Retiring Abroad: Retiring in Kelowna, BC - Part II

Milestone Wealth Management Ltd. - Sep 07, 2018
Retiring in Kelowna, BC - Part II There are many incredible places in the world to consider when envisioning your ideal retirement destination. However, arguably one of the best places in the world is right in Calgary’s backyard – Kelowna, BC. It has

Retiring in Kelowna, BC - Part III

There are many incredible places in the world to consider when envisioning your ideal retirement destination. However, arguably one of the best places in the world is right in Calgary’s backyard – Kelowna, BC. It has a wide range of recreational opportunities, incredible wineries, great weather and excellent health care.

This post is the last of three segments. I chose to ask for comments from actual residents of Kelowna, some whom have lived there for a long time and some whom have chosen to retire there.  Here is a collection of comments from one of those people. You can read Part I and Part II by clicking those links.  

This blog post is from a couple that live in West Kelowna (formerly Westbank), so there are some minor differences is comparison to Kelowna. This could be valuable information to have if one is considering a move to the area.


"There are four distinct seasons offering occasional low temperatures of -15C in the winter and periodic high temperatures of +35C in the summer months. Both cities of Kelowna and West Kelowna receive snow in the winter although West Kelowna generally gets more. Summers typically do not bring a lot of rain, so the humidity tends to be on the low side. The grapes and assorted fruits that grow in the valley are usually happy while lawns and landscapes require irrigation in order to survive."


"Lake Okanagan and other lakes north and south of Kelowna offer boating and various water activities. The summer months, of course, are more popular and draw many tourists from the different provinces as well from the USA and other countries. Tent and RV camping in the various provincial parks and private campgrounds is very popular. Hiking and rock climbing are also very popular as the surrounding mountains provide a diversified topography and challenges for the users.

Winter sports such as skiing (both downhill and cross country), snowboarding and snow-shoeing are offered at two major mountains. Silver Star is a 1.2 hour drive north of Kelowna and Big White one hour east. Additional skiing facilities are available near Penticton and Oliver further south."

Cost of Living: 

"Both Kelowna and West Kelowna are growing rapidly so finding housing is becoming increasingly difficult. Purchases can be expensive and rental units can be not only expensive, but also have availability shortages. There are plenty of grocery stores on both sides of the lake such as Nestor's, Save on Foods, Superstore and Walmart. Prices appear to be high but they change almost weekly so it's pretty hard to stay on top of these purchases. There are many auto dealerships - all in Kelowna. It is a competitive market so it's difficult to know how the prices align with larger cities. I would assume it is the same with clothing, furniture and appliances."

Ease of access (transportation to and from):  

"Road access from various locations in Canada is always available. Having said that, it is important to keep in mind that winter road conditions through the mountain passes can present major driving challenges at times. Kelowna lnternational Airport is located approximately 20 kms north of the Kelowna city center which offers airline access to a number of destinations such as Vancouver, Seattle and Calgary to name a few."

On the local scene, BC Transit has an extensive bus network within Kelowna which includes a service to and from West Kelowna."  

Health care (quality and access): 

"It is my understanding that for new residents, initial health assistance is most easily obtained through public health clinics which appear to be numerous on both sides of the lake. I believe that having access to a regular family physician can initially be more difficult. lf a specialist is required there is a referral requirement which must be issued by a GP. The Kelowna General Hospital which covers all serious illnesses and surgeries also has a large cardiac and cancer centre. Regretfully, the hospital has had periods of overcrowding and difficulty providing care without some delays. My wife and I have had the odd occasion to use the hospital service and felt the quality of the service was good."

For more information on Kelowna, please feel free to check out the following websites:

City of Kelowna Information

Tourism Kelowna

Kelowna & West Kelowna Wineries

Big White Ski Resort

SilverStar Mountain Resort