Sweet home Okanagan title fits so well, borrowed from the famous rock anthem by Lynard Skynard, that it could very well have been written for the place where I grew up; the Okanagan Valley of British Columbia.
My family legend is that my father’s grandfather left Salt Lake City in 1888 headed for Vancouver because of political upheaval in Utah and I suspect since he was a young man at that time (born in 1861) he migrated to Canada but on his way to the west coast boom town, he laid his eyes on Okanagan lake from the ridge pass and decided he’d found his new home.
My father was born in Kelowna as was his father. I was born in Lions Gate Hospital in North Vancouver in 1961 and 100 years after Arthur Day, whose name is inscribed on the Mormon tabernacle in Salt Lake City. Although I live in Vancouver, my heart considers Kelowna my home.
Now four generations later the once sleepy valley is home to three mature cities, Penticton, Kelowna and Vernon and the about a half million people that live in a four seasons playground that would be fit for a King.
The Okanagan Lake is 97 miles long and 2 to 5 miles wide with a large provincial park covering a large swath of land, about in the middle of the lake to encompass the region that surrounds the lake, to preserve and protect that natural wilderness for generations to come.
Most of the rest of Okanagan Lake has beautiful homes built upon it’s shore and thoughtful urban development has designed subdivisions spread along the mountainsides that gently slope to the waters edge. From a boat the spectacle is remarkable and wonderful to witness the integration of humanity in nature.
Kelowna (/kəˈloʊnə/) 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“.
The Kelowna metropolitan area has a population of 217,214; the third-largest metropolitan area in the province, behind only Vancouver and Victoria. Additionally, the City of Kelowna is the seventh-largest city in the province. It ranks as the 22nd-largest in Canada and is the largest inland city in British Columbia. Kelowna’s city proper contains 211.82 square kilometres (81.78 sq mi), and the census metropolitan area contains 2,904.86 square kilometres (1,121.57 sq mi). In 2019, it was estimated that Kelowna’s population had grown to 217,229 in the metropolitan area and 142,146 in the city proper.
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.