Recreation & Culture

Vernon is a very active community, with something for everyone.  Sports include soccer (indoor and outdoor), baseball, hockey, ice skating, curling, tennis, basketball, and volleyball. An indoor swimming pool at the Vernon Recreation Centre offers lessons and drop-in swimming.  The area is also home to a newly constructed Greater Vernon Athletics Park,  a track and field facility with natural and artificial turf and spectator seating for events including football and soccer.  

Vernon is surrounded by three lakes and with an abundance of fishing lakes, golf courses, trails, and ski terrain.  Vernon is an ideal year-round playground. The hot, dry summers attract visitors from all over, and winter brings plenty of snow to Silver Star Mountain and Sovereign Lake Nordic Centre for a variety of activities. 

The Vernon area is home to a thriving arts scene with an impressive selection of cultural activities for all ages and interests.  The city of Vernon offers many cultural and educational facilities, organizations, and activities, such as the Vernon Public Art Gallery, the Greater Vernon Museum & Archive,  the Okanagan Science Centre, the Vernon Library, O'Keefe Ranch,  live theatre and music venues, dance studios, reading clubs, summer music festivals, the Vernon Winter Carnival, and more.

Vernon Library

The library provides free book, music, and video loans as well as special events and programs.  It has a growing collection of books in languages other than English and has meeting space available for groups. Library cards are free for residents. The library offers services for newcomers to the community such as online and printed book language learning and international newspapers.  Click for hours and location.

Arts & Culture Activities & Classes

Arts and culture is alive and well in Vernon! The North Okanagan Arts Council and the Vernon Community Arts Centre support numerous artistic and cultural projects within the community.  The Arts Centre provides year-round creative programming and the public is encouraged to drop by, check out the handiwork of local artists, or sign up for a class. There’s one to match any interest, from painting and drawing to spinning, weaving, rock hounding and gardening.
Vernon is also home to the Vernon and District Performing Arts Centre, the Vernon Museum and Archives, the Vernon Public Art Gallery, Powerhouse Theatre, Caetani Centre and numerous other galleries and live theatre groups.
Several festivals take place throughout the year, including the Vernon Winter Carnival, Sunshine Festival, Funtastic Slo-pitch and Music Festival, and Creative Chaos. These, along with many other events, displays and shows, add to Vernon’s vibrant and vital cultural scene.

Seniors Activities

There many arts, culture and recreational activities and facilities for seniors in Vernon.  A wide-ranging directory of seniors services is available through Nexus BC.  Some of the recreational activities are are:

The Halina Seniors Centre was opened in 1973. They are open to all seniors 50 years and over, offering a variety of entertainment. The Halina Centre is located within the Vernon Recreation Complex, and more information can be found by calling 250.542.2877.

Vernon Recreation Services offers a seniors discount on its recreation programming.  Click to search the available programs

The Schubert Centre offers a variety of activities for seniors, including pancake breakfasts, flea markets, crafting, live music, bingo, 50/50, card games, shuffleboard, table tennis, dancing and more!

Many seniors enjoy outdoor lawn bowling.  Visit their website or phone 250-549-4100

One of the fastest growing sports in North America, a cross between tennis and table tennis, pickleball’s popularity may have to do with the fact that it is lower intensity than tennis, making it more accessible.  

 Walking is a popular activity.  View the walking schedule for Kal Tire Place and Greater Vernon Athletics Park.

Natural World and Science

Vernon offers many unique places to explore the natural world. 

The Okanagan Science Centre inspires scientific inquiry through dynamic and interactive educational programs and exhibits.  Perched atop the grasslands just south of Vernon the Allan Brooks Nature Centre (ABNC) is your place to satisfy your natural curiosity and reconnect with the joys of nature. The Centre offers an interpretive centre with activity rooms, display space, indoor and outdoor classrooms, picnic and play areas, an artist studio, native plant gardens, viewpoint sitting areas, and a wheelchair friendly grasslands trail around the grounds.

More than 80 parks and playgrounds are scattered throughout the Greater Vernon area, providing plenty of options to explore in your own neighbourhood or across town. For a complete list of parks, see the Greater Vernon Recreation Services website.
Provincial Parks

Vernon is fortunate to be located in close proximity to several Provincial Parks. These include Kalamalka Lake, Ellison, Kekuli Bay, Silver Star and Mabel Lake Provincial Parks.

Kalamalka Lake Provincial Park has an abundance of trails that wind through grasslands, providing stunning views and access to some of the region’s best beaches on Kalamalka lake.

Ellison Provincial Park, located on the northeastern shore of Okanagan Lake, has a mix of forested hillsides and open areas and offers excellent camping and numerous trails for hiking and mountain biking.

Kekuli Bay Provincial Park, located on Kalamalka Lake, offers camping and easy access to the Okanagan Rail Trail.

Silver Star Provincial Park, 22 kilometres northeast of Vernon, includes Silver Star Mountain Resort and Sovereign Lake Nordic Trails and is ideal for year-round recreation.

Mabel Lake Provincial Park, located north of Lumby, has camping and beautiful beaches.

In addition to the trails in the provincial parks, numerous trails wind in and around the community. Because of the variety of distance and terrain, you will be able to plan enjoyable outings that take less than an hour or all day. For a comprehensive list, description, and maps of the trails, visit the Ribbons of Green Trails Society website.

The network of trails provides endless opportunities for walking, hiking, and getting out on your mountain bike. The North Okanagan Cycling Society maintains over 200 km of mountain biking trails throughout the region. If you prefer to stay off the trails, you can find maps of cycling routes on the Greater Vernon Recreation Services website. These maps are also available for no charge at locations listed on the website.

Summer in Vernon means sunny days relaxing at one of the local beaches. The two largest beaches are Kin Beach, at the north end of Okanagan Lake, and Kal Beach, at the north end of Kalamalka Lake. Soak up the sun, sit in the shade, play beach volleyball, build sand castles, take a dip in the lake, or try stand-up paddleboarding.

You can also find a number of smaller, quieter beaches dotted around Okanagan Lake and in Kalamalka Lake Provincial Park. Swan Lake, at the north end of the city, does not have a public beach. Swan Lake is a popular fishing spot, especially for ice fishing during the winter. In spring and summer you will also see rowers and dragonboat teams working on their skills.

Athletics Clubs and Groups

Many recreation activities are provided at the Vernon Recreation Centre (referred to as the Rec Centre), which  houses the aquatic centre (swimming pools), a fitness gym, several gymnasiums, several ice arenas, and the curling rink. 

Recreation Services also works in partnership with community sports organizations and individuals to provide and promote a wide variety of activities in the City's Leisure Guide booklet that lists activities, classes, and groups.  

Hockey is known worldwide as a favourite sport across Canada, and Vernon is no exception. Boys and girls can learn and improve their skills by playing in the Greater Vernon Minor Hockey Association. Vernon currently has 3 indoor ice arena’s (Kal Tire Place, Priest Valley Arena and Civic Arena). There is also one outdoor rink (Centennial Outdoor Rink). The City of Vernon is currently constructing an additional ice surface north of Kal Tire Place. The facility is scheduled to be completed in the fall of 2018.

If you're looking to attend a live hockey game, the Vernon Vipers junior hockey team is sure to entertain. Make it a great night out for the entire family. 

Vernon's first soccer team was formed in 1952, leading to a strong soccer association for youth, men's, and women's teams. The indoor soccer centre makes it possible to play during winter months when the outdoor fields are not in use. 

Baseball is a popular spring and summer activity. Contact the Vernon Baseball Association for information.

If you like to golf, there are courses in the Vernon area for every ability level, from award-winning destination resorts to pitch-and-putt. Courses include:

You can find tennis courts at many of the parks in Vernon. You can also join the Vernon Tennis Association for more organized programs and tournaments.

During the summer you will see many sailboats on Okanagan Lake. The North Okanagan Sailing Association offers learn-to-sail programs for adults and youth so that you can experience the thrill of sailing.

The Greater Vernon Athletics Park offers track and field facilities, throw and jump areas, and houses both a synthetic and a natural turf field. The Athletics Park is FREE for general public use.  Access to the facility is through the entrance to the Okanagan College campus, off of College Way and Highway 97.

Vernon Triple ‘A’ Athletics Club provides a safe, fun and friendly learning environment for young athletes to participate in.  Competitive training is also offered if you are interested in competing in Track Meets during the season.  Training is offered in sprints, hurdles, high jump, long jump, triple jump, javelin, discus, shot put, middle and long distance running.