Women's Institute Hall - Kelowna, BC
Posted by: Groundspeak Premium Member ScroogieII
N 49° 53.132 W 119° 29.194
11U E 321382 N 5528868
Quick Description: Built around 1924 as a school, this little wood framed building has had a varied and eclectic history.
Location: British Columbia, Canada
Date Posted: 8/24/2020 1:10:36 PM
Waymark Code: WM131AW
Published By: Groundspeak Premium Member Weathervane
Views: 0

Long Description:
When first built in the mid '20s, the school served as a Manual Training and Domestic Economics centre - what, in my school days, would have been referred to as Shop and Home Economics. The school was actually built by the students of the Manual Training class of 1924, mentored by the Manual Training teacher at the time, W.C. Mitchell. It was built adjacent to the public school on Kelowna's Lawrence Avenue. Though today known as the Women's Institute Hall, its longest tenant residency was that of a Seniors' Centre.

The building remained a school for only five years, at most, being turned over to the Kelowna Women's Institute in 1929, who remained in the building for 18 years. Thereafter, in chronological order, it housed the Mary Pratten School of Dance for 26 years, Seniors' Centre #76 for 35 years and, finally, the Kelowna Canadian Italian Club for 22 years. They remain in the building to this day.

It was the Kelowna Women's Institute who, while in this building, purchased Kelowna's first ambulance in 1929.

Following is text from the historical marker at the residence.
Women's Institute Hall
History
Built as a small school facility, W.C. Mitchell, the Manual Training teacher at Kelowna High School, undertook the construction with his students around 1924. Manual Training and Domestic Economics were taught here until 1929 when it was bought by the Kelowna Women's Institute.


Kelowna Women's Institute was known for supplying services to war veterans following WWI and "Well Baby" clinics from 1922 to 1943. It purchased Kelowna's first ambulance in 1929.

From 1937 to 1963 this Hall housed Mary Pratten School of Dance, where she taught ballet, Scottish and national dancing. Mary gave group lessons in this building and private lessons at her home (798 Glenn).

Senior Centre #76 was located in this building from 1963 to 1998.

The Kelowna Canadian Italian Club (incorporated March 22,1966) purchased the building in 1998. The Hall is used for member's meetings and social activities of members and guests.The club promotes Italian culture, education and citizenship as well as it supports social, cultural and sports activities in our community.

Building Style
The building is a good example of a typical small community hall in its design and detailing. It is square and covered with a pyramidal hipped roof and has plain double-hung windows. It is representative of small public buildings found throughout the province.

The building has value for its origins as a school facility, built as a project by a teacher and his students. It was constructed on the east end of the grounds of the old public school (now the armoury).

Women's Institute Hall
DESCRIPTION OF HISTORIC PLACE
The historic place is the one-storey, wood-frame Women's Institute Hall, built in 1924 as a small school facility, and located at 770 Lawrence Avenue in Kelowna's North Central neighbourhood.

HERITAGE VALUE
The heritage value of the Women's Institute Hall is seen in its association with a series of public and private institutional uses that have occurred here since the early 1920s. It also has value as an example of a typical small community hall in its design and detailing.

This building has value for its origins as a school facility, built as a project by a teacher and his students. It was constructed on the east end of the grounds of the old public school (now the armory) on Glenn Avenue (now Lawrence Avenue). W.C. Mitchell, the manual training teacher at Kelowna High School, undertook the construction with his students around 1924. It was built because facilities for teaching practical work in the basement of the then high school, Glenn Avenue School, were poor. Manual Training and Domestic Economics were taught here until 1929, when these classes moved to the new Junior High School.

The building is simple in design and execution, square and covered with a pyramidal hipped roof. It is illuminated by plain double-hung windows. Some extensions disrupt the basic symmetry. It is representative of small public buildings (originally a school facility and then a community hall) found throughout the province.

The building was bought in 1929 by the Kelowna Women's Institute and became the Women's Institute Hall. The historic place has value for its close association with this important civic organization. The Kelowna Women's Institute had been organized in 1915. Active in community services, it supplied services to war veterans after the First World War, and in 1922 started its "Well Baby" clinics, which continued until 1943. The Women's Institute collected donations for the Vancouver Children's Hospital and the Victoria Solarium. It bought Kelowna's first ambulance in 1929 and operated it free of charge for Kelowna and the surrounding community until 1943. The Women's Institute also participated in organizing the first library in Kelowna.

The Women's Institute Hall was an important public venue for Kelowna, being rented out frequently for meetings, concerts, cultural, and social events - everything from wedding receptions to political meetings.

The Hall is also remembered by the hundreds of local residents who had dance lessons here in the Mary Pratten School of Dance, a significant cultural organization that operated in the Hall from 1937 to 1963. Mary Pratten (1877-1967) was born in England and trained in dance in Devonshire, London, and Paris. In 1912 she and her brother came to Toronto. She taught there, and later in Vancouver and Kamloops. In 1937, on request, she came to Kelowna to teach ballet, Scottish, and national dancing. She gave group classes in this building, as well as private lessons in her small home at 798 Glenn (now Lawrence) Avenue. The students' annual revue and performances in the Okanagan Valley Music Festival were high points of the year, and Miss Pratten was also involved in local theatrical presentations,

CHARACTER-DEFINING ELEMENTS
The character-defining elements of the Women's Institute include its:
- location on Lawrence Avenue in Kelowna's North Central neighbourhood
- simple form, scale, and massing, seen in its one-storey height and rectilinear plan
- medium-pitched hipped roof
- two small, symmetrical gabled dormers projecting through the roof
- small, shed roof projecting over entrance door with two symmetrical, painted-wood columns
- corbelled brick chimney
- ground-floor symmetrical fenestration with one-over-one, wood-sash windows and plain, medium-width wood trim
- minimal landscaping, with lawn to street and wide textured concrete walkway to front door
From Historic Places Canada
Photo goes Here
Official Heritage Registry: [Web Link]

Address:
770 Lawrence Avenue
Kelowna, BC
V1Y 6L9


Heritage Registry Page Number: Not listed

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To log a visit to a Waymark in this category at least one photo of the property, taken by the visitor, must be included with the visit, as well any comments they have concerning either their visit or the site itself. Suggested inclusions are: what you like about the site, its history, any deviations from the description in the heritage listing noted by the visitor, and the overall state of repair of the site.
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