Arts & Culture

Historical Buildings of Kelowna: A Journey Through Time

A wooden trestle bridge surrounded by green foliage and rocky terrain in Kelowna.

Step into Kelowna's storied past as we traverse the city's mosaic of historical buildings. Each structure, etched with the patina of time, displays the city's evolving narrative. From the charming corridors of heritage sites to the formidable facades of former commercial giants, Kelowna's architectural heritage beckons with stories of days gone by.

Laurel Packinghouse

Once the lifeblood of Kelowna's agricultural prowess, the Laurel Packinghouse, built in 1917, now serves as a bright hub of culture and history. Originally a bastion for the BC Fruit Growers Ltd., it has transformed into a custodian of the past, housing the Wine Museum and the British Columbia Orchard Industry Museum. The building, a blend of utilitarian design and historical charm, echoes with the tales of fruit packers and bustling trade. Today, it stands as a focal point in Downtown Kelowna, offering visitors a glimpse into the city's agrarian roots while hosting community events in its spacious courtyard.

Father Pandosy Mission

Amidst Kelowna's historical landscape, the Father Pandosy Mission holds a special place. Founded in 1859 by Father Charles Pandosy, this site marks a crossroads of cultures, where missionaries served the local Aboriginal population and early settlers. At its zenith, the Mission sprawled over 2,000 acres, only to be subdivided in the early 20th century. The restored buildings on this Provincial Heritage Site now offer a window into a bygone era, inviting visitors to explore its preserved structures and absorb the historical ambiance of early missionary life in Kelowna.

Guisachan Heritage Park

Guisachan Heritage Park, an oasis, encapsulates the elegance and charm of a bygone era. Acquired in 1890 by the Earl and Countess of Aberdeen, this 2.4-acre site has evolved from a noble residence to a location of horticulture and history. The park's centrepiece, a log house estimated to be built in the late 1890s, sits amidst perennial gardens, reminiscent of the care and attention bestowed by its subsequent owners, the Camerons. Today, it serves as a venue for garden tours, special events, and culinary delights at the Guisachan House Restaurant, offering a taste of Kelowna's aristocratic past.

Myra Canyon Trestles

A marvel of engineering within Kelowna's natural splendour, the Myra Canyon Trestles exemplifies human ingenuity and perseverance. Part of the Kettle Valley Rail Trail, this segment boasts an array of 18 trestles and 2 tunnels stretching over 9 kilometres. The construction of Myra Canyon was a monumental challenge, overcoming the rugged terrain to connect communities. Today, it's used for adventure tourists and history enthusiasts alike, offering breathtaking views and a unique glimpse into the railway's pivotal role in Kelowna's development.

The Benvoulin Heritage Church

The Benvoulin Heritage Church, with its Gothic Revival architecture, harks back to its origin in 1892 as a Presbyterian sanctuary. Serving the community until 1964, this church has seen generations of congregants pass through its doors. The original tower and steeple, restored in the 1980s, stand as symbols of the church's resilience and enduring presence in Kelowna. Now, this charming pioneer church in one of the city's unique heritage settings is a sought-after locale for weddings, offering a beautiful backdrop steeped in history.

The Old Royal Bank Building

On Bernard Avenue, the Old Royal Bank Building stands as a stone-clad sentinel of Kelowna's commercial history. Constructed in 1910-11, this two-storey edifice exemplifies the solidity and ambition of early 20th-century architecture. Its sturdy stone façade and elegant design speak of a time when banks were not just financial institutions but also symbols of prosperity and growth. Today, the building continues to be a prominent feature in Downtown Kelowna, its historical significance seamlessly blending with the city's modern rhythms.

The Old Cannery

The Old Cannery, built in 1912 in the Edwardian Commercial style, is a relic of Kelowna's industrial heritage. Its three-storey brick structure, flanked by a one-storey wood wing and a two-storey brick extension, narrates the story of a thriving industry of the city's growth. Located adjacent to the downtown area, the Old Cannery's robust design and enduring presence reflect the industrious spirit that has long characterized Kelowna's community and economy.

The Surtees Heritage Property

The Surtees Heritage Property, a blend of historical legacy and community focus, is an emblem of Kelowna's commitment to preserving its past. This property has undergone thoughtful upgrades to serve the community better, while retaining its historical feeling. As part of Kelowna’s heritage register, the Surtees Property stands as a vivid reminder of the city's evolving identity. Its architecture, though reflective of a simpler time, now plays a crucial role in connecting residents and visitors with the rich Kelowna history.


Kelowna's historical buildings are more than just structures of brick, stone, and wood; they are the keepers of stories, the markers of time, and the symbols of a community's journey. From the industrious walls of the Laurel Packinghouse to the serene grounds of Guisachan Heritage Park, each site offers a unique perspective on the city's past. These architectural jewels not only enhance Kelowna's urban landscape but also serve as a reminder of the enduring spirit that has shaped this city. As we walk through these historical corridors, we don't just observe the past; we become part of Kelowna's ongoing story.