Downtown Kelowna
Downtown KelownaiStock

A new mikvah that opened recently in Kelowna, British Columbia is the first of its kind in the interior of the Canadian province.

Prevously, Orthodox Jewish residents in the area had to travel the long distance to Vancouver or Calgary, Alberta to observe the religious ritual.

The Okanagan Chabad House opened Mikvah Chaya Mushka on February 21, CBC News reported. The center is located south of downtown Kelowna in the city’s metro area.

The Jewish population there is growing. It doubled from 595 in 2016 to 1,225 in 2021.

The Chabad House raised $46,000 to construct the mikvah. It was built by certified mikvah builders from New York and Minnesota.

"Everybody is so excited – it's really a cornerstone of a Jewish community, like you have a synagogue," Fraidy Hecht, the rebbetzin of the center, told the news outlet.

Before the addition of the mikvah to their community, local Jews either had to use the area’s lakes during warm weather for ritual bathing or had to make the trek to mikvahs in Vancouver (240 miles) or Calgary, Alberta (375 miles).