West Kelowna is located on Hwy 97 near the western shore of Okanagan Lake in the Okanagan Valley. It’s 16 km (10 mi) northeast of Peachland and 14 km (9 mi) southwest of Kelowna.
The area is popular among tourists for its wineries and an array of outdoor activities. The City of West Kelowna is located on the central western shores and hillsides of Okanagan Lake and is the primary gateway from the west to the Central Okanagan.
Before the arrival of white settlers, the Kelowna (kiʔlawnaʔ) and Westbank (stqaʔtkʷəɬniwt) area was the home to the sqilxʷ people. Fur traders in the early 1800s used the area as a stopping place. The settlement was renamed Westbank in 1908, due to its location on the west bank of Okanagan Lake and in 2007 was incorporated as the City of West Kelowna along with several small communities.
West Kelowna’s economy is fuelled by agriculture, construction, finance, food and retail services, light industry, lumber manufacturing, technology, tourism, and wineries.
Jillian Harris, a lifestyle blogger and television personality, lives in West Kelowna. An episode of the 13th season of reality-TV series The Bachelor included a visit to Harris’ parents’ home in West Kelowna and to Mission Hill Estate Winery.
According to the Royal LePage Housing Price Survey and Market Forecast in October 2021, the median price of a West Kelowna single-family home hit slightly more than $1 million. From July through September, the report indicates the median price was $1,025,000. A year earlier, it was $838,000. The jump represents a rise of 22.3 percent year over year.
According to the same report, the median price for a condo in Kelowna from July to September of 2020 was $362,000. A year later the price had jumped to $452,000, which is a rise of 24 per cent.
West Kelowna real estate options feature modern family homes and commercial spaces that are available for sale and there are current developments underway in this growing Okanagan community.
As of Dec. 31 2018, West Kelowna had an estimated population of 34,883 (BC Statistics).
In 2006, the population was 27,214; in 2011, 30,892 (up 13.5 percent); and in 2016, 32,65 (up +5.7 percent). The Greater Westside economic region, including Westbank First Nation, Peachland and surrounding rural areas, has a population of more than 52,000 people according to the 2016 census. The Greater Westside is part of the larger Central Okanagan Regional District and economic region with a population of 208,852 (BC Stats, 2018) residents.
Major private employers include Gorman Bros. Lumber and Mission Hill Family Estate Winery. Major public employers include Interior Health and Central Okanagan Public Schools.
West Kelowna elementary and secondary schools are a part of the Central Okanagan School District which encompasses Lake Country, Kelowna, West Kelowna and Peachland, making it the fifth largest school district in the province. In West Kelowna there are currently eight elementary schools, two middle schools and one secondary school.
The Mount Boucherie Community Centre includes Royal LePage Place. The arena is home to the BCHL team the West Kelowna Warriors. The Jim Lind Arena provides space for ice sport clubs such as hockey, figure skating, and ringette.
The city of West Kelowna has a lakefront walking trail alongside Gellatly Road and several swimming areas along Okanagan Lake, including Willow Beach. This area also offers great camping.
Johnson Bentley Memorial Aquatic Centre offers indoor public swimming and recreational programs. Several community and regional parks are scattered throughout West Kelowna’s municipality.
West Kelowna’s most popular hiking trails are located in Eain Lamont and Mount Boucherie Parks and in Glen Canyon, Goats Peak, Kalamoir and Rose Valley Regional Parks.
Shannon Lake Golf Course is the only 18-hole golf course in West Kelowna. But Two Eagles Golf Course in the neighbouring Westbank First Nation also offers 18-holes, a putting course and a driving range.
Telemark Nordic Club is a popular winter recreational area in West Kelowna offering snowshoeing and cross country skiing opportunities.
West Kelowna wineries are a must-go for anyone interested in the area. Home to the “Westside Wine Trail” it features both new and old wineries as well as some of the most well known wineries in the region.
Located in West Kelowna’s Memorial Park, the Annette Beaudreau Amphitheatre hosts outdoor events and concerts. Memorial Park also has a skateboard park.
The Westbank Museum offers pioneer exhibits, artefacts and archives. Smaller galleries sell works by local artists and potters. Neighbouring Westbank First Nation operates an Indigenous museum.
The Kelowna Art Gallery, in Kelowna’s Cultural District, showcases local, national and international exhibitions. The Rotary Centre for the Arts provides space for artists, musicians, dancers and actors, and its 332-seat Mary Irwin Theatre brings performers and audiences together.
Some of West Kelowna’s best restaurants and pubs include Kelly O’Bryan’s Restaurant, Lost Horn Mediterranean Grill, and the Gate Keeper Restaurant.
Traditional shopping areas in West Kelowna are Boucherie Centre, Lakeview Heights Shopping Centre, Westbank Centre and the West Kelowna Business Park. The City of West Kelowna also boasts a scenic wine trail with a dozen wineries. Visitors also enjoy a “farm loop” of varied local agricultural products and seasonal farmers’ market.