A sun-filled valley sits just west of the Rocky Mountains in Eastern British Columbia; the Okanagan boasts some of the best weather in the province – or even the country – and is fast becoming one of the most fashionable places to live in the entire nation. There are many advantages to life in Kelowna, situated on the shores of Okanagan Lake, and the gateway to the beautiful Okanagan valley.
Originally a tourist destination and vacation hotspot, Kelowna has seen a large influx of year-long residents as real estate values continue to rise in Vancouver and many other large Canadian cities. It is a fast-growing city surrounded by provincial parks, pine forest, mountains, orchards, and vineyards. It is blessed with beautiful springs, warm summers, crisp autumns, and mild winters – and far less rain than most of the province with over 2,000 hours of sunshine annually.
Kelowna touts itself as a mix of rural and urban lifestyles, of cultural and outdoor pastimes, an excellent vacation destination but also a uniquely beautiful place to live. The Lake is the place to be in warm weather – for relaxing on one of the many beaches, or taking to the water for boating, paddle-boarding, kayaking, swimming or snorkelling. Golfers can choose from nearly 20 nearby courses. Hiking and bike trails abound and several ski resorts are within easy driving distance. Food enthusiasts can visit fruit orchards, farms and markets for locally grown delicacies such as cherries, apricots, berries, apples and pears; many local restaurants serve farm-fresh seasonal products grown right in the Valley; dozens of local vineyards offer wine tours and tastings, as well as many cideries, distilleries, and craft breweries.
But, the biggest draw – aside from the excellent public and private schools and a variety of comprehensive medical facilities – is that the Okanagan Valley, and the Kelowna area more specifically, still boast some of the lowest home prices in the province. As reported by CBC’s Chris Walker in January of 2017, the city is growing 3 times as fast as Victoria or Vancouver and many home values increased by 30% over the previous 5 years. Many new arrivals are fleeing the high housing costs in these other large BC cities; the same $500,000 budget that would net a one-bedroom 500 square foot apartment in Vancouver, will secure the buyer a two-bedroom 1,500 square foot apartment in downtown Kelowna.
Whether you come for a short visit, or plan to settle down here, Kelowna and the surrounding Okanagan Valley is the place to be.