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The city is a commercial and industrial centre in the Okanagan Valley, with several large industries. It has been referred to as "the Gateway to the North" because it is on Highway 97, which connects British Columbia's interior with its northern border. The highway also links Vernon directly to Kelowna (to the south) and Prince George (to the north). Vernon was named after Forbes George Vernon, a former MLA of British Columbia who helped establish Coldstream Ranch near Fort Langley in 1858. He later went on to become an MP for Westminster Abbey from 1865–1868 and finally became Lieutenant Governor of Manitoba from 1872-1878.