After its successful launch last year, Meet Me on Bernard (MMOB) is set to return this Friday, July 1, transitioning Bernard Avenue to a vibrant outdoor pedestrian mall through the summer for visitors and locals to enjoy.
MMOB, which will run until September 5 and feature extended patios, live music, innovative public art, free programming, and more, is a collaborative initiative presented by the City of Kelowna, Downtown Kelowna Association, and Tourism Kelowna. Initiated in 2020 as a temporary patio expansion program to support the resiliency of downtown businesses during some of the most difficult months of the pandemic, Meet me on Bernard has grown into a summer-long initiative.
“Tourism Kelowna is pleased to once again partner with the Downtown Kelowna Association and the City of Kelowna on this unique initiative, which does so much to animate our Downtown core,” says Lisanne Ballantyne, President & CEO of Tourism Kelowna. “With its friendly, welcoming energy and wide range of activities to enjoy, Meet me on Bernard is a fun way for locals and visitors to make the most of summer in Kelowna.”
In addition to being onsite for the Grand Opening event taking place on July 5, our team of Community Specialists and volunteers will once again be set up from approximately 12 p.m. to 8 p.m. daily on the 400 block in the Neighbourhood Plaza. This year, they will be operating out of our new Mobile Visitor Centre Trailer, pictured below, which features a water filling station and a #meetmeonbernard and #exploreKelowna photo booth. In addition to community information and maps, there will be MMOB branded items, as well as our Love for Kelowna and Kelowna Vibes retail items, sold at the trailer.
MMOB will run from the intersection of Abbott Street and Lawrence Avenue to the intersection of Bernard Avenue and St Paul Street. Blocks along the route have been aptly named to describe the activations—the 200 and 300 blocks are Restaurant Row, the 400 block is Neighbourhood Plaza, and the 500 block will be known as Community Square.
Some of the new initiatives taking place this year include:
- An MMOB Mobile Pass, with deals and offers from participating restaurants, retailers, and attractions, and Scavenger Hunt, launching on Friday, July 1—access a helpful messaging toolkit here!
- Pop-up shops hosted by local businesses, artisans, and non-profit organizations in Neighbourhood Plaza and Community Square.
- Try it Tuesday, when you can try some of the City of Kelowna's recreation programs from 12 to 3 p.m. in Community Square.
- Totally Tubalar, a public art installation created by students at Kelowna Secondary School.
For those who visited last year, return initiatives include:
- The Downtown Kelowna Block Party, taking place from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. on Saturday, July 23.
- Live music through Parks Alive!, taking place in Kerry Park on Friday and Saturday evenings, as well as in Neighbourhood Plaza on select Tuesday evenings.
- Eight creative parklets, designed by local landscape architects.
- AR Bernard, an augmented reality art exhibition curated by The Alternator Centre for Contemporary Art.
- The Kelowna Farmers' and Crafters' Satellite Market, taking place in Neighbourhood Plaza every Sunday, from 9 a.m. to 2 p.m.
Fifteen minute pick-up zones will be set up at most cross-street intersections along Bernard Avenue, which can be paid for using the PayByPhone app. An evening taxi zone will also be set up near the intersections of Abbott Street and Bernard, and Mill Street and Bernard.
There are numerous parking options throughout downtown, including the Library, Champman, and Memorial Parkades, as well as the City Park surface lot—find more info on the City of Kelowna website.