The pumpkin spice lattes are out in full force, the trees are varying shades of autumnal colours, and the weather is cooling down, but things are still smoking hot for Kelowna’s LGBT2Q+ community.
As you may have heard, Kelowna Pride recently announced a brand new queer wine festival, set to launch this fall. OUT in the Valley will be the first event of its kind in the country. In addition to that exciting news, there are even more reasons to feel gourd (get it?) about fall in Kelowna.
Leaving behind corporate careers in big city Vancouver to open an authentic gelato shop in Kelowna may sound like a dream, but for Kevin Bojda and Victor Laderoute it is reality.
Kevin and Victor moved from Downtown Vancouver in February 2017, opening QB Gelato at 1884 Dayton Street in June of the same year. Whether you’re a local or a visitor, you have to try their delicious treats! They also make more than ‘just’ gelato. Serving lunch Monday through Friday, they specialize in soup, bread, and an ever-changing dessert menu as well.
Through all that they produce, Kevin and Victor are committed to supporting local and using real, raw fresh ingredients. Their soups and gelato are all made from scratch. In fact, they’re pretty unique in this regard, with only 2% of the overall gelato industry committed to this practice.
That commitment is part of what inspired the couple to move to the Okanagan. The availability of local ingredients – from fresh milk to a plethora of herbs, berries, fruit, nuts and wine – meant Kelowna was a perfect spot to turn their gelato dream into a reality.
Of course, it wasn’t solely the local ingredients that brought Kevin and Victor to the Okanagan, as they admit to being attracted to the topography of the area – the mountains, the valley – and of course the lake! When they’re not at QB, they love exploring the entire Okanagan. Whether it is discovering new wineries, hiking trails or a farm.
Like many locals and visitors, the duo are fans of the culinary and beverage scene in Kelowna. You might find them at Fixx Café, enjoying a Wards Cider, at a big, established winery like Mission Hill, or at a more boutique spot like TH wines. Ultimately, they are passionate about supporting local and enjoying the beauty our region has to offer (both visual and tasted).
Not that it was all plain-sailing for the couple, as they admit to some initial trepidation at leaving Vancouver’s LGBT2Q+ community behind to move to a smaller centre. However, they have been pleasantly surprised by Kelowna’s thriving LGBT2Q+ scene and inclusive atmosphere, noting that:
“There are so many incredible champions in this community from Tor Broughton speaking to what it is to be a transgender youth, to Loyal Wooldridge elected as the first openly gay man to sit on Kelowna City Council. It is an inclusive community!”
The couple believe that they “couldn’t be happier” here in Kelowna, and we certainly couldn’t be happier to have them. QB Gelato hosted MX in October 2018 (MX is Kelowna’s premium networking event for the LGBT2Q+ community) and they were a smash hit!
So, according to Kevin and Victor, what should visitors know before they come to Kelowna? “Support local! Take the time to find the local gems and speak to the small business owners and inquire who they recommend. You’ll be surprised by what you uncover.” You could do worse than to start at QB Gelato! You can find QB Gelato on Facebook, Instagram (@enjoyqbgelato), and via their website – QBGelato.com
As the third largest metropolitan area in the Province, behind only Vancouver and Victoria, there are always activities and events happening in this vibrant and beautiful city. Regardless of the time of year, there are numerous LGBT2Q+ activities, including: hiking, boating, skiing, dining, and exploring over 8000 acres of vineyards!
One of the best ways to experience the LGBT2Q+ culture of Kelowna is to visit during our Pride week. Founded in 2007, Kelowna Pride traditionally occurs about 2 weeks after Pride in Vancouver. Kelowna Pride welcomes over 5000 attendees annually and is a fun and safe way to celebrate the diverse and accepting Okanagan community.
Kelowna overflows with different ways to experience our world-famous wine culture. Before you slip on your best wine drinking attire, try putting on your runners and conquering one of our beloved hiking trails! Besides, what’s better than rewarding yourself with a crisp glass of Sauvignon Blanc after an excursion?
Wine, wine, and more wine! Now that we have your attention, allow us to share with you some of the best wine tours around Kelowna. No matter what varietal is your favourite, there are countless choices among the Okanagan’s 150+ wineries. Many can be found just minutes from downtown Kelowna. Below are some of our favourites!
Want to skip the mountain’s and enjoy some of the Okanagan’s beautiful beaches instead? No problem! Grab your friends, head down to the lake and enjoy the sunshine and sand while you play. Below is a list of the amenities at Kelowna beaches. There is a variety of activities available, including: beach volleyball, wakeboard, water ski, paddle board, jet ski, sail, and jet packs. You are sure to find something for everyone.
Walk this way: wandering downtown Kelowna is an excellent way to experiencing the city. As you strut down the famous boardwalk along the water, be sure to stop into Kelowna’s brand new Downtown Visitor Centre. They can help with bookings and answer any questions you have about our lovely city. The waterfront is flourishing with restaurants, cafes, galleries, theatres and museums. When it comes to experiencing Kelowna, your options truly are endless. A couple of musts include: Tree Brewing and Okanagan Spirits Craft Distillery to sample locally made craft beer and spirits; The Bohemian Café’s amazing brunch; Wasabi Izakaya for a local twist on traditional ramen; and don’t forget to leave room to sample Thai Terrace’s wonderful menu! After dinner catch a show at the Rotary Centre for the Arts, the Kelowna Community Theater, or Prospera Place. Check out the list below for more information on local activities:
– Actors Studio – Dinner and a show? The Actors Studio is the only licensed dinner theatre in Kelowna and offers a four-course dinner with their evening shows that is specifically paired to the show playing. They also offer vegetarian options!
– Kelowna Art Gallery – Visit the Kelowna Art Gallery to get a look at the work of some talented local artists! If you visit on a Thursday, expect free entrance, as well!
– Festivals Kelowna – There is a festival for everyone throughout the year in Kelowna but if you are a music lover be sure to keep your eye out for the free live concerts offered at various parks throughout the summer!
Travellers to Kelowna have a wide range of places to stay, from hip, modern hotels to budget friendly lodgings. Below is a list of some of our favourite spots:
– Delta Grant Okanagan-Located right on the beach downtown Kelowna, the Delta Grand is a favourite for many of our LGBT2Q+ friends. They are also sponsors of Kelowna Pride Week! Everyone wins!
– Manteo Resort – Besides being a previous host to the National Pride Conference, this lakeshore accommodation offers a fun vibe for visitors.
– Coast Capri Hotel – Within walking distance to the Okanagan lake and some of Kelowna’s best nightlife, Coast Capri is a top choice for all. Coast Capri is a popular spot for LGBT2Q+ events! Make sure to check out what’s happening when you’re there!
– Hotel Zed – Groovy baby, yeah! Hotel Zed is known for being funky, fun, and fabulous. Hotel Zed also is a wonderful supporter of the local LGBT2Q+ community, partnering with FruitCake and other organizations to host events.
Wine & Food
Kelowna has one of the most dynamic dining scenes in the Province and is the home of the “Canadian Culinary Championships.” Everything from local organic ingredients, to unique twists on B.C. cuisine can be found in Kelowna. Check out the list below for some of our favorite places to eat and drink!
– House of Rose – Provides an intimate tasting experience for you to enjoy their award winning wines. They are also an Annual Wine Sponsor of Kelowna Pride and a partner/host of StompOUT
– View Winery – The name says it all. Check out the view here and know that you are supporting a business that participates in Kelowna’s annual Sugarplum Ball!
– Wards Cider – Calling all cider lovers! Stop by Ward’s and try a taste of the Okanagan valley. Their cider has been made with locally grown apples using a family recipe since 1922. Sip happily, knowing Wards is a participant in the Sugarplum Ball.
– Perch– Perch Lounge is exactly as it sounds. Perched above the city you can enjoy incredible views of Kelowna from this sexy rooftop patio.
– Muninn’s Post – Always an entertaining venue, Muninn’s is a regular host of Drag Shows by Jenna Telz and concerts by local bands. They also provide a selection of board games to play while you eat and drink at this Viking themed tavern.
With so much to explore in all four seasons, you would need several trips to see and do everything there is to offer. However, we can suggest a few of our favourite things to start with:
– Big White Resort – World renowned powder, Big White is a hotspot for international and local visitors alike. An annual host of Peak Pride, Big White has everything you’d want a ski resort to offer, and more.
– Wild Play – So. Much. Fun. Make like a monkey and swing around at Wild Play Kelowna.
– Wibit Floating Waterpark – It’s time to play! Grab your swim wear and head down to Wibit to experience some serious lake action.
– Beaches– Of course you came here to work on that tan! Check out this link for more information on the public beaches!
– Boat Rental – You can’t visit Kelowna and not get out on the famous Okanagan lake. Slip on your shades, cruise along the water and check out Kelowna’s boating community
– Biking – A fantastic way to view the city, hop on your bike and discover Kelowna on wheels! No bike? No problem! Drop Bikes are now available in Kelowna! Check out the link for more info on cruising Kelowna.
Don’t say we didn’t warn you! Kelowna is home to some of the Province’s most eclectic events and is sure to keep you busy no matter which season you visit in. Here is a list of some of the top LGBT2Q+ events!
– Annual Pride Celebrations -Every year during the month of June you can expect to find the city out and about celebrating in style! Some of the events you can attend include:
– Annual Trans March and Social – Everyone is welcome at the Annual Trans March! Be sure to stay afterwards for refreshments and fun at the Social!
– Kelowna’s Next Drag Superstar – You will want to grab your tickets early for this event! 2019 will be it’s 8th year and tickets always sell out quickly.
– Pride Festival and March – A fantastic way to experience the inclusiveness of Kelowna! Expect to be surrounded by 5000+ like-minded people with an endless list of activities to do, entertainment to watch, and vendors to visit!
– Annual StompOUT – Come and get your stomp on! Hosted by House of Rose Winery, on September 22nd come out for live music, wine and grape stomping!
– Sugarplum Ball – “An evening for everyone.” The Sugarplum Ball just completed their 3rd annual event. Over 400+ people attended, and it has been named the “most inclusive and welcoming event in Kelowna”. Fun fact, it’s named after our Mayor Sugarplum!
– Fruitcake at Sapphire Night Club – Kelowna’s only “monthly queer safe & ally encouraged party” features live drag performances and is held at Sapphire!
– Monthly Networking Events – Hosted by the MX, this is a great way to introduce yourself to some of the local professionals in the region!
– Peak Pride at Big White Resort and Sun Peaks Resort- Held in March and April, Peak Pride is a truly Canadian experience. This is an inclusive weekend made even more magical by the backdrop of B.C.’s beautiful mountainous region.
– Drag Shows: Hosted by local drag queen Jenna Telz! As the only full time Drag Queen in Kelowna, keep an eye on social media for information on monthly shows at different venues around the city!
We weren’t joking when we said “A getaway to Kelowna has never looked so good.”