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A-Second-Look

Kelowna’s Bernard Avenue between and Pandosy and Water Streets   

Bernard Ave. then and now

The historical, upper photo looking down Bernard Avenue was taken just over 100 years ago, in 1920. Bernard Avenue was named after one of the two Leguime brothers when, in 1892, they laid out the Kelowna townsite. They also tagged Leon Avenue, located two blocks south, in honour of the other sibling surveyor.

The two men went on to establish the Leguime Brothers General Store that was located not far from where the “Sails” sculpture stands today.

The abundance of dark leaves on the trees suggests to me this photo was taken in the late spring or summer. The shortness of the shadow also identifies the historical photo as likely being exposed around the date of the summer solstice.

The sharp edges and deep black tone of the shadows point to it being a clear and sunny, Okanagan summer’s day. In addition, based on the angle of the shadows relative to the compass direction of Bernard Avenue, it is possible to say that it was the middle of that day, nearly 103 years ago that this scene was frozen in time.

If one looks carefully where the blue arrow is pointing, you can see the triangular peak of a top floor “false-front” wall on the building located near the centre of the top photo.

In the modern day, lower photo, one can just make out that the red arrow points to the same triangular, false gable-end peak feature, which has been retained on what is now the BMO building. The building on the current site incorporates the heritage “false-front” and brick-work façade finishing, for two storeys of the current, three-plus storey structure.

The lack of strong shadows, except for directly under some cars and the sparse yellow leaves on the trees in this photo confirm I took it on a cloudy day in late autumn.

The historical photo was found on Wikimedia Commons. Credit: Gowen Sutton Co. Ltd. / Library and Archives Canada / PA.

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



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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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