to other British Columbian cities, contributing to Vernon’s growing economy. In the 1930s, the Kinsmen took control of the track, and it became known as the Kin Race Track.

In 1964, the track was given to the City of Vernon. It has changed hands many times since it was first purchased by O’Keefe, but there was always one condition of sale: that the track and buildings be maintained and cared for so that horse racing could survive in to the future.

READ MORE: Race track’s second chance at the gate

READ MORE: History demolished in Vernon


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