Provincial heritage awards brought home to Kelowna

Lorainne McLarty and the restoration of the Riggs House on Ethel Street both won provincial Heritage B.C. awards on the weekend.

Gord Wilson

Gord Wilson

A couple of Heritage B.C. awards came home to Kelowna this week from this year’s Heritage B.C. conference in Burnaby.

The recently-restored H.D. Riggs house at the corner of Borden Avenue and Ethel Street received an award for care and commitment to conservation of an important heritage building. It was presented to Dave and Donna Krysko and Dustin Sargent with Davara Holdings as owners of the property, and Gord Wilson of TEAM Construction for the restoration work.

It’s one of the few remaining residences built of Kelowna brick and it was built in 1915 for one of the owners of the Kelowna Brick Works which was located at the base of Knox Mountain, using clay mined from the nearby clay cliff.

His business partner, Charles Clement built the home at about the same time he built his own further east at 1049 Borden Avenue.

By the 1930s the house was under new ownership and later turned into a rooming house.

When it was built, it was considered “out of town’ but today it’s part of a unique cluster of heritage homes in Kelowna’s south central neighbourhood.

The Riggs home is described as a mix of residential architectural features including Richardson Romanesque, Queen Anne and Foursquare styles.

Wilson said although it’s a large-looking building, there is only about 5,000 square feet on three floors and the building was run-down when he took on the job of restoration.

They found three layers of brick on the exterior walls, which allowed them to remove one of the interior walls of brick to use in restoring some of the missing and damaged brick on the exterior, where they re-pointed and repaired, and use some on the carriage house on the property.

The idea was to respect the original architecture of the exterior but they gutted the interior, using heavy timbers to retain the heritage flavour inside, he said, although it’s fairly modern.

It said it was a satisfying job, and he was impressed that the Krykos were committed to restoring an older building even though it cost more than twice what it would have to just tear it down and rebuild on the site.

It was purchased by Davara Holdings in 2008 to re-locate the family business and its two charitable foundations.

Former president of the Central Okanagan Heritage Society, Lorainne McLarty received the Ruby Nobbs award at the BCHS annual meeting for her outstanding volunteer contribution to heritage, over a period of 28 years with the COHS.

In nominating McLarty, the COHS noted she epitomizes the heritage volunteer with countless hours of effort that saw the local group through some of its darkest days.

She served on the board from 19998 to 2012, in the positions of treasurer, secretary-treasurer, vice-president and president.

As well, she has been involved in the city’s Community Heritage Commission, heritage week committee, community memories projects, regional history fair, the Kelowna and District Genealogical Society, First United Church, Kelowna Heritage Museum, Orchard Museum and the Heritage Canada Foundation.


Kelowna Capital News