Kelowna

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
  (Redirected from Kelowna, BC)
Jump to: navigation, search
Kelowna
City
City of Kelowna
Downtown Kelowna and Cultural District from West Kelowna
Downtown Kelowna and Cultural District from West Kelowna
Flag of Kelowna
Flag
Coat of arms of Kelowna
Coat of arms
Nickname(s): Orchard City,[1] K-Town
Motto: "Fruitful in Unity"
Kelowna is located in British Columbia
Kelowna
Kelowna
Location of Kelowna in British Columbia
Coordinates: 49°53′01″N 119°29′36″W / 49.88361°N 119.49333°W / 49.88361; -119.49333
Country  Canada
Province  British Columbia
Region Okanagan
Regional District Central Okanagan
Settled 1879
Incorporated 5 May 1905
Government
 • Type Elected city council
 • Body Kelowna City Council
 • Mayor Colin Basran
 • MP Stephen Fuhr (Liberals)
 • MLAs Steve Thomson (BC Liberals)
Norm Letnick (BC Liberals)
Christy Clark (BC Liberals)
Area
 • City 211.82 km2 (81.78 sq mi)
 • Metro 2,904.86 km2 (1,121.57 sq mi)
Elevation 344 m (1,129 ft)
Population (2011)
 • City 117,312
 • Density 553.8/km2 (1,434/sq mi)
 • Urban 141,767
 • Metro 179,839
 • 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)
Highways BC 97 & BC 33
Website Official website

Kelowna (Listeni/kɛlnə/) 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".[2] 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 making it the largest inland city in BC.

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.

History[edit]

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.[3]

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[edit]

  • 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.[4]
  • 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[edit]

  • On 7 May 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.[5] 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.[6]
  • 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.

Geography[edit]

Climate[edit]

The climate of Kelowna is humid continental (Köppen climate classification Dfb),[7] with dry, hot and sunny summers, cold, cloudy winters and four seasons.[8][9] 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 for weeks on end with no respite. 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.[10] 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).[11][12] 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.[13] 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. Johns 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
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
(58.6)
14.7
(58.5)
20.8
(69.4)
28.1
(82.6)
34.4
(93.9)
38.0
(100.4)
39.5
(103.1)
39.3
(102.7)
34.8
(94.6)
26.8
(80.2)
20.6
(69.1)
14.5
(58.1)
39.5
(103.1)
Average high °C (°F) 0.8
(33.4)
3.6
(38.5)
10.1
(50.2)
15.5
(59.9)
20.2
(68.4)
24.2
(75.6)
27.9
(82.2)
27.6
(81.7)
21.7
(71.1)
13.4
(56.1)
5.6
(42.1)
0.7
(33.3)
14.3
(57.7)
Daily mean °C (°F) −2.5
(27.5)
−0.9
(30.4)
4.1
(39.4)
8.4
(47.1)
12.8
(55)
16.6
(61.9)
19.5
(67.1)
19.1
(66.4)
13.9
(57)
7.3
(45.1)
1.6
(34.9)
−2.6
(27.3)
8.1
(46.6)
Average low °C (°F) −5.8
(21.6)
−5.3
(22.5)
−2.0
(28.4)
1.3
(34.3)
5.4
(41.7)
9.1
(48.4)
11.1
(52)
10.6
(51.1)
5.9
(42.6)
1.3
(34.3)
−2.4
(27.7)
−5.9
(21.4)
1.9
(35.4)
Record low °C (°F) −31.7
(−25.1)
−25.3
(−13.5)
−19.4
(−2.9)
−8.9
(16)
−4.2
(24.4)
−0.6
(30.9)
2.6
(36.7)
0.6
(33.1)
−6.1
(21)
−15.7
(3.7)
−28.4
(−19.1)
−36.1
(−33)
−36.1
(−33)
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
(1.22)
19.0
(0.748)
21.6
(0.85)
29.1
(1.146)
40.2
(1.583)
45.9
(1.807)
37.2
(1.465)
32.1
(1.264)
32.4
(1.276)
29.2
(1.15)
36.7
(1.445)
32.6
(1.283)
386.9
(15.232)
Average rainfall mm (inches) 8.9
(0.35)
10.0
(0.394)
16.9
(0.665)
28.3
(1.114)
39.2
(1.543)
45.9
(1.807)
37.2
(1.465)
32.1
(1.264)
31.7
(1.248)
29.1
(1.146)
24.4
(0.961)
7.6
(0.299)
311.3
(12.256)
Average snowfall cm (inches) 26.9
(10.59)
10.8
(4.25)
4.8
(1.89)
0.8
(0.31)
0.0
(0)
0.0
(0)
0.0
(0)
0.0
(0)
0.0
(0)
0.1
(0.04)
13.6
(5.35)
32.0
(12.6)
89.0
(35.04)
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: [14][15]

Sectors and neighbourhoods[edit]

Kelowna consists of ten sectors with multiple neighbourhoods within the sector boundaries.[16] Despite its moderate population of around 120,000 people living within city limits, Kelowna has significant problems with urban sprawl. This is thought to be due largely to a combination of decades-long building height and zoning restrictions, and an enormous population boom that began in the 1980s. The latter 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). This highlights the difficulties Kelowna is currently facing regarding urban sprawl, severe traffic congestion, general lack of infrastructure, and less-than-optimal city planning.

Area of Kelowna

• City:         211.82 km2 (81.78 sq mi)
• Metro:        2,904.86 km2 (1,121.57 sq mi)