In 1993, Summerland’s downtown featured an Old English theme. The Bookstore and Bazaar and Realty World Locations West on Main Street are examples of the design during this time. (Photo courtesy of the Summerland Museum)

Summerland once had Old English theme

Design guidelines were introduced in late 1980s

Summerland’s downtown core once featured an Old English theme.

The theme was introduced in the late 1980s and over the years was referred to as the Tudor theme, the Old English theme and the Summerland theme.

The transition cost around $2.5 million.

The theme featured earth tone colors, half-timber wood accents on buildings and Old English lettering.

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However, concerns and criticisms were raised about the design guidelines.

Some noted the costs of adding design elements to small businesses. Others had said the restrictions on colors and lettering were too restricive.

By the early 2000s, the municipality was rethinking its design guidelines.

“What Summerland has ended up with doesn’t have the authenticity,” Robert Mackenzie, an architect examining guideline changes, said at the time. “There was very little flexibility.”

In the early 2000s, Robert Inwood, design principal with Mainstreet Consulting Associates, said the lettering for the signs presented problems with readability.

“The Old English typeface, with the look of the letters, is sometimes difficult to understand,” he said.

Members of the Summerland council of the day also raised their concerns about the design and sign guidelines.

“A lot of the people can’t read the old font,” Coun. Jim Kyluik said at the time. “That’s part of the problem for everyone.”

Elements of the Old English look can still be seen on buildings in downtown Summerland today.

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In 1993, many of Summerland’s downtown buildings incorporated Old English theme elements. The business buildings shown are on Henry Avenue, near Summerland’s municipal hall. (Photo courtesy of the Summerland Museum)

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