Kelowna Westside Mornings

Kelowna farmers markets

Getting out of bed at the crack of dawn, or letting the light gradually ease you into the day… whichever your preference, mornings are always better with a little help from your friends coffee or tea.

While brewing your favourite at home may be the norm, it’s hard to beat holding a steaming cup of your personalized morning beverage, perfectly presented by a professional, talented barista and on the West Side of Kelowna, there are a number of great spots to rev up the start of your day.

Perhaps it’s a quick dash through the Timmy’s drive-through for a Dark Roast and a dozen Timbits, or a quick stop at a familiar Starbucks or Blenz Coffee. Whichever your’e used to, West Kelowna has several locations to choose from.

But if you awake on the “ adventurous” side of the bed and feel like something a little different to start your day, why not try one of a handful of hidden gems that the city has to offer. Here are a few worth a shot or, maybe even a double-shot.

To get that real Kelowna Westside feeling, we suggest you venture over to Annie’s Café and Lounge at 3725 Boucherie Rd. Located right on the beach inside Frind Estate Winery. Anne’s Beach Café and Hut has take-out, sit-in, or sit-out service on their patio and lakefront picnic area. A lakeside Latte sounds just about perfect!

Even though the patio section is closed during the off season, what makes Annie’s so unique is their Dining Domes! Regardless if its during the chilly winter months, you can experience their famous menu outside while protected from the elements in one of their see-through domes! Book your own dome reservation here or learn more about Annie’s on the winery website.

Another interesting spot we highly recommend is the Kekuli Café, located at #307-3550 Carrington Road, in West Kelowna; it’s the Okanagan’s only Aboriginal cuisine eatery. We love the Kekuli Café slogan, “Don’t Panic, We Have Bannock”, where aside from the traditional aboriginal ambience and food they have cultural art and jewelry. Make sure you give their Aboriginal cuisine a try and sample their signature Bannock, famous smoked salmon, and delicious Pow Wow Tacos!

Grab a Spirit Bear Organic coffee or step outside the usual and try one of their incredible Matcha Green Tea Lavender Lattes or their Tiger Spiced Chai Cinnamon Tea Latte, or a Maple Coquihalla Frog Tea Latte!

All fuelled up and ready to take on the afternoon as a Westsider your possibilities are endless! We’ve blogged about West Kelowna’s dog parks, hiking, sightseeing, winery tours etc., before, but we haven’t mentioned something most Westsiders consider just a part of life, and that’s the Westsider’s practice of living local by eating local.

So with your morning brew in hand it’s time to check out the area’s incredible farms and produce markets.

Fresh Finds Market Garden comes to mind, located at 4205 Gellatly Rd., near the waterfront by the Cove Resort. They feature a two acre garden with vegetables and flowers that you can purchase or pick yourself as you wander this peaceful garden.

Another great spot specifically for berries is Cherrywood Farm. They close for the off-season but this smaller hobby farm focuses on “agritourism” and offers u-pick cherries and a wonderful little raspberry patch. Located at 3169 Shelter Drive there’s lots of parking so drive right in.

While you’re out and about, why not try Griffin Farms at 3344 Elliott Rd? Established in 1918 and operating as a farm for nearly 100 years they provide cherries, apricots, four varieties of peaches, as well as plums, prunes, nectarines, pears and apples. They make their own juice right on site and it’s an experience for the entire family.

Another great family run operation is Ingram Farms at 2660 Lower Glenrosa Rd. Ingram added their own bees back in 2008 to pollinate their cherries, apricots and peaches and now they offer honey all year round!

We’ve blogged about the Gellately Nut Farm in the past as a great spot to spend the day, walk amongst the trees and splash in the lake, but did you know you can also buy nuts there? Their nut harvest takes place early September to mid November and is managed by the Gellatly Nut Farm Society with 100% of the proceeds used for improvements and restoration projects within the park.

If you really want the full “farm experience” check out Jackalope Farms at 2655 Rufli Rd. They open in the summer and run private farm tours that explain and demonstrate all aspects of farming and have partnered with the City to offer farm camps for kids 7-12.

To check out a husband and wife run farm, why not visit JM Farms at 907 Douglas Road. This great little farm is located beside the Volcanic Hills Family Estate Winery on the Westside Wine trail (one of our other favourite treks) and here you’ll find berries, fruits and veggies a plenty!

Another interesting food stop with history is Paynters Fruit Market which has operated as a family business for 60-years, all started by Henry Paynter who immigrated from England in 1919. Located at 3687 Paynter Rd., you can head over and pick the fruit yourself or browse the market indoors.

Just a short jaunt away at 3607 Paynter Road you’ll find Rabbit Hollow where Martine and Kristin guide you through a very hands on garden experience and educate you on the process of bringing food from farm-to-table. They offer meals and classes and everything is an interactive experience!

And if you want more of a “one stop shop” we suggest you visit the Westbank Farmers’ Market. It is open every Saturday from early July to mid September and located at 2484 Main Street in West Kelowna. They offer everything local from fruits and vegetables to berries and baked goods.

There are many more interesting farm stops and markets worthy of your time throughout West Kelowna. For a full PDF list and map just click on this great link from VisitWestSide.com

Kelowna Dog Walking Beaches, Parks and Trails

Kelowna dog walking parks, beaches and trails

Dogs maybe humans’ best friends… but they also help to increase our longevity, health and happiness… Who knew!

Get up, let dog out. Get up, let dog in. Repeat. All. Day.

But what are you going do? Those big eyes, wagging tail, slightly tilted head. It’s hard to say no to your pooch. Especially when they want to go for a walk.

Our dog is named Louie. The lovely outcome of a random cross-breeding accident between a Poodle and a German pointer. Born with an unruly grey and brown furry mane. He’s 90 pounds of happy, and more human in character than K9.

Louie, like most furry four leggers, possess the power to motivate. Their ability to make us drop the remote and lace-up our walking shoes is second to none.

At our home we avoid saying the “W” word in his presence or pulling the leash from its hook too early for fear of his tail clearing a coffee table or denting our drywall. How can you say no to that level of happiness?

If your home is blessed with this type of furry folk, well, for all the getting up and letting the dog in and out you’ll be happy to know the health benefits of having human’s best friend are endless.

Who knew, Louie is helping us live longer!

According to a recent study published in the USA Today, the American Heart Association completed 10 studies with more than 3-million participants. Scientists found dog owners to live longer than those who don’t have a pup. More than that, they found that dog owners had a 24% risk reduction for death from any cause!

Kelowna’s Best Dog Walking Beaches

kelowna dog friendly beaches

And life at Shelter Bay is smack dab in the middle of Kelowna dog walking beaches and basically a dog’s sniffing paradise in West Kelowna.

One spot we have mentioned before is Gellatly Dog Beach. A short jaunt from Shelter Bay. This is a great place for you to unhook the leash and let your four-legger run and splash in the lake! There are benches and picnic tables for you to relax and just watch the fun unfold. It is a dog and human only area and there is lots of room to burn off that K9 energy.

Kelowna BC Dog Walking Parks

Kelowna best dog parks

Kalamoir Regional Park is located at 3041 Collens Hill Rd, in West Kelowna. The reviews all agree that it’s a wonderful walk and a great place to stretch your legs with your pup. Kalamoir has two designated dog beaches and part of the trail runs along a gravel beach, there is a swimming dock and plenty of spots to go jump in the lake.

Connemara Park, located at 1419 Gregory Rd, West Kelowna, is another undeveloped park area perfect for leashed walks with your pup. A local website that reviews and rates local services and spots in B.C., Connemara Park offers locals the possibility to take a break for a while and get in touch with nature.

Eain Lamont Park, located at 3088 Lakeview Cove Rd, West Kelowna, that according to visitwestside.com, is situated on Mt Boucherie, a dormant volcano that erupted over 50 million years ago. The park offers dog friendly hiking trails and stunning panoramas of the West Kelowna and Kelowna area from two different summits, a great hike for the adventurous where dogs are allowed on leash.

Westbank Centre Park, located at 2569 May St. in West Kelowna and is home to the Kids Care Spray/Water Park, a Community Garden and an off-leash dog area. The park has benches and picnic tables for you to enjoy a lunch in the park along with a large grass play area beside the spray/water park.

Shannon Woods Park, located at 2490 Shannon Woods Dr. is an off-leash dog area that’s open year-round. This area also has a community garden with plots for rent as well as a field for soccer or football. Bring a ball or your dog’s favourite toy and enjoy a game of fetch.

For a different experience you can take your furry friend along on leash to Memorial Park, located on 3737 Old Okanagan Hwy in West Kelowna. It is adjacent to the Johnson Bentley Aquatic Centre and is home to the Annette Beaudreau Amphitheatre where you can walk your pup while enjoying the free Music in the Park concert series Friday nights during the summer.

You can visit this link for more information on Kelowna’s many dog friendly parks and beaches.

And even if you don’t own your own furry four legger, or don’t have one you can borrow from a friend, it’s worth the exercise, health and the happiness you’ll receive to go for a walk and take in the views, vistas and witness the pure joy of these pups as they sniff around the trails, bounce on the beaches and splash in the lake at these designated dog spots, and all of them close to Shelter Bay Townhomes.

Who's Building Your New Home?

Who's Building Your New Home?

Buying a new home? You’ll need to understand a few things; size, style, floor plans, finishings, fixtures, location and view… but nothing more important than knowing who’s building it, and why.

For that, you could consider, reputation, length of time in the industry, or number of past homes built. Perhaps focus on after-sales-service and past customer satisfaction. Maybe even research how long their people have been at the company, the number of past communities they’ve developed or where they built these new homes. Each detail gives unique insight into the Developer’s true value, their character and purpose.

At the Van Maren Group, it is important that our owners are extremely happy with their new homes. For us, the best reward is having nearly a third of our communities regularly purchased by past clients from the 20,000 new homes we’ve built throughout the lower mainland, interior and beyond.

Our homeowners are incredible people. You can see their five-star reviews and watch their YouTube videos recommending our company as highly regarded developers. It is a reputation we are proud of, and something we’ve built, one homeowner at a time.

But to say that our purpose is to build new homes, may not be 100% accurate.

As a matter of fact, even after a half century in the development business, our purpose isn’t actually to build new homes… our purpose is people.

We believe that putting people at the core of what we do is the key to what we do.

It starts with the people in our company, many have been with us for more than a decade. We believe that if you have happy people, you have excellent people, and excellent people build amazing homes.

And amazing homes attract incredible homeowners.

We know that a home isn’t just a place to sleep and eat. It’s our independence, our sanctuary. It is where we live, dream, breath, feel safest, raise and nurture our families, refresh, and reenergize. It is the center of our lives. It is where we welcome our closest friends, it is where we live and we love. Our home is everything.

At Van Maren, our commitment is to provide people with all of the things a new home offers.

So you see, our purpose is people. The people who live in our homes, the people we work with, the people in our company. Yes, we are developers, but our homes are built by people for people, and this is who we are. It’s who we’ve always been.

And when you are contemplating your next new home, we hope you will consider our company, our communities, and most of all, our purpose.

If you would like to learn more about our communities please visit Base10 in Chilliwack or The Cottages in Osoyoos at, or learn more about our past developments at Van Maren Group.

Kelowna BC Winery Tours

Kelowna BC Winery Country

Recently we’ve written a few blogs about Shelter Bay Townhomes and their perfect location amongst all the benefits of living in West Kelowna. And of all the blogs, the one that received the most feedback, was our commentary on living in the middle of Wine Country.

No doubt this is a passion for a lot of people, so our last blog listed several West Kelowna vineyards worthy of visiting, and we were amazed at how many new suggestions we received!

Of all the great recommendations for wineries, big and small … one comment really hit home. It was a request to write about the amazing wine tour companies operating in and around West Kelowna.

It made sense to us, as we probably all agree that the best part about visiting each of these awesome wineries is the education you receive specific to their own unique style of wine making. Each vineyard is so different, their approaches so personal, it’s well worth the time to experience each one…but, the not everyone is able to sample the wines! The designated driver pulls the short straw when it comes to a wine tour and while it is great to learn about each wine, not engaging in the full experience is tough.

Enter the wine tours option!

Trouble free travel on planned routes stopping at your favorite wineries… well, that sounds about perfect! And when you add in, as some tours do, the option of stopping for meals, entertainment and sightseeing, we can’t think of a better way to spend a day (or two).

There are several Wine Tour companies in the area, so we did a bit of research and here is what we came up with…

Vines & Views Wine Tours

https://www.vinesandviews.com Located in West Kelowna at 1314 Ponderosa Ct, West Kelowna but their approach is to take you on a wide experience of customizable vineyards tours in either Kelowna, Penticton, or Vernon. What we like about the Vines & Views approach is they specialize in “custom tours”, including different areas, Stagette Wine Tours and Boat Wine Tours!

Jokanagan Wine Tours

https://www.jokanaganwinetours.com Located in West Kelowna at 1368 Gregory Rd, and specializing in wine and brewery tours. They are well known for their West Kelowna based tours focused on the world-famous West Kelowna Wine Trail. Their tours include different wineries of your choice where your host, and the amazing people serving your tastings, educate you on the rich history behind the foundation of each wine.  What we like about Jokanagan tours is their slightly different take on the experience and their one-of-a-kind tours that include entertainment from Kelowna’s most hilarious comedians.

Sip Happens Wine Tours

https://siptours.ca While “Sip Happens” isn’t in West Kelowna, they are just across the bridge located at 347 Leon Ave #210, Kelowna, and they were just voted the Best Wine Tour Company in British Columbia in 2022 and Kelowna’s Best Wine Tour Company in 2021 and 2022. The reason for all the accolades must be their unique approach. With wine tours developed specific to each region, as well as wine and boat tours, Bachelorette wine tours and their connection with Okanagan Boat Charters https://okanaganboatcharters.com they offer the option of having your own designated captain to guide your private float around the lake and experience your own Sip & Cruise Wine Tour.

Okanagan Wine Country Tours

https://www.okwinetours.com Back on the West Side of the Bridge, at Okanagan Wine Country Tours, located at 1960 Nancee Way, in West Kelowna, you’ll find a wide range of tour options including an opportunity to swirl and sip along the West Kelowna Wine Trail https://www.thewestsidewinetrail.com stopping at the area’s most prestigious wineries like Frind Winery https://www.frindwinery.com, the Okanagan’s only lakeside winery, as well as Mount Boucherie Estate Winery https://mtboucherie.com/, Rollingdale Winery, https://www.rollingdale.ca and Black Swift Vineyards. They also offer a “Best of the West Kelowna Tour” that takes a full day and expands the list of stops to include vineyards such as Mission Hills Family Estate Winery https://www.missionhillwinery.com and Quails Gate https://www.quailsgate.com.

Whichever tour company you try (and why not try them all) we’re sure it will provide a fabulous way for everyone to participate and experience all the fantastic vineyards on the Westside Wine Trail as you visit some of the oldest and most well-established vineyards and wineries in the Okanagan Valley and take it all in, one sip at a time.

Hiking, Sipping, Sampling and the Quest for Small Town Serenity

Kelowna the Quest for Small Town Serenity

As life becomes busier every day, the pursuit of a more peaceful existence is on everyone’s mind.

While the rest of the country is waking up to the benefits of small-town serenity, it isn’t news for those living in West Kelowna…it’s why they moved here in the first place.

It’s also why Maclean’s Magazine, arguably Canada’s most famous publication, named West Kelowna as the second best place to live in British Columbia, and twelfth in Canada. Given that only a handful of BC cities even made it into the Top 100 (Kelowna ranked 39th) … that is quite an honour. https://www.macleans.ca/best-communities-canada-2019-full-ranking-tool/.

West Kelowna is best described by www.tourismkelowna.com, as boasting “rolling hills, orchards, vineyards and natural landscapes, all blossoming with new inviting experiences”, and www.westkelownacity.ca describes the area as “being a four-seasons playground.”

We couldn’t agree more! Surrounded by beaches, parks, forests and orchards, West Kelowna offers the composure of small-town living in a naturally beautiful setting amongst world resorts, wineries, hiking, skiing … activities for everyone … in every season.

And for those who will call Shelter Bay “home”, they’ll be perfectly placed in the centre of it all. Given our quiet lakeside location, away from the hustle and bustle of city life it’s easy to enjoy that peaceful existence and small-town serenity … but should you feel like picking up the pace, downtown Kelowna is only minutes away.

Kelowna Waterfront and Beachside Living

Or for something a little different, why not take a stroll through nearby Gellatly Bay waterfront. With its 2 km promenade and links to several beaches and parks, it’s a great place for walking and bike riding. There’s even a lakeside spot dedicated to pets. At Gellatly Dog Beach you can let Fido off leash to run and splash in a safe, fenced-in area.

Nature Adventures and Hiking

Or, if you want a break from the beach, Shelter Bay is close to several spectacular nature hike adventures, like the Boucherie Trails, a 5.57 km (round trip) hike. According to the website, www.alltrails.com, the hike is best used from May until October and is listed as moderate to difficult, but views from the top of this 50-million year old extinct volcano are worth the effort.

Or try near-by Carrot Mountain. The 4.6 km trail features rivers and waterfalls, and according to the www.kelownanow.com, is a serious challenge that offers a well-deserved view and a worthy workout!  A thought echoed on www.10adventures.com, the website says to prepare for an elevated heart rate, tricky route navigation, but hikers are rewarded with a phenomenal bird’s eye view of Kelowna!

World Class Wineries

Maybe an aggressive hike isn’t your cup of tea…or glass of wine… then you’re in luck, as the Westside Wine Trail almost runs through your back yard at Shelter Bay. Seeing as Kelowna is the original birthplace of British Columbia’s wine making and West Kelowna has more than a dozen established wineries, you are sure to find a front runner …or two…including some of our favourites here at Shelter Bay like …

Mission Hill Family Estate Winery Founded in 1966 and purchased in 1981 by Anthony von Mandl who turned the abandoned Mission Hill estate into an international award winning winery a year later. This made Mission Hill the first Okanagan winery to receive overseas recognition.

Quails’ Gate Winery  is one of Canada’s foremost family-owned estate wineries, shaping the development of the wine industry for more than six decades. The winery includes a tasting room with sweeping views of Okanagan Lake and its Old Vines Restaurant is one of the top restaurants in Canada, featuring locally sourced farm-to-table cuisine.

Indigenous World Winery merges modern culture with Indigenous history. Opened in 2016 as the first fully Indigenous, privately owned winery in BC it features world-class VQA wines and indigenous culture an amazing wine tasting room, native themed gift shop, picnic area and Red Fox Club offering modern, native cuisine.

The Hatch For something a little different, try out what has been called the finest tasting establishment in British Columbia. The Hatch’s unconventional approach to wine making is also reflected in the winery’s unique reputation as a place to enjoy wine and life where multiple forms of art come together to be celebrated.

Mt. Boucherie Estate Winery features a Guest House and Restaurant, The Modest Butcher, for farm-to-table dishes complementing their own award winning wine portfolio with classics from around the world. The winery’s vineyard is located on the ancient volcano, Mount Boucherie where their grapes thrive in the sandy clay and limestone soils rich with mineral deposits and volcanic rock.

Whatever your taste for adventure, be it hiking or sipping and sampling, you’ll find it in West Kelowna, and the best part is that Shelter Bay Townhomes are right in the middle of it all.

Step Aside Lower Mainland, Kelowna Maybe the Newest Place to Look at Real Estate

kelowna real estate investment

We know the housing market is active all over the country, but the real question is where to look for future investment growth potential.

The answer could be Kelowna!

According to the online Real Estate Investment firm Fundscaper, who’s real estate portfolio covers Canada and the US, after analyzing key performance indicators, such as population changes, employment and income levels, Fundscaper named Kelowna as one of the best places to invest in Canadian real estate.

In a recent press release Fundscaper explained that even though discussions tend to focus on Toronto and Vancouver, these markets are becoming incredibly expensive for the growing segment of those looking to invest in real estate.

They go on to state that Canada has many smaller markets with promising growth potential, and Kelowna has emerged as one of the markets to watch due to its high employment rates in construction and healthcare sectors, strong retail sector and robust healthcare economy.

While any investment research should be taken cautiously and with the guidance of experienced industry professionals, given Canada’s inflation surging to a 30 year high at a reported 4.8%, searching for the right location to invest in has never been more important.

Wherever this real estate market goes, it is important to consider every side of the equation and to look through all the research before investing… and if you decided to consider presale, then make sure the developer has an impeccable reputation and a long-standing history of delivering excellence.

So, do your research, attain professional assistance, and only invest what you can afford … and consider Canada’s smaller real estate markets as they have the potential for growth.

A Message From The Developer

Developer message - welcome to Shelter Bay Townhomes

The first time I walked from the top of Shelter Bay’s upper ridge down to it’s sandy beach and stood at the lake front, I knew this was a very rare opportunity.

I’ve been a developer since the 1970’s and seldom do I find properties which combine lake views and beach front that offer the potential to create a very special community.

As I gazed at the view, another thought crossed my mind, “Who were the people that would live here, what is important to them, and really, what were they like.” Then it dawned on me, the people who would love it here as much as I do are people like me, my friends, my family and other similar-minded folks who want to spend every day taking in the views of the lake, smelling the fresh pines, living beside an orchard and spending time at their own private beach. All of this just out of the hustle of Kelowna but only a few minute bike ride into town.

The more I thought about the folks who would come to live here, the more I could see them loving Shelter Bay as much as I do.

I envisioned people walking through the streets chatting with neighbours, going to the amenity building for a swim in the pool or strolling down to sit on the beach and watch the sunset. I imagined our owners relaxing on the sand at the water’s edge, having a quick swim in the lake or maybe enjoying a glass of wine at the end of our wharf, or even casting a line hoping to land a fish or two.

That was over five years ago. Since that day, when I realized I was essentially the first purchaser of this incredible piece of land I have been focused on two things, how to capture the views from every home and how to design the perfect places for the people who will eventually call the Shelter Bay Townhome community their home.

As we worked through the designs it became clear to everyone in our company that this development, the location, the expansive lake view, its private beach front, location close to the bridge but nestled quietly amongst orchards and pine trees that everything about it represented a once in a lifetime opportunity, and we had a responsibility to create an equally amazing community.

Well, I can honestly say that we accomplished everything we set out to do. The homes are incredibly spacious, some over 2,500 square feet and each with open floor plans, huge kitchens and wood beam ceilings, as well as double wide garages and oversized roof top terraces, some even have elevators.

Everything we are adding to the site is just as special as the land it rests upon. The amenity building, beach pavilion and our lake front beach area are designed to offer a feeling of being on fulltime vacation.

Whether you like to visit the surrounding vineyards, or you’re a hiker, boater, or a paddle boarder (or like to play Pickle Ball) we are set perfectly to accommodate your spring, summer and fall activities. And if you like to snowshoe, ski or get out on the mountain there is no better location than Kelowna, and no better home base for your winter lifestyle than Shelter Bay.

I know you may be searching in a lot of places for your new home, and that perhaps Shelter Bay Townhomes may not be for you, but if you walk the property, I bet you fall in love with it, just like I did.

I hope you find exactly what you are looking for, wherever you end up…and, I truly hope you end up here, because Shelter Bay is amazing and it is Kelowna’s best kept secret.

Thanks for allowing me to share my thoughts and feelings! See you at Shelter Bay.

Sincerely,

Eric