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PHOTOS: A Canada Day extravaganza in Vernon’s Polson Park

Plenty of activities are on offer throughout the day
The Okanagan Science Centre brought out its animatronic dinosaur for kids to see. (Brendan Shykora - Morning Star)

It’s one big party in Polson Park as hundreds gather to celebrate Canada Day Saturday, July 1.

People from far and wide came to the Vernon park to enjoy live music all day, food trucks, kids activities and much more.

There was a skateboard competition at the Polson Park skate park at 10 a.m., when Sadok Ukrainian dancers also performed at the band shell.

The Vernon Community Arts Centre had a booth for kids to take part in arts and crafts, and kids also enjoyed a bouncy castle and a spray park.

The Polson Market was in full force from 11 a.m. to 6 p.m. with dozens of local vendors.

As a healthy snack option, free local cherries were on offer from 1-2 p.m.

An all-ages bike parade also left from the pavilion at 2 p.m.

For some, celebrating Canada Day in Vernon is a longstanding annual tradition. For others, it was their first time experiencing the national holiday.

“We brought our grandkids from Portland, Oregon, up to celebrate Canada Day for the first time in their lives,” said Vernon resident Debbie Ross. “We just stood in line for the bouncy castle here and we’re having a good time, and we’re going to be going around and looking at the displays. Then we’re heading out to the pool in Armstrong.”

Ross says she’s always loved celebrating Canada Day, adding her daughter is in the RCMP and is wearing her Red Serge uniform in Coquitlam today.

There will be no fireworks in Vernon for the second straight year, which is good as far as Ross is concerned.

“I’m very happy about that. My dog gets absolutely freaked out by the fireworks and it’s too much of a fire hazard.”

Rick Van Valkengoed was enjoying the perfect weather with his family in the park. Canada Day is a special day for him.

“I’m a first generation Canadian, my parents came over from Holland after the Second World War when the Canadian government opened up the borders for the Dutch, and yeah, it’s very important,” he said.

The most eye-catching feature of Polson Park on Saturday was a giant animatronic dinosaur, which belongs to Gordon Schnare of the Okanagan Science Centre.

“This is my own personal dinosaur, but we do have another dinosaur who lives inside the Science Centre,” said Schnare.

The Spinosaurus, named Karen, was purchased by Schnare’s family from an auction at the same time as the Science Centre purchased it’s dinosaur.

On top of showing off Karen, Schnare was performing a fan-favourite science experiment. Every half hour he would do a ‘Coke and Mentos geyser,’ dropping a Mentos in a bottle of Coke using a 3D-printed nozzle before running away and watching the Coke shoot 20 feet into the air.

“I really enjoy seeing everyone out in Polson Park, it’s great to see the community come together,” said Schnare.

For a full list of activities at Polson Park today, visit

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Brendan Shykora
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People were all dressed up in red and white to celebrate Canada Day in style. (Brendan Shykora - Morning Star)
Kids took turns playing in a bouncy castle and slide in the park. (Brendan Shykora - Morning Star)
A child takes part in some arts and crafts outside of the Vernon Community Arts Centre. (Brendan Shykora - Morning Star)
Live music is on all day at the band shell in Polson Park. (Brendan Shykora - Morning Star)
A skateboard competition was held in the Polson Park skate park Saturday morning. (Brendan Shykora - Morning Star)
Hundreds of people came out to Polson Park to celebrate Canada Day with a day of activities for all ages Saturday, July 1, 2023. (Brendan Shykora - Morning Star)

Brendan Shykora

About the Author: Brendan Shykora

I started as a carrier at the age of 8. In 2019 graduated from the Master of Journalism program at Carleton University.
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