Okanagan Valley

Okanagan Valley, British Columbia

The Okanagan

The Okanagan Valley is Canada's second-largest wine producing area. Along with the nearby Similkameen Valley, the approximately 4,000 hectares (9,900 acres) of vineyards planted in the Okanagan account for more than 90% of all wine produced in British Columbia and are second in economic importance for wine production to the Niagara Peninsula of Ontario.

The region is known for its dry, sunny climate, dry landscapes and lakeshore communities and particular lifestyle. The economy is retirement and commercial-recreation based, with outdoor activities such as boating and watersports, skiing and hiking. Agriculture has been focused primarily on fruit orchards, with a recent shift in focus to vineyards and wine.

Kelowna, British Columbia


Kelowna is a city on Okanagan Lake in the Okanagan Valley in the southern interior of British Columbia, Canada. The name Kelowna derives from an Okanagan language term for "grizzly bear". Urban and rural; nature and culture; playtime and downtime: Kelowna isn’t just one destination. It’s a whole bunch of them, located in one uniquely beautiful place.

Cradled within a glorious range of mountains, is a sanctuary filled with pristine lakes, pine forests, abundant gardens, orchards and vineyards, sandy beaches and superb amenities. Stretching from north to south for approximately 135 km (84 miles) is beautiful Okanagan Lake. The lake sustains several diverse communities along this corridor known as the Okanagan Valley. The city of Kelowna is the largest community and is located midway through the valley. It has a population of 127,500 and is the transportation, business and service hub of the valley.

The service industry employs the most people in Kelowna. In summer, boating, golf, hiking and biking are popular, and in winter skiing is a favourite activity at the nearby Big White and Silver Star ski resorts.

Okanagan College and University of British Columbia are the predominant centres for post-secondary education. Over 5,000 students attend Okanagan College and over 8,500 students attend the University of British Columbia Okanagan.

Cannabis in Canada


Exact dates of first settlement are unknown, but a northern migration led to the peopling of this area some 9,000 years ago. The Indigenous Syilx people were the first inhabitants of the region, and they continue to live in the region.

Father Charles Pandosy, a French Roman Catholic Oblate missionary, became the first European to settle in Kelowna in 1859 at a place named "L'anse au sable" (Bay of Sand) in reference to the sandy shoreline. Kelowna was officially incorporated on May 4, 1905.

Cannabis in British Columbia

As with the rest of Canada, cannabis became legalized on October 17, 2018, following the enactment of the Cannabis Act, or Bill C-45. Prior to that, though the drug was illegal in Canada (with exceptions for medical use), its recreational use was often tolerated and was more commonplace in the province of BC as compared to most of the rest of the country. The province's inexpensive hydroelectric power and abundance of water and sunshine - in addition to the many hills and forests (which aided stealth outdoor growing during prohibition) - made it an ideal cannabis growing area. The British Columbia cannabis industry is worth an estimated CAD $6 billion annually, and produces 40 percent of all Canadian cannabis, making cannabis among the most valuable cash crops in the province. The province is also the home of the cannabis activist and businessman Marc Emery.

A 2004 study by the University of Victoria and Simon Fraser University found that 53 percent of BC residents had tried cannabis at least once.

Cannabis Legalization for Recreational Use

Cannabis in Canada has been legal for medicinal purposes since 2001 under conditions outlined in the Marihuana for Medical Purposes Regulations, later superseded by the Access to Cannabis for Medical Purposes Regulations, issued by Health Canada and seed, grain, and fibre production was permitted under licence by Health Canada.

The federal Cannabis Act, legalizing cannabis for recreational use, came into effect on October 17, 2018. Each province and territory set its own laws for various aspects, such as the legal age, whether householders can grow cannabis and the method of retail sales. The latter aspect varies as to ownership of retail outlets (by the provincial government or private enterprise) but all provinces and territories include an option for on-line sales.

After public consultation, British Columbia released a provincial regulatory framework for the sale and use of cannabis for recreational use. The framework proposed the minimum age to possess, purchase and consume cannabis would be 19 years old, which is the same age to buy alcohol. There would be a government-run wholesale distribution model, although private and publicly run retail stores would operate. Cannabis consumption would be allowed in any public area where vaping and smoking is permitted, however, if the area is frequented by children, cannabis would be banned. Drug impaired driving will continue to be illegal.

In early October 2018, BC released its final set of rules and plans, replacing the July 2018 Interim Licensing Regulation. The new release provides specifics as to the licensing of stores and marketers, background checks, and enforcement methods and penalties for non-compliance by companies which have a license. The regulations include a maximum household possession limit of 1,000 grams but only 30 grams in public, no smoking or vaping in indoor public places (except in designated rooms), provincial parks, near schools, in vehicles, on boats, near bus stops, and within six meters of any doorway, window or air intake. (There are fewer restrictions as to where cannabis for medical use may be consumed.) Cannabis products that are allowed to be sold include oils, such as capsules tinctures and topical products cannabis plants or cannabis seeds, cannabis products marketed for pets and soap or bath products containing cannabis. Individuals will be permitted to grow up to four plants for their own use. While the sale of edibles (baked goods, drinks, etc) will not be allowed initially, individuals can make edibles at home for their own use