The Labour Day long weekend coincided with the final days of Meet Me on Bernard (MMOB) for 2021. The program, which saw the 200 - 500 blocks of Bernard Avenue open to pedestrian foot traffic only for July and August, had a very successful first year given the ebb and flow of permitted activation types, provincial health orders, and weather conditions.
MMOB was launched thanks to a partnership between the City of Kelowna, Downtown Kelowna Association, and Tourism Kelowna. Each organization worked to bring animation and activations to the various blocks, which included Restaurant Row in the 200 and 300 blocks, Neighbourhood Plaza in the 400 block, and Community Square in the 500 block, where numerous cultural, musical, and art displays took place. Rogers Communications, Mission Group, and ValleyFirst, a Division of First West Credit Union, were among the community sponsors for the program.
Our Visitor Experience team set up a mobile information centre in Neighbourhood Plaza, which served as a hub to connect visitors and residents with information regarding our region and MMOB offerings. The information centre—stationed in front of our MMOB Van (pictured above), which was generously provided by Budget Car & Truck Rentals (who also support our Kelowna Explorer Vehicle)—was staffed by Tourism Kelowna Visitor Experience Specialists and Downtown Kelowna Concierge staff whenever possible and was set up as a self serve kiosk on most other days.
Preliminary results from an in-person and online follow-up survey asking about the experience during Meet Me on Bernard show some exciting results:
- 80% of respondents enjoyed their time on Bernard Avenue
- 77% of respondents visited a downtown business while attending MMOB
- 64% of respondents would like to see MMOB go for the same or an extended period of time in the future
Sixty percent of survey respondents were Kelowna residents. Anyone who attended MMOB can still submit their feedback through our online survey.
Although MMOB is over for this year, the City of Kelowna's sidewalk seating program will carry on into the fall, allowing flexibility for businesses amidst ongoing public health orders and restrictions. We look forward to supporting MMOB again in 2022 for its second year and welcoming even more visitors and locals to downtown Kelowna!
If you have any questions about Meet Me on Bernard, or our Mobile Visitor Experience team, please reach out to me at firstname.lastname@example.org or (250) 861-1515 ext. 220.