The history of Kelowna is shared throughout our city on plaques, in front of character homes, and in photos along our infamous trails but the way this story is told becomes broken up and out of sequence. In order to get the full picture, the Kelowna Collective crew decided to enjoy a brand new walking tour company in town called Sip N’ Stroll Tours. We wanted to hear more about how Kelowna came to be from start to finish! Being taken to a few restaurants along the way to get a taste of the local drink scene was icing on top of the cake! On our first walking tour in Kelowna I honestly can’t believe how much I learned considering I’ve lived in Kelowna for over 9 years.
We were greeted at the top of Stuart Park by the founder of Sip N’ Stroll tours, Lee Caroll. The first thing she did was hand us all beautiful yellow umbrellas. I am a huge fan of the show ‘How I Met Your Mother’ so to be the girl with the yellow umbrella definitely made for good photo opportunities. The brightness of the umbrellas also made us very noticeable on the streets of Bernard and no one was able to stray too far from the group or get lost. The group had both locals and tourists; ranging from BC to Saskatchewan this round.
Starting underneath the bear statue, we moved along to different landmarks, historical monuments, and some hidden local gems. My favourite part about the tour was when we got to slow down, stop, look, and learn about the history behind certain parts of the downtown core I’d never noticed before.
There were a few stops that really opened my eyes. For example, I had always noticed the Stuart Park bear had unique items inside of it, but I had actually never bothered to inquire about the story behind the monument. The statue near the BMO bank has always been a mystery to me, but now I know exactly why it’s there and the hilarious story behind it. The Kasugai gardens have always been a favourite place of mine, but I did not know about why it was built, the work that goes into it every day, and why it is such an important piece of land for our community. These were just a few of the spots Lee took us to that really opened my eyes. The rest I will leave for you to venture out and experience yourself!
The sip spots were an added bonus! What I loved most was they were all restaurants with a historical tale to tell. We walked into one and were surrounded by Canadian sports history, one showcased what it was like to be in the prohibition period and another embraced the railway history.
Every day I walk past buildings that have been standing for almost a century and it’s easy to just accept them and look past the struggle it took for them to get there. The history of Kelowna goes quite deep, it’s full of humour, masked with drama, and all of it has made Kelowna the community it is today. I would highly recommend this experience to any local or tourist alike. It helps you truly appreciate our community and learn about Kelowna’s history. Not only will tourists get to understand Kelowna on a deeper level but they also get to learn about the restaurants and local experiences you cannot find on Trip Advisor. It is an activity anyone 19+ can enjoy, taking in some fresh air, getting exercise, and learning about all things Kelowna.
Lee decided to start her business after many years of experiencing walking tours on her travels. From learning about the history of the Hollywood scene in Los Angeles, to experiencing ghost tours in New Orleans, she couldn’t believe with all the history in Kelowna we didn’t have one as well! This is what drove Lee to start Sip N’ Stroll tours this summer and we at Kelowna Collective could not be more happy and supportive of this new company venture!
For just $25.00 per person you can book a tour with Lee and sip and stroll through the downtown core. Go check out Sip N Stroll’s website or give them a follow on Facebook or Instagram in order to see how you too can #FollowTheYellowUmbrella!