Discovering Kelowna A Two Wheeled History Tour!

On May 17, 2017 - a Tour of Historic Proportions Took Place

G.O. Cycling Adventures welcomed the amazing team from Strategic Site Selection, along with a few other special guests. Together, in a distance of only 8 kilometers, we managed to ride through 125 years of Kelowna's History. Here are a few reminders of an wonderful day.

We Load Up Our Time Machines to Meet the Group

Unloading the Bikes at Tree Beer Institute
Your Host: Gord Hotchkiss

Your Guides: Kevin, Carl and Gord

Kevin and Carl getting ready to ride

A Few Last Minute Tweaks

Preparing for the Journey

"I'm excited about the tour, but there's always time to check out a Sale!"

A Few Last Minute Instructions

Basic Black + Bike: Chic Cycling!

Did You Know...?

Kelowna used to have a horse track in the North End, at the foot of Knox Mountain (just north of the Delta Grand Hotel)

We Strike Out to Discover Kelowna's History!

Today: A Boat Launch.Yesterday: A Train Barge

The above photo shows the same area 100 years ago. If you look at the hills in both photos you'll see the similarities. The Delta Grand's location used to be where rail cars were loaded onto barges to take to the nearest rail line at Okanagan Landing to the north. 

Where Kelowna Got Its Name

August Gillard: "Old Man Kelowna"

The Making of Main Street

We stopped at the foot of Bernard and learned about the history of Kelowna's Main Street. The picture above is of Bernard, taken from where the sculpture of The Sails now stands, in 1900. The current home of Okanagan Spirits can be seen in the photo with the Leckie Hardware sign (middle of the street with the lady standing on the boardwalk in front).

The Evolution of Kelowna's North End

Now, the area just south of Bernard Avenue is home to the Delta Grand, luxury hi-rises, marinas and waterfront parks, but it's history was built on industry. Look at the positioning of Knox Mountain (to the right of both pictures) and you'll see a different side of Kelowna's north end. You can see the Laurel Building (where we stopped) to the upper right of the picture above.

It's Always Been About the Water

This early photo of Kelowna's foreshore shows a paddlewheeler (the S.S. Aberdeen) docked at the foot of Bernard Avenue. This would have been right were we were standing when we were learning more about this historic location.

A Little Stop to Lift the Spirits

The Home of Okanagan Spirits

Okanagan Spirits is in the Leckie Block, one of the oldest buildings on Bernard Avenue. The tasting room itself is in the oldest part of the building, built in 1904 - one of the first concrete buildings in BC. The building was expanded to its present form in 1912.

Meanwhile, We Were Babysitting the Bikes!

Back on the Bikes and Back to Kelowna's History

On the next phase, we learned about Kelowna's Lost Chinatown, the Battle of the Hotels, The Okanagan's WWI Sacrifice and the Homes of Abbott Street

Kelowna' s Lost Chinatown and the Battle of the Hotels

The Freemason Society of Kelowna's Chinatown: 1912
The Lake View Hotel, just across the street from where we were standing. At the time it was built, this was Kelowna's "finest" - rooms were $1.50 per night and meals were 50 cents. The Royal Hotel would soon open a block away, charging substantially less and creating a furious rivalry.

City Park: Kelowna's Historic Natural Refuge

This picture of a early rugby match between Kelowna and Vernon would have been taken about 100 years ago from a point close to the path we were. City Park was originally a swamp, but several thousand tons of sawdust from the local mill eventually filled the point where it could be turned into a park with playing fields.

The Historic Home of Kelowna's Regatta

Hot Sands Beach and Kelowna Regatta: 1909
Hot Sands Beach: 2017

The above picture of Kelowna's Regatta, taken in 1909, would have been taken from almost the same vantage point as the picture below it, taken during our ride. The Regatta Clubhouse (upper right of picture) would have been approximately where the two light posts are near the dock.

Kelowna's Great Sacrifice: WWI

A Company of Okanagan Volunteers: 2nd BC Mounted Rifles

The Cenotaph we stopped at had 134 names on it, a reminder of the sacrifice a young town made. 1800 volunteers from the Okanagan Valley fought in the WWI and took part in many historic battles, including Vimy Ridge. In that battle alone, 26 men from the Okanagan lost their lives.

And Now, On to the Suburbs!

The Treadgold House: Abbott Street

The Resiliency of Calona Wines

Our next stop was at Sandhill Wines, the latest incarnation of a 86 year old story of corporate survival and adaptation. 

Monsignor Mackenzie and the Salvation of Calona Wines

Calona Wines Employees: 1930's
Monsignor Mackenzie: The Priest who Saved a Winery

The Visionaries of B.C.'s Wine Industry

"Cap" Capozzi
W.A.C. Bennett

Thank You!

Your Guides: Kevin, Carl and Gord

We had a fabulous time and we hope you did as well! If you did, please take a moment or two to give us a review on TripAdvisor! We hope to see you back on a G.O. Adventure soon!

Ciao! And Happy Riding!


Photos: Jill Hotchkiss and Kelowna Centennial Museum

Report Abuse

If you feel that this video content violates the Adobe Terms of Use, you may report this content by filling out this quick form.

To report a Copyright Violation, please follow Section 17 in the Terms of Use.