Cultural District

The Cultural District was developed in what was once the centre of the Okanagan's historical fruit packing industry. Through the dedication of the arts community, municipal leadership, strong community planning and major investments, the Cultural District has become the hub of Kelowna’s artistic and cultural activity.

The District’s six square blocks are home to the City’s cultural venues, including galleries, theatres and museums. There are also 18 pieces of public art on display, created by local, regional, national and international artists.  

Tour the Cultural District

There are great opportunities to tour the District and immerse yourself in the art, culture and heritage of the area. 

Digital Detectives Cultural District Scavenger Hunt

Every Thursday in June, the Okanagan Heritage Museum, Kelowna Art Gallery, and Rotary Centre for the Arts invite individuals and teams to tackle a self-guided Scavenger Hunt that will take participants on a fun and exploratory journey through these three spaces. Plus, those taking part will have a chance to take home awesome prizes. More information about the Scavenger Hunt can be found on any of the three participating organizations’ websites.

Culture District Walking Tours

Free, guided walking tours will take place Saturdays, 10-12pm September 25-October 23 during Culture Days .  

Self-Guided Tour Options

You can also take a self-guided walking tour:

TOUR BROCHURE    MOBILE-FRIENDLY TOUR

Make time to stop at some of the city’s cultural facilities during your tour:

Kelowna Community Theatre (including the Black Box Theatre)

1375 Water Street
250-469-8506 (Event Line: 250-469-8940)
theatre.kelowna.ca
Hours vary by show  

Kelowna Art Gallery

1315 Water Street
250-762-2226
kelownaartgallery.com

Okanagan Heritage Museum

470 Queensway Avenue
250-763-2417
kelownamuseums.ca

Okanagan Wine and Orchard Museum

1304 Ellis Street 
(inside the Laurel Packinghouse)
778-478-0325 
kelownamuseums.ca

Okanagan Military Museum

1424 Ellis Street
(inside the Memorial Arena)
250-763-9292
kelownamuseums.ca.

Rotary Centre for the Arts & the Mary Irwin Theatre

421 Cawston Avenue
250-717-5304 
rotarycentreforthearts.com

Okanagan Regional Library (Kelowna Main Branch)

1380 Ellis Street
250-762-2800
orl.bc.ca/branches/Kelowna

Alternator Centre for Contemporary Arts

103-421 Cawston Ave 
(inside the Rotary Centre for the Arts)
250-862-2298
alternatorcentre.com  

Kasugai Gardens

Queensway Avenue
(Beside City Hall)
250-862-9338
Open daily until dusk, except during the Winter Closure

For more information on private entertainment venues, galleries, restaurants, shopping and more, visit the Downtown Kelowna Association's website.

Supporting the Cultural District

A vibrant arts and culture community significantly contributes to the positive quality of life residents enjoy. There are a number of plans and initiatives underway to enhance the Cultural District and cultural facilities that will further strengthen this connection. Strategic growth of the Cultural District builds upon the Official Community Plan with the following plans, each focused on providing distinct benefits to the community.

Plans guiding growth of the Cultural District

 

2020-2025 Cultural Plan

As a community-based plan, the 2020-2025 Cultural Plan sets a course for the entire creative sector to provide accessible, diverse, and inclusive experiences, that uses resources effectively, leverages opportunities, is innovative and forward thinking and highlights the value of partnerships and cooperation.

Visit the Cultural Plan page to learn more about the five themes and how citizens, organizations and businesses across Kelowna can help support key initiatives. 

Cultural Facilities Master Plan

The primary intention of the Cultural Facilities Master Plan (CFMP) is to build on prior efforts to strengthen commitment to cultural facility development. In addition, the CFMP is intended to: 

  • Assess cultural facility usage within Kelowna, primarily municipally-owned cultural facilities (based on facility size, characteristics, usage, capacity, condition and demand)
  • Provide a description of the spatial needs of the local creative sector and address strategies for optimizing existing space or providing more space
  • Provide recommendations to assist the development of a City prioritization and decision-making process in addressing each municipal facility and the collective inventory
  • Provide common trends and examples in action that are applicable to the City of Kelowna and cultural facility usage and development from across Canada
  • Support the review and development of future City plans and initiatives including the development of the comprehensive Strategic Facility Master Plan

While the CFMP does cover a lot of ground, it is not intended to address individual artists (rather, the CFMP is primarily focused on the needs of local non-profit arts and culture organizations), for-profit facilities or sectors, public art or heritage assets (including analysis of the City of Kelowna’s Public Art collection, future public art commissions, or municipally-owned heritage assets) and prioritization of facilities. The CFMP does not go above and beyond the context and priorities of larger City of Kelowna infrastructure needs as outlined in area plans such as the Civic Precinct Plan. Learn more about the CFMP by reviewing the Fact Sheet.

Development of the CFMP has been underway since late 2018, with the gathering of raw data from cultural facility operators and community stakeholders to not only help in the development of the CFMP, but also to help form key strategies when it comes to space as part of the development of the 2020-2025 Cultural Plan. One-on-one interviews were held with 43 non-profit arts and culture groups to garner firsthand perspectives on current facility use and conditions, satisfaction levels, threats, space sharing and future plans. Check out the Cultural Facilities Engagement report for more information on what we heard.

Next steps in the development of the CFMP in 2021 include formal condition assessments on municipal cultural facilities, re-engaging with the cultural community and seeking feedback on draft key recommendations and preliminary action steps.

Learn more about the Cultural Facilities Master Plan:

The public is invited to learn more about the Cultural Facilities Master Plan and explore the proposed action times by attending a virtual presentation on Tuesday, June 15, 4-6:00pm, Wednesday, June 16, 11:30-1:30pm or Wednesday, June 30, 10:30am-12:30pm.

Register by filling out the form below:

Cultural Facilities MasterPlan Engagement Registration

If you are unable to join those sessions, visit the Rotary Centre for the Arts and check our the display on the second floor. The storyboards will be posted for viewing until July 5.

Lastly, if you are unable to view the display in person, please check out the storyboards virtually.

Civic Precinct Plan

The Civic Precinct Plan outlines long-term (25 year) land use plans for the Cultural District as a destination to live, work, shop, learn and play. The plan establishes the City’s goals for the redevelopment of sites by defining future land uses, design guidelines, public space enhancements and partnership opportunities that will position the area to become a vibrant mixed-use district.

The Civic Precinct Plan outlines a long-term vision (25 years) as well as priority actions for the near-term (first 5-10 years of the plan) including the identification of key sites to support downtown living, while also protecting sites for future civic uses to support the growth of the Cultural District. 

As Kelowna continues to grow, we are working to ensure its arts and culture community grows with it. The Civic Precinct Plan, 2020-2025 Cultural Plan and Cultural Facilities Master Plan are roadmaps that will be used to guide growth that not only meets the needs of this distinct community but Kelowna as a whole.