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Mitchell Block

277 Main Street, Vancouver, British Columbia, Canada

Formally Recognized: 2007/04/16

271-277 Main Street; City of Penticton, 2007
Exterior front view, 2007
271-277 Main Street; Penticton Museum & Archives, 1912
Historic exterior front view, 1912
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Links and documents

Construction Date(s)


Listed on the Canadian Register: 2020/01/10

Statement of Significance

Description of Historic Place

The Mitchell Block is a two-storey brick commercial building located on Main Street in Penticton, British Columbia. It was built in the Edwardian classical revival style with a symmetrical façade comprising three bays, with two recessed side bays.

Heritage Value

The Mitchell block is valued as the largest remaining commercial building built on Front and Main Streets during the 1911 building boom that was key to Penticton's commercial development. Its broad façade is 68 feet wide, covering two-and-a-half lots, was much wider and more horizontal in emphasis than other earlier commercial buildings.

It was described in the Penticton Herald of the day as presenting "a modern scheme worked out on simple lines, the walls being of solid brick, with street façade of Clayburn pressed brick, laid in English cross bond, with trimmings of cement stone." The main floor featured large plate glass windows and two Romanesque arches. The upstairs had four pairs of double hung windows on the outer bays and two oval windows in the centre bay. At the centre of the roof line was a substantial entablature with a strong cornice line and a central panel with the date 1911 on it.

Built in 1911 at a cost of over $28,000, it was fitted with the newest features, including steam heating and electric light. The simple Edwardian Classical style represented a watershed in design and materials, as it replaced the earlier wooden buildings with their Late Victorian design details. The expense taken in building the Mitchell Block, such as the detail of transporting bricks from Clayburn, near Abbotsford, prior to having a railroad in Penticton is significant. It reflects the investment being made in substantial, well-built structures during the era of economic optimism with the sod-turning for the Kettle Valley Railway beginning, and generally upbeat economic conditions in Canada.

The building has historic value as a symbol of the growing economic commerce of this period. Its layout of three stores at street level and offices above was typical of the day but the scale was larger than had been seen previously in Penticton, and represented the most modern retail storefront and office building in town at that time. That it was filled immediately both up and down was also significant in that it reflected the need for new and modern retail and office space, given the growing pains of boom time Penticton.

The building is also valued for its association with J. R. Mitchell, who was a tailor by trade, but also one of Penticton's early orchardists and realtors. He was an early member of City Council, an active member of his church, involved in the board of trade, and was active in many other community organizations. He was the land agent for the Kettle Valley Railway, negotiated many key land purchases for the company. As a commissioned officer during World War I, he commanded a company of the Rocky Mountain Rangers and ran an enemy internment camp.

The building is also notable because of its association with the Clement family of Kelowna, the most pre-eminent brick builders in the Okanagan during this period.

SOURCE: City of Penticton Civic File

Character-Defining Elements

Key elements that define the heritage character of the Mitchell Block include its:
-broad dimensions of the façade
-Edwardian classical-revival architecture
-use of Clayburn pressed bricks
-prominent location in the historic 200 block of Main Street
-double hung windows on 2nd 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)


Theme - Category and Type

Developing Economies
Trade and Commerce
Peopling the Land

Function - Category and Type



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

Architect / Designer

A.F. Pelton


Mr. Clement

Additional Information

Location of Supporting Documentation

City of Penticton Civic File

Cross-Reference to Collection

Fed/Prov/Terr Identifier




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