The North Okanagan is a beautiful place with grasslands, breathtaking mountainscapes and glistening lakes. But it is also a diverse area with a rich Indigenous culture and a deep-rooted sense of place and community. There are plenty of ways to soak up art, culture, music and heritage in the Vernon Area. So on your next visit to Silver Star, why not expand your horizons once your mountain adventures are done for the day?
1. Learn About Indigenous Culture
Vernon is located on the traditional and unceded territories of the Syilx Nation, also known as the Okanagan people. The Syilx Nation has a rich history and culture, passed down through generations. One way to experience and learn about their living culture is through the K’nma?ka? S?nqâ?t?n Garden, located at the Vernon campus of Okanagan College. Visit the garden to see a display of Indigenous plants harvested throughout the Okanagan territory by the Syilx Okanagan people.
2. Go To Market
Take home a one-of-a-kind souvenir as a reminder of your trip and support small, local businesses in the process. The Polson Artisan Night Market, which runs in the spring and summer months, also has pop-ups throughout the season at special events and festivals in Vernon and Silver Star. Browse stalls from local artisans, makers, builders, and provisioners to connect with the creative side of the North Okanagan.
3. Celebrate Together at Local Events
Whether you visit in the winter or summer, Silver Star offers fun events and festivals for the whole family. Signature winter events including Light Up Festival, Winter Carnival, and the ice sculpture competition. Spring heralds SEISMIC Festival and the newly minted SovereigntoSilverStar Ski Marathon. Meanwhile, foodies love Silver Star’s summer beer and wine festivals and the highly anticipated Crankworx mountain bike events. Check out our events calendar for a full list.
Just 20 minutes down the road, Vernon has its very own roster of exciting programming throughout the year, including workshops, fairs, live music, and cultural experiences.
4. Enjoy Canadian Art
For art lovers, Gallery Odin is a must-see. Celebrating 25 years, it features a diverse collection of works by local and national artists. Gallery Odin rotates the gallery once in winter and summer and you can find them.
While you’re exploring markets and galleries in the Vernon area, you may come across the stunning pieces of Raffaella Vaz. Under the moniker of Vaz Art Gallery, she specializes in custom acrylic paintings of BC mountain scenery and Okanagan Lake views. Vaz is one of many incredible artists based right here in the Okanagan. Learn more about the local art scene by checking out the Vernon Arts Council.
5. Step Back In Time
The Vernon Museum and Archives is a culture and heritage hub featuring exhibits, programs and workshops that pay tribute to the diverse culture and heritage of the area. Its sibling, SilverStar Museum, is a self-guided tour through Silver Star Village that showcases recent history and introduces visitors to the interesting characters who helped shape the ski town.
6. Explore the Vernon Area’s Grassroots Music Scene
Audiophiles take note. Vernon might be small, but its grassroots music scene is growing. A jazz club with a vintage vibe is just one of several music venues in town that offer live entertainment year-round. Vernon also boasts two record shops, where you can browse for hidden audio treasure.
After a day of play in the mountains, head out for some live music, hit the museum or check out local art. You’re sure to find unexpected experiences and plenty of fun along the way.
Photo credits: Sebastien Brule, Lianne Viau, Jackson Parker, Brian Goldstone, Bree Vanderleest