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





Report #87

The Okanagan Historical Society (OHS) recently announced the release of its 87th annual report. This year’s report, like those before it, is full of fascinating stories of the Valley’s people and places. Moreover, considering that the first was published all the way back in 1926, the reports also provide an invaluable source of anecdotal evidence.

The history of the Society itself is just as fascinating as the stories its members have so dutifully collected for nearly a century. Although the OHS is now composed of seven branches ranging as far north as Salmon Arm and as far south as Osoyoos, the society actually started in Vernon. On September 4, 1925, a group of citizens held a meeting at the Vernon City Hall to discuss the formation of a society focused on “historical, topographical and natural history research in connection with the whole of the Okanagan Valley.”

A black and white image of a man in a white shirt with a pale suit jacket and tie. He has a handle bar mustache and short, white hair.
Leonard Norris circa 1925.

Leonard Norris becomes first president

Leonard Norris, the City’s Government Agent since 1893, was selected as the Society’s first president. Norris and his fellow elected officers set to the task of preparing a constitution for the society, based roughly on that in use by the B.C. Historical Society. Overtime, community members from the surrounding districts were also elected to the Society’s Executive Council.

In a public statement following the formation of the OHS, Norris suggested that the history of the B.C. Interior had yet to be properly investigated, and that the Society hoped to rectify this. Its members set to writing a series of articles covering the post-contact history of the Okanagan Valley and by 1935, the first five reports had been published.

The notion of the region’s untapped historical potential must have resonated with many of the Valley’s citizens, as within ten years, the Society’s membership had grown to 205. In later years, this number would reach into the thousands.   


The OHS took a hiatus from publishing between 1931 and 1935, while it faced the impact of the Great Depression. The sixth report, when it was finally released in 1935, brought with a new tone and pace for future ones; it was printed on glossy paper, and contained a wealth of information spanning 309 pages. The society weathered the storm of World War Two, and in 1948 begin publishing a report each year.

As the years went on, the Society pursued a number of notable projects aside from the publication of the report, including the mapping of the Fur Brigade Trails in the Okanagan and Similkameen-Hope areas, and the preservation of the original Fairview town-site. Additionally, the Vernon branch has published a number of other historical best-sellers, including Water from the Hills: The Story of Irrigation in the Vernon District, by local author Peter Tassie. The report itself has also seen a natural diversification of its content to include Indigenous history and other multicultural stories.

The 87th Report of the Okanagan Historical Society can be purchased from the Museum & Archives of Vernon for $30.00. The museum and archives encourages those interested in local history to support te Society by becoming a member of the Vernon Branch. To learn more, click here


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

Gwyneth Evans, Head of Archives






A black-and-white photo shows a forest fire coming down a gully between two hills.
A forest fire pictured in Coldstream in 1921.

The 2023 Fire Season

2023 has been reported as Canada’s worst fire season. Although this fact cannot be denied, it may or may not provide some comfort to know that folks in and around Vernon have been battling blazes for hundreds of years.

Traditionally, the Indigenous inhabitants of the Okanagan-Similkameen areas practiced controlled burning as a means to maintain forest and grassland ecosystems. Once settlers arrived in the area, the Vernon News, then a farm and livestock journal, often featured advice on how to protect one’s property from fire damage. For example, an 1894 article states, in no uncertain terms, that “the cutting and clearing away of the forest for a radius around the settlement sufficient to ensure safety would be neither an expensive nor a laborious undertaking.”


A heatwave in May of 1901 wreaked havoc on the Valley, and the South Okanagan was particularly hard-hit. A forest fire near what is now the Nickel Plate Nordic Centre outside of Penticton saw bridges and culverts burn down, and fallen timber litter the road. At the same time, the whole town of Fairview (now a ghost town) came out to fight a fire that was creeping towards their properties down a nearby gully.

In 1912, the newspaper printed “Six Good Rules for Care with Fire in the Mountains,” one of which was a reminder to knock out one’s pipe ashes or throw cigar and cigarette stumps only where there is nothing to catch fire. In 1922, the “cigarette menace” was once again discussed, with the paper reporting that hundreds of the fires recorded that year in Canada were “due to the evil habit of tossing away lighted tobacco.”

1920s-1950s and beyond

Sometime in the late 1920s, Silver Star Mountain experienced a devastating fire, which was unfortunately not unusual for the region as evidenced by the installation of a forest fire lookout at the mountain’s summit more than two decades earlier. In the spring of 1930, Bill Osborn, David Ricardo, and Michael Freeman became among the first to ski down the mountain – and later described seeing a number of snags (still-standing dead trees) that have been destroyed by this fire a few years earlier. 

In July of 1940, a series of forest fires ravaged the Sugar Lake area. Men were pulled away from their homes and work to fight the blazes, which finally abated thanks to heavy rain. In 1950, a mid-summer fire at Kingfisher was finally brought under control after several long weeks. Fires continued to ravage the Okanagan Valley in the years following, including the unforgettable White Rock Lake fire of 2021.

Thankfully, the area’s inhabitants have demonstrated their resiliency in the face of nature’s wrath time-and-time again, helped along at times by some much-needed rain.


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

Gwyneth Evans, Head of Archives





For the months of June and July, we are thrilled to present a series of blog posts by Collections Intern Rebeka Beganova. Rebeka (she/her) is a post-secondary student with a passion for research, literature, and history. Having completed an Associate of Arts Degree at Okanagan College, she is glad to be joining the MAV team during her last summer in Vernon before heading off to UBC Vancouver. There is no better way to say goodbye to her hometown than to explore its local history!

A black-and-white photo of a the front of end of a bus; a woman wearing a long skirt is standing in front of it,
One of the very first Greyhound buses in the Okanagan, photographed in 1930.

For those Vernonites accustomed to traveling across BC, whether for work or for leisure, the Greyhound is likely a fond memory. The cross-province bus line was a long-standing staple for local residents, and its impact is not surprising – the Greyhound arrived amid the early stages of road construction and consistently stressed comfort, convenience, and cost-efficiency as the pillars of modern transportation.

Setting the Stage

Greyhound Lines (BC) Limited announced its debut in the Okanagan in July of 1930. It offered two round trips a day, connecting Kamloops, Vernon, Penticton, Oroville, and many points in between. From its very first newspaper ads, the Greyhound boasted modernity. Indeed, it arrived on a half-paved scene (literally) that contrasted the enormity of such a far-reaching bus line. For context, West Side Road was still being widened the year the Greyhound was established; the highway to Kamloops would not be constructed for another two decades; and the first car to reach the Silver Star summit would not do so until nine years later.

A black-and-white photo of a small bus with curtains. Several men with suitcases are standing in front of it.
New recruits arriving by Greyhound bus at Camp Vernon for their military training, photographed ca. 1940.

The very first round trip ran from Kamloops to Kelowna. It was a momentous day – the bus collected representatives from Vernon and surrounding areas, offered them luxurious deep-cushioned wicker seats, and treated them to the most scenic route in the Okanagan. This early form of the Greyhound bus consisted of two stages and room for twenty occupants. Claims about modernity and comfort were seemingly fulfilled, as one newspaper reported a pleasantly cool ride “despite the fact that the thermometer was flirting with the hundred mark.” The local representatives arrived together at a banquet at the Royal Anne Hotel where they congratulated the Greyhound on its forward-thinking initiative.

An Abrupt ending

More than 80 years later, in October of 2018, the last BC Greyhound bus ran its course. The announcement three months prior detailing the termination of the route upset Vernon residents and officials alike. Much compensation was needed to provide alternative transportation for those reliant on the bus line, and fast: the decision by Greyhound was apparently unpleasantly abrupt and one-sided, according to the BC Minister of Transportation. Some chalked the suddenly cool move up to the fact that the Greyhound was, after all, an American line (the route between Vancouver and Seattle remained in operation past 2018). Greyhound representatives cited a drop in ridership since 2010 and “unsustainable routes” as the reasons behind the termination.

Despite the rather stiff conclusion to the Greyhound’s time in BC, its impact and significant beginnings cement it as an invaluable piece of Vernon history. The bus line welded together Okanagan cities that were, in the 1930s, considered quite distant. There is no doubt that the Greyhound has been responsible for countless personal and professional connections that have since flourished across the province.

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

Rebeka Beganova, Collections Intern




A black and white photo of three individuals on bikes passing through a parking lot. A boy wearing a t-shirt and long light-coloured pants is walking in the middle. In the background one can see cars and individuals walking behind the cyclists.
Cyclists rallying before a memorial service for the late Jack Schratter in 1994. It was partially Jack’s tragic cycling-related accident that inspired his son Michael Schratter to embark on the first ever Ride Don’t Hide campaign in 2010.

A Canadian-Wide Event with Local Roots

This June, thousands of cyclists across Canada will come together to raise awareness and funds for the Canadian Mental Health Association (CMHA).

This event, which is in its 13th year, has local roots. In 2010, Michael Schratter, born and raised in Vernon, embarked on a worldwide bicycle trip that saw him cover 40,000 km and raise $100,000 for the CMHA. He called his campaign “Ride Don’t Hide,” in an effort to stimulate conversation and overcome some of the stigma surrounding mental health conditions.

Michael Schratter

Michael has openly shared his experiences with hypomania, a mild form of bipolar, and ADHD. In a 2011 interview with Vancouver Magazine, Michael stated that, in terms of personal courage, his around-the-world trip was nothing in comparison to engaging in conversations with friends and colleagues about mental health. “Yet one in five people will be treated for some form of mental illness in their lifetimes, and virtually everyone is affected by it,” he said.

Michael was also inspired to begin this campaign to honour his late father, Jack Schratter. Jack was a popular professor of physics and mathematics at Okanagan College who was known to “arrive early, stay late, and always be available to students.” In 1993, Jack sadly passed away in a cycling-related incident.

Jack Schratter

In a Vernon News article published shortly after his passing, one of Jack’s former students, Lyn Hartley, suggested that “there is hope coming out of such a tragic loss. The hope lies in knowing students of Jack are strung out across the province, country and world. Each of us taking a little bit of Jack’s inspiration and passing it on to others.”

Following in their father’s footsteps, both Michael and his brother Ed have also inspired Canadians across the Country, but this time with their commitment to destigmatizing mental health. Since its origins in 2010, the Ride Don’t Hide campaign has morphed into a nation-wide movement.

a blue and green graphic with the words "Ride Don't Hide. Ride for your mental health, raise funds for your community."


The CMHA is the most extensive community mental health organization in Canada, providing “programs, advocacy and resources that help prevent mental health problems and illnesses, support recovery and resilience, and enable all Canadians to flourish and thrive.” The Vernon branch of the CMHA will be hosting this year’s local Ride Don’t Hide at Polson Park on September 16, 2023. Click here to learn more.


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

Gwyneth Evans, Head of Archives






A colour image of a lake with trees and mountains in the background. In the foreground is a pier jutting out into the water.
The Rotary Pier at Kal Beach in the 1990s.

Rotary Club of Vernon

With the warmer weather we have been experiencing of late, Vernonites are beginning to flock to the city’s beaches and parks, perhaps none more so than Kal Beach.

The landmark pier at Kal Beach was built by the Rotary Club in 1934 and donated to the City of Vernon for use by the general public. The club was chartered in 1925, and since then has sponsored a number of community projects in addition to the pier.

A black and white image of a pier with a diving tower at its end. In the background in a mountain with a highway running along tis base.
The pier in 1960. GVMA #19977.

The pier’s Evolutions

Although the pier has largely withstood the test of time, it has gone through a variety of iterations over the years. Up until about the 1950s, the pier was one straight line pointing south into the lake. In the 1960s and ‘70s, sides were added to the pier to form the shape pictured above. In 2008, the pier underwent major repairs and around that time evolved into the T-shape which is familiar today.

The water level at Kal Beach has changed significantly since the pier was first installed, since for many years it also boasted an impressive diving tower at its deepest end. Nowadays, the pier’s users are reminded not to dive from anywhere off the pier, since the water is too shallow.

A tenous Future

A colour image of a the pilling of a pier, with the board removed.
The pier under construction in 2008. GVMA #24286.

This public amenity, which now belongs to the Regional District of the North Okanagan and is under administration of the District of Coldstream, experienced a significant amount of vandalism and damage from exposure over the years, including in 2017, when its future became tenuous after a bad flooding season.

At this time, the Rotary Club urged Coldstream’s Mayor and Council to repair and preserve the pier for future users, a sentiment which was echoed in an outpouring of public letters on the topic. The district was receptive, and this year discussions are underway about how the pier can be updated, since many of the piles are beginning to rot. In February, three of the electoral areas of the RDNO approved $70,000 for the pier to be rebuilt, which suggests its future is likely secured until its 100th year.


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

Gwyneth Evans, Head of Archives





A black and white image if a building on the corner of the street. A door with a sign reading "Elks" above it is located on one side, and on the other a mural showing people and vehicles.
The Elks Hall in 2005, featuring a mural of Frank S. Reynolds’ warehouse painted by Michelle Loughery and her team.

70 Years

The Vernon Elks Hall is celebrating its 70th Anniversary this year. While the building located on the corner of 30th Street and 32nd Avenue opened in 1953, the Elks Lodge #45 is even older, dating back to 1920.

The Elks of Canada, founded in 1912, is a fraternal order whose members dedicate themselves to serving their communities. A. E. Kellington, then the provincial organizer of the Elks, traveled to Vernon in March of 1920, where he stayed at the Kalamalka Hotel. His purpose was to establish an Elks Lodge in Vernon, and he found there to be a significant amount of interest in the City.

104 Members

The Lodge officially started on March 30 of that year with 116 members, although only 104 were able to attend the first meeting, held at the Independent Order of Odd Fellows’ Hall on 30th Avenue. In the coming months and years, the Lodge would direct a number of fundraising events and activities, including hosting dances at the local armoury, putting together Christmas baskets for those in need, and (in more recent years) distributing gaming funds to other local organizations.

In the 1920s, they led a number of Flag Day Parades, and in 1945, donated over $5,000 to the City of Vernon for the construction of a wading pool in Polson Park. The pool, which was dedicated to the city’s youngsters, opened in 1947 and later became a splash area circa 1993.

Acquiring the Elks Hall

Prior to being acquired by the Lodge in 1953, the building that now houses the Elks Hall was used by the Scottish Daughter’s League and was known as the Burns Hall. The structure itself was built in 1907.

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

Gwyneth Evans, Head of Archives






The spitfire replica being returned to the roof of the ANAVETS building on 46th Avenue in 2011. Glen Fletcher is standing on the lift while Randy Lundman watches from the roof.


This year marks 20 years since a replica Spitfire plane was installed above the building of Vernon’s Army, Navy & Air Force Veterans Club on 46th Avenue.

The ANAVETS is Canada’s oldest veterans association, believed to have been founded in 1840, with the first unit in Montreal. Meanwhile, ANAF Unit #5 has served the Vernon area since 1971.

In the 1980s, the unit approached the Department of National Defence with the goal of purchasing a genuine Spitfire plane, but could not afford the $90,000 price tag. The Spitfire is a British single-seat fighter aircraft used during and following World War Two. Today, the spitfire remains popular among enthusiasts, with approximately 70 still operational around the world.


Although ANAF Unit #5 could not secure an authentic spitfire, they were determined to see one “fly” over Vernon, and took on the task of creating a replica. The model was the brainchild of Jack Brash, Glen Fletcher, and Doug McNichol, and construction on it began in 1992.

In 1993, the built-to-scale replica was complete, and measured 31 feet from nose to tail. A dummy, named Jackson Glen after two of the three original contributors, was even installed in the front seat. This fake pilot is allegedly so realistic that he had engaged in a one-sided conversation with a Vernon utility worker while seated on the back porch of Glen Fletcher’s home before being installed in the plane.


According to an ANAF Unit #5 brochure, the letters and numbers on the model were borrowed from the log book of a spitfire which was piloted by Vernon veteran Philip Bodnarchuk. Bodnarchuk served as a pilot with the RCAF in World War Two. Despite being shot down three times, he survived until demobilization and passed away at the age of 79 in 1996.

In 2010, Vernon’s spitfire was discovered to have been damaged by rock-throwing vandals which allowed water to enter the model. The damage was so extensive that it had to be completely rebuilt, including dummy pilot Jackson Glen. Glen Fletcher, than 74-years-old, was aided by Randy Lundman in this task, which took the two men 11 months. Finally, in August of 2011, the replica was returned to its rightful place above the ANAVETS building.


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

Gwyneth Evans, Head of Archives






Clockwise from top left, the W.R. Megaw Motor Co. garage and machine shop circa 1914, the Community Bingo Hall circa 1988, the Valley First Credit Union in 2006, and the Dollarama in 2023.


How many different businesses can occupy a building over the years? If 3322 31st Avenue is any example, the answer is “many.”

Thanks to city assessment records and directories held in the Vernon Archives, we can trace this address and its corresponding businesses back as far as 1906. At that time, the property was owned by shopkeeper W. R. Megaw. A few years later, in 1910, he built a garage on the property and named it the W.R. Megaw Motor Co. garage and machine shop. This was the first of its kind in Vernon.

By 1931, the business was known under the name Okanagan Motors Ltd. In 1936, the property was sold to Frank Boyne, who used the building as a salesroom for his auctioneering business. In the 1940s and 50s, Kineshanko Motors operated on the spot.

A shopping centre, a bingo Hall, A thrift store, and More!

In 1964 and 1965, the building belonged to the City of Vernon, and from the late 1960s to early 1980s housed the MacLeods Family Shopping Centre. In the mid-1980s, the building started to be used as a Community Bingo Centre.

In 1999, the business of the day was the Valley First Credit Union. The Kindale Thrift Store later occupied the building, and most recently it has opened as a Dollarama. Such variety!

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

Gwyneth Evans, Head of Archives






A woman with grey hair wearing a jean shirt over a blue patterned dress has a pink birthday badge pinned to her dress. She is outdoors, and leading a horse by a rope.
The above photo shows Miss Jayne at one of her birthday parties, the year she decided to invite a horse as a guest just so that she could take it for a walk. She had always loved horses. This photo was used as the cover of her funeral program, a copy of which is held at the Vernon Archives.

George VI’s Body Double

Did you know that the Vernon Jubilee Hospital’s first physiotherapist, Miriam Jayne, also had connections to King George VI?

Miriam Jayne was born in 1923 in Bristol, England, to Lt. Col. and Mrs. Wallace Jayne. When she was a child, Miriam’s father Wallace worked as a body double for King George VI, a role which was shrouded in mystery. While the responsibilities of royal body doubles is kept quiet for safety’s sake, Queen Elizabeth’s body double was known to attend practice runs of important state events in order to afford the Queen more time in her packed schedule, so it is suspected Wallace Jayne filled a similar role for her father.

Journey to Canada

Meanwhile, Miss Jayne went on to have her own military career, and joined the Women’s Land Army during World War Two. She later trained as a chartered physiotherapist and orthopedic nurse, practicing in England, Wales, and Scotland. Miss Jayne moved to Canada in 1950, and Vernon in 1952, where she began working at the Vernon Jubilee Hospital. She remained in this position until 1988.

An Okanagan Landing resident

Miss Jayne was also an active community member; a resident of Okanagan Landing, she was approached in 1998 by the Landing Association to produce a history of the organization since their beginnings in 1949. This publication was unveiled in 2002, and included sections on the history of the SS Naramata, the Okanagan Landing Regatta, the North Okanagan Sailing Association and the Okanagan Landing Fire Department.

Miriam Jayne passed away in 2014.

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

Gwyneth Evans, Research and Communications Coordinator