Okanagan Valley Architecture
This information refers to Okanagan architecture and Okanagan Valley architecture. This region is located in Canada in the province of British Columbia articulated by the basin of the Okanagan Lake and the Canadian portion of the Okanagan River. At the turn of the millenium, the region's population was approximately 300,000.
Top 10 Okanagan Valley architecture sites:
- Kelowna Downtown Redevelopment Area
- Nk'Mip Cellars
- Mission Hill
- Kelowna Bridge
- UBC Campus
- Kelowna Airport
- Vernon Performing Arts Centre
- Penticton South Okanagan Event Centre
- Silver Star Mountain Resort
- Kettle Valley Railway (Myra Canyon Trestles)
Communities with architectural sites of importance in the Okanagan Valley:
- Okanagan Mission
- Lake Country
- Carr's (Carr's Landing)
- Okanagan Centre
- Okanagan Falls
- West Kelowna (district)
- Lakeview Heights
History of Architecture in the Okanagan Valley
Like other areas of Canada, the history of Okanagan Valley architecture starts with the First Nations. The Okanagan Valley is home to the Okanagan Nation, an Interior Salish people who originally lived in the valley from the head of Okanagan Lake downstream to near the river's confluence with the Columbia River in present-day Washington, as well as in the neighbouring Similkameen Valley and the entire Columbia River watershed. Primarily focused on hunting and gathering, the Okanagan First Nations were nomadic and generally did not build large, long-lasting edifices. Today the bands of the Okanagan Nation Alliance are sovereign nations with natural resource and tourism based economies.
The first European settlement was established when Father Charles Pandosy led the making of an Oblate mission where Kelowna is now. In the decades that followed, hundreds of ranchers came to settle on Okanagan Lake. The Fraser Canyon Gold Rush of 1858 eventually encouraged more settlement as prospectors moved into the area. A mining industry began in the southern Okanagan region, and more farmers, as well as a small service industry, came to meet the needs of the miners. The fruit production industry also developed for most of the 20th century and became synonymous with the Okanagan Valley. During the second half of the 20th century, several resource-based enterprises in the region, for instance forestry in Princeton, have grown. the fastest-growing industries in the Okanagan today are real estate, tourism and retirement accommodation as well as the ripping up of orchards and their replacement by wineries and vinyards.
Favoured by its sunny climate, lakes, and winery attractions, the valley has become a popular destination for vacationers and retirees. As a result, the Okanagan Valley is begining it's first true architectural age. This is taking place with civil industrial projects such as the new bridge in Kelowna, expansion of the Kelowna airport to International status, and the growing University of British Columbia (UBC) campus. Okanagan architecture is also now being driven by commercial interests including wineries and cellars.