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Welcome to Kelowna Your Comprehensive Relocation Guide

February 15, 2024




Kelowna with city skyline


Embarking on a move to Kelowna, BC? Whether you're coming from within the province or relocating from afar, this guide is your go-to resource for making the transition as smooth as possible. Let's dive into what makes Kelowna an exceptional place to call home and how to navigate your move with ease.


Discovering Kelowna's Neighborhoods


Kelowna is dotted with diverse neighborhoods, each with its own charm and amenities suitable for families, professionals, and retirees alike.


Family-Friendly Neighborhoods



  • Glenmore: A blend of residential comfort with access to schools and parks.

  • Mission: Known for its recreational opportunities and community feel.

  • Kettle Valley: Boasts a tight-knit community atmosphere with stunning views.



Pet-Friendly Neighborhoods



  • Lower Mission: Offers dog-friendly beaches and a lively local scene.

  • West Kelowna: Features open spaces and convenient access to city amenities.

  • Dilworth Mountain: Provides trails and a serene environment for pet owners.



Explore these areas further on Walk Score and Castanet.


Understanding the Cost of Living in Kelowna





Residential area in downtown Kelowna


Kelowna's cost of living is a significant factor to consider when moving. It offers an attractive alternative to the higher costs associated with larger Canadian cities like Vancouver or Toronto. Here's a breakdown of some key expenses you'll need to plan for:


Groceries


The Okanagan Valley, with its rich agricultural land, provides an abundance of fresh and locally-sourced produce. Seasonal fruits and vegetables are often less expensive here than in other parts of Canada, thanks to the proximity of farms and orchards. For a gauge on current grocery prices, including staples like dairy, meat, and pantry items, visit Numbeo's Kelowna section.


Entertainment


Kelowna is a hub for entertainment, offering a mix of outdoor and cultural activities. Enjoy the great outdoors by visiting local parks, hiking trails, and beaches, many of which are free to access. The city also hosts various festivals and events throughout the year, such as the Kelowna Wine & Food Festival and the International Dragon Boat Festival, which offer affordable fun for all ages. For arts and culture enthusiasts, the Kelowna Art Gallery and Rotary Centre for the Arts provide exhibitions and performances at reasonable ticket prices.


Utilities


Utility costs in Kelowna, including electricity, heating, water, and garbage services, are generally competitive. BC Hydro provides electricity to the region, and their website offers insights into current rates and energy-saving tips. FortisBC supplies natural gas, with pricing information and online account management available on their site. Water and waste services are managed by the City of Kelowna, with rates and schedules accessible on the City's utilities page.


Housing Market


The housing market in Kelowna caters to a wide range of preferences and budgets. Whether you're looking to rent a cozy apartment downtown or purchase a lakeside home, there are options available. Rental prices can vary based on location, size, and amenities, but they tend to be more affordable than in larger urban centers. To find current listings for rentals or properties for sale, check out REALTOR.ca and Castanet Classifieds.


Transportation Costs


Transportation in Kelowna includes public transit, personal vehicles, cycling, and walking. The Kelowna Regional Transit System offers bus services throughout the city and surrounding areas, with fare information available on their website. If you prefer to drive, the City of Kelowna's parking services provide details on parking permits, rates, and locations. For those who enjoy cycling, Kelowna's commitment to bike-friendly infrastructure means that bike lanes and secure parking are becoming increasingly commonplace. Visit the City of Kelowna's Pathways and Bikeways page for maps and information on cycling routes.


By understanding these aspects of the cost of living in Kelowna, you can better prepare your budget and ensure a comfortable lifestyle in this beautiful city.


Education Opportunities in Kelowna


Kelowna offers a diverse and high-quality education system, with options ranging from public and private institutions to post-secondary facilities that cater to a wide array of academic and professional interests.


Primary and Secondary Schools


Central Okanagan Public Schools


The Central Okanagan Public Schools district, also known as School District 23, is the main public school board serving Kelowna and the surrounding area. It encompasses a variety of elementary, middle, and secondary schools, each dedicated to providing inclusive and enriching educational experiences. The district offers various programs such as French Immersion, Advanced Placement (AP), and International Baccalaureate (IB) to cater to different learning styles and needs.


Private Schools


For families interested in alternative education options, Kelowna has several private schools that offer specialized curricula and smaller class sizes. One notable institution is Aberdeen Hall Preparatory School, which provides a comprehensive education from preschool through to Grade 12, focusing on academic excellence and character development. Other private schools in the area include Kelowna Christian School and St. Joseph Catholic School, both offering faith-based education with a commitment to nurturing individual student growth.


Higher Education


UBC Okanagan Campus


The University of British Columbia's Okanagan Campus (UBCO) is a research-intensive university that offers undergraduate and graduate programs across various disciplines including arts, sciences, engineering, nursing, education, and management. UBCO provides students with a globally recognized degree and opportunities for research, innovation, and community engagement. The campus is also known for its modern facilities, vibrant student life, and picturesque setting overlooking the Okanagan Valley.


Okanagan College


Okanagan College is a public, post-secondary institution that offers a wide range of programs including business, trades, health, technologies, adult education, and continuing studies. Known for its applied learning approach, the college equips students with practical skills and hands-on experience relevant to their chosen field. With campuses in Kelowna, Penticton, Vernon, and Salmon Arm, Okanagan College serves students throughout the region and contributes to the local workforce by providing industry-aligned education.


Both UBC Okanagan and Okanagan College are integral parts of Kelowna's educational landscape, attracting students from all over Canada and internationally. They not only enhance the city's cultural diversity but also drive innovation and economic growth within the community.


In summary, Kelowna's education system is well-rounded and supportive of lifelong learning, ensuring that residents have access to quality education at every stage of life. Whether seeking primary, secondary, or higher education, students in Kelowna benefit from a nurturing environment that values academic achievement and personal development.


Healthcare Services in Kelowna


Kelowna's healthcare infrastructure is comprehensive and well-equipped to provide residents with a wide range of medical services. The city's healthcare facilities are part of the larger Interior Health Authority, which ensures that patients receive high-quality care across the region.


Interior Health Authority (IHA)


The Interior Health Authority is responsible for ensuring that all residents of the interior regions of British Columbia have access to timely, quality health care services. IHA oversees hospitals, primary care clinics, community health centers, residential care, and mental health and substance use services. Their website offers extensive resources, including health service directories, wellness information, and patient and family counseling services. IHA is committed to promoting healthy lifestyles and providing sustainable health care that meets the needs of the population.


Kelowna General Hospital


Kelowna General Hospital (KGH) is the leading tertiary hospital serving Kelowna and the surrounding communities. As one of the largest and most comprehensive medical facilities in the southern interior of BC, KGH offers a wide array of services, including emergency care, surgical services, women's and children's health, and advanced diagnostics. It is also a teaching hospital, affiliated with UBC's Faculty of Medicine, contributing to the education of future healthcare professionals. KGH has undergone significant expansions in recent years, adding state-of-the-art buildings like the Centennial Building and the Interior Heart & Surgical Centre, further enhancing its capacity to deliver specialized medical treatments.


BC Cancer – Kelowna


BC Cancer – Kelowna, located at the Sindi Ahluwalia Hawkins Centre for the Southern Interior, provides comprehensive cancer care services to patients in the region. This includes advanced diagnostic imaging, chemotherapy, radiation therapy, and supportive care. The center is also involved in cutting-edge cancer research, offering clinical trials and new treatment options for various types of cancer. With a focus on patient-centered care, BC Cancer – Kelowna works closely with patients and their families to ensure the best possible outcomes and support throughout their cancer journey.


In addition to these major healthcare institutions, Kelowna also has several walk-in clinics, family practices, and specialty medical services that cater to the diverse health needs of the community. Whether it's routine check-ups, specialized treatments, or emergency care, Kelowna's healthcare system strives to provide accessible and efficient services to keep its residents healthy and well-cared-for.


Experiencing Kelowna's Weather


Kelowna is privileged to experience a four-season climate that is one of the most enviable in Canada. Each season brings its own unique set of weather conditions and opportunities for residents and visitors to enjoy the natural beauty of the Okanagan Valley.


Spring


Spring in Kelowna is a time of renewal and blossoming beauty. As the snow melts away, the valley comes alive with vibrant colors from the blooming orchards and budding vineyards. Temperatures gradually warm up from March through May, with average highs ranging from 10°C to 19°C (50°F to 66°F). This season is perfect for outdoor activities such as hiking, cycling, and enjoying the scenic views at local parks and gardens. However, spring can also bring unpredictable weather, including rain showers and occasional late frosts, so it's wise to dress in layers.


Summer


Summer is perhaps the most celebrated season in Kelowna, known for its hot, sunny days and cool, pleasant evenings. From June to August, temperatures often soar above 30°C (86°F), creating ideal conditions for swimming, boating, and beach-going on Okanagan Lake. The region's wineries and golf courses are in full swing, offering endless leisure possibilities. Summer also hosts numerous festivals and outdoor events, taking advantage of the long daylight hours and warm nights.


Fall


Autumn in Kelowna is a spectacular display of golden hues as the tree leaves change color against the backdrop of clear blue skies. The weather remains mild, with average temperatures from September to November ranging between 8°C and 18°C (46°F to 64°F). This season is a favorite for wine enthusiasts, as the fall harvest brings grape picking and wine-tasting events. It's also an excellent time for hiking and witnessing the seasonal transformation of the landscape.


Winter


Winter introduces a quieter but equally charming side of Kelowna, with a blanket of snow covering the valley from December to February. While colder than other seasons, with temperatures often hovering around -3°C to 1°C (27°F to 34°F), Kelowna's winters are milder compared to much of Canada. Snowfall in the city is moderate, but nearby mountain resorts like Big White offer world-class skiing, snowboarding, and snowshoeing. The winter season is also a magical time for holiday festivities and cozy indoor gatherings.


Kelowna's climate is generally drier and sunnier than many other parts of BC, thanks to its location in the rain shadow of the Coast Mountains. Regardless of the season, it's always a good idea to check the latest weather forecasts and advisories from Environment Canada to plan your activities accordingly. Whether you're sipping wine under the summer sun or strolling through a snowy vineyard, Kelowna's weather adds to the charm and appeal of this beautiful city.


Employment Landscape in Kelowna


Kelowna's job market is dynamic and diverse, reflecting the city's growing economy and its status as a regional hub for business and tourism. The employment opportunities in Kelowna are varied, catering to a wide range of skills and interests.


Tourism and Hospitality


As a premier tourist destination, Kelowna's economy benefits significantly from the tourism and hospitality sector. The city's stunning natural landscapes, including wineries, golf courses, and ski resorts, attract visitors year-round. This creates a demand for jobs in hotels, restaurants, tour companies, and recreational facilities. Seasonal positions are common, especially during the summer and winter peak seasons, but there are also many full-time career opportunities in hotel management, culinary arts, event planning, and guest services.


Technology and Innovation


The technology sector in Kelowna is on the rise, with a burgeoning community of startups and established tech companies. The city's Innovation Centre acts as a hub for entrepreneurs and tech professionals, fostering collaboration and growth. Jobs in software development, digital media, biotech, and clean tech are becoming more prevalent, offering new and exciting career paths for individuals with a passion for innovation and a drive to be at the forefront of technological advancements.


Agriculture and Viticulture


Agriculture has long been a cornerstone of Kelowna's economy, with the region's fertile soil and favorable climate supporting a variety of crops. The city is particularly renowned for its viticulture, with numerous award-winning wineries dotting the landscape. Careers in agriculture extend beyond farming and include roles in agribusiness, food production, research, and sustainable resource management. The wine industry offers positions in winemaking, vineyard management, marketing, and sales, contributing to Kelowna's reputation as a leader in wine production.


Healthcare


With a comprehensive network of healthcare facilities, including Kelowna General Hospital and various specialized clinics, the healthcare sector is a significant employer in the city. There is a consistent need for healthcare professionals such as doctors, nurses, allied health workers, and support staff. Additionally, careers in healthcare administration, policy development, and medical research provide opportunities for those looking to contribute to the well-being of the community without being on the front lines of patient care.


Kelowna's employment landscape is supported by local educational institutions like UBC Okanagan and Okanagan College, which help supply the workforce with skilled graduates ready to enter these key sectors. The city's economic development initiatives also aim to attract investment and create jobs, ensuring that Kelowna remains a vibrant place to work and do business.


For those seeking employment, resources such as WorkBC and local job boards offer listings and information about current job openings across these sectors. Networking events, career fairs, and professional associations can also provide valuable connections and insights into Kelowna's job market. With its strong and evolving economy, Kelowna presents a wealth of opportunities for professionals looking to build their careers in a beautiful and thriving city.


Preparing for Your Move to Kelowna


Moving to a new city can be an exciting yet daunting process. To help ensure your relocation to Kelowna is as smooth as possible, it's important to plan ahead and take care of several key tasks both before you arrive and once you're there.


Before Arrival


Secure Housing


Finding the right place to live is one of the most critical steps in your relocation process. Start by researching neighborhoods to find the area that best suits your lifestyle and needs. Online platforms like Kijiji Kelowna and Castanet Classifieds offer listings for rental properties, while websites such as REALTOR.ca provide information on homes for sale. Consider reaching out to local real estate agents who can offer personalized assistance and advice.


Update Your Address


Make a list of all the institutions and services that need to be notified of your change of address, including banks, insurance companies, subscription services, and government agencies. Most updates can be done online or over the phone. This step is crucial to ensure you continue to receive important mail and avoid service interruptions.


Set Up Mail Forwarding


To cover any gaps while you update your address with various institutions, set up a mail forwarding service with Canada Post. This service will redirect your mail from your old address to your new one in Kelowna, giving you peace of mind that you won't miss any critical correspondence during your transition.


Upon Arrival


Exchange Your Driver's License


If you're moving to Kelowna from outside British Columbia, you'll need to exchange your current driver's license for a BC driver's license. Visit the nearest ICBC (Insurance Corporation of British Columbia) office to complete this process. Be prepared to provide the necessary identification and documentation, and check if you need to book an appointment in advance.


Open a Bank Account


If you don't already have an account with a national bank that operates in Kelowna, or if you prefer to bank locally, you'll want to set up a new bank account. Research the banks or credit unions in the area to see which offers the best services and rates for your financial needs. Visit a local branch in person to open an account, and remember to bring identification and proof of your new address.


Register for the Medical Services Plan (MSP)


Healthcare in BC is provided through the Medical Services Plan (MSP), which covers medically necessary services. New residents must register for MSP to access healthcare services in the province. The registration process can be completed online or by visiting a Service BC location. There may be a waiting period before coverage begins, so it's advisable to arrange for interim health insurance coverage if needed.


By taking these steps, you can help ensure that your move to Kelowna is well-organized and stress-free. Once these essentials are taken care of, you can focus on settling into your new community and enjoying all that Kelowna has to offer.


Partnering with MTS Moving for Your Kelowna Relocation


Relocating to Kelowna from another province, particularly from Ontario or Alberta, can be a complex process that requires careful planning and execution. That's where MTS Moving comes in, offering their specialized expertise in long-distance moves to ensure your transition to Kelowna is seamless.


Expertise in Long-Distance Moves


MTS Moving has extensive experience in assisting individuals and families with their relocations from both Ontario and Alberta to Kelowna. They understand the unique challenges that come with long-distance moving, such as navigating interprovincial regulations, managing logistics over great distances, and ensuring the safe transport of your belongings across diverse terrains and weather conditions.


Knowledge of Best Routes and Local Neighborhoods


Whether you are moving from the bustling cities of Ontario or the wide-open spaces of Alberta, MTS Moving knows the best routes to take for efficiency and safety. Their familiarity with Kelowna's local neighborhoods allows them to provide tailored advice on the final leg of your move, ensuring that your belongings are delivered directly to your new home without any hiccups.


Exceptional Service


Choosing MTS Moving means opting for a company that prioritizes customer satisfaction and quality service. Their team is dedicated to handling your possessions with care, providing peace of mind that everything from your heirloom furniture to your personal keepsakes will arrive at your destination in the same condition they left.


Plan Your Long-Distance Move with MTS Moving


To take the first step towards a worry-free relocation to Kelowna, contact MTS Moving today. Their professional staff will work with you to schedule your move, discuss any specific requirements you may have, and provide a transparent quote. With MTS Moving, you can trust that you're in good hands every step of the way.


For exceptional service and to schedule your move, contact MTS Moving today.