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.
Earlier this month, Big White Ski Resort Senior Vice President and Tourism Kelowna Board Director, Michael J. Ballingall, was awarded the Far West Ski Association’s Bill Mackey Award for Outstanding Ski Industry Employee. Ballingall is the third Big White team member to win the award, following Katie Balkwell's win in 2016 and Jim Lloyd's win in 2002 won the award in 2002.
Local Chamber of Commerce Awards
Clockwise from top: Team from O'Rourke's Peak Cellars, winners of the Excellence in Tourism award, with Tourism Kelowna President & CEO, Lisanne Ballantyne;
members of the team from Festivals Kelowna, who won the Arts & Entertainment award; Greg Hopf, and his wife Sharon, accepted the Indigenous Business of the Year award on behalf of Moccasin Trails.
- The 34th Annual Kelowna Chamber of Commerce Business Excellence Awards took place on March 30:
- The Excellence in Tourism award, which was sponsored by Kelowna International Airport and Edmonton International Airport, was presented to O'Rourke's Peak Cellars.
- Moccasin Trails took home the inaugural Indigenous Business of the Year while Festivals Kelowna won the Arts & Entertainment award.
- Other Tourism Kelowna stakeholders and partners recognized as finalists were:
- Excellence in Tourism: Oyama Zipline Adventure Park | Smile Cycle Tours
- Arts & Entertainment: New Vintage Theatre | Uptown Rutland Business Association
- Small Business of the Year: Strut Footwear & Apparel
- Rising Star Business of the Year: Barn Owl Brewing
- Excellence in Agriculture: SpearHead Winery | Summerhill Pyramid Winery
- Environmental Impact: The Best Western PLUS Kelowna Hotel & Suites
- The 2021 Lake Country Business Excellence Awards were handed out on March 3:
- Tourism Kelowna was proud to present the award for Tourism Excellence to Rose Hill Orchard, which also took home the Family Farm of the Year award.
- Oyama Zipline Adventure Park was also a winner, taking home Business of the Year.
- Other Tourism Kelowna stakeholders recognized as finalists were:
- Tourism Excellence: O'Rourke's Peak Cellars | Turtle Bay Marina
- Family Farm of the Year: Gambell Farms
- Hospitality Service: 50th Parallel Estate Winery
- Rising Star of the Year: Vivid Tours
Left: Tourism Kelowna's Director of Community & Visitor Engagement, Chris Lewis, and Lake Country Chamber of Commerce's Business Engagement Advisor, Tony Pallas, present the Tourism Excellence Award. Right: Chris Lewis and Rose Hill Orchard Founder, Angelique Slade Shantz
- The Greater Westside Board of Trade's (GWBT) 2022 Key Excellence Awards took place on March 10:
- Jason Parkes Customs—owners of three wineries, one brewery, and one ciderhouse in West Kelowna—taking home the Tourism & Hospitality Award, which was sponsored by Kelly O'Bryan's. Other finalists in the category were: A View to Remember Bed & Breakfast, The Landing Kitchen + Bar, and WINGS West Kelowna.
- Kelowna Pride Society was the winner in the Arts and Entertainment category, while The Cove Lakeside Resort was a finalist in the Platinum Service Provider category and Kalala Organic Estate Winery was a finalist in the Environmentally Sustainable Business category.
- The Peachland Business Excellence Awards 2022 were handed out on April 30:
- BEEPS took home the Excellence in Tourism Award, sponsored by Vantage One Credit Union. Other finalists in the category were: Fitzpatrick Family Vineyards, Peachland Visitor Centre, Edgewater Marine Centre, Todd's RV & Camping, Okanagan ATV Tours, and ZipZone Adventure Park.
- Bliss Bakery & Bistro was one of two winners in the Staff of the Year category; they were also finalists in the Excellence in Food Industry category.
- After working together for several years to support the 2SLGBTQIA+ community, Kelowna Pride and Tourism Kelowna recently signed a Memorandum of Understanding to officially continue this work.
- The City of Kelowna recently announced Kelowna Made, a one-day community celebration that will be held on Saturday, August 27, 2022, in downtown Kelowna.
- Numerous local businesses have been showing their support for the people of Ukraine including:
- Big White Ski Resort raised more than $8,000 for Kelowna Stands with Ukraine through the sale of its yellow and blue toques along with a generous donation from an on-mountain business.
- Eldorado Resort is one of several area businesses that are supporting Ukrainians with employment opportunities and welcoming them to the community.
- Okanagan Spirits donated 100% of all proceeds from the sale of all its lines of Vodka for the entire month of March to the Ukraine Emergency fund through Canada's branch of the UN Refugee Agency UNHCR.
- The 2nd Annual Marriott International Western Canada Business Council Golf tournament, held at Black Mountain Golf Club, raised $15,000 in support of BC Children's Hospital and the Children's Miracle Network.
- Passengers at Kelowna International Airport were up 270.1% in the first quarter of 2022 as compared to 2021.
- Stan Martindale and Heather Schaub, both of whom served multiple years on Tourism Kelowna's Board of Directors, recently retired from their roles in the tourism industry.
- Big White is investing millions to upgrade and improve its resort for post-pandemic recovery.
- After being closed throughout the pandemic, the Okanagan Wine & Orchard Museum, located in the Laurel Packinghouse, has reopened.
- Both Kelowna Actors Studio and New Vintage Theatre are back with live shows.
- Thick as Thieves Entertainment is launching a new one-day outdoor music festival, Island Time, this July. Its signature event, Denim on the Diamond, has also been expanded to two days for 2022.
- Lakehouse Home Store has expanded and opened a second floor with more retail space and will be launching cooking classes this fall.
- QB Gelato & Bakery recently celebrates its 5th anniversary.
- The Regional District of Central Okanagan (RDCO) received the Community Excellence Award for Environmental Sustainability from the Southern Interior Local Government Association (SILGA) for its collaborative effort in developing a Regional Flood Mitigation Strategy.
- For the sixth consecutive year, Quails’ Gate Estate Winery has been recognized for overall business performance and sustained growth with the prestigious Canada’s Best Managed Companies designation. This is the winery's third consecutive year receiving gold status.
Food & Drink
- The Okanagan Table recently re-launched its cooking classes.
- Farming Karma will be launching a new line of vodka soda in the near future.
- Soul de Cuba Café has moved into expanded space at ONE Water Street.
- Maestro’s Mediterranean at Eldorado Resort
- Roma Nord Bistro at the Rotary Centre for the Arts
- Specialty Bakery has opened its fourth location in Glenmore
- Shaker's Cocktail Lounge at Urban Distilleries & Winery
Join us in congratulating all the award winners and recognizing all those who 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.