Vernon History

Incorporated in 1892, Vernon has grown from a 19th Century fur trading-post into a vibrant city of recreation and culture blessed with many parks and recreation trails. Fur and gold drew people to the area, but cattle ranching sustained it's fledgling population until the fruit industry helped Vernon blossomed as the Okanagan's first city. Today’s visitors to Vernon can experience the historic link between Vernon’s land and people in many ways: pan for gold like miners at Cherry Creek, live ranch life at the 19th Century O’Keefe Ranch or tour and taste at an orchard. Vernon’s population today is 35,944 according to the 2006 Statistics Canada Vernon Community Profile; but that's nothing compared to the over 12 million bees at just one bee farm in Vernon. Each year, busy bees ensure that fruit orchards pollinate and produce juicy and delicious fruit: apples, cherries, peaches to name a few. Harvest time still runs from April to October when Vernon’s many produce markets stock locally-grown vegetables, berries, melons and tree fruit. It's four wineries, four farmers' markets and several hobby farm attractions make Vernon a great place to learn the bounties of nature and laugh at some farm theatrics. Vernon’s growth into a land of fruit and honey began in the early 20th Century when the completion of the Grey Canal created a steady supply of water for irrigation. In 1908, 1,000 fruit trees were planted in the Okanagan Valley, and their taste is captured today in some of Vernon’s many delightful fruit spirits. Human spirits break free at Sovereign Lake, which has evolved from being a cross-country ski club’s log cabin in 1939 to a world-class nordic ski-club. Over two-thirds of Vernon businessmen rode bikes in the 1890’s, but anyone who likes to ride will love the city's many cycling routes. Heritage street murals tell of a strong history of lakes, fishing and biking that is still very much alive today. When Vernon's tiny human population is not too busy enjoying life in Vernon, most work in industries such as healthcare, retail and business services.