The Mission Hill airport, precursor to the Vernon Regional Airport, was located at the Army Camp. (Greater Vernon Museum and Archives)

A street by any other name

Columnist would rather his adopted hometown of Vernon have streets with names rather than numbers

I wasn’t born here, so I’m not a true Vernonite.

The fact that I was packed up at the age of three against my will (apparently I didn’t want to go to ‘tupid ternon’) and transplanted with my family from the civilized neighbourhoods of North Surrey to the wilds of beyond Hope and what passed for East Hill in 1963 counts for little.

In fact, I think your dad or mom has to be born here, at the bare minimum, to be considered a Vernonite of any standing. The rest of us mere transplants.

But I’ve grown to consider this place home with some affection, even though some relatives and friends at the Coast still consider, after all these years, anything outside the Lower Mainland to be somehow inferior and question our sanity for remaining in the hinterland.

Oh, the irony. I stopped trying to tell them it’s the other way around.

Anyway one beef I have with Vernon, and it’s minor but annoying, and ironically is a carryover from Surrey, is that we number our streets.

For instance, I grew up on 16th Street near 28th Avenue, hardly the stuff of legendary novels, but a great place to spend your childhood nevertheless

It could have been worse. If we stayed in Surrey it might have been 119A Street and a house number of at least five, likely six, digits.

In Salmon Arm it might have been 20th Avenue SE because the city of less than 20,000 is so big it needs geographical elements broken into four quadrants for people to get around (or some former city planner from Calgary thought a few decades ago to leave a legacy that at least helps the locals learn direction).

But in Nelson you have historic Baker Street or beautiful Stanley Street, I’m sure they have some avenues as well. You’re not going to forget those names, not to mention they give the city character and charm and a story to tell.

Ask me how to get anywhere in Vernon and I can barely name the streets, except maybe Bella Vista Road, Pleasant Valley Road, Old Kamloops Road and Barnard Avenue (which is really 30th Avenue and is only secretly Barnard from back when our city fathers knew how to name a street) because they have names and not forgettable numbers.

I know, I know, it’s easier to get around for tourists (and locals who never bothered to learn the streets) with numbers cause it makes sense and you can figure it out.

That never carried much weight for me cause I always figured if I was giving directions it’s always about landmarks, past and present, anyway. Which means if you haven’t lived here for at least a couple decades you’re likely out of luck … and it goes something like this:

“As you come down Hospital Hill you go though a set of lights where NOCA Dairy and the Vernon Fruit Union used to be across from Polson Park and the old Fulton School (which ain’t there anymore) but is now a plaza and a warehouse store. Keep going and go past OK Tel, or Telus I guess, and you come to bank corner, which used to be three banks and is soon going to be one, CIBC, which actually sits where the Bay and Shop-Easy used to be.

”Keep going through that light, past the old Vernon Lock & Cycle and Mr. Mike’s, until you get to the light with KFC that’s been there for decades, kitty corner from what used to be Art’s (B/A) Gulf gas station and is now a parking lot for the credit union which has a new name but the same site. Keep going again, past the first and second Super-Valu buildings (Total Pet, Staples), past the old Dairy Queen roof (Telus) and the gas station that’s now a pizza joint and you’re pretty much on your way.

“When you get to a restaurant that looks like it used to be a Sambo’s you’ve reached 43rd Avenue I think and then the next light after that is 48th so you take a right, you can’t take a left, and just stay on that road all the way to Butcher Boys, which has always been there, which is where the road becomes Silver Star Road, and don’t ask me why it can’t be called that all the way to the highway, and you are on your way to Silver Star Mountain Resort in mere minutes. Now wasn’t that easy?”

Or they could just use their GPS.



roger@vernonmorningstar.com

Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter.

Just Posted

Salmon Arm artists spread paint at home and abroad

Rebecca Shepherd and Roxi Hermsen apply experience to local mural painting business

Cherries ripening for the picking in Salmon Arm

U-pick owner says it’s not all doom and gloom as it might be for some Okanagan growers

Public asked to help monitor CP Rail coal trains passing through Shuswap

Residents are asked to contact rail company if they see trains emitting coal dust

Highway 1 reopens following vehicle fire west of Chase

The Highway has reopend to single-lane alternating traffic, delays are expected due to congestion.

Letter: Better ways for Downtown Salmon Arm businesses to address poverty

Prohibiting sitting or lying down both measures designed to make poverty invisible and criminal

VIDEO: Okanagan Valley weekday weather update

Environment Canada says it’s going to be a rainy week

UPDATE: Youth seen with gun at Nanaimo mall, suspect now in custody

Woodgrove Centre shut down during police incident

B.C. man dies from rabies after contact with Vancouver Island bat

Last known case of human rabies in B.C. was 16 years ago

Crown recommends up to two-year jail term for former Bountiful leader

Crown says sentence range should be 18 months to two years for Bountiful child removal case

B.C.-wide police efforts identify Vancouver Island robbery suspect

Warrant issued for arrest of North Vancouver man for TD Bank robbery

VIDEO: Wolf spotted swimming ashore on northern Vancouver Island

Island wolf population estimated at under 150 in 2008, says VI-Wilds

Our history in picture: What’s under construction?

Is this the Royal Bank under construction? The decade is the 1970s.… Continue reading

Diversity a Canadian strength, Trudeau says of Trump tweets at congresswomen

Trudeau avoided using Trump’s name when he was asked about the president’s Twitter comments

Most Read