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Hotels of Kelowna

A hotel in Kelowna is an establishment that provides lodging paid on a short-term basis. Facilities provided may range from a basic bed and storage for clothing, to luxury features like en-suite bathrooms. Larger in Kelowna hotels may provide additional guest facilities such as a swimming pool, business centre, childcare, conference facilities and social function services. Hotel rooms in Kelowna are usually numbered (or named in some smaller hotels and B&Bs) to allow guests to identify their room. Some Kelowna hotels offer meals as part of a room and board arrangement. Hotel operations vary in size, function, and cost. Most Kelowna hotels and major hospitality companies that operate hotels in Kelowna have set widely accepted industry standards to classify hotel types. General categories include the following:

Upscale luxury hotels in Kelowna
An upscale full service hotel facility in Kelowna that offers luxury amenities, full service accommodations, on-site full service restaurant(s), and the highest level of personalized and professional service. Luxury Kelowna hotels are normally classified with at least a Four Diamond or Five Diamond status or a Four or Five Star rating depending on classification standards.

Full service hotels in Kelowna
Full service Kelowna hotels often contain upscale full-service facilities with a large volume of full service accommodations, on-site full service restaurant(s), and a variety of on-site amenities such as swimming pools, a health club, children's activities, ballrooms, on-site conference facilities, etc.

Historic inns and boutique hotels in Kelowna
Boutique hotels of Kelowna are smaller independent non-branded hotels that often contain upscale facilities of varying size in unique or intimate settings with full service accommodations. Kelowna boutique hotels are generally 100 rooms or less. Some historic inns and boutique hotels in Kelowna may be classified as luxury hotels.

Focused or select service hotels in Kelowna
Small to medium-sized hotel establishments that offer a limited amount of on-site amenities that only cater and market to a specific demographic of Kelowna travelers, such as the single business traveler. Most Kelowna focused or select service hotels may still offer full service accommodations but may lack leisure amenities such as an on-site restaurant or a swimming pool.

Economy and limited service hotels in Kelowna
Small to medium-sized Kelowna hotel establishments that offer a very limited amount of on-site amenities and often only offer basic accommodations with little to no services, these facilities normally only cater and market to a specific demographic of travelers, such as the budget-minded Kelowna traveler seeking a "no frills" accommodation. Limited service Kelowna hotels often lack an on-site restaurant but in return may offer a limited complimentary food and beverage amenity such as on-site continental breakfast service.

Guest houses and B&Bs in Kelowna
A bed and breakfast in Kelowna is a small lodging establishment that offers overnight accommodation and inclusive breakfast. Usually, Kelowna bed and breakfasts are private homes or family homes offering accommodations. The typical Kelowna B&B has between 4 and 11 rooms, with 6 being the average. Generally, guests are accommodated in private bedrooms with private bathrooms, or in a suite of rooms including an en suite bathroom. Some homes have private bedrooms with a bathroom which is shared with other guests. Breakfast is served in the bedroom, a dining room, or the host's kitchen. Often the owners of guest house themselves prepare the breakfast and clean the rooms.

Hostels in Kelowna
Kelowna hostels provide budget-oriented, sociable accommodation where guests can rent a bed, usually a bunk bed, in a dormitory and share a bathroom, lounge, and sometimes a kitchen. Rooms can be mixed or single-sex, although private rooms may also be available. Hostels are often cheaper for both the operator and occupants; many Kelowna hostels have long-term residents whom they employ as desk agents or housekeeping staff in exchange for experience or discounted accommodation.

Apartment hotels, extended stay hotels in Kelowna
Extended stay hotels are small to medium-sized Kelowna hotels that offer longer term full service accommodations compared to a traditional hotel. Extended stay hotels may offer non-traditional pricing methods such as a weekly rate that cater towards travelers in need of short-term accommodations for an extended period of time. Similar to limited and select service hotels, on-site amenities are normally limited and most extended stay hotels in Kelowna lack an on-site restaurant.

Timeshare and destination clubs in Kelowna
Kelowna timeshare and destination clubs are a form of property ownership also referred to as a vacation ownership involving the purchase and ownership of an individual unit of accommodation for seasonal usage during a specified period of time. Timeshare resorts in Kelowna often offer amenities similar that of a Full service hotel with on-site restaurant(s), swimming pools, recreation grounds, and other leisure-oriented amenities. Destination clubs of Kelowna on the other hand may offer more exclusive private accommodations such as private houses in a neighborhood-style setting.

Motels in Kelowna
A Kelowna motel is a small-sized low-rise lodging establishment similar to that of a limited service hotel, but with direct access to individual rooms from the car park. Common during the 1950s and 1960s, motels were often located adjacent to a major road, where they were built on inexpensive land at the edge of towns or along stretches of highways. They are still useful in less populated areas of Kelowna for driving travelers, but the more populated an area becomes the more hotels fill the need. Many of Kelowna motels which remain in operation have joined national franchise chains, rebranding themselves as hotels, inns or lodges.

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Travelling and vacation in Kelowna

City of Kelowna
Downtown Kelowna and Cultural District from West Kelowna
Downtown Kelowna and Cultural District from West Kelowna
Flag of Kelowna
Coat of arms of Kelowna
Coat of arms
Official logo of Kelowna
Nickname(s): Orchard City, K-Town
Motto: "Fruitful in Unity"
Kelowna is located in British Columbia
Location of Kelowna in British Columbia
Coordinates:  / 49.88361; -119.49333
Country Canada
Province British Columbia
Region Okanagan
Regional District Central Okanagan
Settled 1879
Incorporated 5 May 1905
• Type Elected city council
• Body Kelowna City Council
• Mayor Colin Basran
• MP Stephen Fuhr (Liberal)
• MLAs Steve Thomson (BC Liberal)
Norm Letnick (BC Liberal)
Christy Clark (BC Liberal)
• City 211.82 km (81.78 sq mi)
• Metro 2,904.86 km (1,121.57 sq mi)
Elevation 344 m (1,129 ft)
Population (2016)
• City 127,380
• Density 553.8/km (1,434/sq mi)
• Urban 151,957 (42nd)
• Metro 194,882 (22nd)
Time zone Pacific Time Zone (UTC-8)
• Summer (DST) Pacific Daylight Time (UTC-7)
Forward sortation area V1P, V1V – V1Z, V4T
Area code(s) 250, 778, 236
Highways BC 97 & BC 33
Website Official website

Kelowna (/kəˈlnə/) is a city on Okanagan Lake in the Okanagan Valley, in the southern interior of British Columbia, Canada. It serves as the head office of the Regional District of Central Okanagan. Its name derives from an Okanagan language term for "grizzly bear". Kelowna is the third largest metropolitan area in the province and ranks as the 22nd largest in Canada, with a population of 194,882 in 2016. Nearby communities include the City of West Kelowna (also referred to as Westbank, Westside) to the west across Okanagan Lake, Lake Country and Vernon to the north, as well as Peachland to the southwest and, further to the south, Summerland and Penticton.

Kelowna: History

So far exact dates of first settlement are unknown, but a northern migration led to the peopling of this area some 9000 years ago. The Indigenous Syilx people were the first inhabitants of the region, and continue to live in the region.

Father Charles M. Pandosy, a French Roman Catholic Oblate missionary, arriving in 1859 was the first European to settle at Kelowna, a place named "L'anse au sable" (Bay of Sand) in reference to the sandy shoreline. Kelowna was officially incorporated on 4 May 1905.

In May 2005, Kelowna celebrated its Centennial. In the same year, new five lane William R. Bennett Bridge began construction to replace the three lane Okanagan Lake Bridge. It was part of a plan to alleviate traffic problems experienced during the summer tourist season, when the influx of tourists adds to the commuters between West Kelowna and Kelowna. The new bridge was completed in 2008.

Stubbs House is a historic house in Kelowna.

Kelowna: Events of significance

  • On 3 July 1877, George Mercer Dawson was the first geologist to visit Kelowna.
  • On 6 August 1969 a sonic boom from a nearby air show produced an expensive broken glass bill of a quarter million dollars while at least 6 people were injured. The incident was caused by a member of America's Blue Angels during a practice routine for the Kelowna Regatta festival: He accidentally went through the sound barrier while flying too low.
  • Winter 1986 was the last time that the Lake completely froze over. The Royal Canadian Mounted Police helicopter successfully rescued an SUV that had tried to drive across the Lake and fell through the ice.
  • 2000s, Kelowna builds the tallest building in between the Lower Mainland and Calgary: Skye at Waterscapes, which is a 26-floor residential tower.
  • On 25 November 2005, the First Ministers and National Aboriginal Leaders signed the Kelowna Accord.

Kelowna: Area seasonal wildfires

  • On 7 May 1992, a forest fire consumed 60 hectares of forest on Mount Boucherie in West Kelowna across Okanagan Lake from Kelowna proper: no homes were damaged, however.
  • In August 2003, a nearby wildfire destroyed 239 homes and forced the temporary evacuation of approx. 30,000 residents. During the 2003 fire, many trestles of the historic Kettle Valley Railway were destroyed. All the trestles have been rebuilt to look like the originals but using smaller dimension beams.
  • In late August 2005, a 30 hectare fire caused multiple evacuations in the Rose Valley subdivision across the lake in West Kelowna.
  • In July 2009 wildfires destroyed hundreds of hectares of forest and a number of buildings in West Kelowna; 17,000 residents were evacuated.
  • In July 2009, a 100 hectare fire near Rose Valley resulted in the evacuation of 7,000 people. No structures were lost.
  • In July 2009, a 9,200 hectare fire behind Fintry resulted in the evacuation of 2,500 people. No structures were lost.
  • On 12 July 2010, a 30 hectare fire in West Kelowna destroyed one home and caused multiple evacuations.
  • September 2011, a 40 hectare fire in West Kelowna's Bear Creek Park caused the evacuation of over 500 people.
  • In July 2012, a 30 hectare fire caused the evacuation of the small community of Wilson's Landing just North of West Kelowna.
  • In September 2012, a late season, 200 hectare fire destroyed 7 buildings and resulted in the evacuation of 1,500 people in the community of Peachland.
  • In July 2014, a 340 hectare fire behind the West Kelowna subdivision of Smith Creek caused the evacuation of 3,000 people.
  • In August 2014, a 40 hectare fire above Peachland resulted in the evacuation of one home.
  • In July 2015, a 55 hectare fire in the Joe Rich area caused the evacuation of over 100 properties.
  • In July 2015, a 560 hectare fire near Shelter Cove caused the evacuation of 70 properties.
  • In August 2015, a 130 hectare fire burned near Little White mountain just south of Kelowna.

Kelowna: Geography

Kelowna: Landmarks

  • Mission Creek
  • Bellevue Canyon
  • Layer Cake Hill
  • Pinnacle Rock
  • Gallagher's Canyon
  • Crawford Falls
  • Knox Mountain
  • Myra Canyon
  • Mission Creek Falls
  • Black Knight Mountain
  • Maude-Roxby Wetlands
  • Okanagan Lake

Kelowna: Climate

Kelowna is classified as a humid continental climate per the Köppen climate classification system due to its coldest month having an average temperature slightly above −3.0 °C (26.6 °F), with dry, hot and sunny summers, cold, cloudy winters and four seasons. The official climate station for Kelowna is at the Kelowna International Airport, which is at a higher altitude than the city core with slightly higher precipitation and cooler nighttime temperatures. The moderating effects of Okanagan Lake combined with mountains separating most of BC from the prairies moderates the winter climate, but Arctic air masses do occasionally penetrate the valley during winter, usually for very short periods. The coldest recorded temperature in the city was −36.1 °C (−33.0 °F) recorded on 30 December 1968.

Weather conditions during December and January are the cloudiest in Canada outside of Newfoundland thanks to persistent valley cloud. As Okanagan Lake hardly ever freezes, warmer air rising from the lake climbs above colder atmospheric air, creating a temperature inversion which can cause the valley to be socked in by cloud. This valley cloud has a low ceiling however, and often bright sunshine can be experienced by driving only 20 minutes or so up into the nearby mountains, above the cloud. Summers in Kelowna are hot (sometimes extremely hot) and sunny, with daytime temperatures often exceeding 32 °C (90 °F). The hottest recorded temperature at the airport was 39.5 °C (103.1 °F) on 24 July 1994, and the highest temperature ever recorded in the city was 41.0 °C (105.8 °F) in August 1998 near but not at the airport. It is not at all unusual for heat waves to occur in July, August and even June and September on occasion, where temperatures above 30 °C persist for weeks. During summer clear, dry air allows night-time temperatures to fall rapidly. The city averages about 380 millimetres (15 in) of precipitation per year, with about 1/5 of the precipitation falling as snow, the bulk in December and January; however, June is the wettest month of the year.

While some smaller communities such as Blue River and Golden get less wind, Kelowna has the greatest percentage of "calm" wind observations for any major city in Canada (39% of the time). The four-year average wind measured at the airport has been less than 5 knots on average 10/12 months of the year between 2008 and 2011. As shown in the climate chart below, Kelowna has an average high temperature that is above freezing every month of the year - an exceptionally rare phenomenon for a Canadian city that is located inland. In fact, average high temperatures in January surpass those of St. John's, Newfoundland, which experiences heavy moderation from the warm Atlantic current. Kelowna's average year-round high temperature of about 14.6 degrees is also one of the highest in Canada - largely thanks to the rare combination of high summer temperatures typical of continental climates, along with relatively mild winters - a very rare feature of a continental climate.

Weather facts:

  • Driest Year (1952) = 186 mm (7 in)
  • Wettest Year (1996) = 541 mm (21 in)
  • Warmest Year (1998) = 11.4 °C (53 °F); 9.2 °C (49 °F) at the Airport
  • Coldest Year (1955) = 5.6 °C (42 °F)
  • Highest Extreme Temperature (August 1998) = 41.0 °C (106 °F)
  • Lowest Extreme Temperature (December 1968) = −36.1 °C (−33 °F)
Climate data for Kelowna International Airport, 1981–2010 normals, extremes 1899–present
Month Jan Feb Mar Apr May Jun Jul Aug Sep Oct Nov Dec Year
Record high humidex 13.0 14.5 21.1 28.0 37.0 42.3 46.4 45.6 34.9 26.7 20.6 13.9 46.4
Record high °C (°F) 14.8
Average high °C (°F) 0.8
Daily mean °C (°F) −2.5
Average low °C (°F) −5.8
Record low °C (°F) −31.7
Record low wind chill −39.7 −33.0 −20.4 −9.8 −5.4 −0.6 0.0 0.0 −7.3 −18.2 −36.3 −37.6 −39.7
Average precipitation mm (inches) 31.0
Average rainfall mm (inches) 8.9
Average snowfall cm (inches) 26.9
Average precipitation days (≥ 0.2 mm) 13.9 10.3 10.5 10.9 12.9 12.0 9.2 8.5 8.7 11.3 14.4 14.1 136.6
Average rainy days (≥ 0.2 mm) 5.6 6.2 8.8 10.7 12.2 12.0 9.2 8.5 8.3 11.3 11.0 4.2 107.8
Average snowy days (≥ 0.2 cm) 10.0 5.6 2.4 0.6 0.0 0.0 0.0 0.0 0.0 0.2 4.7 11.0 34.5
Average relative humidity (%) 76.4 65.2 48.8 39.8 40.0 39.3 35.6 36.2 42.2 55.6 70.6 75.7 52.1
Mean monthly sunshine hours 39.4 80.9 148.5 191.0 238.2 244.9 297.8 281.6 216.2 124.5 50.9 35.1 1,948.9
Percent possible sunshine 14.8 28.5 40.4 46.3 49.9 50.2 60.5 62.8 56.9 37.2 18.6 13.9 40.0
Source: Environment Canada

Kelowna: Sectors and neighbourhoods

Kelowna consists of ten sectors with multiple neighbourhoods within the sector boundaries. Despite its moderate population of around 130,000 people living within city limits. This has cemented the Okanagan Valley as the most heavily populated region of the British Columbia mainland outside the greater Vancouver area. Non-intuitively, the greater Kelowna area (2,904.86 square kilometres) is even larger than the greater Vancouver area (2,878.52 square kilometres), despite having only about one tenth its population. Similarly, the area within Kelowna city limits (211.82 square kilometres) is larger than the area of Vancouver, within city limits, as well (114.97 square kilometres).

The city is 211.82 km (81.78 mi), and the metro is 2904.86 km (1121.57 mi).

For comparison, the city of Vancouver is 114.97 km (44.39 mi), and the metro area is 2878.52 km (1111.40 mi).

View of Kelowna and Okanagan Lake from Knox Mountain

Kelowna: Neighbourhoods of Kelowna

  • Belgo
  • Benvoulin
  • Black Mountain
  • Braeloch
  • Central City
  • Clifton
  • Crawford
  • Dilworth
  • Downtown
  • East Kelowna
  • Glenmore
  • Kettle Valley
  • KLO
  • McKinley Landing
  • Midtown
  • Mission
  • North End
  • Pandosy
  • Poplar Point
  • Rutland
  • Southeast Kelowna
  • Southridge
  • Quail Ridge

Kelowna: Central City

Central City is a linear commercial sector extending along Harvey Avenue from the Downtown to Highway 33. Major commercial developments include the Capri Centre mall, the Landmark buildings, and the Orchard Park Shopping Centre. Commercial activity is particularly concentrated along or very near highway 97 (Harvey).

Kelowna: Dilworth Mountain

Dilworth Mountain is a relatively low and isolated mountain which is located near the geographic center of the city. It lies across from Knox Mountain to the West, and forms part of the eastern heights between which Glenmore Valley lies. While technically a mountain, it rises about one thousand feet or so above the rest of the Okanagan Valley (just over 2000 feet elevation). It has been very extensively developed in recent years; decades of blasting and construction work have resulted in a scenic collection of neighborhoods with suburban character, but located only minutes from Central City. Like many other Kelowna residential districts, Dilworth has gone from relative isolation and wilderness, to hosting many residential roads with hundreds of homes - many of which are considered to be fairly expensive and high-end.

Kelowna: Downtown

Downtown Kelowna is the centre of the city and is a tourist district. It is located alongside Okanagan Lake, and its area is officially defined as all land north of highway 97, south of Clement Avenue, east of Okanagan Lake, and west of Richter Street. There are two main routes through the downtown core along which various attractions and commerce are concentrated. These include several parks and beaches along the lake, boardwalks and other walking trails, Kelowna Marina and Yacht Club, Delta Grand hotel and casino, and Prospera Place arena. The other main route through downtown is Bernard Avenue from Richter street to the lake. It has more shops and restaurants designed both for locals and tourists. Although Bernard ave. continues east well past the downtown area, it is not part of downtown and is zoned residential. The commercial segment lies within its downtown section between Richter and Abbott streets, the latter of which is lake-adjacent.

Kelowna has declared a 1 km (0.39 sq mi) downtown area to be a "red-zone", an area of prolific drug trafficking, assaults and robberies. The red-zone extends from Okanagan Lake to the West, Lake Avenue, Rowcliffe to Ethel and Ethel to Stockwell, Doyle and back to the lake. The red zone in Kelowna was put in place in 1992 to reduce street crime, and within it the RCMP conducts an annual "spring sweep", arresting low-level drug dealers. Kelowna was the second British Columbia city to declare a red-zone.

Kelowna: Glenmore

Glenmore is a relatively affluent suburb that lies mostly within Glenmore Valley - a subsection of the Okanagan Valley in the Kelowna area. It has experienced extremely rapid housing development within the past two decades - changing from a small suburb with a relatively rural character to extensive suburban neighborhoods, including several elementary schools and a rapidly growing commercial hub. While most of the homes in this part of town lie on the relatively flat valley bottom, there are several large and more recent neighborhoods being built into the adjacent mountains; the community of Wilden is an example of this.

Kelowna: Midtown

The Midtown area bordered by Enterprise Way on the north, and Springfield and Baron Road at the south, is a popular shopping destination for the locals; the largest shopping mall in the interior, Orchard Park, is located in this area. Since most of the Midtown area consists of large, car-oriented big-box stores, Midtown is often criticized for its plainness, urban sprawl and the decline of pedestrian-oriented Downtown. There is also a lack of green space; particularly since the whole area used to be a linear park and golf course.

Kelowna: Mission

Known colloquially as "The Mission" or "Okanagan Mission" in order to differentiate itself from Mission, BC, a city in the Lower Mainland near Abbotsford, the Mission used to be a separate jurisdiction before being amalgamated with the City of Kelowna in the mid to late 20th century. This has caused a fairly vibrant secondary commercial centre to emerge which is entirely separate from Downtown, with low to moderate density residential areas in between. It is often differentiated as the "Lower Mission" and "Upper Mission", the former of which contains most of the aforementioned commercial areas such as shopping malls, grocery stores, coffee shops and boutiques. The Upper Mission begins to extend into the foothills and higher terrain, and many parts of this area boast magnificent views of the city, mountains and Okanagan Lake. As a result, this part of town is widely regarded as luxurious and is indeed one of the most expensive neighborhoods of Kelowna. It is not unusual to see homes worth one million dollars or more; the most expensive of which can reach 5 million or even slightly above.

Kelowna: Rutland

Rutland is Kelowna's largest neighborhood by far. Although the majority of the area sits on the valley bottom and is therefore relatively flat, the fringes continue up into the hills and are therefore built at higher elevations and possess more expansive views than the rest of the neighborhood; these homes are correspondingly more expensive. This is the exception, however, as the majority of Rutland is among the most affordable of Kelowna housing. There are also several low-rise apartment buildings which increase the population density relative to most other parts of town. Rutland was a town until it amalgamated with Kelowna in 1973., this has resulted in Rutland having a distinct commercial center with many shops and restaurants. An improvement and gentrification effort has been ongoing for the past decade, with new parks, widened sidewalks, bike lanes, a renovated YMCA, a rebuilt high school, and many new shops and condo buildings being added.

Kelowna: Economy

The service industry employs the most people in Kelowna, the largest city in the tourist-oriented Okanagan Valley. In summer, boating, golf, hiking and biking are popular, and in winter, both Alpine skiing and Nordic skiing are favourite activities at the nearby Big White and Silver Star ski resorts. Tourism in the Greater Kelowna Area has now reached a $1 billion a year industry, as of 2016.

Kelowna produces wines that have received international recognition. Vineyards are common around and south of the city where the climate is ideal for the many wineries. At least two major wineries were damaged or destroyed (now rebuilt) in 2003 due to the Okanagan Mountain Park Fire. Kelowna is also the home of Sun-Rype, a popular manufacturer of fruit bars and juices.

Okanagan College and University of British Columbia are the predominant centres for post-secondary education. Over 5000 full-time students attend Okanagan College. In addition to vocational training and adult basic education, the college offers a highly regarded university transfer program. University of British Columbia's Okanagan campus has a student population of over 8000 full-time students, enrolled in diverse undergraduate and graduate programs.

Kelowna is the seat of the Regional District of the Central Okanagan, the third-largest metropolitan area in British Columbia after Vancouver and Victoria, and the largest in the British Columbia Interior. With scenic lake vistas and a dry, mild climate, Kelowna has become one of the fastest growing cities in North America. The appropriate management of such rapid development (and its attendant consequences) is a source of significant debate within the community. Kelowna is the fourth least affordable housing market in Canada, currently maintaining the classification of "Severely Unaffordable". Because of the Okanagan's climate and vineyard-filled scenery, it is often compared to Napa Valley, California.

Kelowna: Kelowna's use as a film locale

The first state of the art Soundstage and film studio in Kelowna was just announced by Burnaby owned Eagle Creek productions, with construction sometime in 2017.

  • Fido, a comedy/horror/thriller movie about zombies, was filmed in Kelowna and debuted on 7 September 2006 at the Toronto International Film Festival.
  • Part of the movie Mee Shee: The Water Giant was filmed in Kelowna.
  • The movies Shred, and Shred 2 were partially filmed at Big White, a ski hill near Kelowna.
  • Flicka: Country Pride, released in 2012, was filmed in Kelowna in several locations, such as Mission Creek Ranch, Kelowna Secondary School and Gemstone Equestrian Centre.

Kelowna: Kelowna's use as a market trial location

Due to its moderate population, Kelowna is often used as a market trial area where national businesses and organizations can test a new product. Examples include:

  • The Canadian Air Transport Security Authority piloted new whole body imaging technology for passenger screening at the Kelowna International Airport from 2008 to 2009.
  • Telus Mobility re-launched its Clearnet discount mobile phone brand in Kelowna and Red Deer, Alberta in 2011.
  • Carl's Jr. opened its first Canadian store in Kelowna in 2011
  • Kelowna was the first city in Canada to have a permanent Flow-Rider, located at the H20 Facility.
  • Peachwave opened its first Canadian store in Kelowna in 2013.
  • Overwaitea Food Group opened its first Urban Fare location outside of downtown Vancouver in Kelowna.

Kelowna: Demographics

Historical population
Year Pop. ±%
1901 261 -
1911 1,661 +536.4%
1921 2,520 +51.7%
1931 4,655 +84.7%
1941 5,118 +9.9%
1951 8,517 +66.4%
1956 9,181 +7.8%
1961 13,188 +43.6%
1966 17,006 +29.0%
1971 19,412 +14.1%
1976 51,955 +167.6%
1981 59,196 +13.9%
1986 61,213 +3.4%
1991 75,950 +24.1%
1996 89,442 +17.8%
2001 96,288 +7.7%
2006 106,707 +10.8%
2011 117,312 +9.9%
2016 127,380 +8.6%

As Kelowna has one of the most rapidly growing populations in Canada, its population statistics generally become out-of-date quite rapidly. According to the Statistics Canada 2011 census, the population estimates there were 117,312 people residing in Kelowna proper, and 147,739 people residing in the Greater Kelowna Area. 48.4% of residents were male and 51.6% were female. The predominant language spoken in Kelowna is English. More recent population estimates (as of 2014) give the Greater Kelowna Area a population of just under 200,000.

Children under five accounted for approximately 4.8% of the resident population of Kelowna. This compares with 5.2% in British Columbia, and 5.6% for Canada overall. In mid-2001, 18.4% of the resident population in Kelowna were of retirement age (65 and over for males and females) compared with 13.2% in Canada; the average age is 41.1 years of age, compared to an average age of 37.6 years in Canada.

In the five years between 1996 and 2001, the population of Kelowna grew by 7.7%, compared with an increase of 4.9% for British Columbia as a whole. Population density of Kelowna averaged 50.9 people per square kilometre, compared with Vancouver at 5335 people per square kilometre, and with all of British Columbia with an average of 4.2 people/km.

Visible minorities make up about 6.2% of the population of Kelowna. The largest group of visible minorities are, in order of size, South Asian, Chinese, Japanese, Southeast Asian, Filipino and other Asian, Black, Latin American, multiple/other, and Arab.

In February 2016, stats Canada released their latest census, stating that Kelowna's population had grown by 8.4% from 2011 to 2016. Kelowna city proper's new population had risen to 127,380 while greater Kelowna had a 2016 population of 151,957. The Kelowna metropolitan area population in 2016 is now at 194,882 making it one of the fastest growing metropolitan area's in Canada.

Kelowna's population growth has been driven primarily by the movement of Canadians from BC and other provinces into this region, not by international immigration. Only 15.1% of the population is foreign born. On February 10, 2016, Statistics Canada declared the 3.1% Kelowna census metropolitan area growth rate as being the highest in Canada.

In 2012, Kelowna had the highest crime rate of any metropolitan area in Canada, mainly because of its property crime. This increase has, however, been attributed mainly to the actions of a relative few known, prolific offenders. As of 2016, the crime rate has declined to second highest.

Kelowna: Religious groups

Population % of Total
Catholic 18,195 19.2
Protestant 38,215 40.3
Christian Orthodox 795 0.8
Christian, n.i.e. 5,735 6.1
Muslim 250 0.2
Jewish 215 0.2
Buddhist 505 0.5
Hindu 140 0.1
Sikh 855 0.9
Eastern religions 110 0.1
No religious affiliation 29,435 31.1
Total 94,760 100
Source: Statistics Canada 2001 Census
Canada 2006 Census Population % of Total Population
Visible minority group
South Asian 1,875 7000180000000000000♠1.8%
Chinese 1,235 1.2%
Black 485 0.5%
Filipino 380 0.4%
Latin American 420 0.4%
Arab 50 0%
Southeast Asian 620 0.6%
West Asian 100 0.1%
Korean 215 0.2%
Japanese 885 0.8%
Other visible minority 70 0.1%
Mixed visible minority 190 0.2%
Total visible minority population 6,520 6.2%
Aboriginal group
First Nations 3,600 3.4%
Métis 0 0%
Inuit 0 0%
Total Aboriginal population 3,600 3.4%
White 95,050 90.4%
Total population 105,170 100%

Kelowna: Ethnic Chinese

Kelowna had a historic Chinatown in the area between Harvey Avenue and Leon Avenue, east of Abbott and west of Highway 97/Harvey Avenue. Historically most residents of this Chinatown were males. In 1909 15% of Kelowna's population was ethnic Chinese. In 1911 the percentage was the same. That year Sun Yat-sen visited Kelowna for fundraising purposes. In 1978 the final remaining traditional Chinese business ceased operations. By 2010 less than 1% of Kelowna's population was ethnic Chinese. A section of the façade of the rebuilt "Chinese Store" that was in Chinatown is now housed at the Kelowna Museum.

Kelowna: Homelessness

Women make up nearly half of Kelowna’s homeless, in other Canadian cities, the overwhelming majority of homeless are males.

On 12 May 2003, the Kelowna Homelessness Networking Group conducted a limited census, and enumerated 198 people: 54 individuals from the street and 144 individuals in shelters.

On 24 February 2016, as part of the Government of Canada's Homelessness Partnering Strategy, the Central Okanagan Foundation, conducted a coordinated Point-in-Time (PiT) Count of Kelowna's homeless population. The survey found at least 233 people were homeless, and another 273 were living in temporary housing.

Kelowna: Transportation

Kelowna faces severe suburbanization and urban sprawl promoted by the popularity of low-density car-oriented developments. As of 2007, Kelowna has the highest car dependency rate in Canada and has the second highest per-capita road transportation carbon footprint in British Columbia. Despite having a metro population of about 200,000, the greater Kelowna area is slightly bigger than that of Metro Vancouver. Road transportation accounts for more than 65% of total greenhouse gas emission in the city.

Kelowna: Roads and highways

For years, only one major highway passed through the city of Kelowna: Highway 97. The road itself is good, but its connections to all points east and west in the province were only managed by using the slow, curving Trans Canada Highway and the Crowsnest Highway.

In 1986, in time for the opening of Expo 86, a new freeway was built into the BC interior, eliminating over two hours of travel time between the Coast and the interior. This freeway, starting in Hope, is known as the Coquihalla Highway (Hwy 5), and terminates in Kamloops. At Merritt another newer (1989) highway, the Okanagan Connector, BC Highway 97C, heads eastward to Highway 97, which it joins at the West Kelowna-Peachland boundary. This new freeway system allows one to drive the 395 kilometres from Vancouver to Kelowna in less than four hours.

Kelowna is connected to West Kelowna by the five lane William R. Bennett Bridge which officially opened 25 May 2008. This bridge links Highway 97 to the southern Okanagan and to the Coquihalla Highway via Hwy 97C. The old floating bridge has been dismantled as it has outlived its usefulness and was incapable of supporting the current traffic levels. A small park area on the Kelowna side of the bridge has a dedication to the old bridge, and artwork made of pieces of it.

Highway 33, which connects with Highway 97 in Rutland, provides an alternate way to enter and exit the city, towards the southeast; it also is the route to the Big White Ski area.

Kelowna's road network has sometimes been a source of criticism by local residents especially regarding Highway 97 and its high traffic volumes. Highway 97 runs right through the centre of the city along Harvey Avenue, which has 6 lanes and is the busiest road in the BC interior. There are many big box stores and shopping centres along Harvey, including Orchard Park Shopping Centre. Plans have been in place for several decades for a limited access bypass to run through the North End and across Okanagan Lake via a second bridge. So far, only a 3 kilometre section of this future roadway has been constructed alongside the rail line, known as part of Clement Avenue today.

Kelowna: Public transport

Kelowna Regional Transit System is operated by FirstGroup, providing public bus transportation services in Kelowna and its vicinity. Funding for the transit system is shared between the City of Kelowna, Central Okanagan Regional District, District of Lake Country and BC Transit.

Kelowna: Air travel

Kelowna International Airport (IATA: YLW), north of the city core, is one of the busiest airports in Canada. There are regular flights to and from Calgary, Edmonton, Toronto, Vancouver, Victoria, Cranbrook, Whitehorse and Seattle, as well as seasonal service to Las Vegas, Phoenix, and Mexico.

Kelowna: Local services

Emergency services are provided by the Kelowna General Hospital, the British Columbia Ambulance Service, Kelowna Fire Department, Central Okanagan Search and Rescue and the Royal Canadian Mounted Police.

Kelowna: Venues and attractions

Kelowna's welcome sign
  • Prospera Place, a 6,800-seat indoor arena
  • Apple Bowl, a 2,314 seat outdoor stadium
  • Elks Stadium, a 1,250 seat outdoor baseball stadium
  • Kelowna Art Gallery
  • Center of Gravity Festival in City Park
  • Kettle Valley Railway (Myra Canyon Trestles)
  • Big White Ski Resort
  • Golf courses
  • Okanagan Wineries
  • Beaches

Kelowna: Culture and sport

Kelowna Marina
  • Westbank First Nation
  • Kelowna Rockets – Western Hockey League (Winners of the 2004 Memorial Cup)
  • Okanagan Sun – Canadian Junior Football League (Winners of the 1988 and 2000 Canadian Bowl)
  • Okanagan Challenge – Pacific Coast Soccer League
  • Kelowna Falcons – West Coast Collegiate Baseball League
  • Center of Gravity Festival
  • Kelowna Hydrofest- American Boat Racing Association (Largest professional boat racing series in Canada)
  • Okanagan All Stars Hockey Club

Kelowna: Education

Kelowna: Post-secondary

  • University of British Columbia, Okanagan Campus
    • Southern Medical Program
  • Okanagan College
  • Justice Institute of British Columbia (Okanagan Campus)
  • Sprott Shaw College (privately owned)
  • The Centre for Arts and Technology (privately owned)

Kelowna: Primary and secondary schools

Public schools in the Kelowna area are part of School District 23 Central Okanagan

  • Secondary (Grades 10–12 or 8–12):
    • Kelowna Secondary School (offers French immersion)
    • Rutland Senior Secondary School
    • Mount Boucherie Senior Secondary School
    • Okanagan Mission Secondary School
    • George Elliot Secondary School
    • Central School - Central Programs & Services: Alternative High School
  • Middle (Grades 7–9):
    • KLO Middle School (offers French immersion)
    • Dr. Knox Middle School
    • Constable Neil Bruce Middle School
    • Rutland Middle School
    • Springvalley Middle School
    • Glenrosa Middle School
  • Elementary Schools (Grades K-6 or K-7):
    • About 20 elementary schools are located throughout the city. (See the school directory list for district 23)

The Conseil scolaire francophone de la Colombie-Britannique operates one Francophone school: école de l'Anse-au-sable primary and secondary school.

Private schools

  • Aberdeen Hall Preparatory School Preparatory School (Pre-school, K-12)
  • Kelowna Christian School (Pre-12)
  • Heritage Christian School (K-12)
  • Studio 9 School of The Arts (Preschool-11)
  • Okanagan Adventist Academy (Pre-12)
  • Immaculata Regional High School (8–12)
  • St. Joseph Elementary (K-7)
  • Kelowna Waldorf School (Pre-8)
  • Okanagan Montessori School (Preschool & Kindergarten)
  • Okanagan Montessori Preschool-grade 6, after school care

Kelowna: Public libraries

  • The Okanagan Regional Library has three branches in Kelowna
    • Kelowna Branch (Downtown)
    • Rutland Branch
    • Mission Branch

Kelowna: Crime

In February 2009 an RCMP gang task unit was approved to help deal with gang violence.

Most crime in Kelowna is non-violent property crime. In 2012, Kelowna had the highest reported crime rate in Canada, 8,875 per 100,000. Police focused on crime in 2014 and Kelowna moved into the number four position across the country. As of 2016, the crime rate had returned to second highest in Canada.

In 2013, 446 victims of domestic violence were reported in Kelowna, earning the city the highest per-capita rate of domestic violence in British Columbia, and the tenth-highest across Canada. This was a slight drop compared to 2011, when Kelowna reported the fourth-highest rate nationally and led the province in family violence.

In 2014, Kelowna, there were 251 marijuana charges per 100,000 population, the highest per capita rate in Canada.

Kelowna: Notable people

Kelowna: Politicians

  • W. A. C. Bennett, late Premier of British Columbia
  • William R. Bennett, served as Premier of the province
  • Norm Letnick, Served as MLA for Kelowna / Lake Country and Minister of Agriculture for BC

Kelowna: Military

  • Charles Thomas, Vice Chief of the Defence Staff.

Kelowna: Athletes

  • Jason Crumb, professional football player
  • Mike Crumb, professional football player
  • Byron Dafoe, professional ice hockey player
  • Scott Frandsen, Olympic rower
  • Rob Friend, professional footballer
  • Josh Gorges, professional ice hockey player
  • Darren Jensen, professional ice hockey player
  • Conrad Leinemann, Olympic beach volleyball player
  • Rory MacDonald, professional Mixed Martial Arts fighter
  • Heather Mandoli, Olympic rower
  • Axel Merckx, professional road cyclist
  • Kees Nierop, professional Racecar driver
  • Justin Schultz, professional ice hockey player
  • Kelsey Serwa, professional freestyle skier, Olympian
  • Tyler Shelast, professional ice hockey player
  • Kierra Smith, Olympic swimmer
  • Paul Spoljaric, professional baseball player
  • Christie Van Hees, professional racquetball player, former US Open & World Champion
  • Danny Watkins, professional football player
  • Jerod Zaleski, professional football player
  • Jeff Zimmerman, professional baseball player
  • Jordan Zimmerman, professional baseball player
  • Bruce Cook, professional motocross rider

Kelowna: Entertainers

  • Chad Brownlee, country music artist
  • Datsik
  • Ryan Ellsworth, actor
  • Excision
  • Janyse Jaud, actress/singer
  • Jillian Harris, television personality
  • Paul Johansson, actor
  • Taylor Kitsch, actor
  • Evangeline Lilly, actress/model
  • Julie Masi, vocalist, songwriter and musician (The Parachute Club)

Kelowna: Authors

  • Melonie Dodaro
  • Alix Hawley

Kelowna: Accolade

On November 4, 2015, The Canadian Institute of Planners announced winners of its fifth annual Great Places in Canada contest. A jury of seven professional planners named Stuart Park as the Great Public Space. "The jury was won over by the multiple strengths of the park - its everyday use, community focus, unique reflection of local character and natural environment, accessibility for multi-generational activities, and the significant role it already plays as a Great Space in Kelowna."

Kelowna: Sister cities

Kelowna has "sister city" agreements with the following cities:

  • Japan Kasugai, Japan
  • Netherlands Veendam, Netherlands
  • Zambia Senanga, Zambia

Kelowna: See also

  • Orchard Park Shopping Centre
  • Sunshine tax
  • The Daily Courier
  • WT Small House

Kelowna: References

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  2. Population and Dwelling Count Highlight Tables, 2016 Census – Census metropolitan areas and census agglomerations
  3. Geographical Names of British Columbia
  4. "Population and dwelling counts, for census metropolitan areas and census agglomerations, 2011 and 2006 censuses". www12.statcan.gc.ca. Retrieved 2016-11-12.
  5. George Ewonus, Paul Ewonus, James Baker (2004). "Chapter 8: Ancient Peoples of the Okanagan". In John D. Greenough, Murray A. Roed. Okanagan Geology. Kelowna Geology Committee. pp. 67–78. ISBN 0-9699795-2-5.
  6. "City of Kelowna" (PDF). Government of British Columbia. 2006. Retrieved 2013-03-10.
  7. Stubbs House
  8. John D. Greenough, Murray A. Roed, ed. (2004). "Chapter 1: History of Geological Studies in the Okanagan Valley". Okanagan Geology. Kelowna Geology Committee. pp. 11–14. ISBN 0-9699795-2-5.
  9. Sonic boom smashes Kelowna's windows, Archival news footage after the sonic boom, CBC Digital Archives, Broadcast Date: 7 August 1969
  10. [1] Archived July 12, 2008, at the Wayback Machine.
  11. "Okanagan Mountain Park Fire 2003". Castanet.firewatch.net. 1 April 2004. Archived from the original on 20 September 2005. Retrieved 2011-05-05.
  12. Canadian wildfires force thousands to flee homes | Canada | Reuters. Ca.reuters.com (19 July 2009). Retrieved on 2011-02-20.
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  14. Kottek, M.; J. Grieser; C. Beck; B. Rudolf; F. Rubel (2006). "World Map of the Köppen-Geiger climate classification updated" (PDF). Meteorol. Z. 15 (3): 259–263. doi:10.1127/0941-2948/2006/0130. Retrieved 2012-08-28.
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  18. Phillips, D. 1990. The Climate of Canada. Catalogue No. En56-1/1990E. Ottawa: Minister of Supply and Services of Canada
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  25. Nichols, Trevor (2016-08-09). "The problem in Kelowna’s 'red zone'". kelownanow. Retrieved 2017-05-19. It’s an area where many of the city’s most prolific criminal offenders hang out, and police constantly deal with drug trafficking, assaults and robberies there.
  26. Hayes, Kelly (2007-06-08). "Red Zone Working: Cops". castanet. Retrieved 2017-05-19. The red-zone extends from Lake Okanagan to the West, Lake Avenue, Rowcliffe to Ethel and Ethel to Stockwell, Doyle and back to the lake.
  27. McDonald, John (2016-05-20). "Red zone cleans up the streets but hinders recovery, addict says". infonews. Retrieved 2016-07-07. Reimer says he’s just an addict caught up in the spring sweep, an annual operation by police aimed at low-level street dealers and users where police make undercover buys and then arrest them.
  28. McDonald, John (2016-05-20). "City councillor wants to know if red zone really keeps criminals out of downtown Kelowna". infonews. Retrieved 2017-05-19. Hodge says his own research shows the red zone in Kelowna was put in place in 1992, the direct result of surging street crime in the downtown core and demands from downtown businesses to do something about it.
  29. Hayes, Kelly (2009-06-09). "RCMP doing some spring cleaning". castanet. Retrieved 2017-05-31. Head of the RCMP's Downtown Enforcement Unit, Mark Slade, says it's just the beginning.
  30. http://www.learnforestry.com/lessons/grade3/2007/timeline_kelowna.pdf Retrieved on September 25th, 2015.
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  55. "Kelowna Homelessness Networking Group Report on the Census of Homeless Individuals in Kelowna Spring 2003" (PDF). Kelowna Homelessness Networking Group. Retrieved 2017-05-22. Women make up nearly half (48.1%) of Kelowna’s homeless, a somewhat surprising statistic. In most other cities, the overwhelming majority of homeless are males – in the most recent Calgary count, for example, only 16.5% of the over 1700 homeless individuals counted were females, meaning that, expressed as a percentage of total population, Kelowna’s female homeless population is almost three times as large as Calgary’s.
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  58. Sharp, Paul. "Kelowna Point-in-Time Count: Community Report." (PDF). Central Okanagan Foundation. Central Okanagan Foundation. Retrieved 2017-05-22. A total of 233 individuals were identified as being absolutely homeless with 164 (70%) experiencing sheltered homelessness and 69 (30%) experiencing unsheltered homelessness.
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  1. Extreme high and low temperatures were recorded near downtown Kelowna from March 1899 to September 1962, at Kelowna CDA from October 1962 to September 1968, at Kelowna International Airport from October 1968 to December 2013, and at University of British Columbia Okanagan from December 2013 to present.

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