Bernard Avenue in Kelowna will become an “urban park” on July 1 | infonews

Bernard Avenue in Kelowna will be closed to vehicles again this summer and open for entertainment.

Image Credit: Submitted/City of Kelowna

April 23, 2022 – 11:30 am

COVID may be a painful memory for businesses in downtown Kelowna, but one of its cultural contributions will continue this summer.

From July 1 through September 5, four blocks of Bernard Avenue, starting at The Sails, will be closed to vehicular traffic and come alive with art, flowers, music, parklets and games.

Called Meet Me On Bernard, it “transforms Avenue Bernard from a vehicular corridor to an urban park, providing pedestrians with a fun and dynamic setting to enjoy a variety of activities and explore local shops and restaurants,” says a report to Kelowna City Council on Monday outlining this year’s program.

It was launched in 2020, initially as a way for restaurants to expand their terraces since indoor seating was restricted due to COVID rules.

READ MORE: Bernard Avenue in Kelowna could be closed every summer

Last year, 23 restaurants extended their terraces. So far this year, 21 have applied to do it again.

Local landscape architectural firms created seven “parklets” last year. Eight companies plan to create mini-parks this year.

There will be street art, buskers and performances showcasing local talent. Street games such as chess, giant checkers and Jenga will once again be on offer and there will be room for pop-up businesses.

The Kelowna Farmers and Artisans Market will be held in the 400 and 500 blocks each Sunday and events such as Arts on the Avenue and a block party are in the works.

The budget for the summer is $25,000, funded by participating organizations and revenue generated by the city for things like patio expansion fees.

This will be in addition to the time of City staff, the Downtown Kelowna Association and Tourism Kelowna staff.

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