Lest We Forget

Each year, on November 11th, we honour veterans who have served in wartime and remember the soldiers who died in military service.

Remembrance Day marks an important milestone in the world history. It reminds us of the sacrifices made by individuals, families, and entire countries to end the First World War in 1918 and lay the foundation for modern democracy.

As Canadians, it’s our collective responsibility to remember those who have served and made sacrifices for future generations.  

The Plea

Did you know that the phrase “Lest We Forget” comes from a poem written by the author of The Jungle Book? Rudyard Kipling wrote the poem Recessional in 1897, repeating the phrase several times to emphasize the dangers of failing to remember.

This year we celebrate the 100th anniversary of the end of World War 1. The plea to not forget the past and not take it for granted is as important today as it was back in 1918 when the Armistice agreement was signed.

Photo credit: Kelowna Now

On November 11th, the Okanagan Military Museum invites everyone to come to the museum from 11 a.m. to 3:30 p.m. and learn more about Canada’s military history. There will be special 15-minute tours throughout the day, each featuring a different topic.

This year, the Royal Canadian Legion Branch 26 is doing something new and special to honour the soldiers who never made it back home and don’t have a gravesite. Inspired by a display in Calgary, the Legion has set up a field of crosses in City Park with 242 names from the two World Wars and the Korean War. The display was set up on November 3rd and will remain in City Park until Remembrance Day.

The Ceremony

Photo credit: The Daily Courier

This year Remembrance Day falls on a Sunday. What a perfect opportunity to enjoy the morning with your family and then join the ceremony and parade.

The Royal Canadian Legion, Branch 26, will hold their annual ceremony and parade in City Park’s Veendam Garden.

In Rutland, the Army Navy Air Force Veterans will hold the ceremony at the cenotaph in Lions Park, followed by a parade.

The Poppies

Last year, the Kelowna poppy campaign collected $184,209.65, an all-time record amount.

This year, the Royal Canadian Legion has launched a digital version of the poppyUntil November 11th, you can head to the website www.mypoppy.ca and get a poppy by donation. As with the physical poppies that you can proudly wear to show your support, the digital ones can be customized for your Facebook, Twitter, Instagram and LinkedIn profile pictures.

Digital poppy from mypoppy.ca

Make a donation, wear your poppies and show your support for those who have served to protect our country. Let’s together honour their sacrifice that has allowed us to build a better home for ourselves and our families.

Lest we forget, Kelowna.

You can live here too. Check Kelowna Life to learn how.

Kelowna Votes

On Saturday, October 20th, we saw voters head to the polls across British Columbia, including Kelowna.

In a mere 12 hours Kelowna citizens voted for a Mayor, 8 councillors, and 4 school trustees who will serve the Kelowna community for the next 4-year term. Many of the Council members are already well known to locals and have proven their dedication to serving our beautiful city.

For those of you who would like to welcome our 2018-2022 City Council, they will be officially sworn in during a public event on November 7th at 7 p.m. in the Mary Irwin Theatre at the Rotary Centre for the Arts.

Why Vote?

Even though politics can sometimes be a controversial and an uneasy topic to discuss, it has always been an important part of my family’s life. We believe in informed citizens making informed decisions.

Photo courtesy of City of Kelowna

This is especially important when it comes to strengthening the purpose of democracy by doing everyone’s duty as citizens: voting.

Based on a 2017 Citizen survey, most Kelowna residents are satisfied with City services and are happy with how their tax dollars are spent. This goes to show that being politically active and voting for public representatives makes a difference in individual and community lives. Being informed on local politicians, their vision, their work ethic and dedication helps when the time comes to vote in municipal election.  

The 2018 Municipal Election and Voters

Photo Courtesy of The Canadian Press

It was great to see that right here in Kelowna 8,049 electors had cast their vote in the advanced voting, and that by 8 p.m. on Saturday a total of 32,151 people had voted.

It might seem a bit disheartening at first to know that there are around 130,000 residents in Kelowna, with majority being the voting age, yet only 30.41% voted.

But I believe that this is not a sign of voter apathy.

There are many individuals, especially those aged 18 to 40, expressing their political views on social media, signing petitions, wearing badges or T-shirts that show their affiliations and political views, and taking part in marches on various social, economic and other issues.

The political interest is there, perhaps it’s a matter of time until it grows into a feeling that electoral participation is also a part of the civic duty.

The Young Future Voters

This election, we saw many of the candidates interact with voters through social media as well as the more “old school” media like news and newspapers. Curiosity on whether youth watches news anymore brought me to Statistics Canada, where data from 2013 showed that 22% of youth aged 15 to 19 said they watched the news and were interested in current events. The percentage increased to 55% for those aged 35 to 44, and 87% among those aged 75 and over. 

Let’s hope these numbers of informed citizens has remained the same or perhaps grown a bit by 2018, I wasn’t able to find any recent stats.

Youth show engagement differently, mostly through social media campaigns and forums, which, I hope, would eventually turn into more politically active individuals and future voters.

Education is another important factor to having an informed, curious and politically active society. According to Statistics Canada, a higher level of education is associated with increased participation in various types of political activities.

With two major campuses in town, UBCO and Okanagan College, both educating thousands of individuals on social and political issues, we might see more people vote in the next 2022 elections.

Why I Care

Voting is crucial for democracy. The past four years Kelowna has been managed by trusted individuals who have proven they care for our city and communities, and many have been re-elected for another term with the City Council.

With the city growing, more people call it home and care for its growth, so perhaps the 2022 municipal election might see a higher number of individuals casting their votes.

Stay informed on latest news and current affairs, be curious on how you can play an active role in changing where and how you live, and perhaps I’ll meet you at the polls during the next election.   

 

You can live here too. Check Kelowna Life to learn how.

Your Vote Matters on October 20th

Politics can be an uncomfortable topic of conversation around the dinner table.

It’s controversial and when people have different opinions it can lead to arguments and fights. However, just because something makes you uncomfortable does not mean you should ignore it.

One of the biggest problems in current society is that people ignore politics and don’t pay attention to the news and recent events.

As a result, people heading to the polls might be misinformed or poorly informed, or the elections are just absent of voters in general.

As a citizen, it is your civic duty to vote in your local, provincial, and national elections.

I’m not going to try to sway anyone in who they should vote for, whether they lean left or right is none of my business and changing their mind isn’t my place. Everyone is different and has had different experiences in life. These experiences influence how you view social, economic, and political issues.

It wouldn’t be right for me to try to influence you to vote in a way that I personally feel is best. However, I do feel it’s important to inform people about the upcoming elections.

When and Where Can You Vote?

Photo Courtesy of The Canadian Press

With elections coming up in Kelowna this October, it’s a time where it’s more important than ever to be educated on what’s going on in the city and what each of the candidates stand for.

On Saturday, October 20th from 8 a.m. to 8 p.m. voting stations will be open all around the city. Some advanced voting days and locations will also be set up between October 10th and 20th. It’s your duty as a citizen to vote, because if people aren’t voting it ruins the purpose of a democracy.

Who Can Vote?

To vote as a resident elector you need to fit a certain criteria. That criteria includes being a Canadian citizen and being 18 years old by the date of the election. Additionally, you must have been a resident of British Columbia for six months by the date of election as well as a resident of Kelowna for 30 days by that same date.

Those are the basic criteria, but if you have any other questions or concerns about the election or voting you can get more information on the city’s website.

Why Vote?

Photo courtesy of City of Kelowna

Kelowna only has an election once every four years. With every election there are 13 major positions that are voted on: 4 School Trustees, 8 Councillors, and the Mayor. Each of these positions plays a big role in how the city is run, so making sure you are educated and vote is very important.

If you’re thinking of moving to Kelowna in the near future, you might find this information helpful. Even if you aren’t eligible to vote in this election, it’s good to educate yourself for the next one in 2022.

 

You can live here too. Check Kelowna Life to learn how.

 

The End of Summer is Here

I came across the quote that “August is like the Sunday of summer.” Isn’t this the truth?

As soon as Pumpkin Spice lattes hit the coffee shops late August, that familiar Monday feeling creeps up and we all know fall is here. All of a sudden, rain and thunder mixed with beautiful crisp and sunny mornings become as frequent as the warm summer sunshine that was just here.

But, September 22nd shouldn’t come with a sense of loss. We might have to bundle up, but there’s plenty of great things to look forward to in the fall.  

 

Tans Will Fade but Memories Will Last Forever

Okanagan summers are rarely (if ever) dull. Even with smoke lingering in the sky, we still get out there and make the most of what the season has to offer.

Spend the cooler days going through the mountain of summer photos and do a creative display of your summer highlights. Do a blog or video on your season’s adventures. For your little ones, make a summer memory jar or create a family keepsake box to roam through in the winter.

 

Enjoy the Taste of Fall

Delicious local apples, pears and pumpkins are the highlight of the season. Head to the local farmers’ markets or check out a u-pick place. Hint: some local growers might still offer late peaches and plums at this time. Fall is also the perfect season to enjoy a pour of the valleys best reds, whites and roses without the summer crowds. For the ultimate wine experience, don’t miss out on the Grand Finale to the Fall Okanagan Wine Festival, featuring over 250 wines from across the valley.

 

Stay Active

Cooler weather is perfect to hit the local hiking trails and discover the valley’s  fall beauty from above. For that adrenaline rush to kick the season’s blues, Kelowna has some pretty amazing mountain biking trails for riders of all skill levels.

Just like the wineries, golf courses too are less busy but just as fun in the fall. In and around Kelowna, there are 19 golf courses, designed for both those new to the sport and the more seasoned players.

 

Does the Okanagan fall sound like something you’d want to be a part of? You can live here too. Check out our Kelowna Life listings, we’ll be happy to tell you all about life in the Okanagan.

5 Things Locals Notice When Summer is Over

It’s the peak of summer. You wake up on a beautiful day and are ready to jump into all the Okanagan summer has to offer. Then it hits you: so are all the out-of-towners. Oh well, it’s only this busy until Labour Day anyway.

Now that September has come, here are 5 things locals notice when summer is over.

1. Less Snarling Behind the Wheel

You know the summer rush is over when you sit in your vehicle and tap along your favourite song, instead of clenching the steering wheel in frustration and watch your knuckles turn white.

No more stalled traffic during non-rush hours and countless motorhomes and trailers on the road. We’re back to the expected everyday Kelowna traffic flows and delays. What’s better than less traffic? Keep reading.

 

2. Decrease In Tourists

Tourists taking in all of our beauty at a slower pace….
As an Alberta native, I can attest to our love for the beautiful Okanagan Valley as a summer vacation destination and a need to take it all in. It may be crowded on the roads and some hand gestures might get exchanged, but come end of August it’s back to the beautiful blue and regular back-to-school traffic.

3. Enjoying the Beach (finally!)

Photo courtesy Tourism Kelowna

Beautiful sandy beaches, warm water, swing lines, paddle boarding…all enjoyed from afar as you drive into a packed beach parking lot and have to figure out where to go now.

It comes as no surprise that such well-kept and modern locations like Gyro Beach Park, Rotary Beach Park and Lower Mission’s hidden gem, Sarsons Beach Park, attract local and visiting beachgoers. With the visitors gone, you can now head to your favourite beach and enjoy the great amenities, rent a kayak or paddle board and play some volleyball with your friends.

After all, it’s still officially summer until September 22nd!

 

4. No Crazy Long Lineups at Your Favourite Local Hotspots

Last minute lunch plans at Earls? No problem. Craft beers with family and friends at BNA? We’re in.

With less folk in town who want to enjoy the Farm to Table eateries, scenic winery lunches, local craft breweries and wineries, you’re in luck. There is plenty of sunshine and summer warmth left to explore all the great food and drinks Kelowna has to offer. No rush and no lineups.

Out of ideas where to go? Check out this list of all the local places that will treat your inner adventurer and foodie.

 

5. Enjoy The Quiet

Kelowna summers are packed with amazing events happening all over town. Live indoor and outdoor concerts, family events in parks, and fun times on the lake.

As much as we love all the happenings, there is joy to be found in the quiet. Have your family hop on their bikes and cruise down Lakeshore or hike up Knox Mountain and enjoy the view. Head downtown and walk the lakeshore without the crowds. Get up early and enjoy a cup of your favourite beverage at your local coffee shop. The options are endless.

 

I love all the activities that come with summer. After all, the Okanagan lifestyle is one of the reasons my family and I were thrilled to relocate to Kelowna. You can live here too and see for yourself how the seasons change. Check Kelowna Life to learn how.

Back to School

It’s that time of year again where days start to get shorter, the air gets cooler, and the leaves change colours. Summer is nearing its end once again, which can only mean one thing–school is just around the corner. Hopefully, you’ve had a great, relaxing summer with your friends and family. I hope you got to spend as much time as possible lying on a beach taking in the sun.

Summer or fall, those that live in The Ponds of the Upper Mission get to live a relaxing and fun life no matter the season. The residents enjoy the pleasures of the lake, mountains, and the beautiful views of the Okanagan Valley. There’s an abundance of hiking trails, parks, and natural ponds to spend your days. Add untamed access to mountain biking trails and it’s a great spot to enjoy your time off.

Another reason that makes The Ponds a great place to live is the proximity to some of the best schools Kelowna has to offer. Established in 1994, Anne McClymont Elementary is a fantastic school for kids to grow up at. Hosting students from kindergarten until grade six, it offers a great learning environment as kids go through the early stages of their education and development.

Chute Lake Elementary is another great school. Opened back in 2009 and built to high, environmentally sustainable standards, it had significant additions done in 2011. The school grounds connect to Chute Lake Park which is available for students for special field events. With a mission statement, “to develop inquiring, respectful and industrious young people who help create a better world by being critical, creative and compassionate thinkers,” Chute Lake Elementary is a great place to start your kids’ education.

Not only do The Ponds already have two top-end schools, the community is currently developing a new school to be opened in September of 2019. This will be a junior middle school that gives kids a chance to continue their education without needing a difficult commute.

When figuring out where you want to set up your family, the quality of schools has to be one of the most important things to consider. The Ponds of the Upper Mission are not just a beautiful and fun location, but also an area filled with new, quality schools for kids of all ages. You can live here too. Check Kelowna Life to learn how.

Water’s Edge North – Rebuilt.

The Okanagan Valley is renowned for its laid-back lifestyle. With access to a wide variety of activities no matter the time of year, Kelowna is a great city to raise a family. Whether you enjoy water sports in the summer or getting on the slopes in the winter, there’s never a dull moment. If you were like me when I moved here, I didn’t know where in Kelowna to set up. Where was the best place to raise my family? I might be a bit biased, but it’s hard to go wrong no matter where you move as this city is filled with great neighbourhoods. However, there are hidden gems throughout the city. One of which is a community called Water’s Edge North. A small neighbourhood close to Okanagan Lake, Water’s Edge North is a beautiful and scenic location in the Lower Mission area of Kelowna.

Located just steps from the Okanagan Lake, MKS Resources has worked tirelessly to create a unique blend of architecture, and inspiring design with a great location that has fabulous views, serene surroundings, and fantastic amenities. All that hard work has come together to create the Water’s Edge North community. Just a short distance from restaurants, destination resorts such as  Eldorado Hotel & Manteo Resorts. It is also close to water parks, orchards and Mission Creek Greenway. This neighbourhood has everything you could ever want in a community.

Not only is the Water’s Edge a beautiful community with a great location, but it’s also a community that has become stronger in the past year. In July of 2017, there was a massive fire in the neighbourhood that forced 176 homes to evacuate. It was a tragedy that devastated many families, or at least that’s what you would expect. Instead, the community used the fire as a tool to bring them closer together. They rallied together to rebuild their homes and do everything they could to help each other in a difficult time.

Tragedy is something no one ever wants to deal with. However, how one deals with tragedy shows the character of those involved. It can be easy to fall apart when something terrible happens, but when you get back up after a disaster, it shows true strength of character. That’s what the Water’s Edge did after a fire devastated their community, they got up and rebuilt. Now as the community continues to rebuild, the people are stronger than ever. For those reasons alone it is a great community to set up your family. With a strong, inclusive community, and plenty of things to do throughout the year, who wouldn’t want to live in the Water’s Edge? You can live here too. Check out Kelowna Life to learn how.

Kelowna Yacht Club – More Than Just Boats

In 1945 when Kelowna was still just a small town, there wasn’t much of a boating community. A surprising fact considering Kelowna is home to the beautiful Okanagan Lake. With nothing in place, a group of boat owners began to develop the Kelowna Yacht Club. It started small, with the founders initially focusing on building launching facilities and a clubhouse. However, this only provided the base for the club, and since then has blossomed into the beautiful community that it is today.

Yacht club When you think of a yacht club, you may form a quick opinion or expectations. However, the Kelowna Yacht Club is different from your average boating club. It’s a non-profit organization with a heavy focus on community. Thousands of children and young adults over the years have learned to sail through lessons that are open to the public. Accessibility to these lessons is as inclusive as possible in order to give everyone the opportunity to learn. Each year roughly 30 adults complete the learn-to-sail course where boat owners donate their boats and time to help develop the next generation of boaters.

In addition to teaching youth about the world of boating, the Kelowna Yacht Club prides itself on giving opportunities to people who might not get them elsewhere. They host the Blind Fishing Derby which offers 30 people with blindness or sight impairment the opportunity to fish with the assistance of crew members. Additionally, they host the Boat for Hope event which gives kids with physical and developmental challenges a fun day on the water.

It was the emphasis on family and community that originally drew me to the Kelowna Yacht Club. Not just the fast boats – I know hard to believe. The core values that always guide me in what I do both personally and professionally are family and community. It has served me well over the years in building my business and is the foundation upon which I view my relationships and friendships with my clients.

While I may not get out on the water as much as I would like, I joined the Kelowna Yacht Club for a reason. In addition to being part of a supporting community, I can’t think of a better way to spend time with family and friends than being on the water surrounded by the beauty and splendor that is the Okanagan. You can live here too. Check out Kelowna Life to learn how.

World Population Day

World Population Day is a day that takes place annually to raise awareness of global population issues. Established in 1989, it was inspired by the massive public interest in Five Billion Day, July 11th, 1987. In celebration of World Population Day, let’s take a look at Kelowna and how it has grown over the years as well as how it’s expected to grow in the future.

Father Pandosy MissionKelowna was first established in 1859 by Father Charles Pandosy. Setting up just one school and church, it was a very small community for the next half-century. In the 1901 census, Kelowna had a population of just 261. However, over the next 10 years the city began to see growth and by 1911 had grown to a respectable size of 1661. Ever since that point, Kelowna has been one of the fastest growing cities in all of Canada. By 1940 the population had grown to 5000 and then in less than 20 years, the population hit 10,000.

By 1970, Kelowna saw the biggest population spike in Kelowna’s history. The population went from 19,000 to 51,000 in 1976. This significant increase firmly planted Kelowna on the map. It was during this time it was discovered that Kelowna had uniquely fertile soil. This discovery lead to the production of amazing wines (lucky for me) and fruit which in turn contributed to the population spike in the 70s. Contributing to Kelowna being a more desirable location to live were the addition of two post-secondary institutions – Okanagan College and University of British Columbia Okanagan Campus. Since then, Kelowna has steadily been increasing to the point where it now has a population of 127,000.

I am proud to say that I live in the 3rd largest city in British Columbia (22nd largest city in Canada). Growing faster on average than the rest of Canada, Kelowna is expected to continue to move up the Canadian population list. With Kelowna recently being ranked as the number one city to start and grow a business in Canada by the Canadian Federation of Independent Business, this growth can only be expected to continue. Over the next 20 years the growth of Kelowna has been projected by BC Statistics to increase by roughly 50,000 residents.

To anticipate this growth, the City of Kelowna launched an initiative called Imagine Kelowna. Imagine Kelowna – a vision for the community, created by the community will help guide the community and the City on planning priorities of future projects. The main focuses of Imagine Kelowna will be to build healthy neighborhoods that support people from all walks of life, embrace a more diverse transportation options, grow more vibrant urban centres.

Kelowna is a thriving city and an incredible place to call home. I look forward to a future where we build a community that is inclusive, sustainable, welcoming of lifestyles and economic opportunities for not only my family but for all. You can live here too. Check out Kelowna Life to learn how.

Canada Day Weekend Fun

I don’t know about you but Canada Dayis one my favourite holidays to celebrate with friends and family.  It reminds me how blessed and lucky we are to live in a country with such great history and culture. Over the years of living in Kelowna, I’ve experienced the plethora of things that one can do to enjoy the day. This city is filled with beautiful scenery, convenient trails, not to mention the delicious food and amazing wineries.  There are activities for everyone to enjoy.

Whether you’re new to Kelowna or have lived here your entire life, everyone can appreciate the beauty of the Okanagan. With so much to be seen, there couldn’t be a better way to experience the nature and wildlife of Kelowna than the Okanagan Cycling Tour. Taking place on the historic Kettle Valley Rail Trail, the event starts at the famous Myra Canyon and makes its way to Penticton. Despite being an 80km event it’s a ride that the whole family can enjoy.

For those worried about the distance (aka don’t have the cardio like me), there are five rest stops along the way. Additionally, there are two shorter distances at 40km and 20km that start at Chute Lake Resort and Glenfir respectively.

For those who are looking for a more relaxing way to spend the day (now you’re talking my language) but still want to get into nature, there are still plenty of options. Kirschner Mountain is a very popular spot for geocaching. Geocaching is an outdoor activity where you use GPS to search for hidden containers or caches all over the world. It’s a fun way for a family to get out of the house and into nature for a good old fashion scavenger hunt.Elderly couple that have hiked to the top of a mountain in Kelowna

Another fantastic spot to check out if you’re interested in wildlife is the community of Wilden. From predators in the sky like the Red-tailed Hawk to critters on the ground like the Muskrat, Wilden is filled with all kinds of animals. It’s a great place to explore and the best place in Kelowna to see wildlife.

If nature isn’t your style and you just want to relax with your family with some good food and cold drinks than don’t worry, we’ve got you covered. Kelowna is filled with a huge variety of restaurants and a plethora of local wineries. Lower Mission is a community with many local restaurants and authentic cuisine. With a wide variety of options including Mexica, Italian, Thai, and Local food, there’s something to satisfy everyone’s appetite.  Don’t forget about our downtown area – with multiple festivities for you to check out.

 At the end of the day,  when everyone needs some time to relax you can enjoy one of the many Vineyards in Upper Mission such as Summerhill, St Hubertus and Cedar Creek. I can’t think of a better way to finish celebrating Canada Day than with a glass of wine shared amongst friends and family. You can live here too. Check out Kelowna Life to learn how.