Must-See Museums in Kelowna, by Susan Varano contributing editor Visit Museums.com
Along the Okanagan Valley, in the heart of the Canadian mountains, is the small but thriving city of Kelowna. With lakeside views of the stunning Okanagan Lake alongside pine forests, gardens, vineyards, golf courses and a bustling city center, Kelowna is the perfect place to spend a family holiday. Like anywhere else in Canada, the Okanagan Valley and its communities have a proud and varied history. Here is a quick guide to Kelowna’s eclectic mix of museums which celebrates the region’s top pastimes and industries.
Okanagan Heritage Museum
|Okanagan Heritage Museum|
Discover the history behind the region’s current beauty at the Okanagan Heritage Museum. Every year, thousands visit the museum to explore its unique exhibitions and collections which give a fascinating look into Okanagan’s history – both past and present. Not only does the centre hold artefacts from past generations in British Colombia, collections from Central and South America, Asia, Africa and Oceania can also be found. With a walking tour and public Kelowna archives, which date back to the early 1800’s, visitors can gain a real insight into what has made Kelowna tick over the years. Located in Queensway, Okanagan Heritage Museum is in close proximity to the city center with its shops, restaurants and hotels in Kelowna.
Okanagan Military Museum
|Okanagan Military Museum|
While Kelowna is a beautiful and often serene location, like the majority of cities today, it has a history which has been shaped by a darker past. The Okanagan Military Museum on Ellis Street is passionate about preserving the region’s military history and spreading greater awareness of the residents who served in the Canadian armed forces. Artefacts such as badges, uniforms and arms have been preserved to remember turbulent times during the Boer War, World War 1 and 2 and the Korean and Cold Wars. Groups here can request a guided tour of the exhibitions and the museum holds a special open house event every Remembrance Day.
BC Wine Museum and V&A Wine Shop
|BC Wine Museum|
The Okanagan Valley is well known for its high quality, premium wines, with more than 200 wineries spread across the whole valley. The BC Wine Museum and shop, also on Ellis Street, was opened 15 years ago to celebrate the area’s wine producing history. Alongside a tour around the museum to learn about growth and production of the premium wines, visitors can also choose from more than 600 wine listings from over 90 vineyards in the Okanagan Valley in its shop.
Central Okanagan Sports Hall of Fame Museum
|Okanagan Sports Hall of Fame Museum|
Sport is a huge part of the Canadian culture throughout the country. Since the 1800s, sport within Central Okanagan has flourished alongside its growing communities. Today, visitors can gain an insight into the region’s vibrant sporting history at this museum, on Queensway Avenue, which is constantly adding to its list of local inductees. Last year, its local inductees included rugby player, Glenn Ennis, volleyball player, Erminia Russo, and The ’88 Okanagan Sun – a dominant club during the 80s with several dream seasons.