A dark history revealed

A dark segment of Vernon's history will be on the silver screen next week.

The Towne Theatre is showing That Never Happened, a movie about Canadian First World War internment camps.

The documentary, directed by Ryan Boyko and produced by Armistice Films Inc., recounts the forced internment of thousands of Ukrainians and other Europeans from 1914 to 1920.

Canadian law enforcement authorities targeted them, not for anything they had done, but simply because of who they were and where they came from.

An internment camp in Vernon housed hundreds of people and was located in what is now MacDonald Field, next to W.L. Seaton Secondary School.

Internment camps at Mara Lake and Monashee are also featured.

Boyko spent time in Vernon filming a documentary on the local camp. Boyko made a series of films documenting internment camps across Canada.

He said the camps were “covered up. No one talked about it after World War 1. Because no one talked about it, no one lobbied against it.”

It happened again to the Japanese less than two decades later.

“And if we forget about it again, it could happen again,” he said.

More than 88,000 people were forced to register and more than 8,500 were wrongfully imprisoned in concentration camps across Canada, not for anything they had done but because of where they came from.

“My chief aim was to honour the innocent men, women and children who were treated unjustly over a century ago, and all those who have suffered the ripple effects since,” said Boyko. “When we first started making this project, we thought we were making a historical documentary relevant to a few ethnic communities in Canada. We had no idea how incredibly relevant it would be today, not just in Canada but around the world! In these times of 'alternative facts,' xenophobia and talk of registering undesirable 'others,' this film has now become an urgent call to those who could easily repeat the mistakes of the past. This film aims to cultivate empathy in the place of fear.”

Following the showing on Feb. 27, Boyko will hold a question and answer session with the audience.

There will also be a wine and cheese reception following the show.

Tickets are $25 each and are available online through Ticket Seller, or by phone 250-549-SHOW (7469).

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