|City of Kelowna|
Downtown Kelowna and Cultural District from West Kelowna
|Nickname(s): Orchard City, K-Town, The Four Seasons Playground|
|Motto: "Fruitful in Unity"|
|Regional District||Central Okanagan|
|Incorporated||May 5, 1905|
|• Type||Elected city council|
|• Body||Kelowna City Council|
|• Mayor||Colin Basran|
|• MP||Ron Cannan (Conservatives)|
|• MLAs||Steve Thomson (BC Liberals)
Norm Letnick (BC Liberals)
Christy Clark (BC Liberals)
|• City||211.82 km2 (81.78 sq mi)|
|• Metro||2,904.86 km2 (1,121.57 sq mi)|
|Elevation||344 m (1,129 ft)|
|• Density||553.8/km2 (1,434/sq mi)|
|• Metro density||62/km2 (160/sq mi)|
|Time zone||Pacific Time Zone (UTC-8)|
|• Summer (DST)||Pacific Daylight Time (UTC-7)|
|Postal code span||V1P, V1V – V1Z|
|Area code(s)||(250), (778)|
Kelowna (//) 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 179,839 in 2011. It is the largest city in BC that is not located on the coast.
Nearby communities include the district municipality 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.
- 1 History
- 2 Geography
- 3 Economy
- 4 Demographics
- 5 Transportation
- 6 Local services
- 7 Venues and attractions
- 8 Culture and sport
- 9 Education
- 10 Notable people
- 11 Sister cities
- 12 See also
- 13 References
- 14 External links
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 in May 4, 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.
Events of significance
- On August 6, 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.
Area seasonal wildfires
- On May 7, 1992, a forest fire consumed 60 hectares of forest on Mount Boucherie in West Kelowna across Lake Okanagan from Kelowna proper; no homes were damaged, however.
- In August 2003, a nearby wildfire destroyed over 200 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.
- On July 12, 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.
- September 9, 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 280 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.
The climate of Kelowna is humid continental (Köppen climate classification Dfb), with dry, 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 December 30, 1968.
Weather conditions during December and January are the cloudiest in Canada outside of Newfoundland thanks to persistent valley cloud, but summers are 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 July 24, 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. 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.
- 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|
|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
|Precipitation mm (inches)||31.0
|Rainfall mm (inches)||8.9
|Snowfall cm (inches)||26.9
|Avg. 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|
|Avg. 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|
|Avg. 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|
|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|
Sectors and neighbourhoods
Downtown is located by the Okanagan Lake. Multiple beaches, parks, restaurants and stores are located near the waterfront and Bernard Avenue. The cultural district within downtown is home to art galleries, museums, sports arenas and several government offices including the law courts and city hall.
The Midtown area bordered by Enterprise Way on the north, and Springfield and Baron Road at the south is the popular shopping destination for the locals. The largest shopping centre in the interior, Orchard Park, is also located in this area.
Since most of Midtown area consists of car-oriented big-box stores, Midtown is often criticized for its plainness, urban sprawl and the decline of pedestrian-oriented Downtown.
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.
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.
In both 1986 and 1988, alcohol-fueled riots erupted during summer Regatta festivities.
In July 2007 general rowdiness during the annual "Wakefest" wakeboarding competition and music festival led to the decision by Kelowna City Council to ban the event for the following year. Expected to return for the summer 2009 tour after organizers/promoters agreed to changes in the festival (including renaming it, introducing restricted beer garden hours and moving the date to later in the summer), conflicting dates with the national tour forced the festival to be withheld for another year.
In February 2009 an RCMP gang task unit was approved to help deal with gang violence.
In 2012, Kelowna had the highest reported crime rate in Canada, 8,875 per 100,000.
Kelowna's use as a film locale
- Fido, a comedy/horror/thriller movie about zombies, was filmed in Kelowna and debuted on September 7, 2006 at the Toronto 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'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 2008-2009.
- 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.
According to the Statistics Canada 2001 census, the population estimates there were 96,288 people residing in Kelowna and 147,739 people residing in the Greater Kelowna Area. 48.4% of residents were male and 51.6% were female. 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/km².
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.
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.
As of 2012, Kelowna has the highest crime rate of any metropolitan area in Canada, mainly because of its property crime. The property rate has increased by over 7 percent since the last recording.
|Population||% of Total|
|No religious affiliation||29,435||31.1|
- Source: Statistics Canada 2001 Census
|Canada 2006 Census||Population||% of Total Population|
|Visible minority group
|Other visible minority||70||0.1%|
|Mixed visible minority||190||0.2%|
|Total visible minority population||6,520||6.2%|
|Total Aboriginal population||3,600||3.4%|
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 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. Road transportation accounts for more than 65% of total greenhouse gas emission in the city.
Roads and highways
|This section does not cite any references or sources. (April 2008)|
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 new five lane William R. Bennett Bridge which officially opened May 25, 2008. This new 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.
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 centers 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 kilometer section of this future roadway has been constructed alongside the rail line, known as part of Clement Avenue today.
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 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, Seattle and Los Angeles, as well as seasonal service to Las Vegas, Phoenix, and Mexico.
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.
Venues and attractions
- Prospera Place, a 6,800-seat arena
- Apple Bowl, a 5,700 seat outdoor stadium
- SOPA Gallery of Fine Arts
- Alternator Gallery for Contemporary Art
- Rotary Centre for the Arts, a multidisciplinary visual and performing arts centre, with a 326-seat theatre, artists studios, the Alternator Centre for Contemporary Art, dance and painting studios, atrium and Bistro
- Kelowna Art Gallery
- Kelowna Community Theatre, an 869-seat theatre, 236 person capacity lobby, complete backstage amenities and a 1200 square foot rehearsal hall (Black Box Theatre)
- Kelowna Museums
- Kelowna Marina on Okanagan Lake
- Kelowna Hydrofest on Okanagan Lake
- Center of Gravity Festival in City Park
- Capital News Centre
- H2O Adventure and Fitness Centre, largest publicly owned water park in Canada, and features Canada's first FlowRider
- Kelowna Farmers Market – April to October Outdoors
- Rutland Flea Market Sundays at Rutland Centennial Hall
- Kasugai Gardens, an outdoor Garden beside City Hall built to celebrate friendship with its sister city; Kasugai, Japan.
- Over 100 Wineries within a 90 minute drive
- Kettle Valley Railway (Myra Canyon Trestles)
- Knox Mountain Hillclimb – One of the world's longest uphill point-to-point car races still running. The event runs May long weekend of each year.
- Waterfront Park
- Mission Creek Greenway
- Kelowna Mountain (suspension bridges)
Culture and sport
- 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 Coyotes
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):
- Middle (Grades 7–9):
- 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-11)
- Kelowna Christian School (Pre-12)
- Heritage Christian School (K-12)
- Vedanta Academy (Pre-12)
- Okanagan Adventist Academy (K-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
- The 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)
- The Okanagan Regional Library has three branches in Kelowna
- Kelowna Branch (Downtown)
- Rutland Branch
- Mission Branch
|This section does not cite any references or sources. (October 2011)|
- W. A. C. Bennett, late Premier of British Columbia
- William R. Bennett, served as Premier of the province
- 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 UFC 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
- Tyler Shelast, professional ice hockey player
- Paul Spoljaric, professional baseball player
- Danny Watkins, professional football player
- Shea Weber, professional ice hockey player
- Jerod Zaleski, professional football player
- Jeff Zimmerman, professional baseball player
- Jordan Zimmerman, professional baseball player
- Bend Sinister
- Chad Brownlee, country music artist
- The Grapes of Wrath
- Jillian Harris, television personality
- Paul Johansson, actor
- Taylor Kitsch, actor
- Branden Nadon, actor
- Evangeline Lilly, actress/model
- Mad Child
- Secret & Whisper
- Yukon Blonde
- We Are the City
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- "Heritage Building 1435 Water St - Chinese Store (Kelowna Museum, 470 Queensway)." City of Kelowna. Retrieved on January 27, 2015.
- Memo 2030 draft 20-year Servicing Plan and Financial Strategy Transportation Network - R. Cleveland & J. Behl, City of Kelowna
- TAC Sustainable Urban Transportation Award Submission - Mahesh Tripathi
- Central Okanagan i-go, Transit</]
- "SOPA Gallery of Fine Arts". Sopafinearts.com. Retrieved 2011-05-05.
- "Alternator Gallery for Contemporary Art". Alternatorgallery.com. Retrieved 2011-05-05.
- "Rotary Centre for the Arts". Rotary Centre for the Arts. Retrieved 2011-05-05.
- Kelowna Art Gallery
- "Kelowna Community Theatre". Kelowna Community Theatre. 2011-04-27. Retrieved 2011-05-05.
- Japanese Garden Research Network, Inc. "Kasugai Gardens". Jgarden.com. Retrieved 2011-05-05.
- "Carte des écoles." Conseil scolaire francophone de la Colombie-Britanique. Retrieved on 22 January 2015.
- Branches - Okanagan Regional Library
- "Sister Cities". City of Kelowna. Retrieved 2007-09-26.
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