Kelowna, B.C.: Living Life Large in the Heart of British Columbia
Blog post courtesy of Mark Walker of Kelowna Properties
Kelowna is the largest city in British Columbia's Okanagan Valley, located in the heart of British Columbia. It has a population of about 120,000, but despite its size, it has a friendly vibe and quaint atmosphere. The area is surrounded by diverse geography, offering many outdoor activities and sports. The weather is mild compared to other areas of British Columbia, with a low crime rate.
Kelowna is for Living
According to Kelowna Real Estate, the housing market in this area of BC is one of the fastest growing in the province. Housing prices in the Kelowna area are experiencing a steady increase while housing sales are rising steadily. From first-time home buyers to mature empty nesters looking to downsize, there is a wide assortment of housing options for people of any age or lifestyle who want to relocate to the Kelowna area.
The lifestyle in the city of Kelowna is vibrant, providing an endless choice of things to do and places to see, yet the quiet beauty of the rural countryside is just a quick drive away, just outside the city.
Kelowna is for Foodies
Kelowna offers a variety of culinary choices, from fast food to formal dining, and the many wineries offer a unique dining experience. You can choose from the many ethnic restaurants, including Greek, Italian, Japanese, Thai, French, Fusion and Mexican. Kelowna is renowned for offering fresh regional cuisine using local ingredients.
Award-winning cooks. The region has recently received some positive press, thanks Kelowna chef and restaurateur, Aman Dosani, who was named a top foodie of the year by Western Living Magazine. She runs Poppadoms Indian Restaurant in Rutland. She has been quietly, yet creatively revolutionizing the culinary offerings in the Okanagan and Kelowna area, but she isn’t taking any credit.
Dosani doesn’t even think of herself as a chef. Her entry into the culinary world was by accident, taking over at the stove when other chefs didn’t work out. The eighth annual Top Foodies of the Year board filtered the top chefs down from the top 40, to the top 10 from all around the country. The best part is, Dosani and her mom are home cooks who run the family kitchen there.
Kelowna is for Working and Playing
According to the Kelowna Chamber of Commerce, people who live in Kelowna receive the urban benefits of a diverse and healthy local economy with high-quality healthcare services and top-notch educational institutions. The area also offers a diverse array of arts, cultural and shopping experiences.
The region provides a vast amount of job opportunities in industries like insurance, finance, real estate, construction, education and health care. In addition, there are employment options in the professional and high-tech fields.
Kelowna is for Wine Aficionados
The area in and around Kelowna is home to three distinct winemaking regions, and over 25 wineries, most of which provide wine tours or tastings. As a matter of fact, Kelowna is the birthplace of wine in British Columbia. Most of the wineries are open for year-round tours or tastings, although some are seasonally-operated.
Kelowna is for Outdoor Fun
Aside from the indoor activities like wineries, galleries, and museums, Kelowna offers an array of outdoor experiences. Okanagan Lake is on the western boundary and has several beaches for swimming, water skiing, windsurfing, paddling, boating, and fishing.
You can never have too many golf courses. For those who don’t appreciate water sports, there are a dizzying number of golf courses, so many in fact, the hardest part is figuring out which one to play. Kelowna averages over 2,000 hours of sunlight each year, meaning it has one of the longest, driest seasons in Canada. Many of the golf courses provide scenic lakeside vistas.
Scenic trails for all skill levels. Kelowna is also the perfect place for hikers, providing many scenic hiking trails. The former Kettle Valley Railway is now a cycling and hiking path that runs along the area's many vineyards and orchards with a section that includes two tunnels and 18 trestles running through Myra Canyon, with several easy access points.
And then there’s winter. The Kelowna area is great for winter activities of all kinds. For skiing, you can't beat Big White, deemed by the Times of London as one of the "Top 5 Family Resorts in the World,” averages 750cm of fluffy powder each year, with 118 marked runs.
Kelowna is for Arts, Culture and Museum Lovers
Kelowna has an impressive selection of museums, but the real history of the Okanagan is in small, local museums that provide the story of pioneer spirit of the land and its people. Be sure to check with one of the numerous visitor centres in the area, though, as times vary by season.
The rich, diverse history unfolds. Kelowna has four museums in the heart of the cultural district, including the Okanagan Military Museum, the Okanagan heritage Museum, and the BC Orchard Industry Museum and the BC Wine Museum. To learn about the Secwepemc First Nation, go to the Secwepemc Museum and Heritage Park in Kamloops, where you can view the remains of a 2,000 year-old pit house, a reconstructed summer village, and an ethnobotanical garden with plants they used every day.
The cultural district never sleeps. Kelowna's Cultural District includes an exciting variety of art galleries and museums, as well as performing arts venues. Kelowna supports the music scene, including the Okanagan Symphony Orchestra, as well as chamber music, dance and choral groups, musical theatre, bands and up-and-coming performers.
Kelowna Vibrates with Festivals and Events
Kelowna has a full calendar with events and festivals featuring food and wine, the performing arts, music and sports. In September, the Kelowna Dragon Boat Festival on the waterfront fills the area with the sounds of music and spectators supporting their favourite teams. Seasonally, Kelowna celebrates the local wine culture with two Okanagan Wine Festivals. Other festivals include the Centre of Gravity Festival, the Okanagan Film Festival and the annual Apple and Cherry fairs.
No matter what you need or want in life, you can find it in Kelowna. From work to play and everything in between, the area offers something for everyone. Whether you are a city slicker or a country bumpkin, you’re sure to find the perfect place to live, work and play there.
Mark Walker is a real estate agent in Kelowna, BC. He loves sharing his real estate insights by posting online. You can find his articles on many Kelowna lifestyle and real estate websites across the country.