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authority records
Greater Vernon Museum and Archives

Reid Family

  • Family
  • 1870-2004

The Reid family owned the Benachie Ranch in Lavington from 1903 to 2004. William and Elizabeth Reid moved to Vernon from Aberdeenshire, Scotland in 1903 with 7 of their 9 children - William Jr (Billy), Robert (Bob), James (Jim), Charles (Charlie), Katherine (Kate), Jessie and Annie. The land for the ranch had been acquired by William Jr. in a prior trip to Canada in 1900 – 160 acres through purchase from Ellen Bessette and 320 acres through the pre-emption process. The Reid ranch included a mix of farming activities - the family had Shorthorn cattle imported from Scotland for milking, an apple orchard, and planted a variety of grain crops. After the deaths of Elizabeth (1914) and William Sr. (1918), William Jr. and Jim took over the ranch. At this point Annie and Jessie took over Elizabeth's role of curing ham and bacon and selling homemade butter and eggs. The other siblings worked elsewhere – Bob worked for the Vernon Fruit Union as an electrical engineer, and also worked in a sawmill with Charlie.
Several of the siblings married and had children. Jessie married Eugene Bellevue and had 5 children: Ken, Maurice, Rosene, Rita, and Anne. The children went to live on the ranch with William and Annie after Jessie died in 1926. Annie married George Cruickshank in 1912, and stayed on the ranch. Robert married his wife Bella and had a son Leonard. They eventually built a house in Winfield. Charlie moved to Vancouver and married Margaret Pothecary (née Deschamps) in 1944. They had a daughter Wendy, in addition to Margaret’s daughter Peggy from her first marriage.
Jim died in 1951, Kate in 1955, William Jr. in 1965, Charlie in 1968, Robert in 1975 and Annie in 1979. After William Jr.'s death, the ranch passed to Annie, and after Annie’s death it passed to Jessie’s son Ken Bellevue. Ken worked for BC Hydro, but held onto the ranch until his death in 2004.

Boehr, Kim

  • Person

Kim Boehr was a student at Okanagan University College in 2000/ 2001. As part of the requirement for the History of British Columbia course Kim wrote an essay on Alice Parke and the Vernon Women's Council. The essay was submitted to the British Columbia Historical Federation student essay competition, and won an award.

Imperial Order Daughters of the Empire Silver Star Chapter

  • Corporate body
  • 1954-2008

The Silver Star Chapter of the IODE was formed in 1954 by former Chrysler Chaper members Alice Kinnard and Estelle Fitzmaurice at a point when when the Chrysler Chapter was facing the prospect of disbanding. The Silver Star Chapter mainly undertook educational work by providing supplies and equipment to isolated schools in Labrador and Northern B.C. and by funding several bursaries for highschool and college students. The chapter also supported other charities and causes locally and internationally. They donated supplies to nursing stations in Northern Canada and glasses to people in developing countries, and locally in Vernon they supported the Upper Room Mission, various senior's programs, and ran the Baby Think It Over program (a program that taught teens about infant care). The Silver Star Chapter disbanded in 2008, at which time they donated $35,000 to various organizations in order to close out their accounts.

North Okanagan Creamery Association fonds

  • Corporate body
  • 1916-1982

NOCA (the North Okanagan Creamery Association) was a dairy co-operative, and later a dairy brand, in the North Okanagan from 1916 to 1982. The dairy industry began in the North Okanaganwhen the first creamery was established in Armstrong in 1900. NOCA was formally established in May of 1916 when the Armstrong creamery was re-organized as a co-operative to collect milk from dairy farms from Mara Lake southwards to Vernon. The headquarters was in Armstrong, and the first board of directors was made up of: W.H. Keary, A. Morgan, T. Skyrme, Chas. Patten, RJ Coulthard, and M. Hassen. NOCA ran into difficulties in the early 1920’s and in 1925 its members voted to sell to P. Burns and Co.. On July 1 1925 this sale went through, and NOCA became the Okanagan Valley Co-operative Creamery Association (though the NOCA brand name was still used). Everard Clarke was brought in as the manager, and remained in this position until 1970. In 1927 NOCA began to publish a monthly newsletter titled The Cream Collector. NOCA later also published NOCA Farm News and the NOCA Pictorial.
More changes came to the organization in 1947. NOCA merged with the Salmon Arm Creamery and officially changed its name to the Shuswap Okanagan Dairy Industries Co-operative Association (SODICA). Once again, the NOCA brand name was still used. In the following decades SODICA expanded its operations in the North Okanagan and outwards to the Kamloops area. In 1952 their plant in Kelowna opened, and in 1967 a new plant in Vernon opened.
In response to the dairy industry moving towards larger conglomerate companies, SODICA merged with the Fraser Valley Milk Producer’s Association in April 1982. At this point the NOCA brand switched to FVMPA’s brand Dairyland. In 1992 the FVMPA became Dairyworld after a merger with two Alberta co-operatives, and in 2001 Dairyworld was bought by Saputo. In 1996 the Vernon plant was closed and production was moved to the upgraded Armstrong facility.

Powerhouse Theatre

  • Corporate body
  • 1937-

The Powerhouse Theatre is a theatre company in Vernon, BC that seeks to provide opportunities and facilties for the advancement of interest and knowledge of the dramatic arts, literature and music through the operation of a community theatre.
The Powerhouse Theatre began life as the Vernon Little Theatre, founded by Flora Nicholson in 1937. The first production was a one-act play called “Lusitania." Following on this success the theatre produced a 3-act play called “Night Must Fall” in 1938. Productions ceased during World War Two, but the company resumed activities after the war with a series of informal workshop plays in 1945. In 1947 the Vernon Little Theatre staged its first full production post-war - “Rookery Nook,” and in 1949 they expanded their activities to producing radio plays on CJIB. As the Vernon Little Theatre did not have its own space, early productions were held in the Empress Theatre, the Capital Theatre, and the Scouts Hall. In 1957 productions were moved to Vernon High School in Polson Park. The inadequacies of the venue soon became apparent and a committee was established to look into the possibilities of a building for the Vernon Little Theatre. A fund was set up with an initial $100.
The theatre company acquired their current location at the old BC Hydro powerhouse (2901 35th Avenue) in 1962. BC Hydro wanted to dispose the property, and seeing a good opportunity for a dedicated theatre space The Vernon Little Theatre Society submitted a proposal to the City of Vernon to take over the powerhouse. After some negotiation it was agreed that the Vernon Little Theatre would lease the building through the City of Vernon at $1.00 per annum plus taxes for fifteen years with the opportunity to renew. A separate non-profit society called the Vernon Theatrical Arts Centre Society was formed to support the renovation of the building into a theatre, and a fundraising campaign was started by G. Silver and W. Malcolm. Construction began in 1963 on the 150 seat theatre designed by Vernon architects T. Gower, D. Huggins and A. Allen. In November 1963 the Vernon Little Theatre put on its first production in the new theatre - “The Madwoman of Chaillot” directed by Paddy Malcolm.
In 1971 the Vernon Little Theatre changed its name to the Powerhouse Theatre, and in 1973 the theatre was renovated to expand seating to 191. 1973 was also the 10th anniversary at the Powerhouse theatre, and was celebrated with a production of “A Flea in the Ear.” Special guest was the renowned Canadian actor Bruno Gerussi. The theatre was upgraded again in 1990 with the help of a B.C. Lotteries Fund grant, which made the theatre safer, more accessible, and more flexible artistically.
Over the years the Powerhouse Theatre has received many awards. Both the company and individual members have won Theatre BC’s Eric Hamber Award several times for their contributions to community theatre in BC– 1969, 1970 (Doug Huggins), 1975 (Paddy Malcolm English) and 1997 (David Jones). In 1988 the Powerhouse Theatre won the Canadian Drama Festival with “Play Memory,” and afterwards travelled to Monaco to showcase the production for the 1989 World Drama Festival.

Imperial Order Daughters of the Empire Vimy Ridge Chapter

  • Corporate body
  • 1917-[1930]

The Vimy Ridge Chapter was founded in 1917 in Vernon. During the First World War this chapter ran a tea room in the Okanagan Grocery, raised funds for soldiers in Europe, and supported local schools with donations of books. After the war they continued their work, which also included fundraising for local organizations like the Scouts and supporting local people in need with donations of groceries, books, household supplies, and help with household chores. The chapter disbanded in February 1930, and it is probably their work was then subsumed by the Chrysler Chapter.

Imperial Order Daughters of the Empire Chrysler Chapter

  • Corporate body
  • 1915-1965

The Chrysler Chapter of the Imperial Order Daughters of the Empire (No. 477) was established in 1915 in Coldstream and was active until 1965. During the First World War the chapter primarily worked to raise funds to support soldiers fighting in Europe. After the war until their disbandment, the Chrysler Chapter also fundraised for the Vernon Golden Age Club and the Vernon Jubilee Hospital, and ran programs that supported veterans, children and families in need, new Canadians, and children with special needs.

In 1930 it is probable that the Chrysler Chapter took over the work of the Vimy Ridge Chapter, which had disbanded in February of that year.

CJIB Radio

  • Corporate body
  • 1947-

CJIB Radio was the first radio station to broadcast out of Vernon BC, premiering on September 22nd 1947. It was founded by brothers Edward and Bernard Schroter under the name Interior Broadcasters, and had its original studio located on the south shore of Swan Lake in the old Crowne and McCubbin brokerage office. In the early years the programming on the station was varied – they broadcast 6 news casts per day, sports coverage, teen programs, music, and Sunday church services. By 1959 the station had moved to Barnard (30th) Avenue, and in 1961 it was sold to Selkirk Broadcasters. Over the years the station became very involved in the Vernon community, hosting many community events and fundraisers. By the time the station celebrated its 35th Anniversary in 1982 it had grown to 33 staff members from an original 9. In 1989 it was sold once again to Rogers Broadcasting Ltd, and in 2001 the station switched from AM to become 107.5 Kiss FM. The station is now located at 3313 32nd Avenue, and broadcasts music and local news.

Coldstream Women's Institute

  • Corporate body
  • 1931-2013

In 1931 a group of women established a branch of the Women's Institute in Coldstream. Women's Institutes began to appear across the country in the 1890's to provide rural women and families with home management and leadership skills, develop friendships, encourage community cohesion, and initiate charitable activities. The inaugural meeting of the Coldstream branch of the Women's Institute was held on February 11th, 1931 at the home of Mrs. E.L. Nicholson. The initial objectives of the group were to build a community hall for Coldstream, and to provide sweaters and sports equipment for Coldstream School students. Initial fundraising efforts included card parties, lectures, dances, and a flower show, providing the school with tennis rackets and nets, plus one dozen wool football sweaters.
Under the leadership of Mrs. E.L. Nicholson, the first president, $100 was raised to purchase a half acre of property, and a bank loan was obtained for the building of the hall. Construction began in November of 1933, with estimated costs of about $800. Measuring 26 x 50 feet, the hall was opened on January 17th, 1935. Seventy people attended the opening ceremonies and dance. The hall quickly became a gathering place for the community, filled with wedding celebrations, baby showers, bazaars, educational and recreational activities for Girl Guides and Boy Scouts, Christmas parties and community teas. Catering services were offered for receptions, banquets, and dances, to fund the operation of the hall, but the use of the hall was free for non-profit groups and community functions.
In the early days the Coldstream Women's Institute hosted sewing classes, dance classes, flower shows, card parties, quilting bees, harvest suppers, and baby clinics. They also wrote and performed many plays, sang at local seniors' homes, provided an annual float for the Winter Carnival parade, and managed the Remembrance Day ceremonies at the Coldstream memorial.
During the second world war the Coldstream Women's Institute contributed to the war efforts with shipments of homemade jam, clothing, and wool comforters. Since the war they have assisted many organizations in the community and beyond, sponsoring scholarships for high school and OUC students, donating funds to the Vernon Jubilee Hospital and the Hospital Women's Auxiliary, Transition House, Hospice House, Noric House, Mental Health, Venture Training, the Health Unit, Vancouver Children's Hospital, and Queen Alexandra Hospital, to fill a variety of needs.
Over the years hundreds of women have served as Coldstream Women's Institute members, but numbers have gradually declined, reaching a low of 14 members in October of 2014. Unable to continue with the upkeep of the hall, it was sold to the District of Coldstream in early 2014. Meetings are now held in member's living rooms, but the activities of establishing friendships, providing education to women in the community, and raising funds for charities in the North Okanagan continue on.

Heriot, Joan

  • Person
  • 1911 - 2012

Joan Heriot was born in 1911 in Vernon B.C., the daughter of Allan and Jessie Heriot. As a child Joan developed a fascination with insects. This was due to her father's interest in entomology and the enthusiasm of his entomologist friends, who took her for field trips and provided her with books on the subject. Joan attended St. Michael's Girls School in Vernon, where she also demonstrated a strong interest in drawing and painting. On graduation from St. Michael's Joan attended college in Victoria, B.C. and then the University of British Columbia in Vancouver, B.C. where she received a Bachelor of Science Degree. Following this she enrolled at the University of Liverpool in England, graduating in 1936 with a Master of Science Degree and a Diploma in Education. From 1936 to 1966 Joan lectured in zoology at Brighton Technical College, in Brighton, Sussex, England. She was head of the Biology Department from 1952 to 1966. On her retirement and return to Vernon, Joan was able to focus on her artistic talents. She took art lessons and began to interpret the Okanagan landscape through the medium of pastels. Her paintings generated so much demand that a long waiting list evolved. Joan loved life, embraced people, and made the best of things, even in her last years as resident in an extended care facility. She died on July 29th, 2012 at the age of 101.