Cap News

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 Wednesday January 23, 1985 edition of the Kelowna Capital News.

Shoulder pads were prominent, the hairstyles were big and Kelowna’s top news stories had a very familiar feel to stories in recent years.

A Snowfest Polar Bear Dip photo takes position on the front page while tourism, Rutland sewer issues and layoffs mark the top three stories.

Kelowna City Council had just approved a large budget increase for the Kelowna Chamber of Commerce to promote tourism in the region, but denied a request for a separate tourism body.

The separate Tourism Kelowna entity was not actually incorporated until 2008.

Much like the same week in history, tourism was a hot topic this week as city council approved a rezoning of a site downtown to allow a controversial new waterfront Tourism Kelowna visitor centre to be built.

Side note: The top story was written by Tom Fletcher who, 32 years later, still works for the newspaper group. He is now a legislative reporter and columnist for all B.C. Black Press newspapers, based in Victoria. Fletcher worked at the Cap News from 1984-1987 — his first job out of Langara Journalism School. He notes Bill Bennett was still premier at the time and his business office was next to the old Cap News office on Bernard Avenue by City Park.

A hot topic in 2016 was the big water debate. The City of Kelowna was calling for amalgamation of the five water purveyors that currently serve the city, including the Rutland Water Works District.

While that debate it still ongoing, Rutland residents also shared water concerns in 1985 over changes to a system that could cost them more.

Concerns were being raised that residents could not afford a new sewer system in the area.

Also sharing the front page was a 1985 story about layoffs at Western Star Trucks.

“The rising fortunes of Kelowna’s Western Star Trucks assembly plant suffered an abrupt downturn Monday with the layoff of 76 production employees,” reads the article.

While the company was eventually revived in 1990 under new ownership, it changed hands again and shut down entirely in the early 2000s, leaving dozens of local workers out of work.

Fun Fact: In a very 80s throwback, a letter to the editor held a large spot on Page 4, tackling “intolerable” ghetto-blasters.

The letter entitled “Ban those awful ghetto-blasters” asked residents of the Okanagan to stop using the “electronically-amplified devices” in public spaces.

“The trouble is, this loud so-called music is neither fun nor relaxing for a large segment of the population. Many, in fact, find it both intolerable and physically upsetting,” wrote the letter writer.

Check out our previous throwbacks here: 19361960 and 1941.

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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