You can go to many websites that will inform you about the stats and highlights of Kelowna. I would rather relay to you here my thoughts of Kelowna both from the perspective of someone born in Kelowna and a bit of insight from my 20-plus years selling Real Estate here.
I grew up in the orchards. My parents grew apples, cherries and later planted a vineyard. Those crops are being grown today up and down the valley with vineyards becoming more prevalent as there is more money in the crop that produces wine. Much of the farmland was saved from subdivision and development by the introduction of the Agricultural Land Reserve (ALR) in 1972, basically forcing farmers to retain their farmland much like a park for the benefit of future generations. One of the most desired locations for a home is overlooking orchards and vineyards.
On Sundays we would pile into my dad’s 1953 Willie’s jeep and explore the back roads, driving through the creeks and up into the hills so he could show us interesting trails and waterfalls, first-nations paintings on rock, old cabins where gold explorers used to live and where stills for whiskey were found.
It was pretty cool. We were shown what path to take to Mission Creek to our secret swimming hole and taught what roots and plants to eat in case we were ever lost out there.
When I moved away after graduation to Calgary and then Vancouver I kept having people say to me ‘You are from Kelowna, then why are you here!’ I cannot tell you how many buyers I have had move into the area because of the lifestyle and the climate. People love our 4 definite seasons and how long our hot/dry summers are. They want to live a few minutes away from hiking/biking trails, skiing, boarding and sledding, swimming or waterskiing on Okanagan Lake, hang-gliding, or even just for a walk up to a view-point. Driving though the countryside, around the lake and wine-tasting are common activities. All these things I did not appreciate until I moved back to Kelowna in the late 80’s.
OK, those things are all cool, but let’s face it; you cannot do those activities ALL the time. It used to be that Kelowna had a few good restaurants and shops. Then people with more worldly tastes came to Kelowna and wanted interesting places to dine, top quality shops and they wanted culture: theatre and concerts, golf courses and every type of cuisine available. And they made it happen. So we have most of it now, and what we don’t have is only a 4 hr drive or a 40 minute flight away. I have left early in the morning to drive to Vancouver and driven back that evening with just enough time to shop and have lunch in between. It’s great that we have an International Airport as it’s just as easy to fly direct to Seattle.
If you are curious about any aspect of the Central Okanagan, please email or call me so we can chat. I feel that part of being a Realtor in this wonderful area is being an ambassador for the Okanagan.