Central Okanagan Heritage Society
Kelowna, British Columbia

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Benvoulin Church: A Building That Reflects Its Community




"My name is Cynthia Ellis and I am the president of the Central Okanagan Heritage Society. On behalf of the board, I am happy to welcome you to your community building to celebrate with us the completion of the restoration of this Benvoulin Heritage Church.

You must have seen lots of activity here in the spring and during summer and therefore wonder, possibly, why we are having this opening today. Well I must tell you in the last season, let's say, we have had 30 weddings here, and we've had art shows, we've had a play which ran for 6 days, we've had concerts, we've had films, lots of meetings and we're getting to be, I guess people are getting to know about us, which is good. However, today is September 14th 1986, on September 11th, 1892, the Benvoulin Church was dedicated. So it's a very auspicious day.

Four years ago the Heritage Society was incorporated and we leased the building and land from the United Church.I didn't see Sid Rowles here, is he here? Oh there he is, oh good, Sid will talk to us in a little while about the United Church. And perhaps some of you will remember the condition of the church then. The floors were undulating, the paint was peeling, the windows were either painted or broken, the what else, there was no water what so ever and the plaster was festooned here and there with the lathe showing underneath. It was quite a challenge that we took on and, well, Bill Knowles will tell you, remind us (of) some of the details about that restoration project.

Help has come from many quarters. Primarily, I would think, the B.C. Heritage Trust. Sue Mahon is here on behalf of the B.C. Heritage Trust and will talk to us later as well. The Trust you know receives money from the lottery fund so and then allocates it to worthy projects such as ours. So somebody said to me recently if you win the million dollar lottery ticket then indeed you are a winner but if you buy a one dollar ticket and you don't win anything, you are also winner because the money goes back into the community. It is certainly with our Heritage Trust and projects such as this there have been various government, federal government grants and manpower programs and through them we have been, we have had access to experienced carpenters, plumbers and electricians.

And where is my friend Miraco, who is here who has done a lot to help with the building of the church. The federal Katimavik youth program was an incredible boon to us, young people were here on three rotations of three months each."


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