Kelowna's tourism and hospitality businesses, and their team members, are regularly recognized for their outstanding work; here are some of the recent award wins and achievements.

Community & Industry

The annual BC Tourism Industry Awards were handed out in Victoria on March 5 as part of the BC Tourism Industry Conference, with two Kelowna-based businesses bringing home awards:

  • Ogopogo Tours was awarded the Ministry of Tourism, Arts & Culture – Accessible Tourism Award, which, in part, “recognizes a BC-based tourism business/attraction that has made a significant contribution towards making BC an inclusive and welcoming destination for everyone.”
  • Gerald (Gerry) Lafortune of Wicked Tours won the GoRVing Canada – Customer Service Award, which “recognizes frontline employees whose exceptional customer service contributed to outstanding travel experiences for visitors.”

We would also like to recognize Big White Ski Resort, who was also a finalist for the Accessible Tourism Award, and Katharina Reimann, Ebus’ Passenger Experience Representative here in Kelowna, as she was also a finalist for the Customer Service Award.

The Lake Country Business Excellence Awards were handed out at the end of February. Tourism Kelowna President & CEO, Lisanne Ballantyne, was delighted to present the Tourism Excellence Award to Wood Lake RV Park and Marina. For more information on the award winners, click here

Kelowna Women in Business will host its first annual Rise Awards on March 18. Maxine DeHart, City of Kelowna Councillor and Director of Sales for Ramada by Wyndham Kelowna Hotel & Conference Center, is a finalist for the BDC Woman of the Year Award, while Karyn MacKenzie (DunnEnzies Pizza), Erin Day (Day’s Century Growers), and Alexandra Babbel (Opera Kelowna) are among the finalists for the Crowe MacKay LLP Change Maker Award.


Chef Brock Bowes, co-owner and Executive Chef of The CrAsian Food Truck, Provisions Kitchen, and BoxcAr, is representing Kelowna as a competitor in season 8 of Top Chef Canada, which kicks off April 13 on Food Network Canada.

Chef Bowes, Chef Tina Tang (Predator Ridge), and Chef Prasad Chavan (Best Western Plus Kelowna Hotel & Suites) will be competing next week at the provincial qualifier for The Culinary Federation's Sysco National Senior Chef Challenge 2020. The provincial qualifier for the Chef's Hat National Young Chef Culinary Challenge will also take place, with Chef Lucas Colton (Predator Ridge), Chef Daisy Oliva (Sunny's Modern Diner), and Chef Jak Jared Callahan (Jack's Pizza & Liquor) competing.  

Amuse 2020, which features some of the Okanagan’s “best chefs, mixologists and purveyors of fine food and drink” competing to win best bite, best sip, and best pairing, took place March 8. The winners were:

  • Best Bite: Dungeness Crab Salad from 50th Parallel Estate Winery
  • Best Sip: Cider Mai Tai from Orchard Room
  • Best Pairing: Carrot Tartare from Modest Butcher with 2019 Riesling from Mt. Boucherie Winery

On March 7, Western Living Magazine announced their Foodies of the Year 2020 winners, which included Kelowna’s Brian and Christina Skinner, Chefs and Owners of Frankie We Salute You!


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Health & Wellness

The Okanagan Lavender & Herb Farm’s ‘Sensitive Face Serum’ and ‘Nomad’ Lip Balm are finalists in the 5th annual Clean Beauty Awards, an independent global competition that “celebrates the very best performing products, created with the healthiest ingredients, from around the world.” 


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Earlier this year, Jason Wobshall and Katie Jenion from Players Choice Sports won the 2020 Steve James Award at the Upper Deck Certified Diamond Dealer Conference, which is presented “for tireless efforts in engaging customers with interactive programs and improving the hobby for future generations.”

Congratulations to all the winners and good luck to all those still in the running! Please share your award wins or notable achievements by emailing me at