Crews paving the lower part of Bernard Avenue during the recent phase of the revitalization work.

Kelowna’s new-look Bernard Avenue to have ‘themes’

The revamped main downtown street with have three distinctive themes— natural and cultural heritage, the landscape and the water.

Originating with a need to upgrade the aging utilities and roadway, Kelowna’s Bernard Avenue revitalization has become an identity-establishing project, says the city.

Parks and public space projects manager Andrew Gibbs said Thursday three themes will be featured along Bernard Avenue, with unique design elements in each phase of the new streetscape, evoking a distinct sense of place and the natural beauty of the area.

“The themes are derived from our local natural and cultural heritage with tributes to the First Nation people of this area,” said Gibbs.  “Placemaking draws on a community’s assets, inspiration and potential to create vibrant public spaces that promote discovery and enjoyment, and enhance the community’s attachment to public spaces.”

At the east end of Bernard, near the intersection with Richter Street, embellishments will emphasize the hillsides and grasslands of the valley. The west end, near to the lake, will emphasize the lake and the aquatic environment and the space in between will include highlights the cultural history of the community.

Specific features will include:

• Traffic bollards at the crosswalks inset with naturally rusting corten steel and cut out images relevant to the themes

• Natural wood plates on the light posts

• Natural basalt stone benches and pavers

• Local animals and plants engraved in sporadically placed polished basalt pavers

• Garbage cans, utility boxes and bike lockers uniquely wrapped with historical images

• Gobo lights projecting images onto the sidewalk

• Sidewalk etchings at pedestrian crossings

• Thematic public art components built into the light standards

Many of the embellishments will be installed after the current construction work is complete, possibly next spring. Some are already in place, he said, including specially engraved paving stones that identify local attributes in both English and the native aboriginal language.

The $14.1 million Bernard Avenue project is a component of Downtown revitalization plans that include a second phase of development for an expanded Stuart Park, Kerry Park improvements, a public pier and downtown marina and new parking facilities. Other, unrelated development work downtown includes a new Kelowna Yacht Club building under construction and plans for several new commercial and residential buildings.

Gibbs said the themes for Bernard were envisioned from the start of the plan but have been developing as the construction work has taken place.

The current work is the second-phase of the three-part project, with work on the centre section, from Pandosy Street to St. Paul Street, is slated to take place this fall. The current work, on schedule and on budget, is set to wrap up by mid-June. The first phase,from Richter to St. Paul is already complete.


For more information about the Bernard Avenue revitalization and other projects, visit