For many Kelowna residents, the end of Meet me on Bernard signals the end of summer.
The last four months, Bernard Avenue in the heart of downtown Kelowna has been closed to vehicles and open to good vibes, morning coffee shop bike rides and evening patio drinks.
It’s also the fourth year of Meet me on Bernard, where a portion of the street is closed to vehicles. This year two blocks were closed on May 19, with an additional section closing in July, stretching the pedestrian-only promenade all the way from Okanagan Lake up to Pandosy Street.
The closure allows restaurants and cafes to expand their outdoor patios and provides space for activities like chess and ping-pong to be played on the street.
Mark Burley, executive director with the Downtown Kelowna Association, is one of the men behind Meet me on Bernard.
Each year he looks forward to the closure and loves the feeling of community that the initiative brings.
He said that this year, the summer got off to a slow start but ended up being quite busy by July and the beginning of August. However, Burley explained that the tourism industry was impacted again when wildfires began to spread in the Central Okanagan and around Kelowna.
“Fires impacted things quite severely,” said Burley.
A survey is currently being circulated to local businesses so that the Downtown Kelowna Association can assess the impact of Meet me on Bernard this year and make any necessary changes for next year.
The road will be open to vehicle traffic on Sept. 7. To learn more about Meet me on Bernard visit meetmeonbernard.com.