Everyone's definition of what constitutes a large city is different, but I tend to feel that by Canadian standards, a large city is one that has a population of 100,000 or more. The further you travel from Vancouver and its neighbours, the less of these generously populated places you run into. That is until you reach the lakefront Okanagan city of Kelowna.
Compared to bustling metropolises like New York, London, Tokyo, Sáo Paulo, or Paris, Kelowna's population (presently about 117,000) may make it seem like a quaint neighbourhood, however it's enough to rank this sunny destination as the 22nd metropolitan area in Canada.
Situated less than an hour away from Penticton (where we live now), Kelowna was the closest big town when I was growing up here years ago. It didn't hold the glittering, noisy, worldly appeal of Vancouver or the elegant, artsy, upscale vibe of Victoria, but it even as a very young child, I knew it was considerably bigger than humble little Penticton.
Kelowna, whose name derives from a local First Nation's name for grizzly bear, was founded in the mid-nineteenth century. Then, as now, agriculture in the form of fruit orchards was an import part of the area's economy. These days, tourism and the wine industry also go a long way to keeping Kelowna going strong.
Though it's expanded substantially over the past few decades in particular (it's certainly larger and busier than when I was a child), with new homes and businesses springing up constantly, Kelowna still retains a certain small town charm and appeal.
Perhaps that stems from its inclusion in the Okanagan Valley, a generally friendly place that owes a lot to those who flock to its beaches, campsites, and golf courses each year. Or maybe it's because the beautiful weather that Kelowna sees for a substantial chunk of the year can't help but put locals in a good mood. Whatever the case, I've always liked Kelowna a lot.
Though I've only ever lived there for briefly for a couple of months, I know it's main core quite well and always love taking a trip up the highway from Penticton to visit the biggest city for miles and miles around.
Recently Tony and I popped in on good, ol' Kelowna for a day of errand running and visiting my sister and her boyfriend (who recently got their first home together there, and which I hadn't seen yet because we'd been living back east). The weather wasn't warm, but luckily it was pleasantly sunny and we were able to bop about without the need for heavy duty winter coats.
Kelowna, though relatively old (by British Columbia standards), does not have a huge amount of older buildings and houses left anymore. Some definitely exist, but it seems that as the years tick by, more and more go the way of the dinosaur. While we were driving around various streets, just having fun, I spied a distinctly elegant brick house that I'd peg to be at least 90 years old.
I knew I wanted to take some outfit snaps while in Kelowna, so I suggested we do so in front of the stately wrought iron fence that surrounded the home's perimeter. The street was quiet and quaint, the breeze light, the sun sweet, so we hopped out and quickly grabbed some snaps.
Prescription eyeglasses: (frames) Venus Eye Design V-12
Faux pearl earrings: Clare’s
Black velvet blazer: Smart Set
Pearl necklace: Birthday gift from my husband ♥
1950s white eyelet (short sleeve) blouse: etsy seller Jet Set Vintage
Black velvet 1950s pencil skirt: thrifted
Black vintage gloves: etsy seller I Love Vintage Stuff
Vintage Saks Fifth Avenue black patent purse: etsy seller MK Retro
Gold toned and enamel red rose brooch: eBay
Lip colour: Cover Girl Outlast lipstain in 440 (with the lightest whisper of MAC's Russian Red on top)
Photography by Antonio Cangiano
I adore classic architecture, brick walls, strong fences that still allow glimpses of the buildings behind them, and days like this, when you have plans, but nothing so pressing it causes you stress. It was first time we'd driven Kelowna together in our new car, and was, we agreed, a thoroughly lovely outing.
With Kelowna being so nearby, you can expect many future posts with streets, sights, and skylines of this charming Okanagan city as the backdrop. I hope you'll all enjoy seeing it as much as I do once again - further proof that the dream of living in my home province of British Columbia again really has come true. ♥