Johnson: Bernard revitalization gives a boost to city’s main street

I’ve walked the newly revitalized section of Bernard and I’m still finding delightful little surprises that the city added into the mix.

Have you been to downtown Kelowna yet to check out the finished first section (Richter to St. Paul) of the Bernard Avenue revitalization?

it tons of times since it was completed in early December, and I’m still finding delightful little surprises that the city added into the mix.

These delightful little extras were deliberately added to reflect the natural elements of the valley landscape.

Why not bring the family down to have your own little “scavenger hunt” and see how many of these features you can find:

• Gobo projectors on lamp posts that shine light in a pinecone pattern onto the sidewalk at night. One is right outside Tripke’s.

• Basalt paver stones engraved with pictures and names of local flora and fauna; these are inset into the sidewalk at intervals.

• Images of the arrowleaf balsam root (Kelowna’s official flower) that have been etched into the concrete at the sidewalk corners.

• The prettiest bollards I’ve ever seen (bollards are the posts that separate pedestrians from the traffic at corners), featuring corten steel with cutouts in a pine cone pattern (it also looks like a stylized chrysanthemum to me).

• Clean, modern, simple benches of natural basalt stone which will stand up to the weather beautifully

• Unique photo wrappings on garbage cans and utility boxes.

As if all these touches aren’t enough, I just discovered that some of our new, ultramodern wood-trimmed lamp posts will be featuring artwork soon.

I was lucky enough to be on the committee last week that chose a local artist to create the artworks—and I can tell you, they are going to be absolutely gorgeous.

They’ll also be backlit at night, which will give them a whole different look from the daytime.

I think these lamp posts and their artwork add a bold urban look to our downtown that will take us into the next few decades beautifully.

I have to say that I’m so impressed with the city for doing such a classy job of revitalizing the first section of our main street.

My thanks to everyone who has worked on the project so far.

The work has now started on the section of Bernard closest to the lake (from Abbott to Pandosy), slated to be finished in June.

Please remember that all the merchants in this section of Bernard are still open and would love your support during this phase of the revitalization.


I’m so happy to see that Shiloh Verhaegen has opened a lovely new shop at 1619 Ellis. Ashbury Boutique is a consignment boutique specializing in bridal and grad gowns.

The store’s charm is evident as soon as you pass through the doors.

Faux brick walls make a striking backdrop to the chandeliers and ethereal gowns, which are beautifully jewelled, tucked, beaded and ruffled—these gowns are “to die for.”

Verhaegen tells me that some of them have never been worn (the wedding never happened) and all of them have been meticulously cleaned so they’re like new.

She was the manager at Bliss Bridal and a bridal consultant at Ten Fashions, so she has years of experience in working with brides.

She loves to chat with the bride about what featues she’d like in her gown, and then match her up to the perfect dress.

Verhaegen even has some special vintage dresses for those who are into the retro look.

A stroll around the boutique revealed cocktail dresses, shoes, pretty jewelry and a lush tulle “divider wall” made up of veils hung side by side.

There’s also a section of brightly coloured consignment grad dresses that could brighten any grey day.

This is definitely a must-see boutique.

I’ve been hearing such great things about The Log Barn, at 1443 Ellis St.,  that I just had to stop by and check it out.

The shop is an offshoot of the popular Log Barn in Armstrong, as owners Kimberley and Eric Stuart are the third generation in their family to run the business.

I had a great chat with bubbly sales associate Megan, who showed me some of the store’s products with great enthusiasm.

Most of their food is hearty fare made locally from Mennonite-based recipes, featuring several flavours of Mennonite sausage, tasty beef jerky, and Gouda cheeses imported from Holland.

Their pies are absolutely huge, and come with a delicious variety of fillings (apple, pecan, blueberry and strawberry/rhubarb to name a few).

Then there’s the candy —candy popcorn, huge “whirly pop” lollipops, saltwater taffy and flour flavours of fudge.

And it doesn’t stop there as The Log Barn has a wall of their own pickled vegetables (baby beets and asparagus were really tasty), as well as jams, jellies and syrups (wild plum jam, anyone?) on display.

Interspersed with all this bounty are some whimsical retro toys, hand-made quilts and crocheted tablecloths.

There are some tables so you can eat in, or just take your treats and head for home.

You’ll feel like the proverbial “kid in a candy shop” at this unique shop – don’t miss it.

Sure hope you have some time in February to come downtown and appreciate all the positive changes happening this month. You’ll be amazed.

Jan Johnson is the co-owner of Tigerlily Fashions and Alleycat Fashion Outlet. If you have any news about downtown business openings and/or events, please email them to her at or call her at 250-762-8384.


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