Campus Towns: Thompson-Okanagan Region

With a median age significantly higher than the rest of the province, this region has proportionally the lowest working-age population but higher than typical unemployment. Almost a quarter of B.C.’s agricultural jobs are here. Projected growth of jobs 2018-2028: 21.4% (19,500 jobs). B.C.’s Lanour Market Outlook: 2018 Edition, from WorkBC

By Charlene Rooke



Where: Located by the Kelowna International airport in the hub city of the Okanagan.
What: A reputation for teaching excellence, a strong co-op program and affiliation with UBC’s main Vancouver campus are all drawing cards.
Size: 500 acres, 9,000 students, 80 programs.
Community: Visit the Hangar fitness facility and FINA Art Gallery or attend more than 200 public events a year, including a speaker series, lively UBC Dialogues discussions and an annual Nobel Night.

Kelowna single-family residential properties values were up 7% in 2019 (average value $632,000); condo values were up 10% (average value $376,000). The U-Eight development on the UBCO campus is the final building in a phased program that has sold out quickly: register now for a first look at 90 planned homes by the Mission Group.


Where: A Kelowna home base with campuses in Penticton, Vernon, Revelstoke and Salmon Arm plus an Oliver learning centre.
What: The Kelowna campus has a Trades Complex and a Health Sciences Centre under construction. Penticton has wine and viticulture, construction management, criminal social justice and kinetics programs; Vernon has a new early childhood education certificate along with a writing and publishing diploma; Revelstoke has a tourism management diploma.
Size: 9,000 students and 130 programs across six locations.
Community: A new federally funded BC Beverage Technology Access Centre in Penticton will provide testing, services, research and small-business support to the wine, beer, cider and spirits industries. Watch for Wine Talks lectures in Penticton from experts in the industry. Take a self-guided tour at na’ʔk’ʷulamən Garden at the Kelowna campus, celebrating Indigenous plants.

TRU Conference Centre. Photo courtesy



Where: At the junction of the North and South Thompson Rivers, TRU emphasizes rich campus life, research opportunities and flexible learning options, including online and international study. A Williams Lake campus offers small class sizes in a brand-new facility.
What: Trades and technology plus nursing, science, law, education, business/economics, arts and an adventure, culinary arts and tourism facility are TRU’s foundations.
Size: 250 acres, 28,000 students, 140 on-campus programs (plus 60 more online).
Community: Enjoy a meal at the Accolades Dining Room, part of the Culinary Arts Training Centre. There are a dozen spaces at the TRU Conference Centre for your meeting or event; take a free guided tour of its extensive Horticulture Gardens, which include theatre and gazebo event venues.

Kamloops single-family residential property values were up 8% in 2019 (average value $431,000) and condo values were up 8% (average value $248,000). Register now for the on-campus Creston House development by Cape, which will have one- and two-bedroom units (some with den). It’s part of the Reach, a campus neighbourhood expected to house 7,500 people over the next two-decades.



Where: The Merritt campus is housed in a building that has received three major architectural awards; the institute also has a Vancouver campus.
What: B.C.’s public post-secondary Indigenous Institute is committed to Indigenous culture, tradition, and knowledge. It focuses on social work and human services, business, environment, education, health, justice, trades and university-transfer programs. A new culinary arts program started this year.
Size: 1,500 students, 40 programs, two campuses.
Community: Health and saftey courses (like Foodsafe and first aid) are offered to the public through Continuing Education here. NVIT programs are also delivered to First Nations communities throughout the province.

Merritt single-family residential property values were up 9% in 2019 (average value $266,100); condo values were up 10% (average value $137,300). Recent listings such as a half duplex for $130,000 move on the market quickly.

Photo courtesy

Everton Ridge Homes

Kirschner Mountain

Predator Ridge