Grandma leaves the big city for retirement in Kelowna

I’d like to start off by explaining that I am not actually retired, but some days my back pain and 9 p.m. bedtime make me wonder if I should sell all of my assets (I have none) and retire. Anyways, I’ve lived in this retirement oasis of Kelowna BC for almost six months now and I figured I better give an update; maybe a fellow 70-year-old will stumble across this post and find some useful tips.


First of all, moving from a city of over one million people to a city of 120,000 (?), is going to be an adjustment for any grandma or grandpa out there. The slow pace might be a nice change from the hustle and bustle of the big city for some, however this grandma is having a hard time adjusting. For example, in Calgary, if you want to get a donair (the best food ever created), you have so many options! Even though sometimes you may have to drive 15 minutes out of your way to go to your favourite spot (here is one of my favourites in the city) it’s worth it! In Kelowna on the other hand, there’s one donair place in the whole city!!!! ONE!!! And it’s not even good at all!!! I realize this isn’t your average grandma problem, but it’s a problem for me. C’mon Kelowna get it together.

Another thing I’ve noticed about Kelowna is the lack of options for grocery stores compared to Calgary. They don’t have Sobeys or Co-op here, and there’s only one superstore for the whole city??? Ahmed and I went grocery shopping last weekend and I couldn’t believe how many people there were in one store! This grandma does not handle crowds well so it really stressed me out.

The nice thing about this retirement friendly city is all of the bike lanes and pathways! You know when you cross the street and there is the signal of the man walking? Here they have that, but they also have a picture of a bicycle so you know when it’s safe to cross the street on your bike! Kelowna is truly a great city for biking around, the cars respect the cyclists and we all get along! Unlike the bike/car hatred in Calgary where we want to run them over (kidding, mostly). These bike lanes would be really great if Ahmed and I didn’t live on top of a mountain and owned bicycles but maybe our next place we will be able to take advantage of this.

This is the view from our community

Grandma is also finding it difficult to make friends in this small city. It seems like everyone went to high school or university together and everyone knows each other. I’m glad I have Ahmed, he has been really supportive when I’ve been upset and missed my family, friends and dog back home. Grandma has joined a barre fitness class with my friend from work so I’m looking forward to that. Maybe next I’ll try some water aerobics! Fun fact I tried to sign up for chair fitness but you had to be 55+.

Overall, adjusting to life in Kelowna has been okay. However, it’s much more expensive here than it is in Calgary and I hate PST. The mountains are pretty and the lake is nice, Ahmed and I like to go for our evening walks to get some exercise before our 9 p.m. bedtime, so that’s pleasant. This big city grandma is struggling with the small-town feel, but maybe I’ll find a nice 70-year-old to take me under their wing and show me how to enjoy my retirement here.

Bye for now!

22-year-old G-MA

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