First month in Kelowna

Chris and I have lived in Kelowna for five weeks now.  It feels longer because so much happened in September.  I am constantly analyzing this most recent move and comparing Kelowna to Victoria and Manitoba.  Even though I know it’s way too early to make judgments, I still want to share my initial impressions with you:


  • The Okanagan Valley is exceptionally beautiful. Chris and I have really enjoyed going on drives along Okanagan Lake and into the hills where there are many orchards and vineyards.  The leaves are changing colours dramatically, and it’s becoming more beautiful every day.

  • No complaints about the weather: It has been mostly warm and sunny.  There is hardly any wind.
  • The condo we are renting is in a holiday resort, so the amenities are really nice. Our suite is on the sun deck and meters from the pool (now closed) and hot tub.  We are also thrilled to have a barbeque again and have been using it almost daily.  The fitness room is next door and at least Chris is getting a lot of use out of it!

  • We both have jobs in fields we are trained and experienced in. Sometimes I miss how easy my clerical job was back in Victoria, but it feels good to be challenged again and using my professional skills.
  • My position is a really good opportunity for me. I miss being a school counsellor in Manitoba like crazy, but here I get to be a teacher again, albeit in a very alternative environment.  The school just turned an unused classroom into a ‘Zen Den’ dedicated to mindfulness and self-regulation.  Among other things, I get paid to teach yoga to small groups of students with anxiety.  I love it!
  • Since moving to Kelowna, I started taking my first course toward my Master of Counselling Psychology and it’s going really well so far. Unlike massage therapy, this program feels like an excellent fit for me.  I’m very comfortable in it and look forward to opening up my books every day.

  • There seems to be a lot of outdoorsy things to do here. We haven’t scratched the surface yet, and I look forward to more hiking, biking, and eventually snowboarding in the Okanagan Valley.

  • Oh yeah, and there’s a lot of great wine here! We popped into three wineries last Sunday and it made for a fun and tasty afternoon.  It’s not a cheap hobby, so there’s little chance of us becoming winos.  But if you come to visit, we’d love to take you on a winery tour, if that’s your thing!

My cons list is at least as long as the pros list (so far), so stay tuned and I’ll save it for another post.

Thanks for reading!

A Day Trip to Protection Island

Chris & I took a passenger ferry to Protection Island, a virtually car-free residential island in the Nanaimo Harbour…

Our most recent day outing was to Protection Island, which is just off the coast of Nanaimo.  This was a spontaneous trip – neither Chris or I had heard of Protection Island until that same morning when we were looking for something different to do.  I found it on Trip Advisor while looking for activities in Nanaimo.  It was a fun and interesting discovery!

The drive from Victoria to Nanaimo took less than two hours.  We parked the car at the Nanaimo Harbour and walked along the scenic Harbour Walkway to fill time before the ferry departure to Protection Island, which occurs every hour.  The small ferry, dubbed the ‘Protection Connection’ was more like a water taxi.  We shared the boat with a combination of tourists and Protection Island residents.  The residents were identifiable by their pull carts filled with groceries and the punch cards they used to pay for their trip; we paid $9 for a return trip.

About ten minutes after departing Nanaimo Harbour, we pulled up to the Dingy-Dock Pub, the island’s only commercial business and the main draw for visitors.  It was a gorgeous day and Chris and I sat out on the floating dingy-dock and ate crab cakes while watching the boats go buy and soaking up the warm sunshine.  Our server came over on the same ferry as us, and we all agreed that she had a pretty sweet daily commute!


After our lunch, we set out on a walk around Protection Island.  We soon realized that the island has a pirate theme going on.  All the streets, which are gravel roads, have pirate themed names like Treasure Trail and Captain Cook Lane.

As I already mentioned, the pub is the island’s only business, but there are a couple hundred lovely homes on large wooded lots.  Most of the houses seem fairly new and are built in West Coast style.  I didn’t take many photos of the homes, but here is one humble cabin tucked in the woods.


Protection Island is also home to huge cedar and fir trees, arbutus and Gary oaks, abundant colourful flowers, and an idyllic sandstone coast line.  And did I mention there are no cars?!  The residents all seem to get around on golf carts.  The complete lack of vehicle noise made the place very quiet, and the birdsong very apparent.  We saw some residents working in their gardens, and one guy on a bike, but that was about it for people beyond the Dingy-Dock Pub.


We spent about an hour on Smugglers Beach.  As has become the pattern, I explored the beach while Chris had a nap in the sun.


I suspect that most of Protection Island residents are retirees, but there are definitely families with children living here as well.  The island has a small playground, a baseball field, a fire hall, a community hall, and a large community garden, with a sign inviting guests to help themselves to the produce laid out on a table and to leave some for others.  A bulletin board at the pub (shown below) explained that the island has its own community association that deals with matters like garbage and recycling.


Most places we go, I end up fantasizing about what it would be like to live there, and Protection Island was no exception.  An island with no vehicle ferry service means a lot of extra factors to consider – a big mind shift for those of us reliant on our cars.  What a huge lifestyle change it would be!  It would probably be a little too quiet for Chris and me to live on Protection Island at this point in our lives, but we will definitely go back to visit!



Thanks for reading! If I piqued your curiosity about Protection Island and would like to learn more, here are a couple sites you may be interested in:

Tourism Nanaimo – Protection Island

Ahoy Guest House

Protection Island Real Estate