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Courier Building

1580 Water Street, Kelowna, British Columbia, V1Y, Canada

Formally Recognized: 2000/03/20

Exterior view of the Courier Building, 2004; City of Kelowna, 2004
Front elevation
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Other Name(s)


Links and documents

Construction Date(s)


Listed on the Canadian Register: 2009/03/08

Statement of Significance

Description of Historic Place

The historic place is the brick Courier Building, built in stages between 1908 and 1939, and located at 1580 Water Street, on northwest corner of Water Street and Lawrence Avenue in Kelowna's Downtown area.

Heritage Value

The significance of the Courier Building lies in its long-standing association with the newspaper industry in Kelowna, its connection with George C. Rose, its value as an early and distinctive brick commercial building, and its reflection of changing land uses in this part of downtown Kelowna.

Publisher George C. Rose purchased this lot at the northwest corner of Water Street and Lawrence Avenue in 1908, and contracted prolific builder M.J. Curts to erect a one-storey building to accommodate his newspaper. Rose, who had come to the Okanagan in 1891 and planted the first commercial orchard in the valley in 1892, purchased the weekly Kelowna Clarion in 1905 from R.H. Spedding, who had commenced publication in the Gordon Building on Bernard Avenue a year earlier. Rose changed the name to the Kelowna Courier and Okanagan Orchardist, after the Aberdeen [Scotland] Courier, of which his father had been editor. Today's Daily Courier newspaper, whose masthead bore several different names over the years, has been important as an integral part of the evolving community for a century.

With his expansion of the paper, Rose needed more space and so he moved to his new Water Street building. Both the paper and the building expanded repeatedly. In 1921 the building was extended on the north side to accommodate the news and business departments (this is the one-storey wing to the right); in 1928 a second storey was added over the original block (this date is inscribed in the parapet) and Rose moved his living quarters up there, freeing ground-floor space for newspaper operations; and in 1939 a press room was added behind the north wing. By that time the Courier had a staff of nine men and a young woman.

In 1938, Rose sold the newspaper to R.P. MacLean, who shortened the name to the Kelowna Courier. As Kelowna grew, so did the Courier. It changed to twice-weekly publication in 1946. A decade later it was bought by the Thomson newspaper chain (with MacLean staying on as publisher and editor), and plans were made to go to daily publication, which started in September 1957. The Courier Building could not accommodate the space needs of a daily paper, so the Courier moved to a building at the corner of Ellis Street and Doyle Avenue, previously occupied by S.M. Simpson Ltd.

The old Courier Building, including its job-printing equipment, was then sold to the Kelowna Printing Company (owned by Len and Doris Leathley), which moved here from the Leathley Printing Building at 1481 Water Street (also on the Heritage Register). As part of the deal, the Courier stopped doing commercial printing. The Leathleys sold the Kelowna Printing Company in 1970. The new owners renamed the business Kelowna Stationers and later moved it to Bernard Avenue.

The Courier Building was recently connected to the adjoining building to the north (1570 Water Street, also on the Heritage Register) as part of The Keg Restaurant. The shift from publishing and retail use to restaurant use reflects the overall trend in the western portion of downtown, as its uses shift to leisure and entertainment uses.

Source: City of Kelowna Planning Department

Character-Defining Elements

The character-defining elements of the Courier Building include:
- two-storey corner block, typical of commercial buildings in the 1920s
- one-storey wing on Water Street, which although built in 1921 reflects the appearance of the original 1908 block
- stepped parapet
- date tablet and remnants of 'Kelowna Courier' sign below central parapet
- red brick walls
- brick pilasters, which define the bays and continue above the parapet
- two projecting wood-framed bay windows on the second floor
- continuous brick corbelled band between the floors (and at the top of the one-storey wing)
- two recessed doorways on the ground floor



British Columbia

Recognition Authority

Local Governments (BC)

Recognition Statute

Local Government Act, s.954

Recognition Type

Community Heritage Register

Recognition Date


Historical Information

Significant Date(s)

1928/01/01 to 1928/01/01
1921/01/01 to 1921/01/01
1939/01/01 to 1939/01/01

Theme - Category and Type

Developing Economies
Communications and Transportation

Function - Category and Type


Commerce / Commercial Services
Eating or Drinking Establishment


Communications Facility

Architect / Designer



M.J. Curts

Additional Information

Location of Supporting Documentation

City of Kelowna Planning Department

Cross-Reference to Collection

Fed/Prov/Terr Identifier




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