The May 6, 1931 edition of the Kelowna Capital News. - Image Credit: Carmen Weld

Cap News Throwback Thursday: 1931

After 86 years of service, we wanted to utilize our amazing treasure trove of Kelowna history and share it with you.

Over the last 86 years the Kelowna Capital News has served the Central Okanagan – and over the last 86 years it has printed a whole lot of papers.

A conservative estimate puts it at about 8,000 editions.

The new Black Press Okanagan digital team, based right here in Kelowna, wanted to utilize this amazing treasure trove of pieces of our history and share it with you.

Each Thursday we will present Cap News Throwback Thursday for a fun little peak into the past, and a chance for the digital team to climb through the records room.

Today we present the Kelowna Capital News — Wednesday May 6, 1931 edition.

Mother’s Day was right around the corner, Rutland was considering forming a municipality, the C.P.R railway between Penticton and Oliver was near completion and a cattle-killing bear had been shot.

“Sunday next, the second Sunday of May, has for the past many years been known as Mother’s Day—the one day, more than any other, of the year when everyone should pay respect to his mother if he is still fortunate enough to have her,” reads the lede of the Mother’s Day top story.

To celebrate, Kelowna Empress Theatre had promised Central Okanagan moms a present for attending the theatre that weekend.

“On Monday, at the Empress Theatre, Mr. Maddin will give away one dozen tulips to each of the first 200 mothers attending the evening performance,” reads the 1931 article.

Mothers attending the theatre had the option of watching The Doorway to Hell starring Lew Ayres. The 1930 American Pre-Code crime film directed by Archie Mayo was based on the story A Handful of Clouds, written by Rowland Brown. The film’s title was typical of the sensationalistic titles of many Pre-Code films, it was marketed with the tagline, “The picture Gangland defied Hollywood to make!”

The Black Mountain community was celebrating after a nuisance bear was shot at the scene of a crime.

“The bear which is believed to have killed the seven cattle belonging to the Black Mountain Cattle Co., on Scotty Creek Range, about 10 days ago, was shot this morning,” reads the article.

“Victor Borra, who has been camping on the spot with two other men, for several days, got sight of the animal early this morning and soon put the finishing chapter to his depredations.”

The bear turned out to be a large black bear and not a Grizzly as the community had thought.

“The bear is now on view in Casorso Bros. Butcher Shop.”

Canadian Pacific Railway was working on connecting Penticton and Oliver by train. According to this paper, work was set to be finished in the fall of 1931 at a cost of $650,000 (nearly $10 million in today’s terms).

Operations reportedly ended on those tracks in 1973. There are now cycling trails all along the majority of the former Kettle Valley Railway up and down the Valley.

Also on the big screen: Cimarron, a 1931 Pre-Code Western film directed by Wesley Ruggles, starring Richard Dix and Irene Dunne. The Oscar-winning script was written by Howard Estabrook based on the Edna Ferber novel Cimarron. It is also one of the few Westerns to ever win the top honor at the Academy Awards. And Viennese Nights, an American all-talking pre-code musical operetta film photographed entirely in Technicolor and released by Warner Brothers. Viennese Nights was the first original operetta written especially for the screen by Oscar Hammerstein II and Sigmund Romberg.The film stars Vivienne Segal, Alexander Gray and Walter Pidgeon.

Fun fact: H. B. Burtch took out a rather large ad in the paper to quell rumours he had run out of ice. As an ice dealer for 30 years in Kelowna he put the community on notice that he did in fact have enough ice.

“Whereas – It has been brought to my attention that certain people have given information to the effect that I will not be in the ICE BUSINESS this year—,” reads the ad. “I hereby wish it to be known that arrangements have been made for my regular supply of Ice—enough to take care of all of my customers, no matter how much they will want.”

You can check out our previous throwbacks here: 1936, 1960, 1941, 1985, 1962,1983, 1994, 1971, 1940, 1968, 1992, 1978, 1985 and 2003.

The Capital News is now owned by Black Press Community Media. Founded in 1975, Black Press now publishes more than 170 titles in British Columbia, Alberta, Washington state, Hawaii, Ohio and California.

Do you have an important date or piece of history you hope we can find in our historical editions?! Let us know at


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