Urban Adventure

Exploring Local Heritage Sites in Kelowna

A wooden trestle bridge surrounded by green foliage and rocky terrain in Kelowna.

Kelowna is rich in history and culture. Follow along on a journey through Kelowna's past, exploring its historical sites.

Father Pandosy Mission

Founded in 1860, the Father Pandosy Mission stands as an example to Kelowna's earliest days. It became a focal point for religious, school and social life in the area. It comprised over 810 ha (2000 acres) with upwards of 1700 people, predominately First Nations, living on the lands within its boundaries. Work on the Mission ranch was primarily tending an apple orchard, vineyard, vegetable garden and up to approximately 550 head of cattle and 35 horses. The original buildings erected on the Mission site and still present are the Chapel, The Root house, the Brothers’ house and the Barn. Visitors are invited to stroll through the refurbished buildings and experience a touch of 19th-century life.

Guisachan Heritage Park

Once the home of Lord and Lady Aberdeen, Guisachan Heritage Park, built in 1891, is an historical gem. Lord Aberdeen served as the Governor General of Canada from 1893-1898 and the family played a pivotal role in the settlement of the area. The property was later purchased by the Cameron family who planted the Edwardian gardens around the site starting in the 1920s. Some of the original roses, perennials and trees originally planted by Mrs. Cameron can still be seen at the site. The Edwardian gardens offer a peaceful escape. The park, with its rich lineage and lush flower beds are a serene oasis, inviting quiet reflection amidst its historical elegance.

Myra Canyon Trestles

The Myra Canyon Trestles is a marvel of engineering on the Kettle Valley Rail Trail. Engineers used conventional technologies in ingenious ways to construct the railway through the rugged, mountainous terrain, where workers faced significant dangers posed by blasting and rock slides. The railway helped provide a vital all-Canadian link between the West Coast and the southern interior of British Columbia. The track was in rail use from its completion in 1914 until it was closed to train traffic in 1978. Today, adventurers can hike or snowshoe across the trestles, enjoying breathtaking views of the Okanagan Canyon. The quiet of the area adds a mystical quality to the journey, making it a must-visit for those seeking a blend of history and natural beauty.

The Benvoulin Heritage Church

An architectural beauty, the Benvoulin Heritage Church, built in 1892 in the Gothic Revival style, is more than a religious landmark. It was the first Protestant church south of Vernon and the Aberdeens helped provide the money and horse power to assist with the original construction. Benvoulin Church has become a unique community facility for public, family and cultural events. In addition to being a popular location for weddings, the site is also used for meetings, concerts, art shows, and heritage events, each adding a modern twist to this historic site.

The Laurel Packinghouse

Built in 1917 and completed in 1918, The Laurel Packinghouse was made using bricks from the local Knox Mountain clay. The Laurel was a working packinghouse until the 1970s and in 1982 it became Kelowna's first designated heritage building, The Laurel Building, is a cornerstone of the city's economic history. Housing the Wine Museum and the British Columbia Orchard Industry Museum, it offers an educational retreat, looking into the roots of Kelowna’s flourishing agricultural legacy.


Kelowna is not just a destination but an experience. Its historical sites, each with their unique stories and charm, offer a window into the past against the backdrop of a serene landscape. Whether it's a peaceful stroll through historic grounds or an adventurous hike through trails, Kelowna's heritage sites are excellent for those seeking to blend historical exploration with the beauty of a scenic city.