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Land and Agricultural Company Building

2923 30th Avenue, Vernon, British Columbia, Canada

Formally Recognized: 2000/02/21

Land and Agricultural Company Building; Greater Vernon Museum & Archives photo #353, 1912
Historic view of facade, 1912
Land and Agricultural Company Building; City of Vernon, 2010
Front elevation, 2009
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Other Name(s)

Land and Agricultural Company Building
L & A Building

Links and documents

Construction Date(s)


Listed on the Canadian Register: 2010/05/20

Statement of Significance

Description of Historic Place

The Land and Agricultural Company Building is a two-storey brick-faced concrete block commercial building located on the north side of 30th Avenue.

Heritage Value

Built in 1911, the Land and Agricultural Company Building is valued for its association with the process of settlement in the North Okanagan. In 1907, a group of Belgian investors bought 14,606 acres in the B.X. area from Cornelius O’Keefe and Mrs. Greenhow, having previously bought 200,000 acres in Saskatchewan. In 1911, the Land and Agricultural Company built a ranch house for its manager, George Heggie, and constructed an office in downtown Vernon. A decade later, they held 17,000 acres, of which 600 were in orchard, 800 in hay, and 9,000 in range. The ranch had over 1000 cattle. In the meantime, a number of Belgian settlers bought ranches in the B.X. area, built large ranch houses and established orchards.

The Land and Agricultural Company was but one of many land development companies that invested in the Okanagan prior to World War I. Others in the Vernon area included the Scottish-Canadian Fruit Lands Company (1910) and a group of French investors (1911) who purchased a block of land from the Land and Agricultural Company. They attracted European capital and built roads and irrigation systems, opening up land for immigration and intensive agriculture. They would open offices on the main streets of the growing towns in the valley and promote settlement. This building is an expression of the optimism and economic prosperity of the pre-World War 1 era. With the recession of 1913 and the impact of World War 1, which cut off European capital and emigration, this period of rapid growth came to an end.

The Vernon News Special Holiday Number, 1912, noted the construction of the new Land and Agricultural office: 'A choice site was secured on Barnard Avenue, the main business street of Vernon, on which was erected a fine two-storey building, the ground floor of which was handsomely fitted up and furnished for the local offices of the company, where visitors to the city are welcome to call and secure information regarding the district, and, if interested, be motored over the company’s holdings.'

The Land and Agricultural Building is important because of its contribution to the continuity of the 30th Avenue streetscape. Relatively unchanged, it retains its company name in the parapet. The symmetrical concrete block front is relatively unaltered. A large cornice with modillions beneath helps emphasize the verticality of the building and helps underline the company sign above. Large brick quoins and the strong cornice line give an Italianate flavour to the design. The Land and Agricultural Company occupied the building until the early 1940s, sharing space with the offices of Dr. Gerald Williams, who rented the upstairs. Since then, it has been rented to various professional offices upstairs with commercial uses below. From 1941 to 1962, the downstairs was occupied by a sporting goods store. Since 1994, the downstairs commercial user has been a coffee house.

The Land and Agricultural Building is also notable for its association with George Heggie (1870-1953), who was hired to manage the company in 1910, a role he performed for 32 years. Born in Ireland, Heggie came to Canada in 1895 to manage Sir Arthur Stepney’s ranch near Enderby. Heggie was a Vernon alderman, justice of the peace, and the first President of the Vernon Fruit Union. He was elected to the Provincial Legislature from 1930-32 and died in 1953.

Source: City of Vernon Planning Department

Character-Defining Elements

Key elements that define the heritage character of the Land and Agricultural Company Building include its:
- central block location on the north side of 30th Avenue
- commercial form, scale and massing, as expressed by its two-storey height and symmetrical massing
- wall cornice with large modillions
- large quoins on the corners of the building
- brick parapet containing the name of the company
- stringcourse between the first and second stories
- second-storey fenestration of deep-set double-hung windows
- original interior flooring and vault



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)


Theme - Category and Type

Developing Economies
Trade and Commerce
Peopling the Land

Function - Category and Type


Commerce / Commercial Services
Eating or Drinking Establishment


Commerce / Commercial Services
Shop or Wholesale Establishment
Commerce / Commercial Services
Office or Office Building

Architect / Designer




Additional Information

Location of Supporting Documentation

City of Vernon Planning Department

Cross-Reference to Collection

Fed/Prov/Terr Identifier




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