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WHAT’S UP DOWNTOWN – Heritage buildings add charm to city’s core

Brownstone Restaurant was once a bank, then City Hall.

ARCHITECTURE IS is a historical snapshot that is distinct to every neighborhood and tells a story. Stories enshrined in Canadian history are particularly special because the vast geographical, political, and cultural differences across the nation have created unique cities, and within them, neighbourhoods.

For example, Halifax’s shipyards are an ode to waves of immigration, as well as Canadian naval involvement in World War II. Sudbury’s giant smoke stack is a nod to history of nickel mining in northern Ontario. This is not about natural resources or naval history, but how manmade design tells a Canadian story. That’s pretty cool!

Downtown Kamloops has historical buildings dotted throughout its core of hotels, business blocks, and 1950s homes. The Old Inland Cigar Factory, St. Andrew’s on the Square, and The Old Kamloops Courthouse are just a few examples to spark your imagination. Today, I’ll take a brief stop on the 100 block of Victoria Street.

Perched at the corner of 1st Avenue and Victoria Street is the Old Bank of Commerce, contemporarily known as Brownstone Restaurant. This charming building was created in 1904 as a result of increasing economic prosperity in the Kamloops area, largely due to Canadian Pacific Railway.

The railway company had — since 1885 — employed communities across Canada and connected commercial trade links from coast-to-coast. As a result, the Canadian Bank of Commerce symbolized economic growth and development in an era of predominant fur, gold, and cattle sales.

The Toronto-based architects, Frank Darling and John Andrew Pearson, perfected features along the building by drawing upon local, pressed bricks from Mission Flats and European trends of classical revivalism.

Throughout the decades, the building transitioned from a financial institution to a political hub when City Hall was located at 118 Victoria Street from 1953 to 1964.

More recently, restauranteurs have visited this location in its modern state as Brownstone Restaurant. Undoubtedly, 118 Victoria Street is steeped in history , which gives our Downtown a certain charm.

Next time you upload a photo of a unique design downtown, remember to use #downtownkamloops for a chance to be featured on our social media pages. For more information on Kamloops’ heritage buildings, check out www.historicplaces.ca.

This article was written by Angie Halas, Customer Care and Patrol (CAP) Team Member. Reach CAP at 250-572-3008/3009 or the Customer Care & Info Centre at 250-572-3017. Email capteam@downtownkamloops.com. Follow on Facebook, Instagram (Downtownkamloops) and Twitter (@downtownkamloops).

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About Mel Rothenburger (6022 Articles)
ArmchairMayor.ca is a forum about Kamloops and the world. It has more than one million views. Mel Rothenburger is the former Editor of The Daily News in Kamloops, B.C. (retiring in 2012), and past mayor of Kamloops (1999-2005). At ArmchairMayor.ca he is the publisher, editor, news editor, city editor, reporter, webmaster, and just about anything else you can think of. He is grateful for the contributions of several local columnists. This blog doesn't require a subscription but gratefully accepts donations to help defray costs.

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