Kelowna’s Bernard Avenue looking east—a shrinking vista

Second look at city view

The archival photo above was taken in 1908 from the roof of the Holmes Grocery store, looking east up Bernard Avenue from it’s intersection with Pandosy Street.

The large boxy building in the left foreground was the livery stable, where horses and wagons were kept for hire. It was also where the animals and vehicles of people coming to town could be stabled and secured while their owners conducted whatever business they had in Kelowna.

Near the centre point of the distant horizon, two rounded humps mark the location of Black Mountain—sntsk'il'nt?n Regional Park. The larger and higher promontory is the summit of the mountain commonly known as Black Mountain. However, it is more correctly cited in geographic reference sources as Black Knight Mountain.

The modern day photo shows that even when viewed from a location several storeys higher than the rooftop elevation of the older photograph, the extent to which existing multiple-storey structures, as well as ones currently under construction, have shrunk and broken up a once broad uninterrupted vista.

In a previous column I wrote a few lines about the origin of the names of Bernard and Leon Avenues in Kelowna. I noted it was pioneer settler Bernard Lequime who was responsible for the initial survey and layout of Kelowna in 1892. He saw to it that his and his brother’s names were included as street names on that first survey.

In this column, three more prominent street names are specifically noted, Pandosy, Ellis and Richter.

Many residents of Kelowna may know Pandosy Street was named for the Catholic priest, Jean Pandosy. Father Pandosy is identified as the first permanent European settler in the Kelowna area. He came to North America from France in 1847 and was assigned to serve his church in various locations in what is now Washington State and also in Esquimalt on Vancouver Island before taking on the task of converting and ministering amongst the indigenous people of the Okanagan Valley.

Upon his arrival in the Kelowna area in 1859, he established a church and school near what is now called Mission Creek. He was an avid farmer and did a considerable amount of promotion of the agricultural potential of the Okanagan area in an effort to attract more settlers, presumably to help increase his pastoral following, as well as for the advancement the entire community would enjoy as the population increased.

The origin of the names Ellis and Richter are less well known today. The two streets were named after a pair of pioneer cattle ranchers, land speculators and venture capitalists who held land rights and owned property several parts of the Okanagan Valley, from the border with the U.S. to Vernon.

Frank Richter arrived in the Okanagan from Austria in 1864 and Thomas Ellis came from Ireland and arrived in British Columbia in 1865. Although both men were more closely associated with communities in the southern Okanagan, both were also prominent men and well known throughout the entire valley by the 1890s when the names for the first Kelowna streets were chosen.

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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