Vernon historian uncovers 30 years of film footage from the North Okanagan

'This is capturing history'

Today's trip down memory lane will be done through the lens of prolific Vernon cameraman Doug Kermode.

Vernon historian and videographer Francois Arsenault has compiled years of footage from Kermode that acts a time machine, covering decades of life in the Okanagan.

Kermode was born in Vernon, in 1913, and graduated from Vernon high school, before following in his father's footsteps as an amateur photographer.

The video montage Arseneault has put together shows everyday life as well as significant events in the Valley from 1938 to 1969.

“This is capturing history. This is why these old reels are so important and worth preserving. Doug Kermode committed himself to decades of camera work during his career, and it’s only in recent years that it's truly being appreciated for its historical significance,” said Arseneault.

“These are some of the best and most tangible links to our collective past. I have been, and continue to scour, the Valley for any of Doug’s reels that likely are sitting forgotten in a corner of a closet or in the basement. I believe Doug may have shot colour footage in 1937 or '38 of the British Columbia Dragoons training on horseback for the last time. The horses would be traded for motorbikes and eventually tanks in just three years.”

Arseneault has done extensive research on Kermode and his works.

“Beginning as a freelance photographer in 1938, Doug honed his skills. In 1940 he worked for George Meeres, another important early Vernon commercial photographer. Doug was primarily a photographer; however, he often was out and about with a 16mm (movie) camera capturing everyday, but still amazing, footage throughout the Valley. He retired in 1982.”

Arseneault met Kermode in 1978, and his influence led Arseneault to become a photographer a few years later.

Arseneault is an accomplished photographer and videographer in his own right, having travelled extensively – including to Bosnia with the Canadian Armed Forces.

Along with a large collection of vintage videos, Arseneault's original works can be viewed on his Youtube page that has more than 1,100 videos.

This month also marks the fourth anniversary of Arseneault's vintage videos being featured on Castanet.

Arseneault is always looking for more information on the vintage footage he digs up, and he encourages people to add their input in the comments section on his Youtube page.

Arseneault has an extensive collection of vintage footage, and he is looking for more.

Anyone who may have old 16 mm or 8 mm film footage of the Vernon and Okanagan area is invited to email Arseneault at [email protected].

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