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Settling in Canada City of Vernon PROFILE

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Vernon is the northern hub of BC’s Okanagan Valley, known for its spectacular natural setting, recreational opportunities and warm climate.


Vernon Facts

Vernon website

Population: 58,590 (2011)

Location – Western Canada
BC’s Okanagan Valley, between Vancouver and Calgary.

Hot dry summers, mild, snowy winters.

Vernon is the northern hub of BC’s Okanagan Valley, known for its spectacular natural setting, recreational opportunities and warm climate.

It is also a key centre for business and industry in the region. An economy rooted in agriculture has diversified to include agri-food operations, manufacturing, technology and a growing professional services sector.

Vernon features:

  • Ranked BC’s 3rd Best Place to Live by MoneySense Magazine in 2010.
  • Ranked the Most Entrepreneurial City in BC by the Canadian Federation of Independent Business in 2009.
  • Profiled as one of North America’s top six cities to retire in by Consumer Reports Magazine in 2005.
  • Abundant parks, trails, resorts and locally grown food.
  • Excellent transportation links and 25 minutes from the Kelowna International Airport.
  • Regional hospital with full array of health services.
  • A vibrant downtown with community events held throughout the year.



Vernon was founded in 1892 as an agricultural trading centre. Today it continues to attract new residents, particularly from Europe, who are drawn to the wide open spaces and natural setting between three lakes and the Monashee Mountains.

As of the 2011 National Household Survey, there were 6,705 immigrants living in Vernon – 11.8 per cent of the total population. Of these, 11.8 per cent – 790 people in all – arrived between 2006 and 2011.

Countries of origin
United Kingdom, Germany, United States, Other places of birth in Europe, Netherlands, India, Other places of birth, Poland, South Africa, Republic of, Ukraine.

First languages spoken
English, German, French, Dutch, Panjabi (Punjabi).

No religious affiliation, Other Christian, Catholic, United Church, Anglican, Baptist.

Countries of origin

These are the 30 most common birthplaces of immigrants to Vernon.

Country of Origin Total Immigrant Population (2011) Immigrants Arriving 2006 – 2011
United Kingdom 1,780 165
Germany 755 15
United States 690 100
Other places of birth in Europe 680
Netherlands 370
India 245 30
Other places of birth 225
Poland 220 0
South Africa, Republic of 195 85
Ukraine 185 125
Philippines 130 70
Other places of birth in Americas 120
China 110 0
Other places of birth in Asia 95
France 85 0
Russian Federation 75 20
Romania 60 0
Other places of birth in Africa 60
El Salvador 55
Croatia 55
Japan 50 0
Mexico 45 0
Hungary 45
Ireland, Republic of 45
Hong Kong Special Administrative Region 40 0
Viet Nam 40 0
Italy 30
Pakistan 25 0
Korea, South 25
Portugal 20

‡ Statistics Canada did not publish data for some countries of origin for recent immigrants.
Source: Statistics Canada (2011 National Household Survey)

First languages

These are the top ten “first languages” – the mother tongue spoken by people who live in the region.

Mother Tongue Number (2011) % of Population (2011)
English 51,170 88.8%
German 1,800 3.1%
French 930 1.6%
Dutch 515 0.9%
Panjabi (Punjabi) 505 0.9%
Russian 475 0.8%
Ukrainian 460 0.8%
Spanish 175 0.3%
Polish 150 0.3%
Tagalog (Pilipino, Filipino) 145 0.3%

Source: Statistics Canada (2011 Census of Canada)


These are the religions with the most adherents in Vernon.

Religion # of Adherents (2011)
No religious affiliation 25,285
Other Christian 9,420
Catholic 7,350
United Church 4,020
Anglican 3,510
Baptist 1,775
Lutheran 1,750
Pentecostal 1,055
Presbyterian 600
Other religions 515
Buddhist 380
Sikh 290

Source: Statistics Canada (2011 National Household Survey)

Housing Information


Vernon offers numerous housing options, ranging from single family homes to multi-family housing. Established family neighbourhoods are close to schools, shops and amenities, and newer neighbourhoods offer remarkable views of Okanagan Lake and the valley.

Several services, including real estate agents, property management companies and community organizations, help people find housing in the community.

Average rents
The average monthly rent for a one bedroom apartment in April 2013 was $636 and a two bedroom apartment was $785. The average monthly rent for a three bedroom apartment was $851.

Vacancy rate and availability
In Vernon, the vacancy rate for one bedroom rental apartments was 6 per cent and for two bedroom apartments was 9 per cent. The vacancy rate of three bedroom rental apartments was 10.8 per cent. This was the proportion of rental apartments that are vacant and ready for move-in in April 2013.

The proportion, in April 2013, of apartments that are vacant or for which the present occupant has given notice to move-out was 7.6 per cent for one bedroom apartments, 9.3 per cent for two bedroom apartments, and 11.5 per cent for three bedroom apartments.

Home purchase prices
In Vernon, the average house price, in 2012, was $377,979.

For more up-to-date information, see CMHC's Housing Market Information website, and the Canadian Housing Observer.

Housing help

Canada Mortgage & Housing Corporation – Housing information for Newcomers

These agencies can help you find housing:

Settlement Worker, Vernon and District Immigrant Services

Housing Outreach Worker – John Howard Society for the North Okanagan/Kootenay

Seniors Information and Resource Bureau – Social Planning Council for the North Okanagan





Vernon has worked hard to create a community where small businesses flourish. Over 90 per cent of all businesses in the region employ 20 people or less, and much of the region’s growth is from people who move to Vernon and bring their employment with them.

In the next two decades Vernon expects the fastest growth to come in industries such as retail trade, health care and social services, education, manufacturing, accommodation and food services, professional, scientific and technical services, transportation and warehousing.

Job search help

These web sites list jobs in Vernon:

Vernon Economic Development

Vernon Immigrant Services Employment Assistance Service

Community Futures North Okanagan

North Okanagan Employment Enhancement Society

First Nations Employment Support

Private employment services may also be available

Business start-ups

These organizations offer advice and support to people starting small businesses in Vernon.

Vernon Economic Development

Greater Vernon Chamber of Commerce

Community Futures North Okanagan

North Okanagan Employment Enhancement Society

Downtown Vernon Association

Accelerate Okanagan

Business Development Bank of Canada

Small Business BC

Entering the workforce

This organization helps immigrants evaluate foreign credentials

World Education Services Canada

These organizations help immigrants enter the Greater Sudbury workforce:

Professions North/Nord
Assists internationally trained professionals in Northern Ontario reach their career goals by bridging the gap between education, experience, culture, and employment. Professionals from any field are encouraged to develop a portfolio to enhance their marketability to employers and to further develop their Canadian workplace communication and knowledge through PNN services.



Adults seeking post-secondary education have a variety of options in or near Vernon. In addition to colleges and universities, community programs offer a wide array of non-credit courses.

Vernon provides education for children from kindergarten through grade 12 in its public school system. Elementary, secondary and alternate schools offer such programs as French immersion, Montessori, English as a Second Language and home-based learning. Transportation programs (e.g. school bus) are in place for most schools.

Universities and colleges in or near Vernon

Okanagan University College
Provides applied degree, diploma and certificate programs in a variety of fields.

University of BC – Okanagan in Kelowna
Located 37 km from Vernon. Offers degree programs for both graduate and undergraduate students.

Thompson Rivers University in Kamloops
Located 123 Km from Vernon. Offers traditional degree programs, many allowing diploma and certificate program graduates access through distance education.

Elementary and secondary schools (for children and youth)

School District 22

Private schools may also be available.

Community Services


Vernon is home to many cultural groups and more than 70 places of worship, providing newcomers the opportunity to meet others and share familiar customs and traditions.

People immigrating to Vernon will also receive a warm welcome from Vernon and District Immigrant Services Society. This non-profit society offers many services for newcomers, immigrants, refugees, visible minorities and first generation Canadians, helping with their settlement and integration into Vernon. Services are offered in a multitude of languages, and recommendations can be made to link newcomers to necessary community services.

Settlement Help

These organizations provide all kinds of support to immigrants:

Vernon and District Immigrant Services Society
Staff and volunteers provide assistance with citizenship and immigration applications, accreditation of diplomas and degrees, coaching for certificates and licenses, language training, employment services, translation and interpretation.

Can We Help You Directory

Welcome BC

Citizen and Immigration Canada
Provides information on coming to Canada to immigrate, study, work and live. On this website you will find forms, policies and regulations, research, services, publications and visa offices.

Other help

These websites provide information on public transit, child care and other community services

City of Vernon

Can We Help You Directory

Vernon and District Immigrant Services Society

Welcome BC

HealthLink BC

Vernon Regional Transit

Immigrants’ stories

Hans Peter Mayr, President and CEO of Sparkling Hill Resort

Hans Peter Mayr came to Canada under British Columbia’s Provincial Nominee Program. Today, he is the President and CEO of Sparkling Hill Resort and Wellness Hotel – a 152 room luxury hotel, including 40,000 square feet of spa treatments. This is Vernon’s single largest private sector project estimated at $120 million.

Frank Deiter, Founder, Okanagan Spirits

Frank Deiter, moved from Germany to Canada in 1989 and is the founder and master distiller for Okanagan Spirits, a premium distillery located in Vernon. The distillery utilizes 100% BC fruits to produce twenty-five different types of world class fruit spirits.

Jakob Tobler and Buko Von Krosigk, Founders, Okanagan Spring Brewery

Okanagan Spring Brewery was started in Vernon by German immigrants Jakob Tobler and Buko Von Krosigk in 1985. Today, the brewery is owned by Sapporo, one of Japan’s largest brewers. Okanagan Spring continues to offer a variety of craft beers including Pale Ale, 1516 Bavarian Lager, Hopped Lager, Porter, Brewmaster’s Black Lager, and a Hefeweizen. The brewery also brews Sleeman’s and a variety of value brands under the Sleeman’s umbrella.

Kurt Knuever, Founder, Tekmar Control Systems

Since its founding in 1984 as a family business, Tekmar has introduced innovative controls to the North American hydronic heating industry. The family’s roots can be traced to West Germany where businessman Kurt Knuever partnered with his brother-in-law to establish an applied electronics company that later became Tekmar, a manufacturer of heating system controls. In 1980 Kurt moved his family to Canada and founded Tekmar Control Systems together with his daughter, Ulrike, and son-in-law, Don Gibbs.




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