The April 24, 1985 edition of the Kelowna Capital News. - Image Credit: Carmen Weld

Cap News Throwback Thursday: 1985

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 24, 1985

The Eldorado Arms Hotel was in disarray, the abortion debate was front and centre and parents were battling to keep Casorso Elementary School open.

April 1985 saw South Africa end its ban on interracial marriages, Madonna launch her Virgin Tour and, of course – this reporter was born.

Unlike the Eldorado of today, a tourist hot spot along Okanagan Lake that hosts some of the year’s biggest events, weddings and gatherings, the El of 1985 had been left to crumble.

Pictures in this 1985 edition, as seen below, show a barren archway that once boasted proud climbing roses, derelict cabins that were once a summer paradise and one very sad looking hotel.

“The grand old gal is showing her age,” reads the lede. “The Eldorado Arms Hotel, vacant at the end of varied career spanning almost 60 years, now waits for both a buyer and a new lease on life, one that would be provided if it were made into a heritage building.”

A move to make it a heritage site in 1983 did not go through and the future of the hotel was in question.

The El opened in 1927, built in 1926 by Countess Bubna, an aristocratic English woman, who decades earlier had been married to an Austro-Hungarian Count.

As we know now, the hotel was saved. It was eventually purchased and refurbished by Jim Nixon in the later portion of the 1980s. It is now owned by Ted Callahan, CEO of Argus Properties.

Much like a controversial billboard on the westside today, the topic of abortion made headline news.

In 1985 anti-abortion lawyer Dr. Morris Shumiatcher was in town to speak at meeting organized by the Kelowna Right to Life Society.

The society’s ‘pro-life’ arguments were the same as those of 2017. Abortion was decriminalized in Canada in 1988 and the pro-choice movement remains a strong force in Canadian society.

Parents of students at Casorso Elementary School were up in arms as their children’s school was on the chopping block.

Due to budget cuts, the school district was looking to save $65,000 annually by shutting down the school.

“We’ll have to live with the board’s ruling – we did vote them into office – but the parents will definitely become more involved now with budget cuts to the education system,” said parent group spokesman Frankie Molzahn at the time.

The parents ending up winning the battle and Casorso Elementary remains open today.

On the big screen: Stick starring Burt Reynolds, Just One of the Guys, a comedic filmed film is marketed with the tagline “Terri Griffith is about to go where no woman has gone before” and Girls Just Want to Have Fun starring Sarah Jessica Parker and Helen Hunt.

Fun fact: In April 1985 Vernon marathoner Steve Fonyo made the front page as he was wrapping up his ‘epic trek’ through B.C. He was famous for his historic 1985 run across Canada for cancer research, but later fell from public grace.

Fonyo faced assault charges in 2011 and was stabbed in the back and severely beaten by attackers at his Surrey home in 2015.

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

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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