Hub of BC's Internment Camps
The land upon which Vernon was built has been home to the Syilx Okanagan people for thousands of years. European settlement first began in the early 1800s, with a steady influx of fur traders, missionaries, miners, and ranchers. By 1885, enough Europeans had settled in the region that a townsite was laid out, and shortly thereafter the community was officially named Vernon, after an early rancher. With the arrival of a railway line in 1891, the town grew much more quickly and was incorporated as a city. By the outbreak of the First World War, Vernon was prospering. It was also home to an important militia unit: the Okanagan Mounted Rifles.
Soon after the war started, the federal government designated Vernon as the site of a large internment camp for so-called "enemy aliens." This camp was established on the grounds of the asylum, on what we today know as Macdonald Park.
This project has been made possible by a grant from the Endowment Council of the Canadian First World War Internment Recognition Fund.
We respectfully acknowledge that Vernon is located on the traditional and unceded territory of the Syilx Okanagan people.
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Buried at Pleasant Valley
Remembering the Victims of Internment
An Abuse of Power
Vernon's Internment Camp
Then and Now Photos
Internees on Parade
Children at Play
The Asylum in Winter