Vernon, home to the most amazing home-baked pies I have ever had the pleasure of devouring (Davison Orchards), and an incredible little Okanagan gem.
While I haven’t had the opportunity to do any globe-trotting, I have had the pleasure of venturing throughout the incredible Canadian Landscape. I have been privileged enough to have seen both of our vast coastal areas and have been inspired by each in their own unique way, (how I dream of Tofino). I stumbled upon Vernon a few years ago when my husband and I decided to move from our life in the Prairies. We had decided, without any real knowledge of the area, that we would move to Kelowna, B.C. It didn’t take us long to realize that affordability in this area was pretty much forbidden, unless you were fortunate to have landed a high paying union job or found Uncle Bob’s stash of money hidden in the attic.
Never the less, we were forever transformed by the rolling landscape, the mountains and fields covered in thick orchards and the endless amount of incredible lakes that surround the area. Pristine and at the same time, moving. We drove throughout Kelowna, disappointed that housing prices exceeded our budget and we anxiously hoped for a little piece of our own paradise.
We drove, and drove and happened upon the lovely, misunderstood little city of Vernon. A meer 45 minute drive from the miniature version of California (Kelowna) and we were home. We knew it, the instant that we arrived here. While the home we purchased was and is, far from our dream home, and we have had the occasional struggle finding affordable childcare, gas, and anything else for that matter, we knew we would be happy here.
I remember my first summer here, it was HOT, and wonderful. I had never daydreamed about being a beach-bum until I moved here. Working at my 8 to 5 job was cruelty in it’s purest form, and I longed to take a great book to accompany me to the beach, or sit with Mr.T and eat ice cream as we would watch seagulls attack the smallest morsel of food. That first summer, and every summer since, I have anticipated the local Farmer’s Markets and have become familiar with the local fruit for each month. I have become familiar with the vendors whose produce I like best. I look forward to Monday and Thursdays, from Spring until Fall, to fill up my bags with nothing but the best. That first summer, and every one since, I gazed at Kalamalka Lake in awe. How could anybody take this incredible beauty for granted? I loved listening to teenagers laughing on the dock while they would swing their legs and playfully fend off the boys who would try to throw them into the water. I loved watching babies take some of their first few steps in the wet sand, only to look down in confusion or enjoyment. I loved driving by and glancing at the whimsical aquas and purples that filled the lake. I loved, and still do, the smell of the air and the feeling of the hot wind gracing my face.
It wasn’t just the summertime that made me fall in love with this place, it was all of it. The winter months, if you can call them winter, were mild. I became so accustomed to the mild winters, I was complaining about the cold at minus 10, but would remember quick
I may joke with my friends about the trials and tribulations of living in the ‘Brokanagan’, but those are the superficial things, like money, and money and well, money. Yes, there isn’t a lot of room here to make a six figure income and buy your dream orchard, but there is a heck of a lot more to make you happy. Just ask around.