A man wearing a red bomber jacket and white and blue top hat holding another red jacket and a blue and white jacket. All of the jackets and the hat are covered in pins and buttons.

The 2024 Vernon Winter Carnival launches in less than two weeks, and this will be one of the first years it proceeds without the iconic participation of “The Button Guy.”

Vernon’s Alvin Timm was born on October 1, 1939. A life-long resident of the area, he worked at the Lavington Glass Plant until his retirement.

Apart from his skills as a Pattern Dancer and bowler, Timm was a passionate advocate for the Vernon Winter Carnival. He actively participated in the inaugural events in 1961 and, from then on, made it a tradition to collect a button each year. These buttons adorned a number of bomber jackets and a matching hat, creating a distinctive ensemble that Timm proudly wore while marching in numerous carnival parades throughout the years.

His remarkable assortment of pins encompassed not just those acquired at the Vernon Winter Carnival but also examples from various carnivals and fairs across Canada and the United States. One particularly whimsical piece consisted of an acorn with googly eyes and a matching red nose, dressed fetchingly in blue and white and holding a sign that read “I’m nuts about Vernon Winter Carnival.”

Timm’s historical knowledge about all things Carnival was also unparalleled. According to Kris Fuller, the executive director of the Vernon Winter Carnival, Timm had a remarkable ability to recognize faces in vintage photos and willingly shared a wealth of memories and anecdotes about past events.

In 2018, Timm was awarded the Carnival’s Jesse Ferguson Memorial Trophy. This award, originally called the Chairman’s Trophy, was renamed in either 1977 or 1978 in honour of Jessie Ferguson, an active Vernon senior who was involved in a variety of volunteer organizations before her passing. This trophy is awarded each year to a person or group in the community who has shown years of dedication to the Vernon Winter Carnival, and Timm unquestionably met these criteria.

Alvin Timm passed away on January 13, 2023. One of his delightful jackets was bought to the Vernon Museum later that year, and although it has not yet been officially added into the artifact collection, it will be on display in the museum’s foyer for the duration of the 2024 Carnival.

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

Gwyneth Evans, Head of Archives