Nearly two years after work began, Mayor Walter Gray cut the ribbon Friday afternoon to officially reopen Kelowna's main street.
The $14-million improvements saw four lanes narrowed into two plus a centre turning lane, expanded outdoor retail and cafe space, widened sidewalks for pedestrians, new street furniture, new landscaping and replaced utilities.
"This project was one of the first to be realized out of the downtown plan," said Gray. "It has become a catalyst to improving our downtown."
The mayor added that he believes "it is truly happening downtown" with new parkades, an expanded Stuart Park, $5.6-million investment into the transit exchange and private developments like the public pier and the Kelowna Yacht clubhouse, among other proposed projects.
Dustin Sargent of the Downtown Kelowna Association said he is excited to have the street completed.
"Thank you to all the people involved, from the contractor to the City, to the businesses that made this process the best it could be," he said.
Residents are encouraged to discover the new Bernard Avenue and share photos on the city's Facebook page, Twitter or Instagram tagged with #BernardSelfie to be entered to win a pair of tickets to tribute band 'God Save the Queen."
Visit kelowna.ca/cityprojects to learn more about everything happening downtown and elsewhere in Kelowna.