On Monday, June 24, the team at Okanagan College and students from its Culinary and Tourism programs were joined by government officials and community partners to celebrate the kick-off to the construction of the new Centre for Food, Wine and Tourism.

The new centre, expected to open for students in 2026, will include modern teaching spaces, food labs, beverage research and development facilities, and common spaces. The $55.8-million project received $51.8 million in provincial funding, while Okanagan College provided the remaining $4 million.

"This building will be the gateway to campus, welcoming students, community and visitors while at the same time showcasing the region as a world-class destination for culinary experiences and so much more," says Okanagan College President, Dr. Neil Fassina. "This is the place where the next generation of leaders in hospitality and sustainable food and beverage production will come to learn, gain essential work experience, and to build connections that will last a lifetime."

Centre for Food, Wine and Tourism Groundbreaking 2

"The new Centre for Food, Wine and Tourism at Okanagan College will help meet the critical needs of our tourism and hospitality industry, while building a resilient future of educated professionals and top-trained expertise to reinforce the Okanagan Valley's reputation and brand as Canada's centre of culinary, beverage and tourism excellence," says Tourism Kelowna President & CEO, Lisanne Ballantyne.

Through 2033, 91,900 job openings are expected in BC's tourism- and hospitality-related industries, including 9,700 in the Thompson-Okanagan. Investing in Okanagan College's new Centre for Food, Wine and Tourism is a part of StrongerBC's Future Ready Action Plan, which is making education and training more accessible, affordable, and relevant to help businesses grow and prepare British Columbians for the jobs of tomorrow. 

Click here to read the full press release.