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New excitement about Old Kelowna

Social media savvy Kelowna residents may have noticed some familiar, albeit old, scenery in their newsfeeds in recent weeks.

A Facebook page titled Old Kelowna has been pumping out pictures from days of yore, and picking up more followers with each post.

Old Kelowna has somewhere in the area of 4,000 fans from 22 different countries, said its creator Shona Harrison, noting that the popularity of the page has taken her by surprise.

“I really can’t believe it,” she said. “It’s exploded.”

Harrison, a fourth generation born-and-raised Kelowna resident, is passionate about preserving this city’s history.

She’s on the heritage board and on the heritage grant committee, but Old Kelowna is merely a pet project she took on in May after realizing there was a community appetite for images from the past.

“A couple of years ago I posted a couple of old pictures of my family,   and the response was great,” she said.

“I thought, ‘Huh, interesting. Maybe we should start organizing something.’”

Fast forward to this spring, and the project got underway with a picture of her grandmother Dorothy Bubb outside the old Train Station some time in the 1920s. Another of her great grandfather, Harry Bunny’s Taxi and Transfer storefront on Ellis Street at around the same time is on there, too.

Then the project grew, and pictures started being sent to Harrison. Doug Cook, in particular, contributed a fair number of historical snaps to the site, so Harrison asked him to join her endeavour as an administrator of the site.

As they post more pictures and the following increases, Harrison’s belief that there’s an appetite for local history is reinforced.

“There’s an appreciation of heritage in this city—it’s a touchstone to our past,” she said.

But it’s accessibility of Facebook may be a game-changer for closeted history wonks, she admitted, noting that it’s exciting to be able to share her passion through the site and get such positive feedback in return.

To see all of the historical snapshots, go to the Old Kelowna page on Facebook.

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