Prior to the construction of the current W.R. Bennett Bridge, which opened in May 2008, the crossing of Okanagan Lake was over the old Okanagan Lake Bridge.
The Okanagan Lake Floating Bridge connected Kelowna to the Westside of the lake and the road to the southern Okanagan. It was opened in 1958 by Princess Margaret and WAC Bennett, a Kelowna businessman who later became Premier of the province of B.C. At the time that the bridge was built, there were only 2 others like it in the world. Prior to the construction of the bridge, a ferry transported vehicles across the lake.
The bridge spanned 1400 meters and was made of floating pontoons. The floating pontoons provided for the rise and fall of lake levels and responded to movement in high winds. The lift portion was raised to 265’ allowing ships to move freely through the lake. A third lane was added to the floating bridge in 1985.
The current bridge was named after former Premier William R. Bennett. It is five lanes in width and almost 1063 meters in length. It remains the only floating bridge in Canada and is arched so that boats can pass under without a lift span.
Many of our Okanagan wine tours would not be accessible without the bridge allowing for easy access to all of the valley.
Distinctly Kelowna Tours is one of Kelowna’s largest wine tour companies, offering winery tours, sightseeing tours, agri-tours, culinary tours and adventure tours throughout the Okanagan Valley to individuals and corporate groups.