A black-and-white view over a field with mountain in the background.
A view of the Coldstream Ranch in the 1930s.

The Holodomor

Since 2019, B.C. has officially recognized Ukrainian Holodomor Memorial Day on the fourth Saturday of each November. The Holodomor, also known as the Great Famine, occurred in Soviet Ukraine from 1932 to 1933, and resulted in the death of millions of Ukrainians.

Meanwhile, during the same time period, thirty-five Ukrainian families in Coldstream were receiving government assistance as a result of the ongoing Great Depression, a situation which was made worse by a taxation dispute between the municipality and the Coldstream Ranch.

The Great Depression

Ukrainian immigrants first began arriving in Vernon in 1914. By the 1920s, 16 families who had journey from the Prairies had settled on land purchased from, and adjacent to, the Coldstream Ranch. This community continued to grow in the following years.

Coldstream’s Ukrainian population was particularly vulnerable during the Great Depression, and by 1932 their situation had become dire. Government relief had arrived in Vernon in 1931, but the available funds were so limited that sometimes families were only granted $5 for an entire month.

The situation was made worse by the fact that in 1930, responding to pressure from apple growers, the District of Coldstream had introduced a by-law to exempt fruit trees from taxation. As a result, the Coldstream Ranch had seen an increase in its agricultural land taxes, to which manager W. C. Ricardo was much opposed. In retaliation, the Ranch defaulted on its 1932 property tax bill.

A culture of resilience

The whole population of Coldstream experienced an increase in property taxes as a result of this dispute, and this was particularly felt by the already-impoverish Ukrainian community. By the winter of 1932, the small amount of relief money was barely enough to keep a family fed.

The dispute ultimately went to court, and in 1934 a decision came out in favour of the District of Coldstream. Thankfully, the District and the Ranch were able to reach a settlement in 1936, and the municipality managed to limp its way out of the recession by the end of the decade.

Despite the years of scarcity, Coldstream’s Ukrainian community continued to practice its languages, dances, and customs. Like the ongoing invasion of their country has demonstrated, Ukrainian people have an admirable capacity for resilience. 

 

To explore more of Vernon’s history, check out our other blog posts

Gwyneth Evans, Research and Communications Coordinator

 

 

 

 

Two women seated smiling at the camera. The woman on the white is wearing a white shirt and a pink coverall dress. Next to here is a woman in a white dress with blue and green flowers on it.
Joan Heriot (right) with friend Sveva Caetani circa 1990.

Canada History Week

Nov. 20 to 26 is Canada History Week, and this year’s theme is Arts, Culture, and Creators.

Although the name of her close friend, Sveva Caetani, might be more well-known, Joan Heriot was also a talented artist whose gift to Vernon was a series of beautiful creations.

Joan Heriot was born in Vernon on January 7, 1911, and lived with her parents Allan and Jessie in Coldstream. Allan worked as an entomologist, but both he and Jessie were also amateur artists. Joan was fascinated with her father’s work, and decided to pursue her own career as an entomologist when she was only six-years-old.

Entomologist by trade, artist by passion

Joan went on to complete a science degree at UBC, but was told she would never find employment as a female entomologist in Canada, and so departed for England. She completed a Master’s degree at the University of Liverpool, and then taught as a lecturer at the Brighton Technical College for around 30 years.

After her retirement in 1966, Joan returned to Coldstream. With a renewed reminder of the beauty of the Okanagan’s scenery, Joan decided she wanted to start painting again, a hobby she had not indulged since her childhood. She tracked down her former art teacher, Miss Topham Brown, who was then in her nineties, and took a series of art classes with her, but it was in working with pastels that Joan found her calling.

She went on to create a series of beautiful pastel landscapes, and was particularly fascinated with trying to capture light and form. Her artwork was in high-demand, and although she did not paint on commission, she did have a waiting list of people to whom she would offer her new creations.

A Lasting Legacy

 

Joan Heriot’s circa 1930 watercolour depiction of Miss Topham Brown’s drawing camp near Killiney Beach on Okanagan Lake.

Joan was also an active community member and supporter of several local organizations, including the

Allan Brooks Nature Centre

and the North Okanagan Naturalists Club. She maintained an interest in biology, geology and archeology throughout her life, and was always ready for an adventure; when she was in her 70s, Joan went white-water rafting for the first time. 

Joan passed away on July 29, 2012, but her legacy lives on. The Joan Heriot Studio at the Caetani Centre and the Joan Heriot Centre for Environmental Studies at the Mackie Lake House serve as reminders of her dedication to both organizations. The Vernon Public Art Gallery has exhibited her artwork on several occasions, and a series of her personal records are held at the Vernon Archives. A tree was also planted in her memory at the Bishop Wild Bird Sanctuary.

 

To explore more of Vernon’s history, check out our other blog posts

Gwyneth Evans, Research and Communications Coordinator

 

 

 

 

Historical Vernon Research Guide


Below you’ll find a series of links and resources compiled by our archival team to help you along your research journey. 

Photographs &

Newspapers

 

Local Heritage & History Topics

 

Research Packets for kids

 

SYILX History

 

Cemeteries & Genealogy

 

Electoral & Demographic History

 

Military History

 

Natural & Environmental History

 

Click here for a list of other useful research resources which you can find in our archives.

If you have any questions, or would like to book an appointment to visit the archives, please contact gwyn.evans@vernonmuseum.ca. Our team is happy to help!

 

 

 

 

 

 

A black-and-white photo of a group of clowns with balloons and props posing for the camer.
Members of the Kalamalka Caring Klowns in 2003. Photo by Brenda Hala, as appeared in the Vernon Morning Star of September 3, 2003.

World Kindness Day

November 13 is World Kindness Day and one local organization committed to spreading kindness and laughter is the Kalamalka Caring Klowns.

In May of 1999, Carole Fawcett founded the Caring Klowns to provide therapeutic care at hospitals, care facilities, and health-related community events. The group began with about 20 volunteers who were trained in the art of clowning.

Anyone can be a clown

Since the group’s conception, they have hosted an annual fundraiser to train new volunteers. Each session covers clown history, etiquette, costumes, props, and pantomime. In 2003, Fawcett encouraged people of all personality types to join the group; in her words, “it does take a special person, someone who is compassionate and a good listener, but clowns can be very quiet people.”

In 2013, members of the Kalamalka Caring Klowns visited Agnes Van Steenburgh, a resident of Abbeyfield House, on her 102nd Birthday. They also honoured World Laughter Day with a Laughter Circle. In December of 2019, nine clowns made the rounds at the Vernon Jubilee Hospital, singing carols for patients and staff.

The Power of Empathy

Over the years they have made appearances at a number of community activities, including the Winter Carnival and I.P.E. Parades, and fundraising events such as those hosted by the Canadian Cancer Society and the Heart and Stoke Foundation.

As the COVID-19 Pandemic began to ease, the Caring Klowns could once again host their annual workshop in August of this year, under the direction of Bubbles (Doris) and Gizmo (Donna), long-time members of the organization. 

Those involved with the Kalamalka Caring Klowns embody the message of World Kindness Day, and beneath their colourful costumes, props, and personas is a profound demonstration of the power of empathy.     

 

To explore more of Vernon’s history, check out our other blog posts

Gwyneth Evans, Research and Communications Coordinator

 

 

 

 

 

A man wearing a military uniform is holding a sword with a woman in a suit jacket with a neck scarf and a poppy broach. A number of people are standing in the background.
David Kinloch at Camp Vernon the year he earned the position of Honourary Colonel of the B.C. Dragoons, 1973. With him is Constance Pearkes, wife of former Lieutenant Governor George Pearkes.

A lOcal Hero

He is remembered as Greater Vernon’s top military leader.

Colonel David Kinloch was born in Scotland in 1914, but moved to Coldstream at the age of five. In 1934, he joined the Canadian Officer Training Corps, the country’s university officer training program. He was transferred to the B.C. Dragoons as a lieutenant in 1939, and, during World War Two, served with the 9th Armoured Regiment in Canada, Italy, and Britain.

Lieutenant – Major – Colonel

Over the years, Kinloch reached a number of different ranks. During the war, he was promoted to the position of major. In 1963, he earned the rank of Colonel, and in 1973, that of Honourary Colonel of the B.C. Dragoons.

In 1991, Kinloch visited the Montecchio War Cemetery in northeastern Italy, where many of his fellow soldiers of the B.C. Dragoons lost their lives during the Battle of the Gothic Line in August of 1944. Kinloch was instrumental in ensuring that this history was preserved, and saw a number of important Dragoon records donated to the Vernon Archives.

Civic Spirit

In addition to his active military career, Kinloch was very civic-minded. He served as the first full-time commander of the Vernon Army Cadet Camp from 1951 to 1952. He was a Coldstream municipal clerk from 1945 to 1952, and worked at the Hiram Walker Distillery until retiring in 1977. He was also a member of the Vernon Rotary Club, the Royal Canada Legion, and the Miriam Lodge.

In 2002, the City of Vernon presented Kinloch with its highest honour—the Freedom of the City. Colonel David Kinloch passed away in 2003.

We will remember them.

 

To explore more of Vernon’s history, check out our other blog posts

Gwyneth Evans, Research and Communications Coordinator