North End Prototype #1
Wartime Housing Type #1
Links and documents
Listed on the Canadian Register:
Statement of Significance
Description of Historic Place
The historic place is the one-and-one-half-storey, wood-frame Wartime Housing Type #1 house built in 1946 as an early post-War bungalow, and located at 567 Okanagan Boulevard in Kelowna's North End neighbourhood.
The principal value of this modest bungalow is as a prototype built by a federal agency, Wartime Housing Ltd., intended to develop an appropriate and affordable house-type to address the shortage of housing for servicemen returning from World War II (and their families). It is also valued as a reminder of the active building period in Kelowna's North End neighbourhood during the post-war years, in a setting with a number of dwellings similar in design and scale.
By the early 1940s, with the population growing from people engaged in the industries that filled war needs, housing in Kelowna, as in so many Canadian urban centres, was in desperately short supply. There had been little building during the Great Depression of the 1930s, and in the 1940s building materials for private construction were unavailable because they had been requisitioned for war purposes.
To solve this shortage the federal government created a Crown corporation, Wartime Housing Ltd., which built 19,000 homes across the country between 1941 and 1945, and another 13,000 in 1946 and 1947. At first provided as rental housing, they were later sold, many to returning veterans. Two basic models were available: a two-bedroom, one-storey bungalow, which was sold for $1,982; and a four-bedroom, one-and-one-half-storey house, for $2,680. The assets of Wartime Housing Ltd. were transferred in 1947 to the Central Mortgage and Housing Corporation, which had been created in 1946.
This house, an example of the larger, one-and-one-half-storey model, is important as an example of this phenomenon. It was built in 1946 by Vancouver contractors Smith Bros. Wilson for Wartime Housing Ltd., to plans by the well-known and talented architectural office of McCarter and Nairne of Vancouver. It represents a standardized pattern, shared with nine other houses on this block of Okanagan Boulevard and eight on the 500-block of Oxford Avenue.
The occupants of the house through the 1940s to 1965 were Hugh A. and Stella Kennedy. Hugh Kennedy (1896-1965), was co-proprietor, with his brother John, of Veteran's Electric at 344 Lawrence Avenue (and later on South Pandosy), until his retirement in 1963.
Hugh Kennedy certainly fitted the profile of the intended beneficiary of the federal program, as he was a double veteran. Born in Manitoba, he served in WWI in the Canadian Mounted Rifles. He and his wife came to Kelowna in 1923, and he worked for a garage until the outbreak of WWII, when he joined the Royal Canadian Ordnance Corps.
A substantial number of similar post-WW II dwellings still remain in the North End neighbourhood. Most are well maintained, and many have been renovated and continue to serve housing needs in the community, sixty years later. The small extension at the right is typical of the way in which these houses have been enlarged and altered to suit the needs of the individual owners.
Source: City of Kelowna Planning Department
The character-defining elements of the Wartime Housing Type #1 house include its:
- mature trees in the front and side yards, with a lawn facing the street
- white picket fence at street
- residential form, scale and massing, as expressed by its one-and-one-half-storey height and rectangular plan
- medium-pitched gabled roof, with small roof projection sheltering the entrance
- horizontal, wide beveled wood siding, with wood board trim
- small porch, with its roof supported by two pairs of thin wood columns
- six-over-six double-hung wood-sash windows with plain wood trim
Local Governments (BC)
Local Government Act, s.954
Community Heritage Register
Theme - Category and Type
- Governing Canada
- Government and Institutions
Function - Category and Type
- Single Dwelling
Architect / Designer
McCarter and Nairne
Smith Bros. Wilson
Location of Supporting Documentation
City of Kelowna Planning Department
Cross-Reference to Collection