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Vernon is a major service centre for the North Okanagan region, with many large retail stores. It has been referred to as the "Gateway to the Okanagan" and "The City of Festivals". History: Prior to European settlement, Vernon was home of several different Indigenous groups including Iroquois and Salish peoples. The first Europeans in this area were fur traders who arrived in 1808. In 1870, gold was discovered on Silver Mountain just north of town (now called Silver Star Mountain Resort). This triggered a massive influx into what became known as Gold Canyon between Kalamalka Lake and Coldstream Ranch where prospectors staked their claims along Gold Creek which runs through that canyon today.