Vernon historian unearths footage from the Okanagan in the late 1970s

Life was a beach in 1977

Today's trip down memory lane leads to the Okanagan in the 1970s.

It was an era of rock bands such as KISS, Led Zeppelin, Deep Purple and others that created sounds parents of teenagers hated.

MASH dominated TV and the Okanagan looked a lot different than it does today.

Vernon-based historian and videographer Francois Arseneault has unearthed colour footage from those bygone days.

“Kelowna’s floating bridge, opened in 1958, was still quite adequate enough to accommodate the daily traffic and the Coquihalla connector was more than a decade away,” Arseneault said. “Kelowna’s population wasn’t quite 50,000 and the skyline was no more than a few stories tall. The long-closed former Tolko mill still occupied a big part of the inner-city, though I’m not sure who operated the mill then. Log booms were a regular sight on the lake.”

On Ellison Lake, people enjoyed a water ski jumping event on a warm sunny day.

“Clearly this was a significant event as Labatts brewing had their promotional event van on location. Somehow, over the years, ski jumping has fallen out of vogue,” Arseneault said.

“Just south of Penticton, more people gather at the speedway for a weekend of hill climbing, both straight up testing the engine-building skills of talented mechanics and a rally like course through mud and dust on a winding, short course.”

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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