Kelowna, British Columbia

Kelowna, British Columbia has a population of 194,882 and is the third largest metropolitan area in the province. It is the twenty-second largest city in Canada and the largest city in British Columbia that is located inland.

In the early day’s the Hudson’s Bay Company established a small trading post around 1861 and in 1871 a grain mill was set up. The town site was laid out in 1892 and the name Kelowna was chosen.

A view of Kelowna from the west of Okanagan Lake.

Kelowna is the Okanagan First Nation word for “grizzly bear”. Legend says a group of Okanagan First Nation once stumbled across a fur-clad, whiskered settler emerging from his underground home. The hunters saw him as a “Kim-ach-Touch” or brown bear. The story quickly passed through the community and in 1892 town planners, looking for a name for the settlement, decided on “Kelowna”.

Kelowna’s City Park from the west side of Okanagan Lake.

At incorporation the population was six hundred and the town was made up of eleven sawmills, three fruit packing plants, and two canneries. By 1910 Kelowna was gaining fame as “The Orchard City”. In 1925 the Canadian National Railway arrived.

Waterfront Park is located on the left hand side of this picture.

Downtown Kelowna from the beach at the campground during one of my morning walks.

Today Kelowna is the main marketing, distribution, and health care center of the central Okanagan Valley. The city contains many orchards, vineyards, and award winning wineries. Other sectors of the economy are forestry, light manufacturing, tourism, and more recently the tech industry has began to grow.

The Kelowna Law Courts

The Kelowna Yacht Club

Boats moored at the Yacht Club

The Federal Building with the main bus loop in front … where I spent thirty-three years of my working career ☺

With many beaches along Okanagan Lake, the sunny warm climate, and safe harbors for hundreds of boat owners, the city is a popular tourist center in the summer. The winter also brings in many tourists to the areas fantastic ski hills.

Beautiful sidewalks alongside the courthouse downtown.

The City workers do a great job on the hanging baskets!

Flowers adorn the streets in the summer.

Until next time …

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A Walk Through Kelowna’s Waterfront Park

Since I promised to post more blogs showing how beautiful Kelowna, British Columbia is, hubby and I have been spending Wednesday’s wandering around the downtown area. I think I mentioned that our Fed Ex group (ex federal government employees) meets for coffee every Wednesday morning downtown so after coffee we have been walking around enjoying the sights and people watching.

If you want to park right downtown there is plenty of street parking ($1.25 an hour, for a two hour maximum) or you can park for longer than two hours by using one of the parkades. If you don’t mind a short walk you can park on the street just outside of the downtown core for free (up to two hours). We park in the free two hour parking and walk down to coffee, after coffee we move the truck to a different location and then walk around some more.

Located in Kelowna’s downtown core on Water Street next to the Grand Okanagan Resort lays Waterfront Park. As you enter the park you walk by The Dolphins … and no Okanagan Lake is not home to dolphins. 🙂 The sculpture is called Rhapsody and was also created by Robert Dow Reid, a few weeks ago I posted a picture of The Sails which was created by Robert Dow Reid.

Robert Dow Reid was born in Scotland and has always drawn inspiration from the sea. His grandfather was a sea captain, and Robert travelled the seas on whaling vessels in the 1940’s and 1950’s. Robert and his wife Isobel immigrated to Canada in 1958 and have lived in Kelowna since 1964.

The park is adorn with lush gardens and landscaping which is evident as you walk in.

A walk over the bridge gives your views of beautiful landscaping and condos lining the canal.

Once over the bridge you are greeted with sandy beaches, concession stands, washrooms, and a beach rental shop.

A boardwalk meanders along the waterfront all the way to City Park.

The Grand Okanagan Resort through the trees.

The park even contains a lock to allow boats to enter Okanagan Lake from the canal running along the high-rises and hotel.

The park is also home to Island Stage, which hosts many music events throughout the summer.

The stage is the blue roofed building. I forgot to take a picture but the stage is set in a bowl so that you can sit on the grassy hills and watch the performance.

I hope you enjoyed your walk through Waterfront Park as much as we did … it is definitely worth a visit if you are in Kelowna!

Until next time …

I Really Tried …

But I just can’t help myself! I had to post some more morning walk pictures as every morning I am amazed at how beautiful it is. 🙂

These first three pictures were taken at the end of June.

And this last set was taken over the last few mornings. You can see the haze in the air from the nearby forest fires, but still so pretty!

Until next time …

A Fun Birthday Party!

Our granddaughter from Edmonton, Alberta turned one this past Saturday and lucky for us the family was all visiting British Columbia and staying at a lake an hour and a half away from us. Hubby and I, along with her other grandpa, and many of her parents friends drove up and joined them at their cabin for a fun filled day.

We did have a little scare the day before when a forest fire broke out across the lake from us and very close to our daughter’s house … fortunately firefighters were able to get it under control quickly.

It amazes me how some flowers can grow with no water!

Our drive up to Echo Lake was under smoke filled skies.

Coming across Okanagan Lake Bridge into Kelowna, B.C.

Hazy skies over Wood and Kalmalka Lakes

The haze cleared up some by the time we were driving along Highway 6 towards Lumby, B.C.

When we arrived at Echo Lake the skies were clear and it was nice not to be breathing in smoke 🙂

There were many small children and lots of snacks around and of course that meant lots of pickings for the birds. We had a long visit from a Stellar Jay, the official bird of British Columbia.

We had a great time visiting our son and his family and catching up with their friends … and I’m pretty sure the birthday girl had a great day!

Until next time …

And So It Begins

The Okanagan Valley has five seasons … we have fall, winter, spring, summer, and forest fire season! And because of a lightning storm Tuesday evening we are now full into fire season 😦

The smoke in the air does make for pretty sunrises.

One of the fires forced the evacuation of two Provincial campgrounds just south of us, some people were able to get their RVs out, others left them behind. I say a little prayer every night that we are not forced out by fire … it has happened here in past years.

It amazes me the amount of stuff people leave on the beach overnight!

Another fire is in the same area as the devastating forest fire we had in 2003 when 33,000 people (us included) were evacuated and 239 homes were destroyed (fortunately ours was okay). I really hope they keep on top of that one! Well really I hope they are able to keep on top of all the fires.

So now the sky is full of smoke and visibility isn’t very good so I’m not sure I will be able to take any pictures to show you how wonderful Kelowna is, that may have to wait until the fall. Instead I will leave you with some more pretty sunrise photos … hey I’m trying to see some positive in the whole fire situation. 🙂

Until next time …

A True Day Off :-)

Since our time here at Bear Creek Provincial Park is all voluntary you could say that every day is a day off, but we are expected to volunteer 25 to 30 hours a week and, since we are both overachievers, we volunteer many more hours than required. We don’t begrudge that … well we do have days when we vent … but for the most part we love being here. Technically Tuesday and Wednesday’s are our days off but as soon as I return from my morning walk at 6:15 a.m. I put up our “On Duty” sign. It stays up until we leave around 9:00 a.m. and then goes back up again as soon as we return to the campsite after lunch, until today 🙂

I love seeing the chicory in bloom first thing in the morning … as soon as it gets warm out (around 7:00 a.m.) the flowers go into hiding.

A different sunrise this morning!

Our Wednesday routine always starts with meeting up with my fellow retiree’s from work for morning coffee. We meet downtown so that those still working can join up with us, but I think they got depressed at hearing how much fun we have, because they rarely come anymore! Anyway the FedEx (ex Federal Government employees), and most of their spouses meet for coffee and discuss everything that is important in the world and a lot of things that aren’t! After that we run a few errands and then head back to the campsite. Today we had an appointment but when the appointment was unexpectedly cancelled we were happy  … YIPPEE, our day was free!!!

A great view with our lunch!

A quick change of plans had us going to coffee, walking over to the Kelowna Visitor Centre to pick up some popular hiking brochures we had run out of in our pamphlet rack, and then wandering around downtown … and that is exactly what we did.

I have always thought I should write a blog, or two, about Kelowna because it is such a beautiful place to visit in the summer (or winter), but everyday life always gets in the way. So I am going to make it my mission to do a Kelowna blog for the next few weeks.

Here are some more photos from today’s walk around downtown.

This location always brings back very fond memories of working downtown. A coworker (whom I have always affectionately called Blondie, and I would walk along the waterfront on our morning breaks … both summer and winter, and we would usually stop here and watch the ducks.

The Kelowna Spirit Bear, another familiar icon during my morning coffee break walks with Blondie ☺

During the winter this is an ice rink, during the summer there will often be entertainment. At one end there are a few table tennis/ping pong tables and a chess board.

Contemplating the next move ☺

I will leave you with a picture of the most iconic Kelowna Landmark, The Spirit of the Sails. This 40 foot tall sculpture was placed at the foot of Bernard Avenue in 1978 and weighs in at 4,000 pounds. Commonly know to people in Kelowna as “The Sails”, the sculpture was created by Robert Dow Reid and is made of fiberglass. Hubby and I were fortunate enough to be presented with a much smaller version, also sculpted by Robert Dow Reid, by the City of Kelowna for our work with the Kelowna Parade float.

Until next time …

Happy Canada Day!

Canada Day is always a fun day in Kelowna, there is so much going on and everywhere you look you see a sea of red and white!

Canada Day at the Provincial Park is no different, sites are decorated in red and white, people are sporting their red and white clothing, and we are all busy getting ready for the kids parade.

Last year that meant blowing up many, many, many, red and white balloons which made hubby and I very dizzy for days. This year one of the other park hosts was able to get a machine to blow up the balloons and she quickly taught the rest of us to tie the balloon with ribbon attached in one easy step … so much easier!

We had some rain while we were getting ready for the parade but by the time the kids where ready to decorate their bikes, skate boards, strollers, and everything else the sun came out.

Even the Gatehouse got into the spirit!

It was another great turnout and I think everyone had fun!

The golf cart led the parade with the horse head driver 🙂

After the parade we had some downtime before we headed down to the beach to watch the fireworks and help provide some extra security.  Fortunately everyone was well behaved so we were able to enjoy the fireworks.

We hope your Canada Day was fun and you had your patriotic spirit in full force! And for our American followers, Happy early Fourth of July 🙂

Until next time …