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Lens, Wheels, Skates, Keyboard

Kelowna

My, my, my Kelowna

Kelowna is a picturesque town in the heart of BC’s Okanagan Valley. In days of old, the main industry of the region was fruit-growing. Today, orchards and vineyards still dot the landscape, but the region’s focus has shifted towards tourism. Lake Okanagan, which forms the western border of Kelowna, is a popular recreational area. The heart of the city, formerly the warehouse district, has also been revitalized and is now home to many cultural attractions and even a casino.

We stayed in Winfield, about 15 minutes north of Kelowna, for a week. The area has very pleasant weather, perfect for relaxation and for retirees, of whom there are many :) By the end of the week we were itching to get back on the road.

Ogopogo is a legendary monster which inhabits Lake Okanagan. It’s reminiscent of Nessie in Scotland: it’s got a serpentine body and a long neck that cranes out of the water, and it’s about as elusive as Elvis. Numerous sightings have been reported over the years but there are no concrete evidence. If you happen to be by the lake, keep an eye out for him.

“On the Beach”, a group of 5 bronze sunbathing figures by Geert Maas, has a permanent home on the Waterfront Park. The well-known artist favors abstract shapes fashioned in mixed media. He maintains a gallery in Kelowna, Geert Maas’ Sculpture Garden and Gallery, where visitors can explore some of his remarkable works.

Antlers Beach Regional Park & Hardy Falls The Okanagan Valley is dotted with regional parks, many of which are more than recreational areas but also rich in scenery. Antlers Beach Regional Park on the western shore of Lake Okanagan is a quiet preserve that features a waterfalls in addition to the eponymous beach!

Cultural District The Cultural District in downtown consists of many museums and galleries housed in former fruit-packing warehouses. The heart of the city centers here, and the walk is a very pleasant one.

Elysium Garden Well, we’re in garden country, so were you expecting something else? :) The Elysium Garden is an elegant, well-manicured garden that features many perennial flowers and ornamental plants. This would be a good place for wedding pictures.

Summerland Ornamental Gardens Summerland Ornamental Gardens is on a hill overlooking Lake Okanagan in Summerland. The Gardens are maintained by a non-profit organization and admission is by donations (it’s worth it). There are many manicured flower plots — the daisies are the most luxuriant — and also a xeriscape garden. Directions: Off Hwy 97 South about 9km north of Penticton.

Kasugai Japanese Garden Asian-style gardens seem to be popular in western Canada. They’re found in practically every city we visit! Review Helpfulness: Was

The Clocktower Monumental clock in downtown, in front of Kasugai Japanese Garden.

Playful Dolphins This ethereal sculpture is found outside the Grand Hotel on the Waterfront.

Orchard Heaven

The Okanagan region is well-known for its orchards. If you like fresh fruit and vegetable and lots of them, you’ve come to the right place. Many large orchards and farms are off the beaten path, but many are right on the road, and there are many signs to beckon you. We found a very nice orchards just by driving around. Some also specialize in organically grown produce, so ask if it’s your cup of tea.

Same goes for vineyards. Many offer tours and free taste tests.

Pros: Tourist-friendly town; pleasant weather; abundance of fresh fruit and vegetable; many family-oriented recreational activities. Cons: Perhaps just a little too family-oriented :) In a nutshell: Don’t expect to be blown away by the nightlife here.