Discover Kelowna, British Columbia: A City of History and Natural Beauty
Nestled in the southern interior of British Columbia, Canada, Kelowna is a city that offers a unique blend of history, culture, and natural beauty. Located on the Okanagan Lake in the Okanagan Valley, Kelowna serves as the head office of the Regional District of Central Okanagan. The city's name derives from the Okanagan word kiʔláwnaʔ, which refers to a grizzly bear.
A Brief History of Kelowna, British Columbia
The Okanagan Valley, where Kelowna is located, has been inhabited for around 9,000 years. The Indigenous Syilx people were the first known inhabitants of the region. The first European to travel to the Okanagan Valley was David Stuart in 1811. However, it wasn't until 1859 that the first European settlement was established by Father Pandosy, a French Roman Catholic Oblate missionary.
Kelowna was officially incorporated on May 4, 1905, with a population of 600. The town's first mayor was Henry Raymer. The city has since grown to become the province's third-largest metropolitan area and the seventh-largest city overall. As of 2020, Kelowna's estimated population is 222,748 in the metropolitan area and 142,146 in the city proper.
Kelowna, British Columbia: A City Shaped by Wildfires
Kelowna has experienced several seasonal wildfires over the years. Some of the most significant fires include the August 2003 wildfire that destroyed 239 homes and forced the temporary evacuation of about 30,000 residents, and the July 2009 wildfires that destroyed hundreds of hectares of forest and a number of buildings in West Kelowna, leading to the evacuation of 17,000 residents.
The Geography and Landmarks of Kelowna, British Columbia
Kelowna is a city of diverse landscapes, encompassing 211.85 km2 (81.80 sq mi) in the city proper and the census metropolitan area 2,904.86 km2 (1,121.57 sq mi). The city is surrounded by mountain slopes and is home to several highrise buildings, including One Water Street — a 36-story building that is the tallest in Kelowna.
The Climate and Vegetation of Kelowna, British Columbia
Kelowna is classified as a humid continental climate or an inland oceanic climate. The city experiences dry, hot, sunny summers and cool, cloudy winters. Kelowna's official flower is Balsamorhiza sagittata, commonly referred to as arrowleaf balsamroot.
Exploring the Sectors and Neighbourhoods of Kelowna, British Columbia
Kelowna consists of ten sectors with multiple neighbourhoods within the sector boundaries. Some of the notable sectors include Central City, Dilworth Mountain, Downtown, Glenmore, Midtown, Mission, and Rutland.
The Demographics of Kelowna, British Columbia
As per the 2021 Canadian census, Kelowna had a population of 144,576. The predominant language spoken in Kelowna is English. The city's population growth has been driven primarily by the movement of Canadians from BC and other provinces into this region, not by international immigration.
Transportation in Kelowna, British Columbia
Kelowna is served by Highway 97 and Highway 33. The city also has a public bus transportation service operated by FirstGroup. Kelowna International Airport, one of the busiest airports in Canada, is located north of the city core.
Cultural and Sporting Attractions in Kelowna, British Columbia
Kelowna is home to several cultural and sporting attractions, including the Kelowna Art Gallery, Center of Gravity Festival, Kettle Valley Railway, Big White Ski Resort, and Okanagan Wineries. The city also hosts the Okanagan Independent Film Festival and the World Community Film Festival.
Sister Cities of Kelowna, British Columbia
Kelowna has a "sister city" agreement with Kasugai, Aichi, Japan.
Freedom of the City in Kelowna, British Columbia
Several individuals and military units have received the Freedom of the City of Kelowna, including Brigadier General Harry Herbert "H.H." Angle, Barbara Ann Scott, The Honourable W. A. C. Bennett, and Major General The Honourable George Randolph Pearkes. The British Columbia Dragoons is one of the military units that have received this honor.