As part of the national Heritage Week celebrations, the Central Okanagan Heritage Society will be presenting the winners of this year’s Heritage Awards at a special Luncheon on Wednesday Feb. 21st at the Benvoulin Heritage Church. This is the 34th year that COHS has presented these awards.  For more information please call the COHS Office at 250-861-7188 or email

James and Anita Baker Lake Country

Distinguished Community Service:

Awarded to a person or persons in recognition of their service to the community in the heritage field.

James and Anita have been long time supporters of heritage in the Central Okanagan, from Fintry Park to Lake Country Museum. Both have been on the board of Friends of Fintry and have supported the Friends of Fintry for many years. Anita’s role as treasurer was valued as she tackled the rather complicated finances. She also found time to assist with the summer student program at the site, making sure it all ran smoothly. Both Anita and James fundraised to help restore the buildings in this heritage park. As an anthropology and archeology professor, James brought his expertise to the Kelowna Museum to assist with an archeology exhibit. He also was instrumental in discovering and excavating Father Pandosy’s grave. Beyond his teaching career, he acted as instructor for the “People to People” program where American students learn about aboriginal cultures of Western Canada. Anita and James fundraised for the Lake Country Museum, giving Lake Country residents and tourists alike a place to visit and find out more about the history of this community.

1787 Mountain Ave Kelowna

Martin House, 1787 Mountain Ave, Kelowna
Janice and Mike Henry

Conservation project on a heritage building currently in residential use

Awarded to a residential building that has recently undergone an exterior restoration and/or rehabilitation. The high standards, innovation and commitment to heritage conservation are recognized.

The Henry’s moved their Arts and Crafts style house to a new foundation on their property at 1787 Mountain Ave. keeping the low profile of the house. Working with building designer, Peter Chataway, much care was taken to maintain as many character defining elements of the house as possible.

Some of these elements include: wide overhanging roof with wood soffits, front enclosed verandah, cedar shingle siding, double hung wood windows with storms and screens currently being made, the original Prairie style door and the decorative attic dormer. A small addition was added to the back that includes matching wood double hung windows. Brick from the original chimney was used to create front steps and design elements in the sidewalk and patio. And, the colour scheme of the house was modified only slightly with the historic brown on the siding and Benjamin Moore historic colours used on the window trims and sashes.

A unique heritage house in the Glenmore area, it has an interesting history. It was ordered from the Vancouver Construction Company catalog in 1929 by Vince and Matilda Martin. They moved from Germany in 1918 and Vince found employment with the Kelowna Irrigation Company. When this company dissolved, he became the first head, water bailiff for the Glenmore Irrigation District in 1921 and held this position until his retirement in 1948. Both Vince and Matilda helped run the Sunday schools in Glenmore. Their daughter, Betty, served as a missionary in Ethiopia. She returned in 1961 to help her father who was ailing, but he died as she was journeying home. Betty continued to live in the house until just before her death. Many home furnishings can now be viewed in the Fintry Manor House and much archival material was donated to the Kelowna Museums.

815 Bernard Ave KelownaContinued conservation of a heritage building:

Awarded to a building to recognize the high quality of its exterior preservation and maintenance over the years, in keeping with its original design and structure. 

Not only has this modest house been well kept over the years, but it has remained in the Winter family and been kept as a single family residence since it was built in 1939.

The upgrades to the house have always been meticulously researched to keep their heritage features, the most recent being the curved asphalt shingle roofing that wraps around the fascia. Other character defining elements include: 1 ½ storey height with a rectangular plan, steep-pitch cross-gabled roof, painted brick chimney with exposed corbelled top, wood sash double hung windows, asymmetrical gable projection with a gentle arched porch covering, rounded stone steps to the front door and mature landscaping.

The house was built in 1939 by Ernie Winter who moved from London, England in 1932. He and his wife, Sally, lived here until 1998. A plumber by trade, he bought Jack Galbraith’s Plumbing and Heating business naming it Winter Plumbing and Heating Ltd. It is still in operation and proclaims itself to be “Kelowna’s Oldest Established Shop”.

Ernie found time for other pursuits. He was an accomplished tennis player, playing well into his 80s. For 14 years he served on City Council and for 20 years he was a Volunteer Firefighter. For 60 years he was a Rotarian and spearheaded the first low-cost senior’s home in Kelowna, the Pleasant Vale Homes. About 1950 he organized the Red Feather Campaign, now known as the United Way. His contributions to Kelowna was considerable.

545 Burne Avenue Kelowna

Whitehead House, 545 Burne Ave, Kelowna
Andre and Lynette de Zwaan

Continued conservation of a heritage building:

Awarded to a building to recognize the high quality of its exterior preservation and maintenance over the years, in keeping with its original design and structure.

This charming house has many heritage features. It is a two storey, foresquare plan with a low pitched hip roof and a pediment shaped dormer. The canted corners of the façade and the large front porch with original decorative railing create a distinctive appearance. The large bay window and the leaded 4 and 6 pane fixed windows have all been conserved. The second storey balcony rails and the widow’s walk on the roof add a vertical symmetry to the building.  This recently painted house with mature landscaping add to the house’s appeal.

J.B. Whitehead had the house built in 1911 and owned the house until 1940. He operated the Kelowna Billiard and Poolroom during the 1920s. His contribution to the community was as a member of the building committee of the Anglican Church in 1908.

Other notable owners included the well-known Ritchie family. Rae and Ruby Ritchie bought the house in 1948. Rae was studying law at McGill University when WW1 broke out. He served with the Princess Patricia’s Canadian Light Infantry. Upon returning, he articled in Vancouver and practiced law in Kelowna from 1921 to 1931. He changed course and worked as a fruit inspector until 1940, when WW2 broke out. Again he enlisted, serving as a recruiting officer. Ritchie is probably best known in Kelowna for opening his second-hand store “OK Used Furniture”, which led to Ritchie Brothers Auctioneers.

Kelowna Pioneer Cemetery

Kelowna Pioneer Cemetery, 1991 Bernard Ave, Kelowna
City of Kelowna & Partners

Preservation or restoration of a neighborhood or area:

Awarded to a neighbourhood or area that has largely remained unchanged over time or has been revitalized through the restoration and/or rehabilitation of its buildings and streetscape.

As the oldest operating cemetery in Kelowna, established in 1892 its grave markers reflect the history of the area. A project begun in 2005, set out to place grave markers on 100 unmarked graves in the Pioneer Cemetery. The city contributed $15,000. And the Friends of the Pioneer Cemetery contributed $17,000. received from donations. This enabled 135 markers to be placed on unmarked graves. There are still over 500 unmarked graves for which research and markers are still needed. The project continues on as funding becomes available and further research is done.

A large monument has also been added to the site which inscribes the government’s apology to the Asian community for the unfair treatment that the early Chinese community experienced. Racism and unjust laws made life very difficult and yet the community persevered.

This scenic and quiet location add majesty and dignity to the site. It is a wonderful place to explore, especially if you join one of the cemetery tours hosted by the Kelowna Museums. Bob Hayes is a popular leader as he has a vast knowledge of the cemetery and the people laid to rest here.

The care of the cemetery and the stories of the people in the pioneer cemetery add greatly to the heritage of the area. Accepting the award, is cemetery manager, David Gatzke on behalf of the City and its partners. Partners include: the Kelowna and District Genealogical Society, the Chinese Freemasons and Dart Coon Club in conjunction with the Okanagan Chinese Canadian Association, the Kelowna Museums Society, the Okanagan Historical Society- Kelowna Branch and the Friends of the Pioneer Cemetery.

Special Heritage Project: 

To recognize and honour special projects and accomplishments in the Central Okanagan.  This may include advocacy, awareness and planning heritage and historical projects.

The Apple Box Belles tells the story of the packing houses of Lake Country through the women who packed apples by hand in the various Lake Country packing plants from the early 1900s until the late 1950s.

Apples were originally packed by women in the field of their own farms. But, with the growth of orchards packing houses were established. Men worked here first, but with the onset of the First World War, women took over the packing. They worked fast, sometimes up to 10 hour days and were paid less than men. So, after the war, women were kept on at the packing houses.

The story of the Apple Box Belles also tells of how they enabled more women to work during the depression and how camaraderie and friendly competitions kept the women’s spirits up. The strike of 1955 brought in some more money for women on the line, but mechanization and new methods eventually ended the era of skilled apple packers. The virtual museum includes old photographs of both the exterior and interior of the packing houses, videos of some of the women who packed the apples and stories of the industry as told through biographical accounts of several of the workers. It is a fascinating tale that links stories to the packing houses that were built throughout the valley. You can enjoy this museum experience on your home computer:

Applebox Belles, Lake Country Museum & Archives

Applebox Belles: The Women of Lake Country’s Packinghouses Community Stories
Lake Country Museum & Archives