A second look at Kelowna's downtown lakefront

City dock then and now

The top photo shows the SS Sicamous coming into dock at Kelowna in 1915.

The dock was located downtown at the foot of Bernard Avenue. The bundles of piles set along the sides of the dock acted primarily as shock absorbers to protect the structure in the event of a rough or hard docking or when a vessel was tied up to the dock in stormy weather.

The Aquatic Centre’s on-shore buildings, and the adjoining covered grandstand, are clearly visible, but the large, in-lake swimming pool area associated with those structures is not obvious in the photo. The Aquatic Centre structures were built around 1909/10. They gave the public access to Olympic-sized facilities for competitive and recreational swimming and diving, for part of the year. They also enabled the presentation and observation of numerous aquatic events, including the Kelowna Regatta, which began in 1906.

Paper prints of the black and white photographic negatives were manually coloured at the time, probably in an effort to produce warmer, more appealing images, for reproduction and sale as picture postcards.

The modern photograph is actually a composite of two photos spliced together. The modern vista includes the access ramp to the Downtown Marina, located at the foot of Bernard Avenue in Kelowna. Also in the foreground are a few powerboats docked at the southeast corner of the marina.

In the immediate background one can see a number trees in the north end of City Park. In the distance, across the Okanagan Lake, the road leading to the western end of the Okanagan Lake bridge, is visible along with some residences on the eastern edge of Lakeview Heights. Beyond that, emerging from the blue summer haze is Mount Boucherie.

Support your local museums, archives and historical societies who are preserving the local history and heritage we all share. Email your comments and suggestion to Terry Robertson at [email protected].

This article is written by or on behalf of an outsourced columnist and does not necessarily reflect the views of Castanet.

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About the Author

Terry W. Robertson received a bachelor of science degree in geology from UBC in 1970. His studies included physical geography, surveying and air-photo interpretation. Subsequently, he worked in petroleum exploration, initially based in Calgary and from 1978 to 1988 as an independent geological consultant working from his home the Okanagan.

In 1988, he left the oil industry and participated in the start-up and development of several small businesses in Lake Country, including a travel agency and a community newspaper which he edited and published from 1996 to 2003. With two children in local schools at the time and with a passion for politics, Terry was elected as the Lake Country trustee on the Central Okanagan School Board from 1990 to 2002.

He remains interested in politics and was an active supporter of the “Yes” side in the 2018 B.C. referendum on Proportional Representation. He enjoys getting outdoors, as well as travelling and exploring historic sites and museums. In addition, he likes to write about politics, history and geography.

Terry is interested in obtaining old (pre 1970)  photos of landscapes, street scenes or images of prominent structures from the Okanagan or Thompson region. If you possess any such images that you would permit him to copy and use in a future column, or have any comments about his column, please email him at [email protected].

The views expressed are strictly those of the author and not necessarily those of Castanet. Castanet does not warrant the contents.

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