Students and B.C.’s food industry will benefit from the new Centre for Food, Wine and Tourism once it opens on the Okanagan College Kelowna campus, a centrally located school in the heart of wine country.
The centre will focus on addressing the labour shortage in food and tourism, supporting homegrown education in culinary arts, local food and beverage production, and hospitality services.
“The tourism and hospitality sectors are facing challenges in finding and keeping skilled workers, and Okanagan College is a leading provider of culinary and tourism programming in the province,” said Selina Robinson, Minister of Post-Secondary Education and Future Skills. “This investment will ensure people can access world-class training supported by industry in the Okanagan, and can then go on to pursue a rewarding, meaningful career in the region’s equally outstanding hospitality industry.”
The Province is providing Okanagan College with $44.8 million for the new Centre for Food, Wine and Tourism, which will include modern teaching spaces, food labs, beverage research and development facilities, and common spaces. The centre will bring together all food, wine, and tourism programming on campus. It will also be home to the Okanagan Chef School and the college’s fully functioning, student-staffed restaurant, Infusions. The new centre will also allow Okanagan College to expand their culinary enrolment by more than 125 students a year, and hospitality and tourism enrolment by 450 students per year.
Facts about the Centre for Food, Wine and Tourism
- Construction is expected to begin this year, with the centre opening to students in 2026.
- The total cost of the project will be $48.8 million.
- Okanagan College will contribute $4 million toward the project, working with Okanagan College Foundation, community and industry partners to meet this commitment.
- As part of its food, wine and tourism offerings, Okanagan College will continue to work with Indigenous communities to develop and implement programming that reflects local and regional Indigenous cultures, foods and connection to the land.
- The Centre for Food, Wine and Tourism will be a hybrid mass timber building with the project targeting Step 3 of the BC Energy Step Code, the highest attainable level for this building type and occupancy.
- The project design will consider accessibility, include gender-neutral washrooms, and target the Rick Hansen Foundation Gold Certification, exceeding B.C.’s Building Accessibility Handbook.
- Okanagan College received $71.5 million provincial funding for student housing for campuses in Vernon (100 beds), Salmon Arm (60 beds) and Kelowna (216 beds) as part of a separate project addressing student housing.