Kelowna History: A look back at the old post office on Bernard Avenue

Two postcards of the former Kelowna Post Office building have surfaced thanks to Okanagan resident Fred Fleck and the Old Kelowna Facebook group.

Built-in 1937, the building used to sit at Bernard Avenue and Ellis Street and was designed by architect Robert Lyon (1879-1963).

According to Old Kelowna on Facebook, Lyon was known as an accomplished architect of the time. Prior to moving to the Okanagan, he designed industrial structures for the B.C. Electrical Railway during the early expansion of the Vancouver region. The structures were significant for their early, large-scale use of reinforced concrete as a structural and finishing material.

READ MORE: Photos: A look at Kelowna’s hotel history

Lyon also played an important role locally. He designed all of the large fruit packaging warehouses in the Okanagan and the Kootenays throughout the 1920s and 1930s. As a Penticton councillor and local official, Lyon was instrumental in the incorporation of Penticton as a city in 1948 and served as its first mayor.

While the old Kelowna Post Office existed for fewer than 40 years before being demolished in the 1970s, one Kelowna resident said she remembers the building quite fondly.

“When I was just a little girl I used to ride in the car with my dad and we would park in front of this old post office,” recalled Old Kelowna group member Kathleen Waters.

“He would take me by the hand and we would go inside. The interior was amazing. He would buy a book of stamps or sometimes mail a parcel. I have great memories (of it). Years later I stood on the other side of Bernard Avenue and watched a crew of workers knock this old post office to the ground with a wrecking ball. It was a sad day.”

READ MORE: Kelowna History: Police chief kills two in Mayfair Hotel murders of 1932

Daniel Taylor
Reporter, Kelowna Capital News
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