We want to recognize and celebrate some of the award wins and highlight notable news from our local tourism industry that occurred over the past few months.

Award Wins

2023 Kelowna Chamber Business Excellence Awards

Kelowna Chamber Awards 2023
Excellence in Tourism Award, presented to Splash BC Waterparks by Tourism Kelowna. Pictured (left to right): Tourism Kelowna Board Chair, Kelly Watt; Splash BC Water Parks Owner, Rylie Gallagher; Tourism Kelowna President & CEO, Lisanne Ballantyne. Photo credit: Kelowna Chamber

Tourism Kelowna Board Chair, Kelly Watt, and President & CEO, Lisanne Ballantyne, were on hand at the 2023 Kelowna Chamber Business Excellence Awards awards to hand out the Excellence in Tourism Award, sponsored by Tourism Kelowna, which this year was awarded to Splash BC Water Parks.

Other Members and tourism-related businesses who took home awards at the ceremony include:

Kelowna Chamber Awards 2023 - Sam Samaddar
Photo credit: Kelowna Chamber

Kelowna International Airport Chief Executive Officer, and Tourism Kelowna Board Director, Sam Samaddar (pictured above), was also recognized for his numerous achievements at Friday's gala while being honoured as the 2023 Business Leader of the Year.

We extend congratulations to all the night's winners and to all the other tourism-related nominees and finalists recognized as part of this year's awards.

Okanagan Spirits Craft Distillery Mixoff

Okanagan Craft Spirits Distillery Mixoff
Winners of the 8th Annual Okanagan Spirits Craft Distillery Mixoff, Steeped & Spirited. Photo credit: Jeremie Dyck. 

In early November, Steeped & Spirited—a collaboration between Simps Syrups, Vic & Jo Tea Co., and Ethereal Tea & Confections—took home the top spot in both the People's Choice and Judge's Choice categories at the Okanagan Spirits Craft Distillery Mixoff with their #nofilter cocktail, featuring the distillery's BRBN Bourbon-Style Whisky from the distillery. BNA Brewing Co. & Eatery won Best Bite at the competition. 

BC Food & Beverage Awards

Farming Karma BC Food & Beverage Awards
Photo credit: BC Food & Beverage
After taking Silver in the Product of the Year category for its pear soda at the 2022 BC Food & Beverage Awards, Farming Karma was recognized again at this year's ceremony, winning the Circularity Award. 

As noted on the BC Food & Beverage website, the Circularity Award is given to a company that demonstrates "a clear alignment with the principles of circularity in the following areas: minimizing waste generation, encouraging reuse, repair and recycling."

2023 BC Restaurant Hall of Fame Inductees

A few members of Kelowna's restaurant sector were inducted into the BC Restaurant Hall of Fame at the 19th Annual Induction Ceremony, held in Vancouver on October 23, 2023:

  • Local Champion: Ross Derrick, Broken Anchor Hospitality
  • Active Restaurateur: Audrey Surrao, RauDZ Creative Concepts Ltd.
  • Women in Hospitality: Kelsey Oudendag, Okanagan College/RauDZ Creative Concepts Ltd.

Visit the BC Restaurant & Foodservices Association (BCRFA) Facebook page for a video recap of the night's event.

2023 National Wine Awards of Canada

The 2023 National Wine Awards of Canada, presented by WineAlign, were handed out in Penticton in June 2023. 

Several Kelowna and area wineries made it on the list of Top 25 Wineries in Canada:

The wineries listed above and several others from in and around Kelowna took home numerous medals in the competition—a complete list of winners, broken down by category, can be found on the WineAlign website.

Condé Nast Traveler's 2023 Readers' Choice Awards

Notable News

  • In August, Basil & Mint Restaurant and Bar celebrated its 8th anniversary. 
  • In mid-August, Linda Digby departed Kelowna Museums after 10 years as Executive Director.
  • J’s Café and Bistro has opened a second location, J’s Café Express, at UBCO.
  • KF Aerospace was recognized as one of The Boeing Company's top-performing suppliers for safety and quality at the 2023 Supplier of the Year Event.

Recently Opened
Buffalo Rouge Brewery Model Coffee Bean Co.
Chilango Modern Mexican Ready to Cook
Casa de Frida Revelry Music + Food
Eye Tasty Food Three Lakes Brewing
Grate Cheesery Toncini Modern Italian
La Vela Pizzeria 24 Hour Snacks
Bag Vault MisMack Clean Cosmetics
Casa Modelo Studio Sweat Studios
Löyly Floating Sauna Kelowna TALITY spa + kombucha

Join us in congratulating all the award winners and recognizing all those who are achieving great things and delivering exceptional experiences to visitors and locals alike!

Have an award win, achievement, or notable news to share? Email us all the details so we can include the information in our next roundup.