KELOWNA (British Columbia)
KELOWNA: A WINTER AND SUMMER FAVORITE
Kelowna is a city in the lower regions of British Columbia. It is situated scenically on the Okanagan Lake in Okanagan Valley. Fancily called “K-town”, this place is frequented by tourists during the summer and the winter seasons to experience exciting outdoor activities. The fall is also a season when people enjoy because of the premium quality wines made the Okanagan way.
HOW IT BEGAN
Thriving in success, Kelowna is one of the largest metropolitan locations in Canada. The word “Kelowna” was derived from an Okanagan term meaning “grizzly bear”. The first European settler of Kelowna was a French missionary named (Father) Charles M. Pandosy. He referred to Kelowna as “L’anse au sable”, which means Bay of Sand because of the sandy shoreline surrounding the city. In 2000, Kelowna put up the tallest building between the lower mainland and Calgary. It was a residential building with 26 floors called Skye at Waterscapes. In 2005, Kelowna celebrated centennial. In early 2011, Kelowna hosted the 2011 International Children’s Winter Games and in the same year, the City Park accommodated around 25,000 people who attended the largest Sport and Music Festival in Western Canada called Center of Gravity.
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╣the legend of Ogopogo, the lake monster. The settlers say that the monster was seen in Lake Okanagan. Whether the creature is true or just some beaver, floating log or other creatures, Ogopogo became a tourism idea. The children’s play park even has a statue of the fictional character. Take a picture here and show your friends you have seen the legendary monster of the Okanagan Lake.
╣various parks throughout the city. Visit places like the Downtown City Park, which is especially enjoyable during summer. Play with your whole family at the Gyro Beach where a half submerged playground and swing lines are located. You can also visit the Bertram Park (end of Lakeshore Road) for a family picnic on the beach.
╣Mission Area. It is located near Bertram Park and is popular to younger adults. It is commonly known as “Hidden Beach”, shortened to “Hidden” or “Skim Beach”. Be wary of bringing stuff, though, because the police are known to survey this area.
╣H2O Adventure + Fitness Center. Take a splash in millions of gallons of water in the largest municipal water park in the country.
╣Knox Mountain. If you are finished getting your tan, you can get closer to nature and want to have a trekking escapade, this is the place for you. The mountain has two viewpoints. The annual Knox Mountain Hillclimb, one of the world's longest uphill point-to-point car races, is celebrated at this famous peak. You might witness this event if you visit Kelowna during May. You can also bike and hike around the hill sides of Kettle Valley and Myra Canyon (in addition to Knox)
╣any of Kelowna's numerous golf courses. If you love playing golf, then the city holds the ultimate challenge for you. Kelowna has about 19 golf courses of different levels, and each course has an “epic” signature hole. This city is home to the famous Predator Ridge, host of the Skins Game and Tower Ranch. The Kelowna golf courses are exquisitely designed to suit the tastes of every tourist. The picturesque landscape is composed of orchards, vineyards, rolling hills, desert terrains and lakes. They also offer clubhouses where you can treat your family with meals, casual to gourmet.
╣the various stores throughout the city. Stroll along Kelowna’s streets and you will find unique gifts and souvenirs as well as fashion items. Buy your wine at Discover Wines. Women will love Fashion Foundation’s exciting selection of lingerie and their tag line “Our business is uplifting”. Visit their store at Ellis Street. Funktional is your stop if you are looking for contemporary pieces. The accessories and home decors designed by local artists are edgy yet functional. They will also make customized accessories for you. Ten Thousand Villages showcases imported handcrafts from talented workers from developing countries. This not-for-profit store pays a decent amount to those who would otherwise be unemployed. They sell accessories and home décors as well.
╣Kelowna's numerous wineries and vineyards. There are around 26 wineries in Kelowna and over a hundred wineries within the whole Okanagan Valley. They offer tours for all ages, however, the wine tasting is strictly age-limited (19 and under cannot taste the wine). They also offer food service that will complement your wines. Choose from gourmet meals, tapas-style fare, cheese and fruit platters. Enjoy your food and wine while enjoying the scenic view of the vineyard; you can have your wine tasting sessions outside a covered patio. The Cedar Creek Estate Winery was one of the pioneering wineries in the Okanagan Valley. They released their first wines in 1987. Mission Hill Family Estate is considered as one of North America’s landmark wineries. It is home to the famous Terrace Restaurant where you can enjoy their elegant wines while having a view of hilltops. SpierHead Winery is one of the twelve producers of 100% Cabernet Sauvignon wine in the British Columbia. Experience the taste of an organic wine with Summerhill Pyramid Winery, the most popular winery in British Columbia. Enjoy your organic sips while looking over the lake. Looking for a more sensual wine tasting session? The View is considered Okanagan’s most provocative wine. The winery itself is housed in an old (1922) fruit packinghouse.
╣any of the city's restaurants. There are restaurants in the city that offer affordable meals to establishments that make you splurge whatever it is that you have in your wallet. For budget stomach-fillers, you can visit Lake Tai at Pandosy Street. They offer Chinese vegetarian meals. All food served here are gluten-free. They also have an array of teas and other drinks. Siam Orchid Thai Restaurant, located at Bernard Avenue is an affordable place to have a taste of Thai cuisine. You can even request to lessen or to add more spice to your food. You can choose vegetarian and non-vegetarian meals complete with soup and healthy spring rolls. If you are craving for a dose of caffeine, some of the frequented cafes in the city include The Bohemian Café and The Marmalade Cat café. If your budget is on the middle, you can try O-Zeki Japanese, Cabana Bar & Grill, The Yellow House, Bai Tong Thai (suggested as one of Kelowna's best Thai food) and Memphis Blues (a barbecue house). If you can splurge on food, here are some of the recommended places to fill your stomach and empty your bank accounts: Chop Steakhouse & Bar, The Fixx, Mon Thong, Bouchons, The Rotten Grape, Ric's Grill, La Bussola Restaurant and Waterfront Restaurant.
╣Kelowna Downtown has a lot to offer. The area has bars and restaurants that are open until two o'clock in the morning.
TOURISTS SHOULD KNOW
You can get to Kelowna by various modes of travel. Kelowna has an international airport that flies to and from cities including Vancouver, Calgary, Edmonton, Prince George and Seattle. The Kelowna International Airport collaborates with the following airlines: WestJet, Air Canada, Jazz, Horizon Air, and Skyservice. If you wish to travel by train, you can go to the nearest terminal to Kelowna at Kamloops. This station is about 90 minutes drive northwest by car. If you decide to bring your own vehicle, the easiest route is to pass through Highway 97. Highway 33 is an alternative route, which connects with Highway 97 in Rutland, and is also the route to the Big White Ski area. Public Transport. If you are traveling by bus, the best services are provided by Greyhound. The bus travels to and from Vancouver and Calgary, with several stop areas in between. It is recommended that you travel early in the morning or late in the afternoon, especially during weekdays. This is to avoid heavy traffic and over-filled buses.
Once you have reached Kelowna, touring the city will be easy if you know how to ride a bike. Bike lanes are everywhere so you do not have to cycle on highways. You can also roam the city by boat along the lake shore. If you wish to request for boat parking facilities, you might want to do it early before summer as it gets crowded as the season comes closer. You can also rent cars and walking around the city may not be a bad idea because the downtown area is accessible to public transportation and is pedestrian-friendly.
There are many other attractions in Kelowna. If you wish to visit this city, make sure you make your reservations early, especially during summer because it is a popular destination. The wineries are exceptional and should not be missed.