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