Home Forest Educators Lesson Plans Resources Links Special Events Contact Us


1860 Father Pandosy arrived founded the Okanagan Mission, the first interior agricultural settlement after arriving in the area the previous year.
1861 John MvDougall founds a small Hudson Bay Co. trading post here, the first in the area.
1871 Grist Mill was established.
1872 Eli Lequime’ stopping place had the first postal station.

The first teacher arrived to teach in a school built the year before.

The first wagon road was built, which connected the O’Keefes (Vernon area) to the Okanagan Mission.

1890 The Earl and Countess of Aberdeen first visit the Okanagan.
1891 Recognising the fruit growing potential of the Okanagan, the Earl and Countess of Aberdeen bought Guisachan Ranch for their summer home and for subdivision for potential fruit farmers.
1892 The S.S. Aberdeen was launched: the first CPR stem wheeler put on Okanagan Lake. The stem wheeler increased traffic to the area, and so the township of Kelowna was registered and Lakeview Hotel was built. When naming the township, many settlers recalled a story about a man who had lived in the area 30 years earlier, who was so covered in fur and whiskers that the Indians thought he resembled a bear. “Kelowna” is the native word for Grizzly Bear.
1893 The first marketing co-op was founded. Lord Aberdeen became the Governor General of Canada.

Dr. Boyce, Kelowna’s first doctor, arrived in the area. For years he was the only doctor between Vernon and the US border.

The first tobacco plants were planted.


The Bank of Montreal became the first bank in Kelowna, but it experienced some problems at first as the heavy vault fell through the floor.

The first newspaper, the Kelowna Clarion, was published.


Kelowna was incorporated as a city with a population of 600.

The first mayor of Kelowna was Henry Raymer.

The first cars were brought to Kelowna and a telephone line linking Kelowna to Vernon was completed.

1906 Kelowna had its first regatta, and the first fire hall was built – horses pulled the wagon.

The hospital opened.

Kelowna fruit made a clean sweep of prizes at the Spokane Apple Fair.

1909 A power plant was built for downtown use.
1911 Population of 1100.
1913 Oil was reported found in Kelowna. The Okanagan Oil and Gas Co. Ltd. Drilled down 3000 ft., but never did find any oil.
1914 The first hydroplane came to Kelowna.
1919 The Empress theatre opened as the first movie theatre.

Many of the richer townspeople and farmers in Kelowna started buying “horseless carriages”.

The Fire Department even bought a car.

1922 Kelowna experienced a large population jump (800 people) in one year to bring the population total to 3336 people.
1925 Canadian National Railway trains came to Kelowna. Before the railway was built, there was only water transportation to Kelowna.
1929 The Radium Air service begins in Rutland and Vernon.
1931 CKOV becomes the first public radio station broadcasting in Kelowna.
1946 BC Growers started marketing the Sun Rype brand.
1949 The Hope – Princeton road opened.
1952 W.A.C. Bennett, a hardware merchant from Kelowna, became the premier of BC. He remained premier for the next 20 years.
1955 Kelowna received its official coat of arms.
1958 The Okanagan lake floating bridge was opened by H.R.H. Princess Margaret Rose and Premier W.A.C. Bennett.
1959 Capri Shopping mall opened – the first in the BC interior.
1960 Kelowna airport was opened, as was the Black Mountain Ski Bowl.
1962 Kelowna community theatre opened.
1963 Kelowna vocational school opened.
1968 Kelowna airport built a new air terminal complex. Okanagan College/Vocational School began enrolling university students.
1969 The Blue Angels flying ace broke the sound barrier over Kelowna – much of the glass in downtown store windows. Kelowna also experienced one of its worst fires as the aquatic building burned down.
1972 The first Ukrainian Orthodox Church was built.
1973 Kelowna amalgamated with several outlying districts (including Rutland and Okanagan Mission), doubling its area and population overnight. Kelowna now had a population of 50,000.
1976 Kelowna museum opened its new, expanded facility.
1977 Robert Dow Rieds Sculpture “The Sails” was placed at the foot of Bernard Ave.

Kelowna celebrated its 75th birthday.

City population was 60,000.

1985 Okanagan college opened its core facility.

Okanagan connector built to link with coquahalla pass.

Kelowna had a population of 78,000.

1999 Skyreach place stadium was opened.
2003 Okanagan Mountain Park fire burned down many subdivisions of homes.
2005 UBC Okanagan opens in Kelowna replacing the former Okanagan University College North Campus.
2007 City population was 123,456.

« Return to Index

Home Newsletters Lesson Plans Resources Links Tours and Events Contact Us Help?

© Learn Foresty & Ingenius Webdesign