|City of Kelowna|
Orchard City, K-Town
"Fruitful in Unity"
|Regional District||Central Okanagan|
|Incorporated||5 May 1905|
|o Type||Elected city council|
|o Body||Kelowna City Council|
|o Mayor||Colin Basran|
|o MP||Dan Albas (CPC)|
Tracy Gray (CPC)
|o MLAs||Norm Letnick (BCL)|
Ben Stewart (BCL)
Steve Thomson (BCL)
|o City||211.82 km2 (81.78 sq mi)|
|o Metro||2,904.86 km2 (1,121.57 sq mi)|
|Elevation||344 m (1,129 ft)|
|o City||142,146 (BC Stats Jan 2,020)|
|o Density||601.3/km2 (1,557/sq mi)|
|o Metro||217,214 (BC Stats Jan 2,020)|
|Time zone||UTC-08:00 (PST)|
|o Summer (DST)||UTC-07:00 (PDT)|
|Forward sortation area|
|Area code(s)||250, 778, 236|
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 the Central Okanagan. The name Kelowna derives from an Okanagan language term for "grizzly bear".
The Kelowna metropolitan area has a population of 217,214; the third-largest metropolitan area in the province, behind only Vancouver and Victoria. Additionally, the City of Kelowna is the seventh-largest city in the province. It ranks as the 22nd-largest in Canada and is the largest inland city in British Columbia. Kelowna's city proper contains 211.82 square kilometres (81.78 sq mi), and the census metropolitan area contains 2,904.86 square kilometres (1,121.57 sq mi). In 2019, it was estimated that Kelowna's population had grown to 217,229 in the metropolitan area and 142,146 in the city proper.
Nearby communities include the City of West Kelowna (also referred to as Westbank, Westside) to the west across Okanagan Lake, Lake Country and Vernon to the north, and Peachland to the southwest, and further to the south, Summerland and Penticton.
Exact dates of first settlement are unknown, but a northern migration led to the habitation of this area some 9,000 years ago. The Indigenous Syilx people were the first inhabitants of the region, and they continue to live in the region.
Father Pandosy, a French Roman Catholic Oblate missionary, became the first European to settle in Kelowna in 1859 at a place named "l'Anse au Sable" (Bay of Sand) in reference to the sandy shoreline. Kelowna was officially incorporated on 4 May 1905.
In May 2005, Kelowna celebrated its centennial. In the same year, construction began on a new five-lane William R. Bennett Bridge to replace the three-lane Okanagan Lake Bridge. It was part of a plan to alleviate traffic problems experienced during the summer tourist season. The new bridge was completed in 2008.
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), with dry, hot, sunny summers and cool, 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. Kelowna has the second mildest winter of any non-coastal city in Canada, after neighbouring Penticton. 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 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. 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. 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. During summer, clear, dry air allows night-time temperatures to fall rapidly. The city averages about 380 mm (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 an inland Canadian city. In fact, average high temperatures in January surpass those of St. John's, Newfoundland, which experiences heavy moderation from the warm Atlantic current. 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 International Airport, 1981-2010 normals, extremes 1899-present[a]|
|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
|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||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||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||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 Canada|
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Central City is a linear commercial sector extending along Harvey Avenue from the 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 very near highway 97 (Harvey).
Dilworth Mountain is a relatively low and isolated mountain which is located near the geographic center of the city. It lies across from Knox Mountain to the West, and forms part of the eastern heights between which Glenmore Valley lies. While technically a mountain, it rises about one thousand feet or so above the rest of the Okanagan Valley (just over 2,000 feet elevation). It has been very extensively developed in recent years; decades of blasting and construction work have resulted in a scenic collection of neighborhoods with suburban character but located only minutes from Central City. Like many other Kelowna residential districts, Dilworth has gone from relative isolation and wilderness to hosting many residential roads with hundreds of homes, many of which are considered fairly expensive and high-end.
Kelowna is the centre of the city and is a tourist district. It is located alongside Okanagan Lake, and its area 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 various attractions and commerce are concentrated. These include several parks and beaches along the lake, boardwalks and other walking trails, Kelowna Marina and Yacht Club, Delta Grand hotel and casino, and Prospera Place arena. The other main route through downtown is Bernard Avenue from Richter street to the lake. It has more shops and restaurants designed both for locals and tourists. Although Bernard Avenue continues east well past the downtown area, 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.
Kelowna has declared a 1 km2 (0.39 sq mi) downtown area to be a "red-zone", an area of prolific drug trafficking, assaults, and robberies. 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. The red zone in Kelowna was put in place in 1992 to reduce street crime, and within it the RCMP conducts an annual "spring sweep", arresting low-level drug dealers. Kelowna was the second British Columbia city to declare a red-zone.
Glenmore is a relatively affluent suburb that lies mostly within Glenmore Valley - a subsection of the Okanagan Valley in the Kelowna area. It has experienced extremely rapid housing development within the past two decades, changing from a small suburb with a relatively rural character to extensive suburban neighborhoods, including several elementary schools and a rapidly growing commercial hub. While most of the homes in this part of town lie on the relatively flat valley bottom, there are several large and more recent neighborhoods being built into the adjacent mountains; the community of Wilden is an example of this.
The Midtown area bordered by Enterprise Way on the north and Springfield and Baron Road at the south is a popular shopping destination for the locals. The largest shopping mall in the interior, Orchard Park, is located in this area. Since most of the Midtown area consists of large, car-oriented big-box stores, Midtown is often criticized for its plainness, urban sprawl, and the decline of pedestrian-oriented Downtown. There is also a lack of green space, particularly since the whole area used to be a linear park and golf course.
This area is colloquially as "The Mission" or "Okanagan Mission" in order to differentiate itself from Mission, BC, a city in the Lower Mainland near Abbotsford. The Mission used to be a separate jurisdiction before being amalgamated with the City of Kelowna in the mid- to late-20th century. This has caused a fairly vibrant secondary commercial centre to emerge which is entirely separate from Downtown, with low to moderate density residential areas in between. The northern border of Mission is K.L.O. Rd. It is often differentiated as the "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 H20 is Kelowna's largest indoor recreation facility with a 50m 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, 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, and many new shops and condominiums 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.
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 8,745 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.
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.
The first state of the art soundstage and film studio in Kelowna was announced by Burnaby-owned Eagle Creek productions, with construction sometime in 2017.
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:
As Kelowna has one of the most rapidly growing populations in Canada, its population statistics generally become out-of-date quite rapidly. According to the Statistics Canada 2011 census, the population estimates there were 117,312 people residing in Kelowna proper, and 147,739 people residing in the Greater Kelowna Area. 48.4% of residents were male and 51.6% were female. The predominant language spoken in Kelowna is English. More recent population estimates (as of 2014) give the Greater Kelowna Area a population of just under 200,000.
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 601.3 people per square kilometre, compared with Vancouver at 5,335 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.
In February 2016, Statistics Canada released their latest census, stating that Kelowna's population had grown by 8.4% from 2011 to 2016. The population of the city proper had risen to 127,380 while greater Kelowna had a 2016 population of 151,957. The Kelowna metropolitan area population in 2016 is now at 194,882 making it one of the fastest growing metropolitan areas in Canada.
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. On 10 February 2016, Statistics Canada declared the 3.1% Kelowna census metropolitan area growth rate as being the highest in Canada.
|Population||% of total|
|No religious affiliation||75,495||42.8|
|Canada 2016 Census||Population||% of total population|
|Visible minority group
|Other visible minority||235||0.2%|
|Mixed visible minority||380||0.3%|
|Total visible minority population||11,745||9.5%|
|Total Aboriginal Population||7,830||6.3%|
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.
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.
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. The survey found at least 233 people were homeless, and another 273 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. Despite having a metro population of about 200,000, 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.
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, and Seattle, as well as seasonal service to Las Vegas, Phoenix, Cuba and Mexico. Three major airlines serve the airport; Air Canada, Alaska Airlines, and WestJet.
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.
Public schools in the Kelowna area are part of School District 23 Central Okanagan
The Conseil scolaire francophone de la Colombie-Britannique operates one Francophone school: école de l'Anse-au-sable primary and secondary school.
In February 2009 an RCMP gang task unit was approved to help deal with gang violence.
Most crime in Kelowna is non-violent property crime. In 2012, Kelowna had the highest reported crime rate in Canada: 8,875 per 100,000. Police focused on crime in 2014, and Kelowna moved into the number four position across the country. In 2015, RCMP Supt. Nick Romanchuk stated, "I am absolutely convinced that as our drug enforcement numbers increase, our overall crime rate will decrease." As of 2016, the crime rate had returned to second highest in Canada. In 2017, the property crime in Kelowna rate went up six percent, once again the highest rate in Canada, while the drug crime rate fell two percent.
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.
In 2014, Kelowna, there were 251 marijuana charges per 100,000 population, the highest per capita rate in Canada.
In 2012, Kelowna had the highest crime rate of any metropolitan area in Canada, mainly because of its property crime. 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 lead the country in cannabis, cocaine, and heroin possession. As of 2016, the crime rate has declined to second highest. In 2017, Kelowna had the highest opioid overdose rate in Canada.
On November 4, 2015, The Canadian Institute of Planners announced winners of its fifth annual Great Places in Canada contest. A jury of seven professional planners named Stuart Park as the Great Public Space. "The jury was won over by the multiple strengths of the park -- its everyday use, community focus, unique reflection of local character and natural environment, accessibility for multi-generational activities, and the significant role it already plays as a Great Space in Kelowna."
the City will undertake to prepare Sector Plans, at Council's direction
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.
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.
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.
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.
Head of the RCMP's Downtown Enforcement Unit, Mark Slade, says it's just the beginning.
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%).
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.
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.
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.
A total of 233 individuals were identified as being absolutely homeless with 164 (70%) experiencing sheltered homelessness and 69 (30%) experiencing unsheltered homelessness.
A total of 273 individuals were identified as being temporarily housed in interim housing (n=231) or institutional care (n=42).
It isn't the crime capital of Canada but Kelowna is still near the top of the list.
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.
In September, a report from the Canadian Institute for Health Information showed Kelowna had the highest rate of hospitalizations for opiod poisoning in all of Canada.