Wartime Housing Type #3
North End Prototype #3
Links and documents
Listed on the Canadian Register:
Statement of Significance
Description of Historic Place
The historic place is the single-storey wood-frame Wartime Housing Type #3 house, built in 1946 as an early post-War bungalow, and located at 574 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 (and their families) returning from World War II. 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, a slightly larger version of the bungalow type, 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 was built to a standardized pattern, shared with nine other houses on this block of Okanagan Boulevard and eight on the 500-block of Oxford Avenue.
The house was initially occupied by Jacob and Irene Avender. Jacob Avender was a millworker at the S.M. Simpson sawmill. By 1951 and throughout the 1960s, Walter and Mary Johnson owned the house. Walter Johnson was a clipper operator at the S & K Ltd. plywood plant. Both owners are representative of the working-class community in the North End neighbourhood, and of the importance of the lumber industry in Kelowna.
A number of similar post-War dwellings also remain in the community's North End neighbourhood. Most of these well-maintained residences, including the present one, have been expanded and renovated, expressing the customizing of the standard houses to meet the particular needs of the owners. The most visible changes here are the addition to the right, the fixed and sliding windows, and perhaps the wood siding. These residences continue to serve an important housing need in the City of Kelowna.
Source: City of Kelowna Planning Department
The character-defining elements of the Wartime Housing Type #3 house include its:
- mature trees in front and side yards with lawn to street
- residential form, scale and massing, as expressed by its one-storey height and rectangular plan
- medium-pitched hipped roof with a small gable roof over the main entrance
- brick chimney
- horizontal V-joint wood siding on the walls and vertical wood siding over the entrance, both possibly alterations from the original design
- open porch, supported by two pairs of narrow wood columns
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