Community Papers

Vernon's dark past recognized

The public is invited to the unveiling of a memorial plaque commemorating the 100th anniversary of Canada’s first national internment operations at 11 a.m. on Friday, Aug. 22.

The unveiling at the Sutton Building (2749-30th Street) Sunflower mural in downtown Vernon is part of a wave of 100 plaque unveilings at 100 different locations across Canada.

Mayor Rob Sawatzky and Colin Mayes, Member of Parliament for Okanagan-Shuswap, will be in attendance for the unveiling.

“The internment operations affected tens of thousands of people from many ethno-cultural communities over a period of nearly six years, causing inter-generational trauma that has been referenced by some scholars as a crippling legacy yet to be undone,” said Andrea Malysh, program manager for Canadian First World War Internment Recognition Fund and an internee descendant.

During Canada’s internment operations, which took place between 1914 and 1920, thousands of immigrants were imprisoned, stripped of wealth, forced into heavy labour, disenfranchised and subjected to other state-sanctioned censures.

“Recognition of the historical wrongs that occurred against our own citizens is the essential first step in moving toward the resolution of the effects of those wrongs that we all wish to achieve,” said Sawatzky.

Added Mayes: “It is important for all Canadians to understand the full scope of our history, including its more difficult periods. The unveiling of these commemorative plaques is an opportunity to remember and to honour all the victims of Canada’s first national internment operations.”

Plaque recipients are also the St. Mary’s Ukrainian Orthodox Church and St. Josaphat’s Ukrainian Catholic Church in Vernon.

For more information about Vernon’s memorial plaque unveiling, e-mail Andrea Malysh at or visit


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