A look at Okanagan Landing's history and how it became part of the City of Vernon

How Landing joined city

This spring marks 30 years since Okanagan Landing was annexed into the City of Vernon.

Before April 1993, Okanagan Landing composed Area A of the Regional District of North Okanagan.

Back in the early 1890s, when Vernon was only a sleepy cowtown, the Landing was a hub of activity.

It served as both the terminus of the Shuswap and Okanagan spur line of the Canadian Pacific Railway, and the most northerly steamship port on Okanagan Lake.

Although the last steamship on the Lake, the SS Sicamous, was retired in 1936, ship repairs continued at the Landing until the 1960s.

Once the land was decommissioned, it was purchased by the Okanagan Landing and District Community Association.

Discussions as to the future of Electoral Area A began as early as the 1970s and '80s. The question was whether it was best for the area’s residents to maintain the status quo, join the City of Vernon, or incorporate as a new municipality.

A referendum on the question of incorporation was held in 1986, but residents did not vote in favour.

The discussion of annexation came to head again in the early '90s.

With permission from the regional district, the City of Vernon offered the Landing a series of incentives for annexation, including a moratorium on significant tax increases for a decade, and the installation of multimillion-dollar sewer and water service infrastructure.

The issue was extremely divisive among Landing residents, all of whom were ultimately concerned with the future of their community.

On April 3, 1993, a referendum was held at Okanagan Landing Elementary School.

A few days later, the results were declared: 58 per cent of residents who turned up to vote were in favour of annexation.

In June 1993, the City of Vernon officially applied to the Ministry of Municipal Affairs to annex Okanagan Landing, and thus the largest municipal restructuring in B.C. in more than 20 years was complete.

– Gwyneth Evans is head of archives at the Museum & Archives of Vernon


Former burn victim Volpatti shares story with Hometown Heroes Lottery

This is personal for Volpatti

For many locals, the name Aaron Volpatti is synonymous with survivor or fighter. Those who know the man and his strength likely won’t be surprised he’s lending his name and his story to the Hometown Heroes Lottery.

The lottery raises money to help support Vancouver General Hospital, UBC Hospital Foundation, and BC Professional Fire Fighters’ Burn Fund.

Volpatti knows first hand that any money raised, is well spent.

He was known as a “scrapper” when he played for the Vernon Vipers as a teenager back in 2005, but his biggest fight was yet to come.

He and his teammates celebrated their end of season by camping at Bluenose Mountain in the Lavington/Lumby area. It was during that camping trip that Volpatti's life would be changed forever.

He admits he was goofing around the campfire when he accidentally caught himself on fire.

Volpatti was airlifted to Vancouver General with second- and third-degree burns to 40 per cent of his body.

He was told by doctors he was in for a long recovery and it could be years before he’d be able to return to the ice.

As Volpatti was wrapped up like a mummy in the Vancouver burn unit, he learned he had a shot to play for Brown University – but training camp was just months away.

Through the support of VGH, the Burn Fund and his own personal strength, willpower and visualization techniques, Aaron was able to make that camp at Brown University and went on to play 114 games in the NHL as a Vancouver Canuck.

“The funds from the Hometown Heroes Lottery help to ensure that medical teams at VGH, UBC Hospital and many other health care centres under our umbrella have the cutting-edge tools and equipment they need to save lives?” said Angela Chapman CEO of the VGH & UBC Hospital Foundation.

“In addition, each ticket purchase contributes to advancing medical research, giving patients in B.C. access to new therapies and clinical trials,” Chapman says.

The Hometown Heroes Lottery also helps fund services and programs for burn survivors, says Jeff Sauvé, executive director of the Burn Fund.

“The Burn Fund depends on funds raised by the Hometown Heroes Lottery to support burn survivors across the province, both physically and emotionally, and we can only do this because of the extreme generosity of British Columbians.”

The 2023 Hometown Heroes Lottery offers 10 grand prize options, and the grand prize winner can choose from two homes in South Surrey, two homes in Vancouver, one home in North Vancouver, two homes on Vancouver Island and two homes in the Okanagan. All grand prize packages are worth over $2.3 million. The grand prize winner also has the option of choosing $2.2 million in tax free cash.

Summer activities are starting soon at SilverStar Mountain Resort

Summer fun at SilverStar

The start of summer at SilverStar Mountain Resort is less than a month away.

The resort has released its summer event schedule, which is expected to kick off June 23 with the opening of the bike park.

Opening weekend officially launches with the community cultural celebration happening June 24. The weekend will have live music June 24-25.

The Slay The Dragon Trail Running Race will take place on June 24 as well, with racers taking part in 13, 25, or 50 kilometre lengths. It will be followed by the Hike For Hospice on June 25, put on by North Okanagan Hospice Society.

The resort’s bike paths are sure to be busy July 8 and 9, as Silver Star is the first stop on the 2023 Canada Cup Series. It’s also running alongside the BC Cup and BC Downhill Mountain Bike Provincial Championships.

“Designed to provide competitive opportunities to the next generation of downhill mountain bikers transitioning from provincial race series to international competitions, this collective of events forms Canada’s premier downhill racing series,” said SilverStar.

Another bike race taking place on the mountain is the Juliana Bombshell Enduro Women’s Mountain Bike Race on July 15.

August 4-6 will see the return of the Crankworx Summer Series to Silver Star. All events this weekend will be free for spectators, excluding lift tickets. Silver Star Village will have gear demos, live music, games, outdoor bars and barbecues.

The annual Silver Star Wine Festival will be returning to the resort August 10-13. Devoted specifically to British Columbia wineries, this will give attendees a chance to learn about wines made in the province. The weekend will have wine seminars, wine dinners, and the signature walk-around tasting taking place outdoors on Saturday, Aug. 12.

Finally, coming back for the second time is Silver Star’s Beer & Cider Fest on Sept. 9. It kicks off Octoberfest season with tastings of craft beer and local ciders.

To register or buy tickets for the events happening at Silver Star, click here.


Hello Okanagan hits the road, checks out the scene in Penticton

Dragon boats and more

Vernon's Peter Kaz and David Scarlatescu are back with the latest episode of Hello Okanagan.

This week, the Hello Okanagan crew visit the South Okanagan and check out some shops and market stalls in Penticton and Peachland as well as a dragon boat competition.

Each week, Kaz and Scarlatescu talk with Okanagan business leaders, debate issues facing the region, and promote the Valley as a whole.

The videos air each Saturday, and you can see them here on Castanet.

If you any questions or suggestions, contact them via the Hello Okanagan Facebook page.

Vernon's People Place Garden Tour set to bloom June 10

Garden tour ready to bloom

Green thumbs and gardeners can visit some of the North Okanagan's most envy-inspiring gardens during the People Place Garden Tour.

The 19th annual event will be in full bloom June 10, 9 a.m. to 3 p.m.

"This year, we have seven fabulous gardens to explore during this very popular self-guided tour," says Melanie O'Hara-Hutchinson with the People Place.

The downtown Vernon community hub houses 15 non-profit, social service agencies and programs.

It also provides meeting space to many additional community groups.

The Richmond Caring Centre is the only other facility in British Columbia that operates on the same premise as the People Place.

All proceeds from the garden tour will benefit People Place.

This year's gardens include a Pottery Road oasis with a creek and ponds – as well as a 'Love Shack', a quirky East Hill 'wild child' full of pollinator perennials, the downtown Community Garden, the beautifully manicured grounds at North Okanagan Hospice House, the Kalamalka Indigenous Garden at Okanagan College, a Coldstream black currant farm garden with breathtaking views, and a Pleasant Valley Greek-Romanesque themed garden.

Tickets ($20) can be purchased at Blue Mountain Nursery (Armstrong), Briteland Farm & Garden, Nicholas Alexander Home & Garden, Swan Lake Market & Garden, The Flower Spot Garden Centre and at People Place in #101 Administration and #107 Independent Living Vernon.

Coldstream lakeshore mansion listed for a whopping $19.9 million

$20M waterfront oasis

What could be the most expensive house in the Okanagan is up for sale at a cool $19.9 million.

The Coldstream waterfront estate sits on 2.49 acres and boasts 450 feet of waterfront on Kalamalka Lake.

Bordering on Sovereign Park, the 12407 Coldstream Creek Rd. mansion is still partially under construction after the original 1909 home and boathouse were removed, taking care not to disturb the mature setting and massive oak tree that dominates the property.

The 16,954 square-foot home has three levels and was designed with massive timbers and abundant stonework to give the impression of a long-established estate, the listing by Priscilla & Company states.

There's also a 1,068-square-foot guest house, 1,000-square-foot beachouse, and 600-square-foot carport and boat storage to go along with a huge dock.

Stone walls and lichen-covered stairways line paths that connect the buildings and beach.

A lighted driveway circles the property and has two gated entrances. The main entrance crosses a man-made, recirculating creek.

Despite the huge waterfront and lake views, the home is "almost a complete secret" as it's shielded by trees.

"If you can dream it, it has been incorporated into the design of this home."

Moving glass wall systems open to the outdoors, there's a spa, seven bedrooms and nine bathrooms, and a 16-foot granite island in the huge kitchen.

The home could well be the most expensive in the valley at this time, if the seller gets their asking price.

Last year, a Lake Country waterfront mansion was listed for more – $22.9 million.

That property on Pixton Road included 10 bathrooms, a 12-car garage and an infinity pool on 0.86 acres behind a with 240 feet of Okanagan Lake shoreline.

It was the highest assessed property in the Okanagan in 2020.

Caetani Centre to relive Roaring '20s forĀ Great Gatsby Splash

Caetani goes Great Gatsby

The Roaring '20s will come to life at Vernon's Caetani Centre for the Great Gatsby Splash next month.

The fundraising event is scheduled for June 24 in the Caetani House gardens.

Duke of Sermoneta Leone Caetani, his partner Ofelia and daughter Sveva arrived in Vernon from Italy in 1921.

They lived a life of wealth, privilege, travel, and luxury until the economic crash of 1929.

Following the death of Leone in 1935, Ofelia and Sveva went into self-imposed exile.

It was not until her mother's death in 1960 that Sveva, now in her early 40s, resumed painting, and her works are now a cultural touchstone in Vernon, along with her former home on Pleasant Valley Road.

The Gatsby event will feature a cocktail reception, buffet dinner, and live and silent auctions.

Guests are encouraged to get dressed up in their best Roaring '20s-inspired outfits.

"Everything will be 1920s inspired, from the food and drinks to the ambience," says Marian Wright, Caetani fundraising committee chair.

More than 30 pieces of art by well-known Okanagan artists will be on the auction block.

You can view the art before it goes on auction at www.caetani.org.

The Voix du Coeur ensemble will perform, and a fully catered buffet dinner will be served prior to the live auction.

Tickets are on sale now at the Ticket Seller. Call 250-549-7469 or order online at ticketseller.ca.

Traffic detour for storm facility upgrades

Traffic detour for upgrades

Vernon drivers should prepare themselves for a detour on their morning commute next week.

Starting Tuesday as early as 7:30 a.m., 27th Avenue will be closed between 37th and 39th streets.

It’s to facilitate crews upgrading storm infrastructure.

“Motorists are asked to avoid the area and find an alternative travel route. Local traffic will still be able to access businesses and residences in the area,” the City of Vernon said in a press release.

The work is expected to be completed by 4 p.m. Thursday, but the city says timelines may change if emergencies arise.

Drivers should expect some travel delays and are reminded to watch for construction workers and slow down in construction zones.

Enthusiasts ready for weekend's Vernon Bike Fest

Bike enthusiasts get ready

Calling all cyclists, Bike Fest is back this weekend.

The three-day biking event is put on by the North Okanagan Cycling Society and hopes to bring outdoor enthusiasts together.

It kicked off today with a ladies ride and refreshments event. Executive director Julie Melanson says the cycling society is geared toward mountain biking, but it welcomes everyone.

“It's just great that it's come together and it's gonna be a great event,” Melanson said.

“The mountain bike community is a welcoming bunch. So even if you aren't a biker, we also have runners in our club, and anyone can attend.”

“This is us sort of spreading our wings into it to celebrate biking.”

Events range from free to $25, check here.

Saturday will be jam packed with events for all ages and skill levels. The day starts at 9 a.m. when interested riders will head up to the Big Ed mountain biking trail together.

A free kids event is happening Saturday afternoon at Polson Park. There will be an obstacle course, self-guided scavenger hunt, bike check at 4:30 p.m., and an art activity.

A music festival will start at 5:30 p.m. with Chipko Jones And Crashlanders performing. A beer garden will be open and tickets for the music fest will include one beer or kombucha. NCOS will have an art project set up at the music festival for attendees to help create.

The society will be holding a memorial ride for a community member who passed away. Melanson says Pete’s Ride on Sunday is dedicated to her mentor.

“Pete was a mentor to me through my racing,” says Melanson, “so that's important to me as well.”

People wanting to take part in the memorial ride will meet at the Cosens Bay parking lot. The society plans for a noon toast to Pete at the Big Ed platform.

The weekend will wrap up at the Cosens Bay lot with a barbecue. People can purchase tickets in advance or bring $5 for a hot dog and a drink.

Fuel prices take 10 cent or more jump at many Interior stations

Gas prices take a jump

One could be forgiven for thinking the usual long-weekend spike in gas prices was temporary – but, no.

Prices, as usual went up for the Victoria Day long weekend, then dipped back down at most stations in the Thompson-Okanagan.

But prices appear to be in flux as many have jumped 10 cents or more again this week.

Enderby retains its title as the place for the cheapest fuel in B.C., according to the most recent posts on watchdog website gasbuddy.com.

Regular gasoline is currently selling for 162.9 cents a litre.

And Salmon Arm isn't far behind at 163.9 cents a litre.

But then, prices jump around, depending on where you're filling up.

In Vernon and Coldstream, prices currently range from a low of 164.9 to a high of 175.9.

In Penticton, the pump price is 169.9 across the board.

Kelowna has a price spread from 169.9 to 174.9 cents a litre.

And in Kamloops, 173.9 cents appears to be the consensus among stations.

Local prices compare to 191.9-198.9 cents a litre in the Lower Mainland.

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