Nearby communities include the district municipality of West Kelowna (also referred to as Westbank, Westside) to the west across Okanagan Lake, Lake Country and Vernon to the north, as well as Peachland to the southwest and, further to the south, Summerland and Penticton.
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.
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 University of British Columbia are the predominant centres for post-secondary education. Over 5000 full-time students attend Okanagan College. 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.
According to the Statistics Canada 2001 census, the population estimates there were 96,288 people residing in Kelowna and 147,739 people residing in the Greater Kelowna Area. 48.4% of residents were male and 51.6% were female. Children under five accounted for approximately 4.8% of the resident population of Kelowna. This compares with 5.2% in British Columbia, and 5.6% for Canada overall.
In mid-2001, 18.4% of the resident population in Kelowna were of retirement age (65 and over for males and females) compared with 13.2% in Canada; the average age is 41.1 years of age, compared to an average age of 37.6 years in Canada.
In the five years between 1996 and 2001, the population of Kelowna grew by 7.7%, compared with an increase of 4.9% for British Columbia as a whole. Population density of Kelowna averaged 50.9 people per square kilometre, compared with Vancouver at 5335 people per square kilometre, and with all of British Columbia with an average of 4.2 people/km2.
Visible minorities make up about 6.2% of the population of Kelowna. The largest group of visible minorities are South Asian (28.7%), Chinese (19.0%), Japanese (14.0%), Southeast Asian (9.0%), Filipino and other Asian (10.6%), Black (7.4%), Latin American (6.4%), multiple/other (4.1%), and Arab (0.8%)
Kelowna's population growth has been driven primarily by the movement of Canadians from BC and other provinces into this region, not by international immigration. Only 15.1% of the population is foreign born.
As of 2012, Kelowna has the highest crime rate of any metropolitan area in Canada, mainly because of its property crime. The property rate has increased by over 7 percent since the last recording.
Century 21 - Assurance Realty Ltd
251 Harvey Avenue, Kelowna, British Columbia, V1Y6C2
Tel: 778-363-5411 Fax: 250-869-0105