Good neighbours theme to celebration of Okanagan history

Organizations throughout the Central Okanagan are celebrating Heritage Week from Feb. 18 to 24.

Organizations throughout the Central Okanagan are joining the country and province in celebrating Heritage Week from Feb. 18 to 24.

This year’s Heritage Week theme of “Good Neighbours—Heritage Homes and Neighborhoods” has a broad appeal that will be represented in a number of different activities in the local area.

While many people first think of historical buildings as being “heritage,” established and stable neighbourhoods also have significant heritage value that has shaped Central Okanagan communities.

“We are particularly excited about this year’s theme,” said Janice Henry, executive director of the Central Okanagan Heritage Society.

“There were so many exciting possibilities and community groups have really pulled together to create a week’s worth of activities.”

Heritage Week events begin this Saturday Feb. 16, 2 p.m., with a special presentation at the downtown Kelowna branch of the Okanagan Regional Library.

James Johnstone, a heritage advocate and house historian, will guide participants on a free virtual tour of Vancouver’s oldest neighbourhood using archival and modern images.

Johnstone’s experiences and skills will inspire local residents to gain a deeper understanding of their own neighbourhood’s past.

The Heritage Week Kick-off Breakfast is  Monday, Feb. 18, 7:30 a.m., hosted at the Kelowna Canadian Italian Club, 770 Lawrence Ave., by the COHS and the Rutland Residents Association.

Dorothy Zoellner and Alice Lundy, with the Okanagan Historical Society, will be the guest speakers.

The breakfast is by donation and will also feature door prizes and a 50/50 draw.

Later on Monday at 1:30 p.m., the COHS will make a presentation to Kelowna city council, updating City Hall on Heritage Week events and the Kelowna heritage grants program.

On Wednesday, Feb. 20, there will be a Brown Bag Luncheon at the Kelowna Heritage Museum from noon to 1 p.m.

Some of UBC Okanagan’s talented students will present preliminary work they have done on an art and research project in Kelowna’s North End, called Eco Art for Newcomers.

On Thursday, Feb. 21, the COHS will have their annual general meeting and will host the 29th annual Heritage Awards, 7 p.m., at the Benvoulin Heritage Church.

On Friday, Feb. 22, 7 p.m., at the Environmental Education Centre of the Okanagan (EECO),  there will be a special presentation called “Audubon and the Peregrine Falcon.”

The public is invited to celebrate the recently acquired Amsterdam print of the Audubon Peregrine Falcon, learn about its natural history and reintroduction programs. This free event will include refreshments.

And finally on Sunday, Feb. 24, 1 to 4 p.m., there will be a Heritage Home Tour and Tea.

The self-guided neighbourhood walking tour begins at the Knowles House at 865 Bernard Ave.

For a $5 donation you can enjoy tea and goodies and receive a passport to visit an additional five unique heritage homes.

Each house will feature displays about the first residents, using intriguing new information uncovered by the Kelowna and District Genealogical Society.

More information about each of these events can be found by calling or emailing the organizing groups, or by visiting www.facebook.com/OKHeritagesociety.

This year’s participants include the Central Okanagan Heritage Society, Kelowna Museums, Okanagan Historical Society, RDCO Regional Parks, Kelowna and District Genealogical Society, Kelowna South Central Association of Neighbourhoods, Friends and Residents of the Abbott Street Heritage Conservation Area Society, Rutland Residents Association, UBCO’s Creative Studies department, Okanagan Regional Library, Okanagan Mission Residents Association and the Kelowna Canadian Italian Club.