Located on the shore of Okanagan Lake, midway between Penticton and Vernon. Population: 115,000.
Visitor Information: Tourist information centre off Highway 97 at 544 Harvey Ave., 250-861-1515.
The largest community in the Okanagan, Kelowna offers excellent accommodations—from luxury resorts to campgrounds—as well as many great restaurants and boutique shopping.
Settlement started here in 1859 when Oblate Missionaries Father Charles Pandosy, Father Richard and Brother Sorel founded a mission on a creek at L’Anse au Sable (Sandy Bay), built a tiny church and a school and planted apple trees and vines.
Today, Kelowna’s burgeoning economy is based on fruit growing (a third of Canada’s fruit exports come from this area), healthcare, tourism, manufacturing (plywood plant), construction and forestry/fishing/mining/oil and gas.
Attractions include a robust wine industry; a growing craft beer scene; golfing; the largest farmer’s market in BC; a cultural district with museums, galleries, theatres and studios; an indoor water park; and British Columbia’s first winery—Calona Vineyards Winery.