About The Okanagan

Quick Facts & Helpful Visitor Information

We've put together some quick facts about the Okanagan, sometimes mispelled 'Okanogan', to help you during you visit here. You may want to know the local time zone, banking hours, public holidays and such.

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You'll find that the Okanagan is a friendly and laid back place to visit - and live ;-).

We enjoy a relaxed lifestyle, in an area dedicated to tourism and quality lifestyle.

And one of the best things about the Okanagan are the Festivals & Fairs! We hope you enjoy being here as much as we do.

Time Zone

The Okanagan follows the Pacific Standard Time Zone (PST), which means time change twice per year.

In the spring we turn our clocks ahead ('spring forward') one hour, and in the fall we turn our clocks back ('fall behind') one hour.

For summertime, the time change is a benefit, as we enjoy longer daylight hours, which is one thing we love about the Okanagan, however, in winter, daytime ends early, around 4:30 in the afternoon.

Banking

Banking and financial institutions in the Okanagan are generally open from Monday through Saturday. Banking hours do vary by institution. You can find automated teller machines (ATM's) almost everywhere including malls, corner stores, gas stations, and at banks after hours.

Be wary, though, of extra charges for using ATM machines. These can range from $1.50 upwards, for the machine as well as charges from your own financial institute.

Currency

Our currency is the Canadian dollar. Canadian bills are in the 5, 10, 20, 50, 100 and 1000 dollar amounts. Though Canada once had a one and two dollar bill, those no longer exist. Rather, the $1 is a coin, also called the 'loonie' and the $2 is also a coin called the 'toonie'. You'll notice the difference in the two coins by the color. A loonie is gold colored solid, and a toonie is silver color with gold color in the middle. American money is generally changed at face value in stores. You should exchange American dollars for par at a financial institution or bank. Other foreign currency must be exchanged at a bank.

Language

The primary language in British Columbia is English. You will however, find French speaking personnel at government offices, and some financial institutions. What you'll notice about the Okanagan is that it is so culturally diverse, and you may also commonly hear other languages including Italian, German, Punjabi and East Indian dialects, as well as Asian dialect.

Law Enforcement

Law enforcement in the Okanagan is overseen by the Royal Canadian Mounted Police (RCMP) in all cities and towns. The telephone number for any emergency in the Okanagan is 911.

Public Holidays

British Columbia celebrates Canadian national public holidays as well as BC provincial holidays. Canada's birthday is July 1, which is a busy long weekend holiday in the valley. If you're here during that time, be sure to celebrate with us! Click here for all the statutory Canadian Holidays we celebrate.

Standard Of Measurement

Canada uses the metric standard of measurement for all forms of measuring including speed limits (kilometers per hour or km/hr) and temperature (Celsius). Distance is in centimeters, meters and kilometers.

Temperature: 32°F = 0°C (Basically 20 degree Celsius = 68 degree Fahrenheit, 30 degree Celsius = 86 degree Fahrenheit)

Distance: 1 mile = 0.6 km (Basically, 100 km/h = 60 MPH, 80 km/h = 50 MPH, 50 km/h = 30 MPH)

Telephone System

The Okanagan now uses the ten digit dialing system, which includes the area code. As well we now have more than one area code, including 250 and 778. In order to make a long distance call you must first dial '1', followed by the area code and number.

Canada country code is 011. To call Canada from another country, you have to dial: 011 + 1 + City Area Code + Number you wish to call.

Education

A great thing about the Okanagan is the University of British Columbia (UBC) Okanagan which is located in Kelowna. This full service university provides higher education opportunities for high school graduates, and others, who wish to pursue post-secondary education. It currently serves over 6,000 students. Kelowna transit system serves the university to provide ample transportation for students attending the school.

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