Urban Adventure

Architecture Tour: Exploring Kelowna's Iconic Buildings

a train station entrance with a potted plant in front of it and a light pole in front of it in Kelowna
The Train Station Pub

Kelowna’s architectural landscape weaves together stories of the past and present. Here we invite you to embark on an exploration of the city’s iconic buildings, each a chapter in the unfolding narrative of Kelowna's rich history and cultural evolution. From heritage sites to modern adaptations, these structures stand as silent yet eloquent witnesses to the city's transformation.

The Train Station Pub

Imagine stepping back into the 1920s at the corner of Clement and Ellis St, where the Train Station Pub now stands. Once a bustling hub of arrivals and departures, this historic building retains its original layout from 1926. Its preserved exterior serves as a poignant reminder of an era where steam engines and heartfelt farewells were the norm. Today, the Train Station Pub is a beloved local spot, blending its historical roots with contemporary hospitality.

The building's identity, untouched by time, offers a unique experience for visitors. It's not just a place to dine but a portal to Kelowna's early 20th-century life, offering a tangible connection to the city's railway heritage.

Laurel Packing House

The Laurel Packing House, in downtown Kelowna, is an insight into the city's industrial past. Built in 1917 with locally sourced bricks, it survived a catastrophic fire in the 1960s that ravaged much of the industrial district. This resilient structure was Kelowna’s first designated heritage building, and after a revitalization in 2010, it now serves as an elegant venue for events.

Inside, the interplay of brick and wooden elements creates a warm, inviting atmosphere, perfect for capturing memories. As you walk through its halls, you're walking through the echoes of Kelowna’s fruit-packing history, a vital part of the city's economic and cultural fabric.

Old Cannery Building (BNA)

The Old Cannery Building on Ellis Street has a story that mirrors Kelowna's adaptability. Originally a tobacco processing site in the early 1900s, it quickly pivoted to fruit canning, riding the wave of the Okanagan's agricultural boom. Today, this historic edifice houses the BNA brewery, a modern twist on its industrial roots.

The building's transformation from a tobacco and fruit canning facility to a brewery and social hub exemplifies Kelowna's ability to repurpose its heritage for new, dynamic uses. It's a place where history and contemporary culture ferment together, creating a unique blend of past and present.

The Old Royal Bank Building (Kelly O’Bryan’s)

On Bernard Avenue stands the Old Royal Bank Building, a stone edifice that encapsulates the early 20th-century financial prowess. Constructed in 1911, it was a cornerstone in the development of downtown Kelowna. Its architectural features, reminiscent of Eastern Canadian financial institutions, reflect a bygone era of economic expansion.

Now home to Kelly O’Bryan’s, this building marries its historic grandeur with the lively spirit of a modern restaurant. The newly renovated patio offers a stunning view of downtown Kelowna, making it a prime spot to appreciate both the city's architectural heritage and its contemporary pulse.

Downtown Fire Hall

Built in 1924, the Kelowna Fire Hall on Water St has been serving the community for over 90 years. Originally featuring three truck bays, a hose tower, and upstairs living quarters, it epitomizes the functional architectural style of its time. While renovated to meet modern needs, it retains its historical essence.

This enduring landmark not only symbolizes Kelowna's commitment to public safety but also its dedication to preserving historical sites. The fire hall stands as a proud reminder of the city's resilient spirit and its journey through the decades.

Father Pandosy Mission

The Father Pandosy Mission is a journey back to 1860, where Oblate missionary Charles Pandosy established a site crucial for both the Aboriginal population and settlers. With its refurbished buildings on a four-acre property, the mission provides a serene glimpse into Kelowna's early agricultural and religious history.

Visitors to this Provincial Heritage Site can wander amidst some of the original structures, feeling the weight of history in the preserved walls and grounds. It's a place where the layers of Kelowna's past are beautifully laid bare for exploration and reflection.

Guisachan Heritage Park

Guisachan Heritage Park is a verdant oasis, steeped in the elegance of the late 19th century. Once the residence of the Earl and Countess of Aberdeen in 1890, this 2.4-acre site now welcomes visitors with its splendid gardens, historic log house, and the Guisachan House Restaurant.

The park's perennial gardens and the surrounding architecture offer a snapshot of the lifestyle of its former aristocratic inhabitants. The integration of a fine dining experience within this historic setting makes Guisachan a unique blend of Kelowna’s culinary and architectural heritage. It's a space where history is enjoyed not just through sight but through taste and experience as well.

Myra Canyon Trestles

The Myra Canyon Trestles stand as a monumental tribute to early 20th-century engineering. Part of the Kettle Valley Railway, these trestles faced one of the greatest construction challenges of their time. The 9-kilometre stretch includes 18 trestles and 2 tunnels, showcasing remarkable engineering feats in a breathtaking natural setting.

After near destruction in the 2003 forest fires, the trestles were meticulously restored, reaffirming their status as a national tourism attraction and a symbol of Canadian engineering prowess. Myra Canyon is not just a scenic spot but a living museum of transportation history and resilience.

Benvoulin Heritage Church

The Benvoulin Heritage Church, built in 1892 in the Gothic Revival style, was once the Presbyterian community. Its steeple, restored in the 1980s, pierces the skyline, a reminder of Kelowna's spiritual and architectural history. Located on the historic Benvoulin Townsite, the church is part of a heritage setting that also includes the McIver House, dating back to the 1890s.

Today, the church is a cherished venue for weddings, embodying the charm and romance of the pioneer era. The surrounding xeriscape and gardens add to its allure, making it a colourful snapshot of Kelowna's past.

The Surtees Heritage Property

The Surtees Heritage Property on Lakeshore Road is a window into early 20th-century Kelowna. Comprising the Surtees Barn and Homestead, these buildings represent the agricultural and railway history of the area. The barn, constructed around 1927, was known for its advanced design, while the homestead, built circa 1912, links to the construction of the Kettle Valley Railway.

As part of Kelowna's heritage trail network, the Surtees Property exemplifies the city's dedication to preserving its historical landscape. It offers a tranquil retreat where history and nature coalesce, inviting visitors to explore and appreciate the roots of the community.


Kelowna's architectural journey is a mosaic of styles, stories, and eras. Each building explored in this tour is not just a structure of bricks and mortar but a narrative in itself, echoing the city's evolution from a small settlement to an active urban centre. These landmarks are portals to the past, offering insights into the city’s identity and inviting residents and visitors alike to discover the stories etched in their walls.