Urban Adventure

Historical Walks in Kelowna: Uncovering the City's Past

Aerial view of Kelowna with buildings, trees, and hills in the background, near a lake.

Discovering Kelowna's Timeless Tales on Foot

Walking through Kelowna is like stepping into a beautifully preserved page of history. Every street corner, building, and park tells a story of the city's rich past, offering an immersive experience for both history enthusiasts and casual explorers. Our curated walking tour guides you through this journey, unearthing history and celebrated landmarks that have stood the test of time.

Father Pandosy Mission

Father Pandosy Mission is a reflection to the city's early days. Founded in 1859 by the missionary Father Charles Pandosy, this site was initially a focal point for religious ministry and a burgeoning settler community. Previously over 2,000 acres, today, it stands as a Provincial Heritage Site, inviting visitors to explore its sprawling four-acre property. As you walk through the original buildings, you're transported back to a time when Kelowna was just beginning to shape its identity.

The mission's rustic charm and historical significance make it a must-visit. The preserved structures and artifacts offer a glimpse into the lives of early settlers and the area's Aboriginal population, providing a tangible connection to Kelowna's formative years.

Guisachan Heritage Park

Next on our journey is the Guisachan Heritage Park. Once the residence of the Lord and Lady Aberdeen in 1890, this 2.4-acre site now serves as a serene escape in the city. The Guisachan House Restaurant, amidst the lush perennial gardens, offers a delightful culinary experience, while the nearby log house, dating back to pre 1890s, stands as a symbol of the area's architectural heritage.

Visitors to the park can enjoy garden tours and various events throughout the year. The mix of historical ambiance and contemporary amenities makes Guisachan Heritage Park a unique destination that beautifully merges Kelowna's past and present.

Myra Canyon Trestles

For those with a taste for adventure and history, the Myra Canyon Trestles is an unmissable stop. As a critical part of the Kettle Valley Rail Trail, this area showcases one of Canada's most significant engineering feats of the early 1900s. The trail spans up to 25 kilometres, featuring 18 trestles and 2 tunnels that offer spectacular views of the surrounding landscape.

Despite the devastation of the 2003 forest fires, the reconstructed trestles stand as a tribute to Kelowna's resilience and commitment to preserving its history. Walking along this trail not only provides a unique outdoor experience but also a profound appreciation for the ingenuity and determination of those who built it.

The Benvoulin Heritage Church

The Benvoulin Heritage Church, built in 1892 in the striking Gothic Revival style, is an architectural marvel. Originally serving as a Presbyterian Church until 1964, it now functions as a cherished venue for weddings and community events. The church's preservation, including the restoration of its steeple in the 1980s, is an example of Kelowna's dedication to maintaining its historical landmarks.

Surrounding the church are carefully tended xeriscape gardens, offering a peaceful retreat for visitors. The church, with its elegant façade and rich history, embodies the spirit of the community and its enduring connection to the past.

The Laurel Packinghouse

The Laurel Packinghouse's significance in Kelowna's history cannot be overstated. Established in 1913 as a packing and shipping house for the BC Fruit Growers Ltd., it was the city’s first designated heritage building. Today, it is home to the Wine Museum and the BC Orchard Industry Museum, celebrating Kelowna's thriving agricultural legacy.

Visitors to the Laurel Building can explore the intertwined stories of the orchard and wine industries, discovering how these sectors shaped the region's economy and culture. The building itself, with its original brickwork and historic charm, serves as a living exhibit of Kelowna's industrious past.

Kelowna Museums Walking Tour

In Kelowna’s Cultural District, a walking tour through the city’s museums offers an enriching glimpse into its diverse heritage. The Okanagan Heritage Museum, Okanagan Military Museum, and the Okanagan Wine and Orchard Museum, all operated by the Kelowna Museums Society, present stories ranging from natural and cultural histories to military and agricultural legacies.

Each museum on the tour provides a unique perspective on Kelowna's evolution, from the earliest First Nation inhabitants to the modern-day city. The exhibits, educational programs, and artifacts on display provide an in-depth understanding of the region's multifaceted history.

Cultural District Self-Guided Walking Tour

For those who prefer to explore at their own pace, the self-guided walking tour in the Cultural District is an ideal option. Once the hub of the Okanagan fruit packing industry, the district has transformed into a centre of artistic and cultural activity. As you meander through its six square blocks, you'll encounter an array of cultural venues, including galleries, theatres, and museums.

Notable stops include the Kelowna Community Theatre, the Kelowna Art Gallery, and the Rotary Centre for the Arts. Each location offers a unique blend of historical and contemporary art and performances, reflecting the city’s dynamic cultural landscape. Additionally, the district boasts 21 public art installations by local and international artists, adding a visually stunning element to your tour.


Kelowna's historical walks are a tour through time, revealing the layers of history that have shaped this energenic city. From the preserved missions and churches to the modern museums and art galleries, each stop offers a unique insight into Kelowna's past and its ongoing story.