Whether going to the store, the office, or the park, COVID-19 has changed the way humans live, work, and play, but if there’s a positive side to a worldwide pandemic, it’s that people are questioning the norm and rethinking some of the most fundamental aspects of their lives.
In a time when room to breathe is more important than ever, living in a place that enables recreation from the doorstep has become an attractive feature of smaller cities across the globe. At the same time, working remotely has led businesses to reconsider the need to have offices in traditional major centres such as Vancouver, Calgary, or Toronto, especially when class A office space is now available in smaller centres like Kelowna.
The power of video calls has enabled working from home, and while some have the luxury of escaping to the vacation home on the lake, many employees are left questioning why they still need to live in major cities.
Nestled in BC’s Interior on the shores of Okanagan Lake is a city with small-town charm but big city amenities — somewhere Canadians have been vacationing for decades. However, it’s quickly becoming more than just a vacation destination as COVID-19 forces businesses and their employees to seek a healthy work-life balance in the place they call home.
It’s called Kelowna, and these are 10 reasons why leading companies are moving there.
Open Spaces Within the City
From winding trails overlooking the city to the sandy shores of Okanagan Lake, Kelowna is home to over 200 parks, beaches, and green spaces. With so many places to go, there’s always ample room to breathe without having to worry about over-crowded spaces.
Four Season Playground
Kelowna’s climate lends itself to four defined seasons of play, from lake days in the summer to powder days at Big White in the winter, and plenty of time for spring and fall activities in between. Kelowna locals enjoy all kinds of outdoor recreation year-round and are only limited by the number of hours in a day.
Kelowna’s resilient, diverse, and innovative agricultural community produces world-renowned fruits, vegetables, and other fresh food products that enable farm-to-table dining. They’re an integral piece of the healthy food system, economy, and culture.
Kelowna also produces wine — lots of wine. With nearly 200 wineries in the Okanagan Valley and 40 considered to be in the city itself, Kelowna serves some of the finest wine in the world just steps from the vineyards. Adding to the local beverage selection is an emerging craft beer scene that has ignited new energy in the city and means that locals can find a unique brew in just about every corner of town.
When compared to other major centres across the nation, Kelowna’s relative affordability and stylishly designed new developments in each of the most popular neighbourhoods makes housing here a bright spot over crowded markets like Vancouver and Toronto. Not only does the cost of living make sense, but the cost of commercial office space makes cents to the bottom line for the many businesses that continue to relocate corporate offices to Kelowna.
No longer famous for just its winemaking mecca, Kelowna is now home to a booming tech sector that has surpassed the region’s tourism industry in annual economic impact. Manufacturing, construction, healthcare, and agriculture all contribute to a diverse job market and a thriving local economy.
Connected Near and Far
Home to one of the busiest airports in Canada, living in Kelowna means international reach and easy connectivity to all major Canadian metropolitan areas. For business or for adventure, Kelowna International Airport is the local link to the world.
Four hours via car to Vancouver, five hours to the Alberta border in the Rocky Mountains, two hours to the US border, and four hours to the heart of the pristine Kootenay region, Kelowna is the BC Interior’s hub for travelling business people and adventurists alike.
The future of Kelowna is bright, with thousands of brilliant minds graduating each year from leading post-secondary education centres. University of British Columbia Okanagan and Okanagan College each offer a broad range of certificate, diploma, and degree programs that inspire professionals of all ages and fuel the local job market.
Culture and Entertainment
Downtown Kelowna’s Cultural District features studios, galleries, theatres, museums, and international restaurants for locals to enjoy when not attending world-class events. The pinnacle of local sports culture lies with the Kelowna Rockets of the Western Hockey League, a successful franchise since 1995, graduating some of the best players in the NHL, and the Okanagan Sun, one of the most successful teams in junior football history.
High-level Medical Care
Kelowna General Hospital (KGH) is the Central Okanagan’s primary acute care health facility, offering high-level, specialty medical care, and training the professionals of tomorrow through its Medical Teaching Unit. As one of two Interior Health tertiary referral hospitals, KGH has leading specialists across nearly all fields of healthcare as well as one of BC Cancer’s six regional care centres.
A Thriving Business District
Located in the centre of Kelowna, the Landmark District is currently home to over 200 businesses across numerous industries. It will soon feature over one million square feet of class A office space with the addition of a seventh tower, expected to be completed in spring 2022. The newest addition to the Landmark District is attracting companies from across Canada that seek innovative office space and value the work-life balance that Kelowna’s four-season playground enables.
Now more than ever, businesses that typically chose the larger centres are considering the needs of their employees and realizing the potential of Kelowna’s small-town charm and big-city amenities, including class A office space built to the needs and culture of the business.
For more information on Kelowna’s Live, Work and Play community, click here.
As a Kelowna-based and family-owned company for over 62 years, Stober Group provides exceptional, award-winning building design, construction, and project development that has tirelessly pushed the envelope of community design since day one. The latest addition to the Stober Group portfolio, Landmark 7, will add 225,000 square feet of innovative commercial space to the Landmark District, making it the largest class-A office tower between Vancouver and Calgary. For more information on Kelowna’s thriving business district, visit LandmarkCentre.ca.