Cap News Throwback Thursday: 1978

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 edition— Wednesday April 12, 1978

Canadian Rock Band Prism has Kelowna music enthusiasts in a tizzy and the city in an uproar. Kelowna’s own Walter Gray was elected president of the B.C. Association of Broadcasters and Big White hosted the fourth-annual Canadian International Disabled Ski Meet.

The Kelowna Community Theatre was rocking to the sounds of Prism and rock music fans were ecstatic the popular band had made a pit stop in Kelowna. But when the music stopped the damage began — damage that prompted a call to ban all future rock concerts from the theatre.

“After the concert, extensive damage was found done to seven seats but city council rejected a demand by Kelowna and District Arts Council that rock concerts be banned from the theatre,” reads the 1978 paper.

Theatre seats were reportedly “slashed and bent by vandals” at the concert.

Instead, City Council decided to give “young people” one more chance.

“Young people attending rock concerts in Kelowna Community Theatre will be given one more opportunity to prove they can treat the facility with respect,” reads the cover story.

Repairs to the venue totalled approximately $350 (about $1,300 in 2017 dollars) and the concert promoter agreed to cover the costs.

Also in 1978, Kelowna’s Walter Gray was seeing success in the radio scene. He had just been elected president of B.C. Association of Broadcasters while working at CKIQ (now AM 1150).

Nowadays most know him as a repeat city mayor. Gray began his life in politics in 1986, serving as a city councillor for Kelowna from 1986-1990. He was first elected as mayor in 1996, serving three, three-year terms until 2005. In November 2011, he was re-elected as mayor for another three-year term that ended in 2014.

Since Nov, 30, 2014, Gray has worked as Chair for the Insurance Corporation of BC.

Ever growing in popularity Big White hosted a “first in Okanagan winter tourism” by hosting the 1978 ski meet. Another first, hosting the Handicapped Ski Association from Japan.

“Although they are a long way from home the Japanese are able to find a unique comparison between the snow ghosts (a tree formation framed with snow) and their ‘snow monsters’ as they are called in Zao, Japan,” reads the paper.

On the big screen: Close Encounters of the Third Kind written and directed by Steven Spielberg and starring Richard Dreyfuss, Ron Howard’s Grand Theft Auto, Howard’s feature film directorial debut and Fun with Dick and Jane, a 1977 American comedy film starring George Segal and Jane Fonda.

Fun fact: The Fintry Queen was vibrant and busy, open seven days a week for a dinner smorgasbord, including 50 food options with a steak and seafood specialty. Saturday’s event included a ‘dinner cabaret cruise’.

“Originally named the “M.V. Lequime”, the Fintry Queen was built in Vancouver in 1947 and shipped by rail in sections to Kelowna, where she became one of three car and passenger ferries crossing Okanagan Lake.,” reads

The iconic Okanagan ship’s owner has now spent years trying find the ship a new home and purpose. The latest proposal is to dock it in Summerland.

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

The Cap 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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