The history of Vernon architecture follows the same steps as Okanagan valley architecture. Vernon is a city in the south-central region of BC, Canada. It was named after Forbes George Vernon, a former elected official of British Columbia. The City of Vernon has a population of about 40,000 while its metropolitan region, Greater Vernon, has a population of 60,000. These figures make Vernon the largest city in the North Okanagan Regional District.
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History of Vernon architecture
Before European conquest, the Okanagan Valley was occupied by interior Salish people. Fur traders first arrived in 1811 and the earliest development occurred alongside Swan Lake. Growth occurred quite rapidly in the few decades following the first trading posts (Example of trading post). Discoveries of gold in surrounding creeks generated a small rush of miners, which in turn drew cattle farmers. Father Durieu, an Oblate missionary, built a cabin near the junction of Swan Lake and Long Lake Creeks in1863, joining Luc Girouard, a gold miner and the first white settler in the area. By 1890, a charter was granted for the construction of a branch line from Sicamous to Okanagan Landing. In the surrounding district, wheat growing had become an important industry, second only to cattle ranching. Fruit farming was introduced by Lord Aberdeen on the Coldstream Ranch lands, attracting many British families to the area. Thus, the first notable architectural styles of Vernon were the Victorian and Edwardian houses of the landowners.
Of note is Vernon's Towne Cinema, 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 with the collection of aluminum from Vernonites for the war effort. Children could bring an old aluminum pot or pan and receive a ticket for a free movie. The Towne Cinema is lovingly cared for by members of the community.
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.