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City of Kelowna
Kelowna city view 2017.jpg
Winter lookout over the peaks of Central Okanagan.png
Mission Hill.jpg
William R. Bennett Bridge.jpg
Kelowna - Lake Okanagan - panoramio.jpg
From top, left to right: Downtown Kelowna from Knox Mountain Park, the peaks of Central Okanagan, Mission Hill Winery and Bell Tower, the William R. Bennett Bridge on Okanagan Lake, Okanagan Lake near Rotary Beach Park
Flag of Kelowna
Coat of arms of Kelowna
Official logo of Kelowna
Orchard City,[1] K-Town,[2] Sun City
"Fruitful in Unity"
Kelowna is located in British Columbia
Location of Kelowna
Coordinates: 49°53′17″N 119°29′44″W / 49.88806°N 119.49556°W / 49.88806; -119.49556[3]Coordinates: 49°53′17″N 119°29′44″W / 49.88806°N 119.49556°W / 49.88806; -119.49556[3]
ProvinceBritish Columbia
Regional districtCentral Okanagan
IncorporatedMay 5, 1905
 • TypeElected city council
 • BodyKelowna City Council
 • MayorTom Dyas
 • MPDan Albas (CPC)
Tracy Gray (CPC)
 • MLAsNorm Letnick (BCL)
Renee Merrifield (BCL)
Ben Stewart (BCL)
 • City211.85 km2 (81.80 sq mi)
 • Metro
2,904.86 km2 (1,121.57 sq mi)
344 m (1,129 ft)
 • City144,576
 • Density680/km2 (1,800/sq mi)
 • Metro
 • Metro density76/km2 (200/sq mi)
Time zoneUTC−08:00 (PST)
 • Summer (DST)UTC−07:00 (PDT)
Forward sortation area
Area code(s)250, 778, 236, 672
Highways Hwy 97 & Hwy 33
GDP (Kelowna CMA)CA$9.1 billion (2016)[7]
GDP per capita (Kelowna CMA)CA$46,828 (2016) Edit this at Wikidata

Kelowna (/kəˈlnə/ (listen) kə-LOH-nə) 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. The name Kelowna derives from the Okanagan word kiʔláwnaʔ, referring to a male grizzly bear.[8][9]

Kelowna is the province's third-largest metropolitan area (after Vancouver and Victoria), while it is the seventh-largest city overall and the largest in the Interior.[10] It is the 20th-largest metropolitan area in Canada. The city proper encompasses 211.85 km2 (81.80 sq mi),[4] and the census metropolitan area 2,904.86 km2 (1,121.57 sq mi).[4] Kelowna's estimated population in 2020 is 222,748 in the metropolitan area and 142,146 in the city proper.[11] After many years of suburban expansion into the surrounding mountain slopes, the city council adopted a long-term plan intended to increase density instead - particularly in the downtown core. This has resulted in the construction of taller buildings, including One Water Street - a 36-storey building that is the tallest in Kelowna.[12] Other highrise developments have already broken ground or been approved since then, including a 42-storey tower on Leon Avenue which will be the tallest building in the city, and among the tallest in B.C.[13]

Nearby communities include the City of West Kelowna (also referred to as Westbank and Westside) to the west, across Okanagan Lake; Lake Country and Vernon to the north; Peachland to the southwest; and Summerland and Penticton to the south.


The exact dates of first settlement in the Okanagan Valley are unknown, but a northern migration led to the habitation of this area some 9,000 years ago.[14] The Indigenous Syilx people are the first known inhabitants of the region, where they continue to live today.

In 1811, David Stuart travelled to the Okanagan Valley, becoming the first European to do so.[15] Despite this, it was not until 1859 that Father Pandosy, a French Roman Catholic Oblate missionary, became the first European to settle there. Pandosy's settlement was located at l'Anse au Sable (Bay of Sand), which he named in reference to the sandy shoreline. Although the population remained small for the rest of the 19th century, sustenance fruit growing expanded in Kelowna during the 1870s, and by the 1890s, commercial agriculture had become firmly established.[16]

Kelowna was officially incorporated on May 4, 1905, with a population of 600.[17] The town's first mayor was Henry Raymer.[15]

Although agriculture had become an important mark of Kelowna on the surrounding region, the town was entirely reliant on transportation over Okanagan Lake until 1925. In 1893 the Canadian Pacific Railway constructed the steamer SS Aberdeen on the lake, which served as the first significant transportation link between Kelowna and Penticton, greatly increasing the speed of Kelowna's growth.[18] On September 11, 1925, the Canadian Pacific Railway was finally extended to Kelowna, ending the town's reliance on Okanagan Lake for transportation and trade.[15]

In 1911, Chinese revolutionary Sun Yat-sen visited Kelowna for fundraising. At that time, around 15% of the population was ethnically Chinese.[19]

On August 6, 1969, a sonic boom from a nearby air show broke a quarter million dollars worth of glass, injuring six people. The destruction was caused by a member of the United States' Blue Angels during a practice routine for the Kelowna Regatta festival when the pilot accidentally broke the sound barrier while flying too low.[20]

On November 25, 2005, the First Ministers and National Aboriginal Leaders signed the Kelowna Accord, which sought to improve the lives of Indigenous peoples.[21]

Kelowna celebrated its centennial in May 2005. The same year, construction began on the new five-lane William R. Bennett Bridge to replace the three-lane Okanagan Lake Bridge, as part of a plan to alleviate traffic problems during summer tourist season. The new bridge was completed in 2008.[22]

On July 12, 2021, a crane suffered a catastrophic failure while being dismantled at a construction site located at St. Paul Street near Bernard Avenue in downtown Kelowna. Part of the crane struck a nearby office building and seniors home. The city declared a local state of emergency and area residents were evacuated. Five people were killed in the collapse: four construction workers and one person in the office building.[23][24]


In Kelowna many seasonal wildfires have occurred over the years. Some significant fires warranting evacuations and/or causing damage are listed below:

  • In August 2003, a nearby wildfire destroyed 239 homes and forced the temporary evacuation of about 30,000 residents.[25] Many trestles of the historic Kettle Valley Railway were destroyed. The trestles have been rebuilt to look like the originals, but using smaller dimension beams. This fire consumed 25,000 hectares of land.
  • In July 2009, wildfires destroyed hundreds of hectares of forest and a number of buildings in West Kelowna; 17,000 residents were evacuated.[26]
  • In July 2009, a 100-ha fire near Rose Valley caused the evacuation of 7,000 people. No structures were lost.
  • In July 2009, a 9,200-ha fire behind Fintry caused the evacuation of 2,500 people. No structures were lost.
  • In September 2012, a late-season, 200-ha fire destroyed seven buildings and caused the evacuation of 1,500 people in the community of Peachland.
  • In July 2014, a 340-ha fire behind the West Kelowna subdivision of Smith Creek caused the evacuation of 3,000 people.
  • In July 2015, a 560-ha fire near Shelter Cove caused the evacuation of 70 properties.
  • In August 2015, a 130-ha fire burned near Little White Mountain, just south of Kelowna.
  • In August 2017, a 400-ha fire in the Joe Rich area caused the evacuation of over 474 properties.[27]



  • 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


Balsamorhiza sagittata, found on Knox Mountain

Kelowna's official flower is Balsamorhiza sagittata, commonly referred to as arrowleaf balsamroot.[28]


Kelowna from Knox Mountain in winter, 2019

Kelowna is classified as a humid continental climate or an inland oceanic climate per the Köppen climate classification system due to its coldest month having an average temperature slightly above −3.0 °C (26.6 °F) and below 0 °C (32 °F),[29] with dry, hot, sunny summers and cool, cloudy winters, and four seasons.[30][31] The official climate station for Kelowna is at the Kelowna International Airport, which is at a higher elevation than the city core, with slightly higher precipitation and cooler nighttime temperatures. Kelowna has the second mildest winter of any non-coastal city in Canada, after neighbouring Penticton.[32] This is caused by the moderating effects of Okanagan Lake combined with mountains separating most of BC from the prairies; however 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 one of the cloudiest in Canada outside of Newfoundland due 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. The last time the lake completely froze over was in the winter of 1969. It may have frozen over in the winter of 1986.[33] 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 very warm (sometimes hot) and sunny, with daytime temperatures often exceeding 32 °C (90 °F). Not unusually, heat waves occur in July, August, and even June and September on occasion, where temperatures above 30 °C (86 °F) persist for weeks. Temperatures usually reach the high 30's °C or above for at least a few days each summer. The hottest temperature ever recorded in Kelowna was 45.7 °C (114.3 °F) on June 29, 2021.[34] During summer, clear, dry air allows night-time temperatures to fall rapidly, however nights are somewhat warm by Canadian standards. The city averages about 380 mm (15 in) of precipitation per year, with about a fifth 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).[35][36] The four-year average wind measured at the airport has been less than 5 knots (9.3 km/h; 5.8 mph) on average 10 to 12 months of the year between 2008 and 2011.[37] 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 an inland Canadian city. In fact, average high temperatures in January surpass those of the most southern areas in Canada, such as Windsor, Ontario. Kelowna's average year-round high temperature of about 14.3 °C (57.7 °F) is also one of the highest in Canada - largely due 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.

Climate data for Kelowna (Kelowna International Airport)
WMO ID: 71203; coordinates 49°57′22″N 119°22′40″W / 49.95611°N 119.37778°W / 49.95611; -119.37778 (Kelowna International Airport); elevation: 429.5 m (1,409 ft); 1981–2010 normals, extremes 1899–present[a]
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 48.0 46.4 45.6 34.9 26.7 20.6 17.8 48.0
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 −25.0 −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 and Climate Change Canada[35][38][39][40][41][42][43][44]

Sectors and neighbourhoods[edit]

Kelowna consists of ten sectors[45] with multiple neighbourhoods within the sector boundaries.[46]

View of Kelowna and Okanagan Lake from Knox Mountain


Central City[edit]

Central City is a linear commercial sector along Harvey Avenue, from 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 near Highway 97 (Harvey).

Dilworth Mountain[edit]

Dilworth Mountain is a relatively low, isolated mountain of just over 2000 feet, near the city's geographic center. Adjoining Knox Mountain to the west, it is part of the eastern heights that form Glenmore Valley, and rises about one thousand feet above the rest of the Okanagan Valley. It has been extensively developed in recent years with scenic neighbourhoods with suburban character that are only minutes from Central City. Like many other Kelowna residential districts, Dilworth has gone from relative isolation and wilderness to hosting hundreds of homes, many of which are considered fairly high-end.


Downtown Kelowna from Dilworth Mountain in 2021

Central Kelowna is a tourist district alongside Okanagan Lake. It 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 attractions and commerce are concentrated, including several parks and beaches, boardwalks and other walking trails, Kelowna Marina and Yacht Club, the Delta Grand Hotel and Casino, and Prospera Place arena. The other main route through downtown is Bernard Avenue from Richter street to the lake, with more shops and restaurants designed for both locals and tourists. Although Bernard Avenue continues east well past downtown, 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.[47]

Kelowna has declared a 1 km2 (0.39 sq mi) downtown area a "red zone" of prolific drug trafficking, assaults and robberies.[48] 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.[49] The red zone was identified in 1992 to reduce street crime. The RCMP conducts annual "spring sweeps" there, arresting low-level drug dealers.[50][51] Kelowna was the second British Columbia city to declare a red zone.[49][52]


Glenmore is a relatively affluent suburb mostly within Glenmore Valley, a subsection of the Okanagan Valley in the Kelowna area. It has been extensively developed in the past two decades, transformed from a small suburb with a rural character to large suburban neighbourhoods, including several elementary schools and a rapidly growing commercial hub. While most of its homes are on the relatively flat valley bottom, several large and more recent neighbourhoods are being built into the adjacent mountains, including the community of Wilden.


The Midtown area, bordered by Enterprise Way on the north and Springfield and Baron Road at the south, is a popular shopping destination for locals. Orchard Park, the shopping complex in BC's interior, is here. Since most of Midtown consists of large, car-oriented big-box stores, it is often criticized for its plainness; its contributions to urban sprawl and the decline of the pedestrian-oriented Downtown; and its lack of green space, as the area was formerly a linear park and golf course.


Known locally as "the Mission" (or "Okanagan Mission") to differentiate it from the Lower Mainland city of Mission, this area was a separate jurisdiction before being amalgamated with Kelowna in the mid- to late-20th century. It features a vibrant secondary commercial centre separate from that of Downtown, with low- to moderate-density residential areas between them. Its northern border is K.L.O. Road. It is often differentiated as Lower Mission and Upper Mission.

The Lower Mission contains most of the aforementioned commercial areas such as shopping malls, grocery stores, coffee shops, and boutiques. Lower Mission also has extensive recreational facilities, Mission Recreation Park has 6 softball diamonds as well as soccer fields, community gardens, playgrounds and trails, while neighbouring H2O is Kelowna's largest indoor recreation facility with a 50 m pool, water slides, diving boards and surfing wave. Gyro Beach and Rotary Beach, two of Kelowna's most popular beaches, are also located in the Lower Mission.

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 neighbourhoods 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.


Rutland is Kelowna's largest neighbourhood 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 neighbourhood; 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,[53] and this union has resulted in Rutland having a distinct commercial centre 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, many new shops and condominiums are being added.


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 skiing and snowboarding are favourite activities at the nearby Big White and Silver Star ski resorts. Tourism in the Greater Kelowna Area has now become a $1-billion a year industry, as of 2016.[54]

Kelowna produces wines that have received international recognition.[55][56] 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.[57]

Okanagan College and University of British Columbia are the predominant centres for post-secondary education. Over 8,745[58] 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 8,000 full-time students enrolled in diverse undergraduate and graduate programs.[59]

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".[60] Because of the Okanagan's climate and vineyard-filled scenery, it is often compared to Napa Valley, California.[61]

Kelowna's use as a film locale[edit]

Kelowna's use as a market trial location[edit]

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:


Historical population
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%
2021 144,576+13.5%

In the 2021 Canadian census conducted by Statistics Canada, Kelowna had a population of 144,576 living in 62,209 of its 67,115 total private dwellings, a change of 13.5% from its 2016 population of 127,390. With a land area of 211.85 km2 (81.80 sq mi), it had a population density of 682.4/km2 (1,767.5/sq mi) in 2021.[66]

At the census metropolitan area (CMA) level in the 2021 census, the Kelowna CMA had a population of 222,162 living in 94,335 of its 102,097 total private dwellings, a change of 14% from its 2016 population of 194,892. With a land area of 2,902.45 km2 (1,120.64 sq mi), it had a population density of 76.5/km2 (198.2/sq mi) in 2021.[67]

In 2011, 48.4% of residents were male and 51.6% were female. The predominant language spoken in Kelowna is English.[citation needed]

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.

As per the 2021 census, visible minorities make up about 14% of the population of Kelowna. The largest group of visible minorities are, in order of size, South Asian (4.4%), Chinese (1.9%), Filipino (1.7%), Black (1.3%), Latin American (0.9%) Japanese (0.9%), Southeast Asian (0.7%), Korean (0.5%), West Asian (0.5%), and Arab (0.4%).[68][69]

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.[69] Only 15.1% of the population is foreign born.[69] On 10 February 2016, Statistics Canada declared the 3.1% Kelowna census metropolitan area growth rate as being the highest in Canada.[70]

Religious groups[edit]

According to the 2021 census, religious groups in Kelowna included:[68]

Ethnic groups[edit]

Panethnic groups in Kelowna (2001−2021)
Panethnic group 2021[68] 2016[71] 2011[72] 2006[73] 2001[74]
Pop. % Pop. % Pop. % Pop. % Pop. %
European[b] 114,025 80.44% 105,550 85.03% 100,675 87.87% 95,050 90.38% 88,250 93.13%
Indigenous 7,940 5.6% 6,840 5.51% 5,145 4.49% 3,600 3.42% 2,150 2.27%
South Asian 6,300 4.44% 3,220 2.59% 2,630 2.3% 1,875 1.78% 1,205 1.27%
East Asian[c] 4,650 3.28% 3,570 2.88% 2,980 2.6% 2,335 2.22% 1,890 1.99%
Southeast Asian[d] 3,375 2.38% 1,975 1.59% 1,195 1.04% 1,000 0.95% 385 0.41%
African 1,885 1.33% 1,005 0.81% 685 0.6% 485 0.46% 315 0.33%
Latin American 1,315 0.93% 765 0.62% 525 0.46% 420 0.4% 345 0.36%
Middle Eastern[e] 1,285 0.91% 600 0.48% 320 0.28% 150 0.14% 90 0.09%
Other[f] 1,000 0.71% 615 0.5% 405 0.35% 260 0.25% 125 0.13%
Total responses 141,760 98.05% 124,135 97.45% 114,570 97.66% 105,170 98.56% 94,755 98.41%
Total population 144,576 100% 127,380 100% 117,312 100% 106,707 100% 96,288 100%
  • Note: Totals greater than 100% due to multiple origin responses.

Chinese population[edit]

Kelowna had a historic Chinatown in the area between Harvey Avenue and Leon Avenue, east of Abbott and west of Highway 97 / Harvey Avenue.[75] Historically most residents of this Chinatown were males.[76] In 1909, 15% of Kelowna's population was ethnic Chinese.[75] In 1911, the percentage was the same. That year, Sun Yat-sen visited Kelowna for fundraising purposes.[19] In 1978, the final remaining traditional Chinese business ceased operations.[75] By 2010, less than 1% of Kelowna's population was ethnic Chinese.[19] A section of the façade of the rebuilt "Chinese Store" that was in Chinatown is now housed at the Kelowna Museum.[77]


Women make up nearly half of Kelowna's homeless. In other Canadian cities, the overwhelming majority of homeless are males.[78]

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.[79]

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.[80] The survey found at least 233 people were homeless,[81] and another 273[82] were living in temporary housing.


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.[83] Despite having a metro population of about 230,000,[84] 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.[85]

Roads and highways[edit]

The city is served by Highway 97 and Highway 33.[86]

Public transport[edit]

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.[87]

Air travel[edit]

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, Montréal, Cuba and Mexico. Three major passenger airlines serve the airport; Air Canada, Alaska Airlines, and WestJet. The airport is also the main hub of cargo airline KF Cargo.

Local services[edit]

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[edit]

Kelowna's welcome sign on Highway 97

Culture and sport[edit]

Marina in Downtown Kelowna



Primary and secondary schools[edit]

Public schools in the Kelowna area are part of School District 23 Central Okanagan. (For a list of primary and middle schools, see the School District 23 Central Okanagan article)

The Conseil scolaire francophone de la Colombie-Britannique operates one Francophone school: école de l'Anse-au-sable primary and secondary school.[91]

Private schools[edit]

  • 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
  • Willowstone Academy (pre-school, K–9)

Public libraries[edit]


In February 2009, an RCMP gang task unit was approved to help deal with gang violence.[93]

Most crime in Kelowna is non-violent property crime.[94] In 2012, Kelowna had the highest reported crime rate in Canada: 8,875 per 100,000.[95] Police focused on crime in 2014, and Kelowna moved into the number four position across the country.[96]

In 2015, RCMP Supt. Nick Romanchuk stated, "I am absolutely convinced that as our drug enforcement numbers increase, our overall crime rate will decrease."[97] As of 2016, the crime rate had returned to second highest in Canada.[98] In 2017, the property crime in Kelowna rate went up six per cent, once again the highest rate in Canada, while the drug crime rate fell two per cent.[99]

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.[100]

In 2014, Kelowna, there were 251 marijuana charges per 100,000 population, the highest per capita rate in Canada.[101]

In 2012, Kelowna had the highest crime rate of any metropolitan area in Canada, mainly because of its property crime.[102] This increase has, however, been attributed[who?] mainly to the actions of a relative few known, prolific offenders. Illicit Drug use is high in the region. Between 2012 and 2016, Kelowna led the country in cannabis, cocaine, and heroin possession.[103] As of 2016, the crime rate has declined to second highest.[98] In 2017, Kelowna had the highest opioid overdose rate in Canada.[104]

Notable people[edit]






Sister cities[edit]

Kelowna has "sister city" agreements with the following cities:[105]

Freedom of the City[edit]

The following People and Military Units have received the Freedom of the City of Kelowna.[106]


Military Units[edit]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ Hall, Neal (August 27, 2005). "Fruit drove Kelowna's early economy". Vancouver Sun.
  2. ^ Peacock, Andrea (September 28, 2017). "Bacon trial: Emails show accused shooter in Kelowna night before murder, Crown claims". Vancouver Sun. Retrieved July 28, 2021.
  3. ^ "Kelowna". Geographical Names Data Base. Natural Resources Canada.
  4. ^ a b c "Focus on Geography Series, 2016 Census". Statistics Canada. Statistics Canada. April 23, 2017. Retrieved December 23, 2017.
  5. ^ Place name, postal codeOM or geographic code (February 9, 2022). "Census Profile, 2021 Census of Population". Retrieved March 16, 2022.
  6. ^ "Kelowna". Natural Resources Canada. October 6, 2016.
  7. ^ "Table 36-10-0468-01 Gross domestic product (GDP) at basic prices, by census metropolitan area (CMA) (x 1,000,000)". Statistics Canada. January 27, 2017. Archived from the original on January 22, 2021. Retrieved April 27, 2021.
  8. ^ "Geographical Names of British Columbia". Archived from the original on 3 July 2013. Retrieved 18 July 2013.
  9. ^ Mattina, Anthony (1987). Colville-Okanagan Dictionary. University of Montana.
  10. ^ "Population and dwelling counts, for census metropolitan areas and census agglomerations, 2011 and 2006 censuses". Retrieved November 12, 2016.
  11. ^ "Municipal and sub-provincial areas population, 2011 to 2019". BC Stats. Archived from the original on January 29, 2020. Retrieved February 5, 2020.
  12. ^ Taylor, Daniel (September 9, 2020). "Kelowna unveils ONE Water Street Development". Kelowna Capital News. Retrieved December 15, 2020.
  13. ^ Potenteau, Doyle (July 29, 2021). "Developer of downtown Kelowna highrise project says 1st tower sold out in 48 hours". Global News. Retrieved August 15, 2021.
  14. ^ George Ewonus; Paul Ewonus; James Baker (2004). "Chapter 8: Ancient Peoples of the Okanagan". In John D. Greenough, Murray A. Roed (ed.). Okanagan Geology. Kelowna Geology Committee. pp. 67–78. ISBN 0-9699795-2-5.
  15. ^ a b c Surtees, Ursula. "A Pictorial History of Kelowna BC". Kelowna BC. Kelowna Centennial Museum. Retrieved April 16, 2021.
  16. ^ Ormsby, Margaret A. (1935). "Fruit Marketing in the Okanagan Valley of British Columbia". Agricultural History. 9 (2): 80–97. ISSN 0002-1482. JSTOR 3739660.
  17. ^ "City of Kelowna" (PDF). Government of British Columbia. 2006. Retrieved March 10, 2013.
  18. ^ "The Story of Lake Boats in the Okanagan". SS Sicamous. Archived from the original on August 2, 2014. Retrieved April 16, 2021.
  19. ^ a b c Macauley, Thomas. "Old Kelowna Chinatown recognized as historic" (Archive). The Phoenix News. 18 October 2010. Retrieved on 26 January 2015.
  20. ^ Sonic boom smashes Kelowna's windows, Archival news footage after the sonic boom, CBC Digital Archives, Broadcast Date: August 7, 1969
  21. ^ "First Ministers and National Aboriginal Leaders Strengthening Relationships and Closing the Gap" (PDF). Government of Canada. November 24, 2005. Archived from the original (PDF) on July 12, 2008.
  22. ^ Ryan, Denise (May 26, 2008). "Opening of William R. Bennett Bridge in Kelowna". The Vancouver Sun. Retrieved February 19, 2019.
  23. ^ "Multiple dead in crane collapse downtown Kelowna". Castanet. July 12, 2021. Retrieved July 13, 2021.
  24. ^ "5 dead in Kelowna crane collapse, one body still unrecovered". Castanet. July 13, 2021. Retrieved July 13, 2021.
  25. ^ "Okanagan Mountain Park Fire 2003". April 1, 2004. Archived from the original on September 20, 2005. Retrieved May 5, 2011.
  26. ^ Canadian wildfires force thousands to flee homes | Canada | Reuters. (19 July 2009). Retrieved on 2011-02-20.
  27. ^ McElroy, Justin. "New wildfire east of Kelowna, B.C., forces more than 1,000 people from their homes". CBC British Columbia.
  28. ^ "Kelowna's Official Flower: The Arrowleaf Balsamroot". Retrieved May 25, 2018.
  29. ^ "Canadian Climate Normals or Averages 1981-2010". Environment and Climate Change Canada. October 31, 2011. Retrieved April 24, 2014.
  30. ^ 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. Bibcode:2006MetZe..15..259K. doi:10.1127/0941-2948/2006/0130. Retrieved August 28, 2012.
  31. ^ "Castanet • Kelowna IS Semi-Arid? - View topic". Retrieved November 12, 2016.
  32. ^ "Mildest Winters". Environment and Climate Change Canada. Archived from the original on November 25, 2011. Retrieved October 25, 2019.
  33. ^ Strachan, Brady, "It could be a lot colder: Kelowna historian remembers Okanagan Lake freezing over completely", CBC British Columbia, Retrieved on 2018-04-19.
  34. ^ "Daily Data Report for June 2021". Environment and Climate Change Canada. October 31, 2011. Retrieved June 29, 2021.
  35. ^ a b "Canadian Climate Normals 1981-2010 Station Data, Kelowna Airport". Environment and Climate Change Canada. October 31, 2011. Retrieved July 15, 2015.
  36. ^ Phillips, D. 1990. The Climate of Canada. Catalogue No. En56-1/1990E. Ottawa: Minister of Supply and Services of Canada
  37. ^ "Wind & weather statistics Kelowna Airport/Okanagan Lake - Windfinder". Retrieved November 12, 2016.
  38. ^ "Canadian Climate Data". Environment and Climate Change Canada. October 31, 2011. Retrieved July 13, 2016.
  39. ^ "Canadian Climate Data". Environment and Climate Change Canada. October 31, 2011. Retrieved July 13, 2016.
  40. ^ "Canadian Climate Data". Environment and Climate Change Canada. October 31, 2011. Retrieved July 13, 2016.
  41. ^ "Daily Data Report for June 2021". Environment and Climate Change Canada. October 31, 2011. Retrieved June 28, 2021.
  42. ^ "71644: Kelowna Ubco (Canada)". OGIMET. December 1, 2021. Retrieved December 1, 2021.
  43. ^ "Almanac Averages and Extremes for December 01 - Climate - Environment and Climate Change Canada". March 2, 2022. Retrieved March 16, 2022.
  44. ^ "Hourly Data Report for June 29, 2021". October 31, 2011.
  45. ^ "Council Policy 247 - Hierarchy of Plans (Sector Plans/Structure Plans /Redevelopment Plans)" (PDF). City of Kelowna. City of Kelowna. June 4, 1996. Archived from the original (PDF) on July 23, 2017. Retrieved May 15, 2019. the City will undertake to prepare Sector Plans, at Council's direction
  46. ^ "Sector Boundaries, Open Data Catalogue - City of Kelowna". City of Kelowna. City of Kelowna. Retrieved October 31, 2015.
  47. ^ Google (October 4, 2018). "Map of Abbott Street, Kelowna, BC, Canada" (Map). Google Maps. Google. Retrieved October 4, 2018.
  48. ^ Nichols, Trevor (August 9, 2016). "The problem in Kelowna's 'red zone'". Retrieved May 19, 2017. 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.
  49. ^ a b Hayes, Kelly (June 8, 2007). "Red Zone Working: Cops". castanet. Retrieved May 19, 2017. 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.
  50. ^ McDonald, John (May 20, 2016). "Red zone cleans up the streets but hinders recovery, addict says". Retrieved July 7, 2016. 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.
  51. ^ McDonald, John (May 20, 2016). "City councillor wants to know if red zone really keeps criminals out of downtown Kelowna". Retrieved May 19, 2017. 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.
  52. ^ Hayes, Kelly (June 9, 2009). "RCMP doing some spring cleaning". castanet. Retrieved May 31, 2017. Head of the RCMP's Downtown Enforcement Unit, Mark Slade, says it's just the beginning.
  53. ^ "The History of Kelowna" (PDF). Retrieved December 27, 2018.
  54. ^ Economic Impact of Tourism in Kelowna and the Greater Kelowna Area, B.C., InterVISTAS, 2 March 2017
  55. ^ "Example: Calona Vineyards – Awards – Artist Series Reserve VQA". January 6, 1990. Archived from the original on June 11, 2011. Retrieved May 5, 2011.
  56. ^ Calona Private Reserve Archived 5 May 2009 at the Wayback Machine. (6 January 1990). Retrieved on 2011-02-20.
  57. ^ "Sun-Rype Corporate Website". July 24, 2019. Retrieved June 6, 2021.
  58. ^ "Okanagan College Accountability Plan" (PDF). July 7, 2019.
  59. ^ University of British Columbia, Okanagan Campus (23 October 2012). Facts and Figures Archived 8 July 2012 at the Wayback Machine. Retrieved on: 2013-02-07 UTC.
  60. ^ "6th Annual Demographia International Housing Affordability Survey: 2010" (PDF). Retrieved May 5, 2011.
  61. ^ The Okanagan, a Napa of the North Archived 3 January 2010 at the Wayback Machine, New York Times, 6 October 2006
  62. ^ "Flicka: Country Pride (Video 2012) - IMDb". Retrieved November 12, 2016.
  63. ^ "New Screening Technology Piloted at Kelowna International Airport". Canadian Air Transport Security Authority. June 19, 2008. Archived from the original on October 1, 2011.
  64. ^ "The ProTech Integrated Checkpoint Trial: Kelowna Airport" (PDF). Canadian Air Transport Security Authority. April 15, 2009. Archived from the original (PDF) on October 6, 2011.
  65. ^ "FlowRider® Double". Retrieved December 27, 2018.
  66. ^ "Population and dwelling counts: Canada, provinces and territories, and census subdivisions (municipalities), British Columbia". Statistics Canada. February 9, 2022. Retrieved February 20, 2022.
  67. ^ "Population and dwelling counts: Canada, provinces and territories, census metropolitan areas and census agglomerations". Statistics Canada. February 9, 2022. Retrieved March 28, 2022.
  68. ^ a b c Government of Canada, Statistics Canada (October 26, 2022). "Census Profile, 2021 Census of Population". Retrieved November 6, 2022.
  69. ^ a b c The Changing Face of Kelowna: Report on Ethnicity and Ethnic Relations Archived 13 July 2011 at the Wayback Machine. (PDF) . Retrieved on 2011-02-20.
  70. ^ "Canada's population estimates: Subprovincial areas, July 1, 2015" (PDF). Statistics Canada. February 10, 2016. Retrieved January 3, 2017. In 2014/2015, the population growth rate was 2.0% or higher in four CMAs: Kelowna (+3.1%), Calgary (+2.4%), Edmonton (+2.4%) and Saskatoon (+2.0%).
  71. ^ Government of Canada, Statistics Canada (October 27, 2021). "Census Profile, 2016 Census". Retrieved November 6, 2022.
  72. ^ Government of Canada, Statistics Canada (November 27, 2015). "NHS Profile". Retrieved November 6, 2022.
  73. ^ Government of Canada, Statistics Canada (August 20, 2019). "2006 Community Profiles". Retrieved November 6, 2022.
  74. ^ Government of Canada, Statistics Canada (July 2, 2019). "2001 Community Profiles". Retrieved November 6, 2022.
  75. ^ a b c "UBC students partner with City of Kelowna to recognize heritage sites" (Archive). University of British Columbia. 5 August 2010. Retrieved on 27 January 2015.
  76. ^ Hayes, Robert M. "Lum Lock and Quon Ho" (Archive). Kelowna Daily Courier. Circa March 2014. Retrieved on 27 January 2015.
  77. ^ "Heritage Building 1435 Water St - Chinese Store (Kelowna Museum, 470 Queensway) Archived 27 January 2015 at the Wayback Machine." City of Kelowna. Retrieved on 27 January 2015.
  78. ^ "Kelowna Homelessness Networking Group Report on the Census of Homeless Individuals in Kelowna Spring 2003" (PDF). Kelowna Homelessness Networking Group. Retrieved May 22, 2017. 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.
  79. ^ "Kelowna Homelessness Networking Group Report on the Census of Homeless Individuals in Kelowna Spring 2003" (PDF). Kelowna Homelessness Networking Group. Retrieved May 22, 2017. The census was conducted between the hours of 8:30 p.m. and 11:30 p.m. on Wednesday, March 12, 2003. The weather that day was generally overcast and cool, with daytime highs of 5º C and lows dropping to –3º C in the evening.
  80. ^ Sharp, Paul. "Kelowna Point-in-Time Count: Community Report" (PDF). Central Okanagan Foundation. Retrieved May 22, 2017. The Kelowna PiT Count was conducted on the evening of February 24th, 2016. The average temperature during the day was 9°C, with a low of -4°C.
  81. ^ Sharp, Paul. "Kelowna Point-in-Time Count: Community Report" (PDF). Central Okanagan Foundation. Retrieved May 22, 2017. A total of 233 individuals were identified as being absolutely homeless with 164 (70%) experiencing sheltered homelessness and 69 (30%) experiencing unsheltered homelessness.
  82. ^ Sharp, Paul. "Kelowna Point-in-Time Count: Community Report" (PDF). Central Okanagan Foundation. Retrieved May 22, 2017. A total of 273 individuals were identified as being temporarily housed in interim housing (n=231) or institutional care (n=42).
  83. ^ Memo 2030 draft 20-year Servicing Plan and Financial Strategy Transportation Network - R. Cleveland & J. Behl, City of Kelowna
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  85. ^ TAC Sustainable Urban Transportation Award Submission - Mahesh Tripathi
  86. ^ Google (October 18, 2018). "Kelowna" (Map). Google Maps. Google. Retrieved October 18, 2018.
  87. ^ "Central Okanagan i-go, Transit". Retrieved November 12, 2016.
  88. ^ "Okanagan IndieFest". Okanagan IndieFest. Retrieved August 22, 2022.
  89. ^ "TeamPages: Okanagan All Stars". Retrieved August 22, 2022.
  90. ^ "Van West College". Van West College. Retrieved August 22, 2022.
  91. ^ "Carte des écoles." Conseil scolaire francophone de la Colombie-Britannique. Retrieved on 22 January 2015.
  92. ^ "Hours and Locations - Okanagan Regional Library (ORL)". Retrieved December 27, 2018.
  93. ^ Special unit needed to fight Kelowna gang war: RCMP – British Columbia – CBC News. (28 January 2009). Retrieved on 2011-02-20.
  94. ^ "Archived copy" (PDF). Archived from the original (PDF) on 27 September 2015. Retrieved 1 January 2019.{{cite web}}: CS1 maint: archived copy as title (link)
  95. ^ "Police-reported crime statistics, 2012" (PDF).
  96. ^ Canada, Government of Canada, Statistics (July 22, 2015). "Police-reported Crime Severity Index and crime rate, by census metropolitan area".
  97. ^ Moore, Wayne. "Canada's drug capital".
  98. ^ a b "Kelowna ranks #2 in crime stats". Global News. July 21, 2016. Retrieved January 3, 2017. It isn't the crime capital of Canada but Kelowna is still near the top of the list.
  99. ^ Moore, Wayne. "Tops in property, drug crime".
  100. ^ "Domestic violence capital of BC - Kelowna News".
  101. ^ Police report a pot possession incident every 9 minutes in Canada – CBC News. (Sep 30, 2015). Retrieved on 2016-05-17.
  102. ^ "Crime rate spikes in Kelowna". The Globe and Mail. July 25, 2013. Retrieved August 26, 2013.
  103. ^ Wayne Moore (October 1, 2015). "Canada's drug capital". castanet. Retrieved December 22, 2017. Kelowna has been tops among the 34 cities in marijuana possession for the past three years. The city has also been the No. 1 city when it comes to cocaine possession cases in three of the past four years. Victoria topped the list in 2011. Cases of heroin possession have been steadily increasing in the Kelowna CMA since 2010. Kelowna has been No. 1 the past four years. Possession related cases have risen from 5.5 in 2010 to 34.7 in 2014.
  104. ^ "Frustration mounts over fentanyl response in Kelowna". CBC News. October 24, 2017. Retrieved December 23, 2017. In September, a report from the Canadian Institute for Health Information showed Kelowna had the highest rate of hospitalizations for opioid poisoning in all of Canada.
  105. ^ "Sister Cities". May 19, 2016. Retrieved November 4, 2021.
  106. ^ "Freedom of the City Award". City of Kelowna. May 19, 2016. Retrieved October 12, 2021.
  107. ^ "Freedom of the City Award". City of Kelowna. Retrieved November 19, 2012.


  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.
  2. ^ Statistic includes all persons that did not make up part of a visible minority or an indigenous identity.
  3. ^ Statistic includes total responses of "Chinese", "Korean", and "Japanese" under visible minority section on census.
  4. ^ Statistic includes total responses of "Filipino" and "Southeast Asian" under visible minority section on census.
  5. ^ Statistic includes total responses of "West Asian" and "Arab" under visible minority section on census.
  6. ^ Statistic includes total responses of "Visible minority, n.i.e." and "Multiple visible minorities" under visible minority section on census.

External links[edit]