Heritage award winner

Pictured is the historic 1893 Whelan/Bulman Queen Anne style home, winner of a 2020 local Heritage Award.

By Jim Burkinshaw

Special to The Daily Courier

A former governor general, Kelowna’s first mayor, B.C.’s longest serving premier and a couple of Kelowna city councilors all figure in this year’s Heritage Awards — as do a re-purposed packing house, an urban log house, an Irish pub and stiletto heels.

This year’s Heritage Awards were selected by the committee, with difficulty, from a long list of worthy nominations. These annual awards are part of National Heritage Week, affording an opportunity to feature some of the best of Kelowna’s past; with its many ties to the present.

The View Winery and Vineyard is the winner of the award for A Conservation Project on a Heritage Building Currently Not in Residential Use. Built 102 years ago as an apple packing house, the building has been in the Turton/Ward family for five generations.

In its new life as a winery and cidery, it still has the wonderful ambiance of the old wood packinghouse, with its original doors, window trim and beams; a wonderful example of a heritage building full of new life.

The stiletto pumps that feature mischievously in their logo? Jennifer Molgat tells it best on their website (theviewwinery.com) under the heading ‘Why the Red Shoe Label?’

Six years before the View Winery building was erected, James Kincaid built what we now call the Kincaid House at 924 Laurier Ave. It is still lovingly cared for and lived in by the Pridham family and wins this year’s award for A Conservation Project on a Heritage Building Currently in Residential Use.

One of the early owners, the Millie Family began one of the early telephone systems in Kelowna; it later became part of BC Tel and then today’s Telus. Henry H. Millie was also a city councilor, as was Josiah Shier who purchased the property in 1920.

Old houses need facelifts just like people and over the years the Kincaid House has been raised, expanded and had its front porch, stairs and balcony balustrades redone. If only James Kincaid could see his handiwork all these generations later.

A log house in downtown Kelowna? Yes. The McCelvey House at 560 Cawston Ave. has stood the test of time since William James McCelvey began building it in 1934. It is the deserving recipient of the award for the Continued Conservation of a Heritage Building Currently in Residential Use. William cut the logs with a Swede saw at Sunset Ranch where he was the foreman and dragged them out of the bush with horses.

William and Jeanee’s grandson, David Cousins, and his wife, Lynn, live in the home. They work hard to conserve its heritage character and the many original features of the home.

There were so many nominations for the previous category that a second winner was selected. The Whelan/Bullman House was one of the first homes in the Ellison area and at 127 years old is beautifully preserved.

It was built for the Whelan family in the Queen Anne style by H.W. Raymer, well-known builder and Kelowna’s first mayor. Queen Anne style features bay towers, corbelled chimneys, a balcony and a covered porch with large pillars.

Current owners of the house, Lenore and Norm Duncan, have continued to conserve the house beautifully, going out of their way to match the original design with its rich original detailing.

The BC Tree Fruits Building at 1473 Water St. in downtown Kelowna earned an award for the Continued Conservation of a Heritage Building Currently in Non-residential Use.

This unique building was built in 1946 during what was referred to as The Golden Age of the Okanagan fruit industry. he style of the building is unique in Kelowna; it is called ‘Moderne’ and came out of the earlier Art Deco style.

BC Tree Fruits Cooperative has recently sold this building but it is hoped that the new owners will find creative ways to maintain as many of the character-defining elements of this building as possible. It has a lot of great memories in Kelowna.

Down the road from the BC Tree Fruits building is an avenue that is quintessentially Vintage Kelowna. Bernard Avenue from Abbott Street to Pandosy is the winner of the award for the Preservation or Restoration of a Neighbourhood or Natural Heritage Area.

The award will be presented to the Downtown Business Association along with $500, generously donated each year by the Central Okanagan Foundation for the winner in this category.

This summer with Bernard Avenue partially closed to traffic the street seemed more like a neighbourhood than ever as it came alive with people strolling the street and eating outdoors at make-shift seating areas. The historic, lower buildings leading to a view of the lake made us appreciate more than ever the value of these special blocks and what a vibrant community they support.

WAC Bennett, B.C.’s longest serving premier, was an early entrepreneur on Bernard Avenue. Kelly O’Bryan’s restaurant was the Royal Bank for more than 50 years. There are many heritage buildings on these blocks; their stories are found on the City of Kelowna’s ‘Heritage Register’.

It is fitting that the winner of the award for Special Heritage Project is a virtual one. Advance With Courage; Lord and Lady Aberdeen in the Okanagan Valley is an online presentation sponsored by the Digital Museums Canada: Community Stories project and can be found at okheritagesociety.com.

Lord and Lady Aberdeen were wealthy British aristocrats who came to Canada in 1889 and contributed to the Okanagan Valley as early farmers; Lord Aberdeen also became Canada’s seventh governor general in 1893. Lady Aberdeen kept a detailed journal and was also a keen photographer, documenting the people and places from her late 19th century perspective.

The preservation of our beautiful heritage buildings and places doesn’t just happen. Who are the people who help preserve the best of our heritage sites? You’ve met some of them in this article, but we would like to feature one person in particular who epitomizes these efforts.

Marguerite Berry is the winner of the 2021 Distinguished Community Service award. Berry has been involved with heritage for many years; she has worked tirelessly on the board of Father Pandosy Mission, helping to place

historical markers in front of notable Kelowna heritage buildings, serving as a past president of the Central Okanagan Heritage Society (COHS), involved with the Kelowna South Association of Neighbourhoods; the list goes on.

Whether she is conserving her own heritage home, writing grants to preserve heritage or educating people about Kelowna’s heritage, Berry is a long-time influencer for heritage in Kelowna.

A big ‘thank you’ to the City of Kelowna, Tim Hortons, Central Okanagan Foundation and The Daily Courier, who helped to sponsor Heritage Week and Heritage Awards in Kelowna this year.

Join us for the Zoom Awards Presentation tonight at 6:30 p.m. The event is free but you must pre-register at okheritagesociety.com.

This article is part of a series, submitted by the Kelowna Branch, Okanagan Historical Society. Additional information would be welcome at P.O. Box 22105, Capri P.O., Kelowna, B.C., V1Y 9N9.