Today, the City of Kelowna has within its limits a boating organization both power and sail, which is second to none in the entire country. A new handsome clubhouse will soon stand on a site purchased from the City of Kelowna in 2011. Behind the club is one of the finest marinas in Western Canada, providing moorage accommodation for approximately 1000 boats of different kind and sizes. The present successful position of the Kelowna Yacht Club is an outstanding testimony to the many, many thousands of man hours contributed both in work and interest by many members throughout the intervening years and without any direct cost to the City of Kelowna.
Above Left: The result of five years of untiring effort by the executive to get a home for the Yacht Club.
Above Right: These buildings were the original radio station CKOV. Later the magistrate’s offices. Purchased from the city and moved to our premises in early 1951.
During the fall of 1945, a group of power boat owners and others who were interested in the future of boating in Okanagan Lake met to discuss ways and means to form a club and promote boating of all kinds in and around Kelowna. For various reasons at that time, there was very little interest or activity in boating anywhere in the Okanagan, and with the Second World War just over this group of men believed something could and should be done about it. In the meantime, recognizing the need for launching facilities, the members (by volunteer labor) provided a launching ramp. A clubhouse was also believed to be a necessity if the club was to function efficiently, and in 1951 a start was made on this objective when the former building housing the local radio station on Mill Avenue (now Queensway) was purchased, moved and added to.
As a result of the first discussions, several meetings were held throughout the winter of 1945–1946 and action was taken in regards to two objectives. One was the matter of incorporation as a fully functioning boating organization, and the other was the provision of protected moorage facilities. The first objective was achieved when in September of 1946 the Kelowna Yacht Club was incorporated and granted a charter under the Companies Act of the province of British Columbia. The second objective required more time, but by the year 1950 this objective was also realized.
Some years prior to the Second World War, there had existed a relatively small and inadequate breakwater, built by the Federal Government, in part of the area now occupied by the present breakwater. Over the years this had fallen into considerable disrepair and was of very little use in providing protection for moorage and, of course, there were no moorage facilities behind it. The newly constituted Kelowna Yacht Club, through many individuals, made representation to the Federal Government which resulted in the old breakwater being removed and a larger and much more adequate one being built. The Kelowna Yacht Club then proceeded to provide moorage facilities behind this breakwater.
In the meantime, recognizing the need for some launching facilities, the members (by volunteer labor) provided a launching ramp. A clubhouse was also believed to be a necessity if the club was to function efficiently, and in 1951 a start was made on this objective when the former building housing the local radio station on Mill Avenue (now Queensway) was purchased, moved and added to.
From the beginning in 1945, financing was required for all the objectives undertaken, and borrowing was the means used. This has been mostly from local banks, or in some cases, the membership. All borrowings have been repaid with the required interest with monies provided from revenue derived from membership fee, moorage fees and bar operations. No money has been received from any other sources and no request for financial assistance has ever been made to any other possible source.
Extending over the years from 1945 and including the current year 1969, well over one hundred and fifty thousand dollars has been expended for capital outlays including the moorage facilities, both open and covered stalls, dry moorage and the clubhouse and also a work boat equipped with motor. All operating costs such as upkeep, repairs, minor renovations and insurance have been paid as required. A full-time staff of three men are now employed compared with one part-time man in 1951. These operating costs required many thousands of dollars in addition to the capital outlays.
Your executive hopes the future of the Kelowna Yacht Club is one of continuing progress and success in the interest of better but affordable boating on Okanagan Lake.
The original charter of the Kelowna Yacht Club contained six names: Cecil Newbury, Jack Coops, Harry Mitchell, Dr. Len Panton, George Sutherland and Sidney Hubble. This was the group that met on the upper floor of Harry Mitchell’s store in 1945.
The old radio station, bought in 1951, was purchased for $150.00 out of a kitty of $245.00. The clubhouse was expanded and renovated in 1965 and again in 1986.
The moorage in 1951 contained 38 “stalls”, 35 of those were rented. The moorage was expanded and upgraded in 1957, 1979, 1994 and 2004. Upgrades have continued from 900 marina slips in 2011 to 1,006 marina slips in 2013.