Kelowna (translated from Interior Salish means "grizzly bear") is in the Okanagan Valley on the eastern banks of Okanagan Lake in Canada's British Columbia. Surrounded by mountains and pine forests, there are more than 100 local wineries within a 90 minute radius of the town. A lush verdant valley where the sun shines, you can go from skiing the mountaintops to wallowing on a houseboat. In 1986 the lake completely froze over which is quite dramatic when you take into account that the lake has 270 km of shoreline and is 230 m at its deepest point. If you believe in myths, the Canadian's version of the Loch Ness Monster, Ogopogo, resides in the lake. In 1926 when a new ferry was built to cross the lake, it was said to have a "monster repelling" device to reassure the locals that it was safe to go on.
Nicknamed "Silicon Valley of the North" due to its thriving tech industry in video games, IT and aerospace, it is home to the Know Mountain Hill Climb, one of the longest up-hill point-to-point car races in the world. So if you are a rev-head, be in Kelowna on a May long-weekend to witness the speed freaks in their toys. The farmers markets run all year round. April to October in the outdoors and October to April under cover to escape the cold weather. A mere 60 km out of town you will find the Monashee Mountains with the Big White Mountain (aka Big White Out) that is one of the most incredible ski resorts in the whole of Canada. You can take a drive around the various towns dotted around Lake Okanagan as Kelowna is actually sitting right in the middle of the chain of lakes. Locals and tourists alike, flock to the lake for boating, swimming and there are even beaches to frolic on when you get tired of hiking in the wilderness.
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