Urban and rural; nature and culture; playtime and downtime: Kelowna isn’t just one destination. It’s a whole bunch of them, located in one uniquely beautiful place.
Kelowna lies in the heart of British Columbia’s Okanagan Valley, the largest city on Okanagan Lake. Whether you’re looking for a family-friendly holiday, a romantic getaway, a weekend with friends, or all three, you’ve come to the right place.
While you're in Kelowna check out our energetic downtown and beautiful waterfront boardwalk. Go on a tour of the many local Okanagan wineries, craft breweries, cideries, and distilleries. Hit the trails by bike, visit the historic Myra Canyon Trestles, or hike to the top of a mountain. Relax by the lake at one of the many beaches or take to the water for endless lake activities. Looking for farm fresh food? Visit the farms, orchards, markets, or many local restaurants for delicious seasonal products grown right here. Looking to play around? Golf your way through 18 golf courses. Kelowna is a must-play destination for every golf enthusiast!
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 the University of British Columbia are the predominant centres for post-secondary education. Over 5000 students attend Okanagan College and 8,718 students attend the University of British Columbia. 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.
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. In February 2016, Statistics Canada released their latest census, stating that Kelowna's population had grown by 8.4% from 2011 to 2016. The population of the city proper 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 areas in Canada.
VENUES & ATTRACTIONS
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
CULTURE & SPORTS
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
University of British Columbia, Okanagan Campus
Southern Medical Program
Justice Institute of British Columbia (Okanagan Campus)
Sprott Shaw College (privately owned)
The Centre for Arts and Technology (privately owned)
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.
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 and kindergarten)
Okanagan Montessori, preschool-grade 6, after-school care
Okanagan Regional Library has three branches in Kelowna
Kelowna Branch (Downtown)