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Vernon, British Columbia

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Vernon in British Columbia.

 

Vernon is a city in the south-central region of British Columbia, Canada. The City of Vernon has a population of 35,944, while its metropolitan region, Greater Vernon, has a population of 55,418 . With this population, Vernon is the largest city in the North Okanagan Regional District. A resident of Vernon is called a "Vernonite".

Arts and culture

Each winter, Vernon plays host to the Vernon Winter Carnival. First held in 1961, it is now Western Canada's largest, and North America's largest Winter Carnival.

Also, in summer, there is the Sunshine festival, held on the main street.

During the August long weekend for the past 9 years The Komasket Music Festival has taken place on the land of the Okanagan Indian Band. During this weekend a multi-cultural village is created in the town of Vernon and draws a crowd from across the nation as well as introducing international acts including this year's headliner The Wailers (reggae legend Bob Marley's backing band) to the area for the first time (in 2009 the festival brought 80's hip-hop icons Arrested Development (group)). It was started by the local music act known as Samsara and promotes family, community, world music and freedom. Being on sacred native land there is a no alcohol policy which creates a much safer and family orientated vibe.

Vernon is also home to a state of the art performing arts centre, The Vernon and District Performing Arts Centre. The society presents three series of entertainment including dance, theatre and child oriented. The performing arts centre also hosts hundreds of touring musical acts, local talent and community based events on a yearly basis. Vernon also boasts one of the most successful film societies in Canada. Films are presented every second Monday at Vernon's Towne Cinema (www.vernoncinema.com). The Vernon Film Society also produces two film festivals per year. One is a festival dedicated to the presentation of documentary films from around the world. The Second film festiva is also an international film festival dedicated to the presentation of mainstream movies that fall into the "Arts" genre.

Vernon's Towne Cinema is the home of The Vernon Film Society and is a classic example of a 1930's Art Deco style theatre. Built in 1929-30, the Towne Cinema began its life as The National Ball Room, presenting live entertainment on stage, hosting banquets and stage plays. It was the main venue in Vernon for entertaining the troops during the Second World War and was heavily involved in selling war bonds and the collection of aluminum from its customers for the war effort. Children could bring an old aluminum pot or pan and receive a ticket for a free movie, the aluminum going towards the construction of war planes and other military materials so necessary for the achievement of victory of the Nazi regime of Adolf Hitler. The Towne Cinema has enjoyed 80 years of success entertaining movie fans in this Okanagan city and hopes to enjoy 80 more.

The Vernon Community Arts Centre is located in Polson Park near downtown Vernon. This community centre is a studio-based facility and is operated by the Arts Council of the North Okanagan. The VCAC offers year-round programming for youth and adults such as art classes and workshops, an artist in residence program and independent study sessions.

Vernon also hosts the Creative Chaos art fair. Many artisans come and sell: jewellery, chocolates and candies, unique clothing, and other household items and/or decorations. The fair usually lasts three days and many of the citizens of Vernon partake. One of the main draws of the fair is the food fair. The food fair is held in the ice-less ice rink in the middle of the Rec Centre. A number of vendors are there selling many different cultural foods. The Creative Chaos art fair is a highlight in Vernon.

Sports and recreation

Vernon is known for its lakes and beaches in the summer, and skiing and hockey in the winter. It is therefore a year-round tourist destination and weekend get-away for people from Vancouver and Calgary. During the summer Vernon hosts a large SloPitch tournament (Funtastic).

The Vernon area is home to several golf courses. Among these is the prestigious Predator Ridge Resort, a 36-hole golf resort and community. This resort is one of only two public golf courses in Western Canada to have been ranked by Score Magazine as one of Canada's top 25 golf courses over the last 8 years. Predator Ridge Resort also hosted the Skins Game twice - first in 2000 featuring Fred Couples, Sergio GarcĂ­a, Phil Mickelson, and Mike Weir, then in 2008 featuring Mike Weir, Fred Couples, Greg Norman, Colin Montgomerie and Camilo Villegas.

A new Fred Couples Signature golf course is now open. "The Rise" showcases unsurpassed views of the Okanagan Lake and of Vernon itself.

One of the most popular winter sports in Vernon is skiing. Blessed with two major ski locations, each winter locals and tourists alike flock to Silver Star Mountain Resort and Sovereign Lake Nordic Club. Known as one of the top ski resorts in North America, Silver Star also has a large cross-country skiing area which hosted a 1991 FIS Cross-Country World Cup event. As another world class ski area, Sovereign Lake is the region's premier cross-country skiing location with over 50 kilometers of skiing terrain. This Nordic Club gained worldwide exposure as the host of a 2005 FIS Cross-Country World Cup event.

Curling also has a strong following in Vernon, with local curlers being found at the Vernon Curling Club. In past years, Vernon has hosted several major national curling events, including the 1979 Canadian Senior Women's Curling Championship, the 1992 Canadian Junior Curling Championships, and the 2004 Canadian Senior Curling Championships. Its first international event, the 2008 Ford World Women's Curling Championship was held at the Vernon Multiplex.

Tennis Another popular sport in Vernon is Tennis with many courts in picturesque locations . The Vernon Tennis Association (VTA) was started in October 2008 to bring together all tennis players of all skill levels within the Vernon area and to offer both competitive and social programs that are not being offered currently to players. Presently the VTA operates programs 15 hours per week in "partnership" with Greater Vernon Parks, Recreation and Culture. VTA website

Hosting several beaches, Kalamalka Beach (Kal Beach) is amongst the most popular near Vernon. A large pier built by a local service club is used for sun bathing and jumping. In the evenings the beach is used extensively for beach volleyball. Kin Beach and Paddle Wheel Park Beach on Okanagan Lake are also among the most popular of the twenty or so larger beaches in Vernon. If you find the larger beaches too crowded, it is possible to find your own private piece of beach real estate, as there are hundreds, if not thousands of small accessible beaches across the landscape, and even your own private lake if you look hard enough.

SunValley Speedway brings stock cars, including a NASCAR Canadian Tire Series national event, to their facility north of Vernon.

Cougar Canyon is near Vernon, with both a popular rock climbing site and an ecological preserve. Another place for cliff jumpers and campers is Ellison Provincial Park, located about 30-40 minutes out of South Vernon.

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