a black-and-white image of five children. Three are standing and two are sitting around a carved pumpkin. Two are wearing eyepatches and one is dressed as a clown. The two seated are wearing part hats.
An example of some good, clean Halloween fun: a group of children dressed up for Halloween in 1958. Surely these sweet faces never got up to any mischief.


Trick (or treat)

Halloween is just around the corner, a season which Vernon has celebrated with tricks and treats for decades. In fact, especially between the 1920s and ‘40s, Vernon’s youth leaned more heavily towards the latter.

A Vernon News article from October of 1923 stated that “for the past two or three years, much wanton damage has been done throughout the city by mischievous lads on Halloween. Fences have been torn down, gardens looted and much needless work made for peace loving citizens … No one wishes to see the younger generation deprived of the fun that goes with Halloween but fun and deliberate damage are two different things. The first everyone enjoys but the second everyone denounces.”

It wasn’t just Vernon that was having trouble keeping the Halloween tricks at bay; another Vernon News article, this one from November of 1931, revealed that $500 worth of damage was done to a school in Oliver after a “gang of vandals” broke into the building and turned on the fire hoses. Arrests were expected to follow, as it was felt that this “willful damage … [was] beyond the pale of Halloween pranks.”

Strict Measures

In 1937, Vernon’s young revelers quickly experienced a change in atmosphere when, the morning after Halloween, a group of police officers showed up at their schools to interview individuals believed to have damaged properties the previous evening. Churches and other community groups began hosting a variety of events on the evening of Halloween, so that city’s youngsters could partake in some “good, clean fun,” and, in 1939, the newspaper warned those who engage in destructive behaviors to conduct themselves in a more appropriate manner so as to not have to learn this life lesson in “the police or juvenile courts.”

These strong measures seemed to have had an impact, because the Halloween of 1940 was considered a “quiet” season; that year the only incident of note was that reported by a number of downtown shopkeepers, who arrived at work the next morning to discover their windows covered in soap, which was difficult to remove but otherwise did not cause any lasting damage.   


In 1942, Vernon law enforcement cracked down even more to keep the antics to a minimum. Bonfires after dark were prohibited to eliminate the “usual gatherings of children dressed in ghostly attire in the vacant lots throughout the city.” They also restricted the sale of fireworks, and so “very few rockets were discharged into the sky.”

Unfortunately, the restrictions may have dampened spirits a little too far, as only a few groups of children went door-to-door for candy that year. However, wartime rationing also meant that there were less treats to be had, which also likely contributed to the low numbers of trick-or-treaters. Perhaps it is also the case that as the world as a whole was covered by the darkness of wartime, the youthful tricks of previous years lots some of their appeal, because the rate of property damage continued to decrease over subsequent Halloweens.  

This is not to say that Vernon’s past celebrations of this holiday have been all tricks; there have also been dances, costume parties, showings of scary movies, and of course, lots of treats to go around.


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

Gwyneth Evans, Head of Archives






Seeing Double

An exciting new addition to the Vernon Archives is contributing to the telling of Vernon’s social history. This unique donation consists of a scrapbook detailing the story of the Vernon Twin Club, which met for the first time on September 14, 1977.

The club was organized that year by two Vernon mothers, Phyllis Dyck and Diane Katz. Both Phyllis and Diane had twins, two girls and two boys, respectively.

After attending a meeting of the Okanagan Parents of Multiple Births Association in Kelowna, Phyllis and Diane decided Vernon needed its own club of this kind. They contacted the Vernon Jubilee Hospital and the local Health Unit, wrote letters to sister clubs, and obtained the support of Nurse Nancy Rebkowich who agreed to show films and host other activities at their meetings, which were set to take place the second Wednesday of each month.

Supporting parents of multiples

The club was developed as means to support parents of multiple children through the stresses of this most important job. It brought in guest speakers to discuss the physiological and psychological development of twins, and arranged “take-a-break” sessions once a week with babysitters. The club members also supported each other through the physical and financial challenges of having multiple babies, by organizing clothing and toy swaps, and supporting new mothers once they had been released from hospital.

The club was open to young twins and multiples of various ages, but at its outset, membership only consisted of cuties (and their parents) aged one year or younger. After the first meeting in September of 1977, the club arranged a meet-and-greet a month later on October 12.  

History Preserved

The scrapbook consists of several adorable pages of photographs of the club’s youngest members over the years, posing formally for portraits, and in scenes of club events including Christmas parties, coffee outings, and pumpkin carving sessions.

Twin Clubs are common around the world, a much-needed support for parents whose lives have been greatly enhanced, but also made more complicated, by the arrival of multiples. Vernon’s own Twin Club lasted into the mid-1980s, but is not longer active. However, its history is preserved for future generations in an unassuming scrapbook that made its way to the Vernon Archives.


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

Gwyneth Evans, Head of Archives





A black-and-white image of a table covered with a white table cloth and laden with a variety of vegetables including carrots, potatoes, and turnips. Large cabbages are placed on the ground beside the table.
A vegetable display at Vernon’s first agricultural fair in 1891.

132 Years ago

Today marks 132 years since Vernon hosted its first fall fair, an event which was organized by the Okanagan and Spallumcheen Agricultural Society and described as “a thorough success.”

On October 15, 1891, locals and visitors alike poured into the City to take in the bounty of the season. Surprisingly, the exact building in which the fair was hosted is unknown, but it was described as “prettily decorated with corn, hops and evergreens, the whole forming a pleasing effect, while great taste was displayed in arranging the exhibits in the most attractive manner.”

A variety of exhibits

On entering the building, the first display that caught the eye was that of the Columbia Flouring Mill from Enderby. This display consisted of sacks of their three well-known flour brands and small bottles containing samples of fall and spring wheat grown in the district. Beyond this was an exhibit of stoves and hardware by William Joseph Armstrong.

Two more mercantile exhibits followed, a harness and saddlery collection by W. R. Megaw, and a furniture display by J. C. Campbell. A “wonderful display” of produce featured cabbages and beets, grain, fruit and other vegetables, and, according to the Vernon News, “a more magnificent display has not been shown in the Province.” The samples of grain were described as particularly “astonishing and delightful” for even the most critical of onlookers.

There were also a variety of judged livestock displays; J. T. Steele dominated the Durham division, while Forbes Vernon took the top spots in the Hereford division. Meanwhile, Price Ellison received first prize for “best stallion.” Judges also viewed sheep, chickens, and cows, as well as awarded prizes for “best bush potatoes,” “best 5lbs of butter” and “best sample of two bread loaves.”

Celebrate guests 

Guests came as far away as the coast to visit the fair, thanks to the arrival of the first passenger train in Vernon, which coincided with the event and marked the near-completion of the S & O Railway. Many of the region’s most-well known settlers were also in attendance, including the Lord and Lady Aberdeen, Moses Lumby, E. J. Tronson, and Luc Girouard.  

For some time, the Okanagan and Spallumcheen Agricultural Society fair was considered the largest exhibition of its kind in the B.C. Interior, a title which was later surrendered to Armstrong’s Interior Provincial Exhibition. Vernon continued to host agricultural fairs into the 1960s, with a particularly popular one at the Civic Arena in 1964, and featuring horse demonstrations, flower shows, and other agricultural exhibits.

Eventually, as the popularity of the IPE continued to grow, Vernon exhibitors and fairgoers decided to journey a little ways north to take in this bigger event, and the city stop hosting its own fall fair.


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

Gwyneth Evans, Head of Archives





A black and white photo of a man in a t-shirt smiling behind a microphone
Frank Martina in 1989.

A beloved Local Voice

He was the longest-running morning radio host in B.C., and a voice that virtually every Vernonite knew. Frank Martina, former CJIB radio host, passed away on October 3, 2023, at the age of 76.

Broadcasting was always an important aspect of Martina’s life. At 19, he landed his first job in the industry, working for CFSL in Weyburn, Saskatchewan. He later also worked in Regina and Moose Jaw. Martina moved to BC in 1970, and worked part time at CJOR.

Moving to Vernon

Not long after, he sent an audition tape to CJIB in Vernon and officially hit the local airwaves on November 15, 1971. Martina started off in news and the mid-morning show, but later shifted into the coveted morning show, a position he held until his retirement in 2007.

It didn’t take long for Martina to become one of Vernon’s favourite voices; according to his colleague Duane Grandbois, quoted in a Morning Star article in 2007, “listening to Frank is no different than having him right beside you. He’s one of your pals.” Even after he retired from full-time broadcasting, Martina continued to host a popular Saturday afternoon show, until it was cancelled in 2020.

History of CJIB 

Founded by Vernon’s Schroter Brothers, CJIB began broadcasting in 1947 on AM frequency 940 kHz. On March 15, 2001, it was converted to the FM band at 107.5 MHz, becoming Vernon’s first FM radio station and styling itself as KISS FM. In 2010, the station was sold to the Jim Pattison Group and, in 2017, rebranded once more as Beach Radio.

The Vernon Museum would like to send its condolences to the friends, family, and colleagues of Frank Martina. He will be missed.

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

Gwyneth Evans, Head of Archives