Okanagan Expansion

By Barbara Risto, INSPIRED Senior Living Publisher on Jul 7, 2015

During the past year we have been consistently increasing the number of magazines we distribute throughout the Okanagan Valley.

We decided to announce our expansion efforts to our readers by making July 2015 our first official Okanagan cover and feature Kelowna entrepreneur Marjorie Horne in front of Kelowna's iconic waterfront 'Sails' sculpture.

I met Marjorie about a year ago on a fact-finding trip to Kelowna and was immediately impacted by the sincerity and determination with which she approaches everything she does in life.  I knew hers was a story we would tell our readers someday.

We asked Marjorie to wear clothes created by Canadian fashion designer Simon Chang, also featured in the July issue. Low and behold, she took up the photo challenge like a pro.

Unbeknownst to us, Marjorie was a model during a period of her life, so this was a piece of cake. With the help of one of our veteran writers, Irene Butler, who was visiting family in Kelowna, the photo session and interview came off with only the slightest of hitches. Funny how things work out sometimes!

Last week I spent a couple days in Kelowna. I caught up with Marjorie and was able to personally put the first copy of the July issue into her hands.  She was delighted with the finished product and even more thrilled to learn that a copy was making its way onto the set of one of her favorite Hollywood television shows.  (I'll tell you what that's all about in a future post).

It was at least 10 degrees hotter than our BC coastal weather, and like everywhere, dry as tinder. The forest fires burning throughout the province hadn't yet spread their ash so the skies were clear. The craggy sun-scorched hills thrusting up from the brilliant blue Okanagan Lake with vineyards and orchards nestled at their foot, made a day trip between Kelowna and Penticton one of the most spectacular drives I've had in recent record. I made a short pit stop in Peachland where a beachside bistro called Bliss caught my fancy. (See photo below -- the view is spectacular isn't it?)

Continuing through Penticton, I made my way to Naramata, a mecca of vineyards. With names like Laughing Stock, Red Rooster, Black Widow, Misconduct, Elephant Island, Tightrope, Monster and Therapy, how could you choose just one? And aren't you dying to know the stories behind the names?

Friendly greetings and helpful advice from strangers and new acquaintances throughout the trip made me feel ultra welcome. It is what draws visitors back to the Okanagan, time and again, I'm sure. Besides the lake and the wine.

Visitors frequently turn into residents, and the Okanagan is ready to accommodate. The Okanagan-Shuswap housing market is strong, up about 10 per cent from 2014.... a good sign for residents wanting to sell, and for new buyers who want to know their investment will continue to appreciate in value.

New developments continue to spring up, offering entry level dwellings from $150 per square foot and luxury homes up over $500 per square foot. The exquisite views of Okanagan Lake make lot selection a key element of the decision making process. Regardless of location, though, your dream home can become reality since the Okanagan does not lack when it comes to inspired designers, architects and builders.  From townhomes to custom villas, imagination and elegance are in every detail.

The Okanagan has a steady population influx coming from both east and west.  Prairie people pull up stakes and make the move, seeking more temperate winters.  And Vancouverites find they can purchase a similar lifestyle and free up some handy cash for the pursuit of leisure activities, or to begin that small business they always dreamed of. Leisure and small business are both flourishing in the Valley.

The Okanagan is a preferred travel and retirement destination for many Senior Living readers. Our September edition will feature this unique region, providing an opportunity for Okanagan businesses and organizations to showcase their products and services to over 150,000+ monthly readers throughout the Okanagan and across British Columbia.

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