Gwyn Evans Museum and Archives / Greater Vernon – June 7, 2020/04:00 | History: 302067
Some would argue that there is no such thing as an iced Coca Cola on a hot summer day.
And at one point, Vernon had his own Coca-Cola factory.
The soft drink factory was built in 1969 at 4607 27th St., but before the building was constructed, the local representative for the soft drink company was McCulloch’s Aerated Waters.
Alex McCulloch owned the bottling plant at 3400 Coldstream Avenue, which would later be named McCulloch’s Aerated Waters from 1912 to 1934, after which his son John inherited it.
John McCulloch’s experience selling tobacco and soft drinks for his father’s business prepared him for ownership, and he also had the support of a remarkable woman.
His wife, Vera, was born in Vernon in 1905. After attending school in Armstrong, she obtained a BA at UBC with a major in mathematics.
Vera came to Vernon in 1927 to teach grade 9 math at Vernon High School, then traveled to Ontario for two years to attend the Royal Ontario College of Art.
Upon her return to Vernon, she found one of her former students, John McCulloch. The couple married in 1932.
In addition to running their business, John and Vera were active citizens.
Vera was involved in the local church community, while John was coach of the lacrosse team of CJIB employee Vernon Tigers and a member of the Kildonnan Pipe Band. The couple had two sons, Malcolm and Derry.
John died in 1951 and Vera took over the family business where Derry and Malcolm were employed.
McCulloch’s Aerated Waters was a bottling plant that sold everything from sodas, beer and mineral water to fruit drinks, juices and syrups.
One of their creations was a bright yellow soft drink called “Second to None”. Vera ran the business until 1964, when it was sold. The factory was demolished and replaced by a retirement building – aptly named McCulloch Court.
As for Vera, the sale of the family business was not an end, but a start. She got involved in local politics, serving on the school board from 1954 to 1963 and as president of the Vernon and District Council of Women from 1965 to 1967.
She has also been active with the Vernon Women in Business, the Okanagan Historical Society, the Friends of History and the Okanagan Regional College Board.
To honor her service to the community, Vera was named Good Citizen of the Year in 1971. She died in March 1994.