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Vernon officially unveils new Civic Memorial park

Once the site of the old Civic Arena, new space has a diverse set of amenities

Since 1938, the Civic Arena in Vernon had been the spot for all the top hockey and lacrosse games across the city.

The arena had been the lifeblood of the city until 2018, when it officially closed its doors. Now, six years later, the arena has been spiritually resurrected in the form of a park, dubbed the Civic Memorial Park.

“When I would come up here in the late ’60s and play hockey, boy, coming to Vernon was serious stuff,” said mayor Victor Cumming. “There was also a lot of lacrosse and ringette inside the building.

“For a century, it was a central figure in Vernon’s life and now, this new park will be a place for future generations to create lots more memories.”

The centrally-located park offers a range of amenities, including a playground, walking trail, picnic area, gathering spaces, ping-pong and foosball tables, and public washrooms.

A shade pavilion, crafted from reclaimed wood from the original Civic Arena, is prominently displayed, along with numerous concrete blocks that help pay homage to the old ice surface.

Portions of the construction were funded by PacifiCan, the dedicated federal economic development agency for British Columbians, with the total project coming in on budget. There are also two electric vehicle charging stations in the parking lot.

When asked about concerns regarding homelessness congregating within the park, Cumming explained that there has been “none at all.”

“What we have is a system in the community which identifies where people are able to camp, and our bylaw and RCMP understand that. It has been quite successful, we got staff on until late in the evening and then the RCMP in the night.

“I don’t think it will be a concern.”

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Bowen Assman

About the Author: Bowen Assman

I joined The Morning Star team in January 2023 as a reporter. Before that, I spent 10 months covering sports in Kelowna.
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