Nestled atop Scenic Canyon Regional Park in the southeast reaches of Kelowna sits Gallagher’s Canyon. Here, you can enjoy four distinct seasons of the Okanagan Highlands. Together, Kelowna and West Kelowna represent the third largest metropolitan area in the province; other nearby municipalities on the shores of Okanagan Lake include Vernon, Peachland, Summerland, and Penticton. Originally founded in 1905, the city’s name originates from a native translation for “grizzly bear”.
Tourism in the Kelowna region steadily contributes to the economy, with many visitors flocking to the area for outdoor recreation and the wine industry. Whether you’re just visiting the Okanagan, or you’re interested in Kelowna real estate, the city truly has much to offer.
Community Resources and Recreation
Kelowna boasts over 130 parks, in addition to many nearby regional and provincial parks. Just south of Kelowna, one can explore Myra-Bellevue Provincial Park or Okanagan Mountain Provincial Park. Golfers can enjoy the multitude of golf courses in the area, including the Pinnacle Golf Course, which winds its way through the community of Gallagher’s Canyon. Those who enjoy alpine skiing and snowboarding have the options of two excellent winter resorts; Big White Mountain is an hour east of Kelowna, and Silver Star Mountain is just over an hour north, past Vernon. Kelowna has a handful of art galleries and museums, as well as multidisciplinary performing arts centres.
Local Access and Public Transportation
Highway 97 runs north-south through the valley, but crosses through central Kelowna in an east-west direction. As Highway 97 travels through Kelowna westward, it becomes the William R. Bennett Bridge, which crosses to the western shores of Okanagan Lake, and then continues southward. When the Coquihalla Highway (BC #5) was completed in 2008, it provided a much more direct route between Kelowna and the Pacific Coast, cutting the trip by about two hours. Additionally, Highway 33 provides a route eastward from Kelowna to Big White, and then continues southward to the US border. Public transport in the city is provided by the Kelowna Regional Transit System, which operates over 25 different routes. Kelowna International Airport, located in the north end of the city, operates with many routes locally and across the continent.
Education: Elementary and Secondary Schools
Across the city, there are approximately 20 elementary schools, six middle schools, five secondary schools, and many private schools of varying grade levels. Kelowna Secondary School, the largest in the city, has an enrolment of about 1900; it offers French Immersion. Rutland Senior Secondary School in eastern Kelowna offers well-known advanced placement and apprenticeship programs.
Income Demographics and Local Tax Rates
In 2011, the Kelowna metropolitan area had a population of 179,839 – this constituted a 10.8 per cent increase from 2006. The land area is 2904.86 square kilometers, giving it a population density of 61.9 people per square kilometre. The median family income for those living in Kelowna is calculated at $59,087, while the municipal tax levy rate for 2013 was 3.6284. Water charges consist of an annual flat fee of about $125, with variable monthly consumption charges added on afterwards. Sewage fees are estimated at $226 annually, while garbage and recycling fees amounted to just over $120 as of 2008.
Annual Events and Festivals
As a testament to the growing food and wine culture of the Okanagan, Kelowna hosts many wine festivals and tasting events as well as the Canadian Culinary Championships. Parks Alive is a notable non-profit program that infuses art and culture into the lakefront culture during July and August. The Parks Alive program hosts a number of different acts throughout the various parks in the city. The summer months also see a variety of major entertainment events such as Keloha and Center of Gravity, which feature renowned musical acts such as Tiesto, The Trews, MUTEMATH, Yukon Blonde and others.
Voted Best Residential Community for several years running, Gallagher’s Canyon is a great place to enjoy amazing views and partake in a variety of summer and winter sports. Kelowna is home to a number of great schools, businesses, festivals, and resources, making it an ideal city in which to live, work, play, or raise a family. With a variety of opportunities for those who like to work and play hard, Kelowna is an ideal year-round playground for young and old alike.