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John F. Burne House

609 Burne Avenue, Kelowna, British Columbia, V1Y, Canada

Formally Recognized: 1994/09/27

Exterior view of the John F. Burne House, 2005; City of Kelowna, 2005
Side elevation
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Other Name(s)

John F. Burne House
J.F. Burne House

Links and documents

Construction Date(s)


Listed on the Canadian Register: 2007/03/22

Statement of Significance

Description of Historic Place

The historic place is the two-and-one-half-storey, wood frame and brick John F. Burne House, built in 1905 and located at 609 Burne Avenue in Kelowna's South Central neighbourhood.

Heritage Value

The John F. Burne House is valued for its association with an early prominent citizen in the legal profession and as an example of early residential construction occurring at the time the City of Kelowna incorporated in 1905.

John Ford Burne (1867-1938), known to his friends by the nickname "John Fat" because of his girth, was "a happy jolly fellow with a wonderful sense of humour which endeared him to his many friends." Born in England, he came to Canada and practiced law at Pincher Creek, Alberta, and at Ymir, BC, before coming to Kelowna in 1903 to set up as a solicitor. Burne is valued as Kelowna's first lawyer. The firm of Burne and Weddell, of which he was a co-founder in 1917, was still operating until recently as Weddell Horne and Company.

John and Adelaide Burne first resided in what was then called 'the Overwaitea block' at the northwest corner of Lawrence Avenue and Pandosy Street. By late 1904 their growing family needed more room, so in 1905 they had this wood-frame house built at a cost of $2,500. Painted red, it was then 'away in the country', at a distance from the newly incorporated City of Kelowna, along a muddy road. The Kelowna Land and Orchard Company had just subdivided the area south of Mill Creek. Burne Avenue, constructed later, is named for him. South Central is now considered an inner-city neighbourhood, and so this property has value for demonstrating the growth of Kelowna. Many of the architectural features of the house have been obscured by subsequent alterations.

John Burne was also the first police magistrate of the City of Kelowna, from 1905 to 1910 and again from 1929 to 1938. He was very active in the Kelowna Aquatic Association and, despite his bulk, was an expert diver.

The family lived here until Burne's death in December 1938. The owner was still listed as J.F. Burne in 1942, but after that the house had several different owners. In the 1950s it was converted to a boarding house, as were many of the larger early houses of Kelowna. It is now again a single-family residence. These changes in use are representative of the development of the South Central neighbourhood.

Source: City of Kelowna, Planning Department, File No. 6800-02

Character-Defining Elements

The character-defining elements of the John F. Burne House include:
- Location on Burne Avenue, forming part of Kelowna's South Central Neighbourhood
- Residential form, scale and massing as expressed by two-and-one-half-storey height and rectangular plan
- Street-facing gable, articulated by the eaves
- Long-time residential use



British Columbia

Recognition Authority

Local Governments (BC)

Recognition Statute

Local Government Act, s.967

Recognition Type

Heritage Designation

Recognition Date


Historical Information

Significant Date(s)


Theme - Category and Type

Peopling the Land

Function - Category and Type


Single Dwelling


Multiple Dwelling

Architect / Designer




Additional Information

Location of Supporting Documentation

City of Kelowna, Planning Department, File No. 6800-02

Cross-Reference to Collection

Fed/Prov/Terr Identifier




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