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Okanagan Overview

Blog by | June 27th, 2007


The Okanagan Valley of British Columbia’s southern interior is refuge for nature lovers, adventurers, and recreationalists alike. The region’s unique landscape enjoys a moderate climate – a fundamental factor in the area’s commercial successes and a major reason why Kelowna is one of the fastest growing cities in BC. There are more than 300,000 residents in the Okanagan Valley. Kelowna, the largest city in the valley, boasts a population of 111,000 and is described as the gateway to the Okanagan as it is home to the region’s only international airport.

The area is home to hundreds of freshwater lakes such as its largest: Okanagan Lake. The lake stretches from Vernon in the north to Penticton in the south with Kelowna in the center; it is 110 km (68 miles) long with some depths reaching over 300 meters (1,000 feet). Visitors and residents alike swim, water-ski, parasail, kayak, windsurf, fish and sail on Okanagan Lake and the area’s many other surrounding lakes.

Mild winter temperatures and close proximity to the Monashee Mountains make the region a perfect setting for BC’s second largest alpine resort, Big White. Able to accommodate up to 15,000 people in hotels, condos and chalets, Big White has just undergone a multi-million dollar expansion that will keep the resort in the forefront of North American ski options. During warmer months, golf replaces skiing as the sport of choice, with 53 golf courses in the Okanagan to choose from.

Thanks to excellent growing conditions, the Okanagan Valley has a well-established agricultural industry featuring world-class vineyards and orchards. The Okanagan Valley’s wine industry offers dozens of premium vineyards for touring and wine tasting. With many Okanagan wineries competing successfully at international levels, this booming business has attracted the attention of international wine connoisseurs.

Situated midway between Vancouver and Calgary, Kelowna enjoys convenient air connections including direct service from Toronto, Calgary, Edmonton, Abbotsford, Vancouver and Victoria. Horizon Air offers four daily direct flights from Seattle. By car, Kelowna is a four-hour drive from Vancouver; six hours from Seattle; and seven hours from Calgary.