Kelowna is a city on Okanagan Lake in the Okanagan Valley in the southern interior of British Columbia, Canada. It serves as the head office of the Regional District of the Central Okanagan. The name Kelowna derives from an Okanagan language term for "grizzly bear".
Kelowna is the third-largest metropolitan area in the province with a population of 194,882, behind only Vancouver and Victoria. It ranks as the 22nd-largest in Canada and is the largest city in British Columbia that is located inland. Kelowna's city proper contains 211.82 square kilometers (81.78 sq mi), and the census metropolitan area contains 2,904.86 square kilometers (1,121.57 sq mi). In 2016, the population of Kelowna consisted of 127,380 individuals occupying 53,903 private dwellings.
Nearby communities include the City of West Kelowna (also referred to as Westbank, Westside) to the west across Okanagan Lake, Lake Country and Vernon to the north, and Peachland to the southwest, and further to the south, Summerland and Penticton.
Kelowna is classified as a humid continental climate per the Köppen climate classification system due to its coldest month having an average temperature slightly above −3.0 °C (26.6 °F), with dry, hot, and sunny summers, cold, cloudy winters, and four seasons. The official climate station for Kelowna is at the Kelowna International Airport, which is at a higher altitude than the city core, with slightly higher precipitation and cooler nighttime temperatures. The moderating effects of Okanagan Lake combined with mountains separating most of BC from the prairies moderates the winter climate, but Arctic air masses do occasionally penetrate the valley during winter, usually for very short periods. The coldest recorded temperature in the city was −36.1 °C (−33.0 °F) recorded on 30 December 1968.
Weather conditions during December and January are the cloudiest in Canada outside of Newfoundland due to persistent valley cloud. As Okanagan Lake hardly ever freezes, warmer air rising from the lake climbs above the colder atmospheric air, creating a temperature inversion which can cause the valley to be socked in by cloud. This valley cloud has a low ceiling, however, and often bright sunshine can be experienced by driving only 20 minutes or so up into the nearby mountains, above the cloud. Summers in Kelowna are hot (sometimes extremely hot) and sunny, with daytime temperatures often exceeding 32 °C (90 °F). The hottest recorded temperature at the airport was 39.5 °C (103.1 °F) on 24 July 1994, and the highest temperature ever recorded in the city was 41.0 °C (105.8 °F) in August 1998, near but not at the airport. Not unusually, heat waves occur in July, August, and even June and September on occasion, where temperatures above 30 °C persist for weeks. During summer, clear, dry air allows night-time temperatures to fall rapidly. The city averages about 380 millimeters (15 in) of precipitation per year, with about 1/5 of the precipitation falling as snow, the bulk in December and January; however, June is the wettest month of the year.
The service industry employs the most people in Kelowna, the largest city in the tourist-oriented Okanagan Valley. In summer, boating, golf, hiking and biking are popular, and in winter, both Alpine skiing and Nordic skiing are favourite activities at the nearby Big White and Silver Star ski resorts. Tourism in the Greater Kelowna Area has now reached a $1 billion a year industry, as of 2016.
Kelowna produces wines that have received international recognition. Vineyards are common around and south of the city where the climate is ideal for the many wineries. At least two major wineries were damaged or destroyed (now rebuilt) in 2003 due to the Okanagan Mountain Park Fire. Kelowna is also the home of Sun-Rype, a popular manufacturer of fruit bars and juices.
Okanagan College and the University of British Columbia are the predominant centers for post-secondary education. Over 5000 students attend Okanagan College and 8,718 students attend the University of British Columbia. In addition to vocational training and adult basic education, the college offers a highly regarded university transfer program. University of British Columbia's Okanagan campus has a student population of over 8000 full-time students, enrolled in diverse undergraduate and graduate programs.
Kelowna is the seat of the Regional District of the Central Okanagan, the third-largest metropolitan area in British Columbia after Vancouver and Victoria, and the largest in the British Columbia Interior. With scenic lake vistas and a dry, mild climate, Kelowna has become one of the fastest growing cities in North America. The appropriate management of such rapid development (and its attendant consequences) is a source of significant debate within the community. Kelowna is the fourth least affordable housing market in Canada, currently maintaining the classification of "Severely Unaffordable". Because of the Okanagan's climate and vineyard-filled scenery, it is often compared to Napa Valley, California.blog comments powered by Disqus