Situated in the heart of British Columbia’s beautiful Okanagan Valley, Kelowna has evolved into a world-class destination renowned for its exceptional climate, diverse landscapes and exciting year-round amenities. It has been the fastest growing city in the province, with a current population of 106,000 as part of 162,000 residents in the Central Okanagan Regional District. Kelowna frequently tops the ratings on lists of Canadian cities comparing quality of life and growth potential. The city was also named by KPMG as the most cost competitive place in which to do business in the Pacific region of North America (“2004 Competitive Alternatives Study: The CEO’s Guide to International Business Costs”; KPMG, February 2004). Despite the global recession, our local real estate market and construction industry has remained relatively strong and stable. The new University of BC Okanagan facilities and programs are expected to bring even more economic diversification, innovation and vitality to our region.

Warm, dry Okanagan summers see an average temperature of 27 degrees Celsius (86 degrees Fahrenheit), and support a thriving, $610 million tourism industry impact for the province. Two outstanding ski resorts – Big White Mountain and Silver Star Resort – help ensure the economic benefits continue year round. The Valley features 53 golf courses – including five championship courses within a 45-minute drive from Kelowna – that cater to golfers of all skill levels, and outdoor enthusiasts enjoy orchard and winery tours, exceptional hiking and cycling, and some of the most scenic vistas in the world.

As well, Kelowna’s arts and culture sector is continuously evolving, and the Okanagan Valley is home to scores of internationally recognized painters, sculptors, writers, musicians and other artists. The city’s new Rotary Centre for the Arts, a multipurpose facility opened in 2002 to accommodate a range of performances and local resident artists, reflects the community’s growing interests in arts and culture. Historical attractions such as the BC Orchard Industry and Wine Museum showcase the agriculture history of the area in authentically restored buildings, and numerous galleries feature the work of local artists. Festivals and events are held throughout the year, and both the spring and fall Okanagan Wine Festivals have become major tourism draws for visitors throughout North America.

The Okanagan Valley has no shortage of technology and innovation, and is commonly known as “Silicon Vineyard” in reference to its plethora of high-tech companies and industries, including some clean-energy technology companies. The Okanagan Science and Technology Council and the Economic Development Commission have been active in promoting this sector in Canada and abroad, attending trade shows in countries like Germany and Japan.

The high-tech industry, as well as all the other economic sectors, is well served by air and highway connections. Kelowna International Airport is the second fastest growing airport in North America, offering direct connections to and from Vancouver, Calgary, Edmonton, Seattle and Toronto, as well as some new international flights. Highway access is similarly convenient:

·  Vancouver, B.C., to Kelowna: 395 kilometres (237 miles); approximately a four-hour drive via Highway 97C
·  Calgary, Alberta, to Kelowna: 602 kilometres (361 miles); approximately a seven-hour drive via the Trans-Canada Highway
·  Seattle, Washington, to Kelowna: 504 kilometres (313 miles); approximately a six-hour drive via Washington’s Interstate 5

For more information about the regional economy and doing business in Kelowna, please see the excellent website created by our Economic Development Commission: www.investkelowna.com