Lonnie Mohr (second from right) standing between her mother and one of brothers, with a family friend on the far left, in 1892.

One of Vernon’s most well-known ghost stories is that of little Lonnie Mohr.

Lonnie was born on August 26, 1886, in Torbolton Township, Ontario, to Charles and Elizabeth Mohr. She was the second youngest of five children.

The Mohr family arrived in Vernon from Ontario in 1893. Prior to their arrival, Charles, a labourer by trade, had a beautiful one-and-one-half-story home built for the family on the corner of Pleasant Valley Road and 32nd Avenue.

Unfortunately, the family’s arrival in Vernon was quickly marred with tragedy. In early 1894, Lonnie started suffering from a toothache, which led to the tooth being extracted. Shortly after the operation, she developed septicemia and passed away on March 31. She was only seven years old.

Lonnie was buried in the old Pioneer Park Cemetery, but her remains where exhumed after the opening of the Pleasant Valley Cemetery so that they could be buried at the new site. At this time, Lonnie’s little body was examined and it was found that her jaw had been badly fractured by the dentist who had extracted her tooth. The fracture led to the blood poisoning that ended up taking the young girl’s life.

Local legend suggests that Lonnie’s ghost continues to inhabit the Mohr home. The residence was eventually occupied by a business—a dental office, in fact. Staff at the Pleasant Valley Dental (now in a new location on 27th Street) reported dental chairs swiveling on their own and other unexplained occurrences.

Regardless of whether or not you believe that she continues to occupy her family home, I think we can all agree that the story of little Lonnie Mohr is both tragic and compelling.


Gwyn Evans, Research and Communications Coordinator



The Okanagan School of Ballet. Image courtesy of Google Maps.

The Okanagan School of Ballet has been a fixture on Vernon’s 27th Street since it opened in 1980. The school’s director and one of its founders, Deborah Banks, is a former member of the Alberta Ballet Company and a born-and-raised Vernonite.

Prior to housing the ballet school, the building, which was built circa 1938, was used as a private residence and later by the local Jehovah’s Witnesses.

In addition to ballet training, the school also offers classes in tap, jazz, modern, and hip hop, and prepares students to take exams with the Royal Academy of Dance. Several of Bank’s graduates have gone on to have successful careers in performing arts.

In addition to regular classes, students at the Okanagan School of Ballet participate in festivals and recitals. In 1990, to celebrate their 10th anniversary, students performed “A Celebration of Dance.” In 1993, the Okanagan School of Ballet and the Young Scott Singers entertained audiences with a production of The Nutcracker, with Katherine Wilson playing Clara. In 2013, the school presented The Wizard of Oz for its annual recital, which saw Andie Wemyss fill the role of Dorothy.

Banks, who holds an advanced executant certificate from the Royal Academy of Dance, has being teaching dance to students of all ages and skill-levels for more than 40 years. That is a lot of pointed toes! 


Right: A photo from the May 1, 1990, edition of the Vernon News. Young dancers prepare for their Royal Academy of Dance exams at the Okanagan School of Ballet. 

Gwyn Evans, Research and Communications Coordinator



The front page of the Vernon News from October 13th, 1921.

100 years ago

What was happening in Vernon 100 years ago, in the autumn of 1921? The Vernon News (and particularly the “Town and District” column) provides some insight.

Group photo of some of the Coldstream Ranch fruit pickers, circa 1915. GVMA #2523.

On October 3 of that year, a masquerade ball was held at the dining hall of the Coldstream Ranch fruit pickers. The venue was decorated with autumn leaves, berries, asparagus ferns, and paper lanterns, and entertainment and refreshments were provided. Attendees dressed as knights, princesses, sailors, soldiers, and clowns milled about the dance floor. Someone even arrived disguised as Palmolive soap.

The Post Office clock circa 1935. GVMA #4767.







For about a week during that October, Vernonites were reported as being very tardy, on account of the Post Office clock being out of commission. When the clock was dismantled for repairs, those who governed their daily actions by the ticking of the clock were “forced to rely on their own more or less accurate timepieces.”

A bizarre was hosted by children of the Presbyterian Church Sunday School on October 15, 1921. Large quantities of farm produce, preserves, pickles, and home cooking were available for purchase. The afternoon concluded with a musical program.

Edna Harwood and Agnes Fletcher dressed as witches for Halloween circa 1918. GVMA #1519.
The Empress Theatre in 1922. GVMA #4597.

The Empress Theatre hosted showings of the 1921 films “Stranger than Fiction,” “The Devil,” and “Nobody,” and a local minister invited those who cuss to a lecture on the Third Commandment.

On the afternoon of October 31, a Halloween party was held at the new South Vernon School; around 400 students attended. Later that evening, the doors of the school were opened so that the citizens of Vernon could inspect the new facility.

Among all of these notable events, the everyday moments of life are also noted in the Vernon News: from births, deaths, and birthdays, to special visitors, meeting notices, and local sales.   

Gwyn Evans, Research and Communications Coordinator



The Pioneer Park Cemetery. Photo courtesy of the Vernon and District Family History Society.

Vernon’s First Cemetery

An unassuming plot of land off of Alexis Park Drive is all that remains of Vernon’s first cemetery. The Pioneer Park Cemetery, as it is now known, was established in early 1885 on 52 acres of land donated by Vernon’s first white settler, Luc Girouard. Up until then, the closest cemetery was located at the Okanagan Mission, and with a growing population, Vernon was in need of its own facility. Girouard’s fellow pioneer E.J. Tronson was the main driving force behind the establishment of the Pioneer Park Cemetery.


The Pioneer Park Cemetery is accessed from 35th Avenue off of Alexis Park Drive in Vernon. The cemetery is on the right approximately 100 metres along 35th Avenue. Photo and directions courtesy of the Vernon and District Family History Society.

A state of Disrepair

In July of 1885, the first body, that of one-year-old John William Hozier, was laid to rest in the site. But only ten years later, in 1895, the cemetery was in a state of disrepair, with the fence rotting away. Conditions improved somewhat in 1898, when a source of water was located near the cemetery which allowed for the planting of flowers.


A New Cemetery is chosen

However, the site was ultimately deemed inadequate, and, in 1901, G. Milligan offered the city five acres of land on Pleasant Valley Road for the establishment of a new cemetery. A year later, the Pleasant Valley Cemetery was ready for use. Starting in 1913, bodies were exhumed from the Pioneer Park Cemetery and moved to the Pleasant Valley Cemetery.


Preservation and Commemoration

Details of tombstones at the Pioneer Park Cemetery. Photo courtesy of the Vernon and District Family History Society.

In 1932, some Vernon City Councilors suggested that the old cemetery should be preserved out of respect for the early pioneers who established it. Once the deeds to the land were transferred from the Girouard Family, city crews were sent it to improve the cemetery’s appearance and to restore any remaining tombstones. In 1973, the site was turned into a park, and named the Pioneer Park Cemetery.

Although you might not recognize the park as a former cemetery with just a cursory glance, the lives of those who were buried there have not been forgotten; a memorial plaque at the park’s entrance bears many of their names, and members of the Vernon and District Family History Society are working to compile a complete burial list.


Gwyn Evans, Research and Communications Coordinator




Come Join Us!

The Greater Vernon Museum & Archives is in a process of growth and renewal. We are seeking an enthusiastic, dedicated and well-organized Marketing and Events Coordinator to join us to organize, manage, and promote our programs, events, exhibits, and gift shop.

You will join a team of museum professionals who share the diverse history and culture of the North Okanagan by working with Indigenous elders and partnering with Arts, Culture, and Community groups. This is a part-time position, with some flexibility of hours, and significant opportunities for professional and creative development.

Greater Vernon Museum & Archives welcomes all applicants and encourages Indigenous people, visible minorities, and recent immigrants to Canada to apply for this position.


Marketing & Events Coordinator


Marketing & Publicity

  • Growing and engaging our visitors and audiences through effective management of public relations and communication strategies, with an emphasis on digital and online platforms
  • Planning and implementing public awareness campaigns for exhibitions, events, workshops and special events
  • In collaboration with Programming and Exhibit Teams, coordinating logistics, implementation, and delivery of exhibits, events, and programs
  • Working with Communication Coordinator to maintain and update website, including updating event and program calendar, and scheduling and posting social media and website content
  • Developing, implementing and promoting yearly fundraising opportunities alongside Museum Leadership Team.


Guest Services & Gift Shop

  • Ensuring all guests feel welcome and well-oriented to museum programs, activities, events, and venue rentals
  • Implementing and managing effective point of sale (POS) strategies for Gift Shop, Event Ticketing, Program Registration, Museum Services, and Facility Rentals
  • Overseeing POS business systems, including maintaining inventory; processing purchase orders and invoices; processing event and program registrations; and maintaining records
  • Coordinating with Bookkeeper to ensure Gift Shop, Program and Event registration, records accounting systems are effective and manageable
  • Maintaining effective working relationships with a variety of internal and external contacts and dealing courteously and effectively with the public and user groups


Programs & Events

  • With the Programming Team, developing and delivering public programs and events to attract a diverse variety of visitors
  • Planning, organizing and delivering special events, including overseeing logistics, materials and supplies, as well as communicating and working with partners and vendors
  • Collaborating and coordinating with other community arts, culture, and heritage organizations for partnership opportunities
  • Developing and maintaining event and program schedule, calendar, and registrations
  • Assisting in the development and management of events and marketing budgets


Experience, Qualifications and Skills

  • Post-secondary degree, diploma or certificate in Communications, Marketing, Business, Museum Studies, Tourism, Hospitality Management, Recreation and Leisure, or Event Planning
  • A minimum of three years’ experience working or volunteering in Museum, Galleries, Heritage Sites, Tourism, Hospitality, Recreation, Education, and/or Hospitality sectors
  • Excellent written and spoken communication skills; confident public speaking skills
  • Well-organized, with excellent time management skills
  • Demonstrated knowledge of computer software, including presentation software, and desktop design and publishing programs
  • Proficiency with multi-media online platforms and Customer Relationship Management software
  • Knowledge of SEO and content management strategies preferred
  • Photography and videography skills an asset
  • Retail Management and knowledge of practices and procedures in Visitor Services and Gift Shop operations preferred
  • Special Event and Programming experience preferred
  • Drivers’ License and access to a vehicle is required
  • Criminal record check required


Position Details

  • 20 or more hours per week, with some flexibility in scheduling; will include occasional evenings and weekends
  • $21.50-$24.50 wage commiserate with experience, with potential bonuses for reaching marketing targets
  • Entrepreneurial opportunities with increased museum revenue
  • Professional and creative development opportunities as part of working hours
  • Culturally safe working environment with diversity and inclusivity as core values
  • Freedom to be creative and forward-thinking as a member of a friendly, inclusive team


GVMA Commitment to Diversity

Equity and diversity are essential values of the Greater Vernon Museum and Archives. Our community strives to foster the inclusion of voices that have been underrepresented. We encourage applications from members of groups that have been marginalized on any grounds described in the B.C. Human Rights Code, including sex, sexual orientation, gender identity or expression, racialization, disability, political belief, religion, marital or family status, age, and/or status as a First Nation, Metis, Inuit, or Indigenous person.


To Apply

Email cover letter and resume to Lisa Ramsey at lisa.ramsey@vernonmuseum.ca before 5:00 PM on Monday, October 11, 2021.

Phone Steve Fleck at 250.241.2500 with questions.

Job Types: Part-time, Permanent

Salary: $22.00-$24.50 per hour

Additional pay:

  • Bonus pay


  • Flexible schedule


  • Day shift with occasional evenings and Saturday mornings


  • Marketing: 1 year (preferred)

Work remotely:

  • No


If you have all or several of the above qualifications, and are passionate about the history, heritage, culture, arts & community of the North Okanagan, we encourage you to apply! Come join this small, supportive, fun team who are committed to diversity, inclusivity, and equality in our workplace and our community.

Please email your resume to Lisa Ramsey by Friday, October 11th at 5 PM.



Larry Kwong wearing a New York Rangers jersey in 1946.

2021/’22 Hockey Season

With the cooler weather setting in, hockey season is only just around the corner. The 2021/’22 National Hockey League season begins on October 12 between this year’s Stanley Cup champions, the Tampa Bay Lightning, and the Pittsburgh Penguins.

The NHL has a long history, dating back to 1917 when it replaced the National Hockey Association. But it was not until 1948 that the league saw its first player of Asian descent; the player who broke this colour barrier was named Larry Kwong, and he was born right here in Vernon.

One of Fifteen

Larry Kwong (1923-2018) was the second youngest of fifteen children. His father, Ng Shu Kwong, had immigrated to Canada from China in 1884, eventually setting up a store in Vernon called the Kwong Hing Lung Grocery.

Like many young boys, Larry grew up listening to hockey games on CBC radio. His passion for the sport was obvious even from the age of five, and two of his older brothers, Jack and Jimmy, encouraged Larry to start playing hockey himself. When the weather was cold enough, Jack and Jimmy would pour water into a vacant lot near the family store, creating a rink for Larry to practice. Larry and some of his friends also liked to frequent a nearby local pond to play their games and sharpen their skills.


A first hockey Team

When Larry was 16, he joined his first hockey team, the Vernon Hydrophones. His natural talent gained him instant attention, and his career took off from there. This is not to say that he did not face significant racial barriers along the way; in fact, in 1942, he was invited to the training camp of the Chicago Black Hawks, but the Canadian Government never processed the paperwork that would allow him to leave and return to Canada.


Joining the NHL

It wasn’t until after his enfranchisement as a result of serving in the Canadian Army during World War Two that Larry was able to accept an invitation into the NHL. He made his debut with the New York Rangers on March 13, 1948. However, Larry decided to leave the team after only one season; although he was the Rangers’ top scorer, he received very little ice time.


A long Career

He went on to have a long and successful career in senior leagues across Canada and the United States, and coached both hockey and tennis in England and Switzerland. He also helped to run his family’s grocery business, which had migrated to Calgary.

In 2011, Larry Kwong was inducted into the Okanagan Sports Hall of Fame, and two years later, in 2013, into the B.C. Sports Hall of Fame. This remarkable man passed away in Calgary on March 15, 2018. 


Gwyn Evans, Research and Communications Coordinator