Vernon Army Cadet Summer Training Centre 

 

2011-12 Calendar (colour PDF download) 
2013 Photo Album (Daily updates Photos & Stories) updated 27 May 2014                        775 Photos
2012 Photo Album (Daily updates Photos & Stories) updated 10 Mar/2013                       2,287 Photos  
2011 Photo Album (Daily updates Photos & Stories) updated 16 Feb/2012                    1,769 Photos  
2010 Photo Album (Daily updates Photos & Stories) updated 5 Mar/2012                    1,233 Photos  
2009 Photo Album (Daily updates Photos & Stories) updated 6 Aug/2011                      933 Photos 
2008 Photo Album (Daily updates Photos & Stories)     1,086 Photos 
2007 Photo Album (Daily updates Photos & Stories)    2,163 Photos
2006 Photo Album (Daily updates Photos & Stories)    1,585 Photos

2005 Photo Album (Daily updates Photos & Stories)        684 photos  

Platoon Photos 1949 to date    914 photos

Nominal Rolls 1949-2004  -   47,145 names
Photo Gallery 1949 to date  Lots of photos
Aerial Photo Gallery 1937 to date 
Camp Buildings & Map
Coutts Common & the memorial benches  
Camp Commanders 1949 to date
Camp RSMs 1949 to date  
Camp Cadet RSMs 1983 to 2005   
Sword of Honour Winners 1976 to date
Sword of Excellence Winners 2003 to date
RSM's Pace Stick Award 1984 to date
LGen Vance Leadership Award Winners 1992 to date
Outstanding Cadet Leader Award (MGen Howard) 1984 to date
Blayne Materi Citzenship Award 1996 to date
Alexander Malczynski Memorial Trophy Smallbore competition 1978 to date
Lord Strathcona Trust Award
ANAVETS cadet medal of merit 1997 to date
Best Musician Advanced Pipes and Drums Course (replaces CLI)
Best Musician Advanced Military Band Course (replaces CLI)
Best Cadet Intermediate Military Band Course 2011 to date (replaces CL)
Best Cadet Intermediate Pipe Band Course 2011 to date  (replaces CL)
Best Cadet Basic Leadership 2010 to date (replaces CL)
Best Cadet Basic Sports & Fitness 2010  to date (replaces CL)
Best Musician Basic Pipe and Drum Course (replaces basic 3 week)  
Best Muscian Basic Band 2010  to date (replaces basic 3 week)  
Best Cadet Basic Marksman 2010 to date (replaces CL)
Best Cadet Basic Expedition 2010  to date (replaces CL) 
Best Cadet General Training Course 2010 to date (replaces basic 2 week)
Top First Aid Award
Top Cadet A Coy 1963-
Top Cadet B Coy 1963-
Top Cadet C Coy 1963-
Top Cadet D Coy 1963-
Top Cadet E Coy 1963-
Top Cadet F Coy 1963-
Top Cadet G Coy 1963-
Top Cadet H Coy 1963-
Top Cadet I Coy 1990-
Top Cadet J Coy 1963-
Top Cadet K Coy 1963-
Top Cadet Band Coy 1963-
Top Cadet Basic Course (2 Weekie) 1970- 2009
Top Cadet Driver Comm 1963-77
Western Command Trophy Winners (Best Cadet CLI) 1954-85
Fleming Most Proficient Cadet Trophy 1954-90
F.B. Jacques & Sons Track & Field Trophy 1954-80
Top Male Cadet Track & Field Trophy
Top Female Cadet Track & Field Trophy
ANAvets Swim Meet trophy
LCol Lilley Best Platoon on Adventure Training Trophy 1973-81
Mike Brown Swim Memorial Trophy 1970-85
Band Coy - Pipes & Drums Best Cadet 
Band Coy - Advanced Band Best Cadet 
Best Candidate Officers Training 1965-75
Best Platoon Junior Cadet Adventure Training
Best Company Tabloid Sports ANAvets 1973-85
VACC Swim Meet Best Junior Cadet 1981-85
Cadet Service Rifle Competition 1980-90
Battalion Drill Competition
Lou Hohenadel USMC Jr ROTC Roll
Annual Sports Day Top Platoon Senior Division
Best Cadet Company on Cadet Leader Adventure Training LCol D.D. Snow Trophy 1980-
Kam-Harder Supply Trophy Best Company for Care & Maintenance of Field Equipment 1976-
Top Instructors NCO Course (male & female) 1975-
Best Cadet CLI Course 1959-
Best Cadet CL Course 1959-
Best Cadet Radio & Tele Op Course 1959-
Best Cadet Driver MT1 Course 1959-
Best Cadet Senior Leaders Wing 1949-59
Best Cadet D&M Wing 1949-59
Best Cadet Signals Wing 1949-59
Bolt Cutter Award 1987 to date
Camp souvenirs badges & stuff
Reviewing Officers Grad/Final Parade 1949 to date
History Section (Ephemera: Papers, programs, menus, T-Shirts etc.)
Film & Video 66 videos
Music on the jukebox
Your Memories
Challenge Coin Registry

 


Back to main ACSTC page

 

Info - The only visitor access to the camp will be via the tunnel. The Gate at Bldg C39 / Hwy 97 has been permanently closed. All Guests are directed to enter the camp via the tunnel and report to the New Reception Centre in Bldg B35.

VACSTC - A brief history

Located on the southern outskirts of the City of Vernon, Vernon Army Cadet Summer Training Centre is perhaps one of the most picturesque Summer Training Centres in all of Canada along with Quadra on BC's west coast and the former camp in Banff, Alberta. The training centre sits atop Mission Hill surrounded by hills and forested  mountains. 

Vernon has a long military history. Located on the southern edge of the City of Vernon on Mission Hill, troops first trained on the hill in 1912. The 30th BC Horse was formed that year and a permanent annual district summer training camp for cavalry and infantry militia units was established in Vernon on the hill. In May of 1915 Camp Vernon became a central mobilization camp and training centre.  By 1916 there were more than 7000 men training at the camp while the city of Vernon had a population of barely 3000. Between the wars, the hill was home most summers to a concentration of BC militia regiments in the summer for several weeks.  

In the year after WWII broke out, Mission Hill became busy. In July of 1940, work was underway to expand and upgrade the facilities at the Vernon Army Camp.  Water and sewer lines were extended, and a few buildings slowly began to emerge.  In addition to the 5th Canadian Motorcycle Regiment (BCD), other units began to arrive at the camp for training. By August 30th, 1940 the ranks had swelled to well over 400 men. In September it was announced that the Vernon Army Camp would become permanent and would be upgraded to comfortably house 1,200 soldiers.  Indeed, by mid-month hundreds were employed erecting barracks and storerooms, and building roads.  By the third week in September over 40 buildings were under construction. At the height of World War II training, there were in excess of 7,000 troops at the camp at any given time.  For those living near the camp, the constant sounds of bugle calls, men shouting drill orders, trucks, and the distant resonance of exploding mortar shells and gunfire during practice sessions became part of their daily life. However, with so many soldiers in town, Vernonís economy thrived. Following VE Day in May 1945, the Vernon military camp's focus changed to becoming the Canadian Army Pacific Force (CAPF) training base, the camp would prepare Canadian units for battle in the Pacific and ultimately the invasion of Japan. With the sudden of end of war in August 1945, the camp quickly demobilized. 

 

By the spring of 1946, just handful staff remained at the camp. Many barracks on the upper camp were dismantled sold and rebuilt as housing for returning soldiers and their new families. The huts and barracks were scattered through the Vernon area. Hundred Homes on Vernon's East hill was constructed from several of these barracks.

Mothballed from 1946 to the spring of 1949, it reopened as an army cadet camp in July 1949, just 2 years after the camp had been stood down as a WWII Canadian Army Basic Infantry Training Centre and support camp for the Coldstream Ranch Battle Drill School. That first summer, some 1000 army cadets from BC and Alberta arrived by passenger train and trained for 10 days, a further 240 stayed behind to take 6 weeks of trades training. Vernon joined Ipperwash, Dundurn, Farnham and Aldershot as the main training camps for army cadets across Canada that summer.

Since 1949 some 80,000 cadets from across Canada have trained at this famous camp. In the 1940s and 50s, training focused on Infantry Basic Training, Driver Mechanic and Signals, over the years training changed with the times and today the emphasis is on leadership, adventure training, and fitness all with a military flavour.

Looking over the Camp, 1959 (Cam Leblond)

The camp's name has changed over the years, "Alberta - British Columbia Western Command Trades Training Camp" 1949-52,  "Western Command Trades Training Camp" 1950s, "Vernon Cadet Trades Training Camp" 1956-61, "Vernon Army Cadet Camp" 1962-1996, but it very much still reflects its early days with most of it's WWII constructed H-Huts barracks and mess halls still standing and used every summer albeit updated. HM Queen Elizabeth II visited the camp in 1959 during her cross-country tour. In the 1967 celebrating Canada's centennial, Band Company and the Guard toured the province after camp for a 2-week Tattoo tour of BC, that summer and for the first time, sea and air cadets also attending courses at Vernon. In 1974, the most important change occurred, the first female cadets attended an experimental 2 week course at the end of the summer to prepare them to be the first female staff cadets for the following year when female cadet would finally attend course at Vernon alongside the male cadets. With just a few years years female cadets were fully integrated into the training program in all courses with female CIL officers in various company and headquarter roles. Ex Rambler began as the main six day training exercise for all CL course cadets culminating with a three day 45km route march over the commonage. 

In 1977, USMC Jr ROTC Cadets from Washington State began a 13 year exchange program with the camp. In 1979, the camp celebrated it's 30th anniversary and the centennial of Royal Canadian Army Cadets with the first ever Freedom of the City Parade for Cadets anywhere in Canada. On Aug 4 that summer some 1300 cadets marched along a parade route in downtown Vernon, with drummers drumming, flags flying and weapons bourn. In 1994 the camp hosted the first ever reunion for an army cadet camp, some 1800 former cadets and staff returned for the 4 day reunion. In 1999 the camp celebrated it's 50th anniversary with another successful reunion and museum exhibit. The training centre had many guests and visitors over the years from actor Martin Sheen to the Royal Inniskilling Dragoons Guards band to several Lt Governors of British Columbia.

It is now the oldest continuous serving army cadet training centre in Canada having surpassed Banff in 1999 and Ipperwash in 1994. Ipperwash was also a WWII era H-Hut camp. Today only a few 1941-45 constructed H-Huts remain elsewhere in Canada, most have been demolished or forgotten. Camp Vernon has the largest and best conditioned examples of these once ubiquitous buildings. The photo gallery has an extensive collection of the camp's building photos with hundreds of  photos posted. 

Aerial of the camp looking southwest 2000 (Wayne Emde)

Those attending Vernon take peculiar pride in bragging and/or complaining about the heat, daily summer temperatures are usually 28-32c, it's not uncommon for the thermometer to hit the mid 30s for days and weeks on end and on some instances have touched 40c. The saving grace is the low humidity and a remarkable lack of insects and mosquitoes. The scenery is extraordinary, whether at 6AM on the sports field for morning PT or an evening sunset with failing light on Vernon Mountain. The training and experiences last a lifetime.  

The gate house from the mid 1980s to 2007. (F. Arseneault)