Capital News-Empress Theatre - Kelowna, BC
Posted by: Groundspeak Premium Member ScroogieII
N 49° 53.175 W 119° 29.826
11U E 320627 N 5528973
Quick Description: For around four decades this building was Kelowna's entertainment hub.
Location: British Columbia, Canada
Date Posted: 8/25/2020 12:59:13 PM
Waymark Code: WM131FC
Published By: Groundspeak Premium Member bluesnote
Views: 0

Long Description:
Built in 1919 as the Empress theatre, this was the only theatre in Kelowna until the 1950s, when the Paramount Theatre was built to the west on Bernard Avenue and the Empress closed its doors. Subsequently it housed a variety of businesses, including banks which were temporary occupands while awaiting completion of their own premises.

Around 1970 the Kelowna Capital News newspaper moved in, staying until the 1990s. It continues in publication in a newer, much larger facility. In latter years the building has seen several businesses come and go, including a thrift shop, apparel stores and gift shops.
Capital News/Empress Theatre
The historic place is the two-storey Capital News / Empress Theatre brick building constructed in 1919, and located at 285-297 Bernard Avenue in Kelowna's Downtown area.

The primary heritage value of the building is derived from its long-standing use as the Kelowna's movie theatre during the community's formative years. As the only movie theatre in town, the Empress Theatre was Kelowna's centre of entertainment for four decades. The original owner was David Lloyd-Jones, a sawmill operator who had been in the valley since 1880. The current David Lloyd-Jones nursing home on upper Bernard Avenue is named after him. Built in 1919, it replaced the makeshift movie theatre that had been operating in the old Lequime store since the Opera House in the Raymer Block burned down in 1916. The grand opening of the new Empress Theatre was on November 29, 1919, and featured a triple bill: Mickey, starring Mabel Normand; Out of the Fog, starring the Great Nazimova; and Hearts of the World, starring the Gish sisters.

By the 1930s the Empress Theatre was part of the Famous Players chain. The theatre closed in the 1950s, as Famous Players replaced it with the Paramount Theatre, further west on Bernard Avenue. The subsequent uses have value as well as community facilities. In 1959 the building was remodeled and served as temporary offices for several banks as their premises were either built or renovated. About 1970 the Capital News newspaper (founded in 1930) moved here from a location further up Bernard Avenue, and stayed until the 1990s, when it moved to the industrial area on Enterprise Way in the 1990s. The building is now occupied by the MCC (Mennonite Central Committee) Thrift Store.

The building also has value for being representative of the two-storey brick commercial buildings that were erected during this period. It was constructed by A.C. Bennett, a building contractor who had arrived in Kelowna in 1910. His son, Wally C. Bennett, would become Mayor of Kelowna in the 1970s. The brick has been covered with a stucco finish, visible only in the facade trim and on the side elevation.

- Good example of the commercial style, with unusual stepped/notched brick-trimmed parapet
- Second-floor stucco finish, with brick trim, evidence of the original brick facade with stucco renovation overlay
- Original red brick trim used for parapet cap, around windows, and between floors
- Brick-trimmed date panel below parapet
- Load-bearing ground floor columns allow for continuous glass storefront
From the Kelowna Heritage Register
Photo goes Here
Official Heritage Registry: [Web Link]

287 Bernard Avenue
Kelowna, BC
V1Y 6N2

Heritage Registry Page Number: Not listed

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