Osoyoos (IPA: /ɒˈsɔɪjuːs/) (Pronounced “O-sue-use”) , a town in the southern Okanagan valley of British Columbia, Canada. The Osoyoos region's semi-arid climate produces very hot, dry days, and may have Canada's hottest weather a few times each year. The chief industries of Osoyoos are fruit production, viticulture (wine making), and tourism. The town has over 5200 permanent residents as of June 2010.
The Osoyoos area has long been home to the Okanagan people (who speak the Syilx language), an Interior Salish people who still live in the valley, from the head waters of the Okanagan Lake, downstream to near the Okanagan river's confluence with the Columbia River in present-day Washington, though the traditional territory once encompasses the entire Columbia River. Like many places in the British Columbia Interior, the Osoyoos area was named by the Okanagan people. Osoyoos (O-sue-use) or (Sou-yoos) in the Syilx language describes a "narrow" waterway or where land almost meets, which refers to the cinched waistline of the 19km long Osoyoos Lake (5km of which is in the USA). The Okanagan people are thought to have first lived in the area around 3500 to 4000 years ago. There are indications that non-native travellers may have been here in the 1500’s, and also that Spanish conquistadors came here searching for Eldorado: they got as far as Kelowna before they and most of their horses died during a severe winter. It was not until the early 1800s that trappers and traders arrived, followed by gold miners and then ranchers. A fairly young place, in terms of settlers, who found the area too hot and dry in the summer. The first commercial orchard was planted in 1890, and when the South Okanagan irrigation canal was built in 1919, the town of Osoyoos began to grow and was thus incorporated in 1946.
The Okanagan Basin area around Osoyoos is an area of notable ecological significance. Habitat types include wetland/riparian, grassland/shrub-steppe, coniferous forest, and rugged terrain. This wide assortment of habitats supports extensive biological diversity. Nearly half the bird species in Canada are found here along with many plants that exist nowhere else in North America, or in some cases the world.
Osoyoos is situated just north of the Canada-US border, and the border crossing is the busiest in British Columbia outside of the Lower Mainland.
The climate is desert-like with summers that are generally hot and very dry (just over 300 mm (12") of annual precipitation), resulting in one of the Provinces longest growing seasons, and the warmest summer daytime average temperature in Canada (27.9°C). Normally, daily temperatures in July and August average near 30°C (86°F), with overnight lows of around 14°C (57°F). September and October are usually warm and pleasant. Winters are short but can be somewhat cold with average lows around -5°C (24°F) in January. Spring arrives early with the return of warm and pleasant weather in April. Current weather conditions and historical climate data can be found online at Environment Canada .
Osoyoos is in the south central interior of British Columbia, approximately 400 Km east of Vancouver at the junction of Highways 97 and 3 near the border of Washington State. Most travelers will arrive by automobile and try to schedule their holidays to coincide with the Spring and Fall Wine Festivals. Osoyoos is also a popular summer holiday destination and has gained an enviable reputation as the community of choice for retirees who wish to escape harsher Canadian winters. All in all, it's a true "lifestyle community," where people go to enjoy the good life.
There is a small airport in Osoyoos, the ICAO name of which is CBB9, with a single paved 2,800 foot long runway running 12/30.
The closest major airport is in Kelowna BC 150km to the north car rental avalible Vancouver, 400 km to the west-southwest. There is also a regional airport in Penticton, which serves domestic flights; Canada Customs services are available upon request.
Greyhound operates coach service with connections from all other British Columbia cities. The local depot is at +1 250 493-4101.
There is no public transport, though the town is small enough that getting around on foot or bike is suitable. As with most destinations in the Okanagan, getting around by car is the best way to see all the sights.
The viewpoint on Anarchist Mountain. Due to the close proximity to the US border, Highway 3 east had to be built straight up and over this mountain rather than going around. Gaining hundreds of meters of elevation in a very short stretch of road, the viewpoint at the top affords great views west to town, and south into the US.
Osoyoos Museum, 19 Park Place, +1 250 495-2582 . Don't forget to visit the Osoyoos museum, know to be the "Best Small Town Museum in B.C." The museum features one of the finest displays from the archives of the B.C. Provincial Police. There are Indian artifacts, the first Canada Custom's House in the early 1800's, an 1879 log building, and the only liquor distilling apparatus to be found in a B.C. museum. Also of interest are artifacts from the local pioneers, miners, ranchers and farmers that struggled to reclaim this desert. It is open from the May long weekend until Labour Day Weekend.
Osoyoos Desert Model Railroad, 11611 - 115th Street, +1 250 495-6842 . Multiple trains running on over a kilometer of HO scale track. Unintuitively, the theme here is of European towns and villages. There is a gift shop on site. $5 adult, $3.50 children.
Osoyoos Desert Centre, 9202 - Hwy 97, +1 250 495-2470 . This ecological interpretive centre provides guided and self-guided tours along a 1.5km boardwalk through the desert, teaching the local flora and fauna of this unique area. $6 adult, $15 family.
Nk'Mip Desert Cultural Centre, 1000 Rancher Creek Rd, +1 250 495-7901, toll free (in BC) 1 888 495-8555 . Another source of insight into the desert flora and fauna, this one from the perspective of the natives. Self-guided and guided cultural tours on over 2km of trails. Desert animals available for viewing including a live rattlesnake show. $12 adults, $8 children (ages 5-17), $36 families.
Nk'Mip Cellars, 1400 Rancher Creek Rd, +1 250 495-2985 . The first native owned winery in North America, and the second in the world. Often has special events such as a traditional salmon barbeque matched with not so traditional wines. Daily tastings.
Haynes Point Provincial Park, Surrounded by warm water and sandy beaches, Haynes Point sits on a pencil of land jutting into Osoyoos Lake at the southwest end of the town. The water is reported to be the warmest in Canada making it excellent for swimming, boating and fishing. Lakeside campsites and privacy make this a popular camping area. Reservations are necessary during the summer months, call: 1-800-689-9025.
Hit the beach on Osoyoos Lake. Osoyoos Lake is the warmest fresh water lake in Canada and provides for great summer time activities. Bring your boat or just sit on the beach and enjoy the day.
Pioneer Walkway: One of the many spots in Osoyoos where you are greeted by visitors and locals alike. The walkway is located along the lakeshore, and in the middle of the Motel district. Admire the plants and enjoy the scenery.
Take a Horse drawn carriage ride through town. Lakeview Carriage Co, +1 250 498-9624.
Desert Country Wine Tours, +1 250 498-7316 . If you don't have a car this may be the best way to see the over 30 south Okanagan wineries. Prices vary depending on length of the tour: $40-$80.
The Osoyoos Golf & Country Club brings together an ideal desert climate and picturesque Okanagan surroundings. Perched high above the Town of Osoyoos, vistas of mountains, lake, desert and valley on two full eighteen hole championship layouts offer all golfers a unique golfing experience. Tee times: +1 800 481-6665
Nestled among rolling desert hills and lush vineyards just east of Osoyoos, the Sonora Dunes Golf Course offers a one-of-a-kind nine hole desert links course. The breathtaking views of the lake, vineyards and surrounding mountains ensure golfers will enjoy this unique experience. For tee times call +1 250 495-GOLF.
Annual Cherry Fiesta don't forget about the Osoyoos cherry fiesta which is held every year on July 1, Canada Day. Many events are planned through out the day, including a pancake breakfast, parade, the Cherry Spitting competition, and at night we have the Fireworks display. Don't miss out on all the festivities and excitement!
Lake Osoyoos Sailing Club: Feel the power of wing during a three hour introduction to the sport of sailing. The program is offered by the Lake Osoyoos Sailing School and generaly runs during July and August of each year.
The Osoyoos Art Gallery is open year round. Local artists and craftsmen exhibit and sell their work May through September. Individual and group exhibitions run Oct through April. The gallery is staffed entirely by the efforts of generous volunteers and is managed by the Osoyoos Arts Gallery Committee. The gallery is wheelchair accessible and hosts over 7000 visitors annually.
Ambrosia, 6910 Main St., +1 250 495-2227. Get cozy at Ambrosia - the perfect diner style restaurant to sample both Western and East Indian Cuisine.
Bibo Wine Bar, 8316 Main St., +1 250 495-6686. Inventive salads & sandwiches for lunch; tapes, entress and fondues for dinner. The largest selection of BC wines in town.
Bombay Grill Restaurant, 5506 Main St., +1 250 495-4765. Featuring Indian Cuisine for lunch and dinner buffets.
Breeze Bar & Grill, Main St., and Spartan Dr., +1 250 495-3274. Great food, great cocktails and the best patio downtown.
O' Delights Bakery, 8323 Main St., +1 250 495-2899. Come by O'Delights Bakery for a wide variety of fresh baked goods, smoothies, specialty coffees and daily chef specials. Start the day with their made to order breakfast, starting at 7:30AM M-F and 8AM Sat. Catering services are also available.
Campo Marina Italian Restaurant, +1 250 495-7650. Voted the most popular restaurant in the South Okanagan, the atmosphere will make you feel like you are in Italy, with fine dining, freshly made bread and fine wine.
Diamond Steak and Seafood House, +1 250 495-6223. Fantastic souvlaki, kalamari, and other Greek specialties as well as steak and seafood. Extensive wine selection.
Golden Chopsticks, 8527 Main St., +1 250 495-8092. Serving authentic Chinese and Japanese food. Your choice of five kinds of tea with every meal.
Lotus Buffet Chinese Restaurant, 8311 78th Avenue, +1 250 495-8013. Good Chinese food for lunch or dinner.
Kismet Cafe, 103-8309 Main St., +1 250 495-0785. Great coffees and expressos, breakfast and lunch with the newspaper...just like home.
Sol Grill Room and Lounge, +1 250 495-6884 - watch the sun set and take in the beautiful view of Osoyoos Lake while enjoying superb cuisine served with elegance and grace. Extensive wine selection.
Wildfire Grill, +1 250 495-2215. The menu provides an innovative culinary experience featuring globally inspired cuisine using indigenous ingredients of the region.
The Sonora Room at the Burrowing Owl Winery. The perfect marriage of food, wine and ambiance is often an elusive quest. But now, British Columbia's south Okanagan region is home to the ultimate epicurean experience, offered at the Sonora Room at Burrowing Owl Estate Winery's new fine dining restaurant.
Passatempo Restaurant at Spirit Ridge +1 250 495-8007. A bistro-style restaurant situated amidst vineyards and orchards overlooking Lake Osoyoos. Enjoy their focus on regional products, fresh ingredients and friendly service.
Promenade Wine Bar at Walnut Beach Resort +1 250 495-5400. Offers mouth-watering tapas and meals that can be enjoyed with friends and family in-suite, in-doors or alfresco on the balcony.
Smitty's Restaurant 8906 Main St., +1 250 495-6333. A family friendly place for your dining needs from full breakfasts to dinners.
Dolci Deli and Catering main street +1 250 495-6807. European deli café with excellent fresh sandwiches on in-house baked bread. Licensed with a private backyard patio. Organic espresso bar and gourmet deli meats/cheeses for takeout.
Osoyoos Golf and Country Club, +1 250 495-3355. Three dining areas, extensive decks and patios overlooking a beautiful panorama of orchards and lake below. Casual and warm hospitality are the norm with “clubhouse” fare and daily features.
Desert Surfside Motel. Escape the crowds and enjoy the small town charm of Osoyoos, BC’s hottest vacation and travel destination. This is a brand new complex that is right on the beach. An elevator assists speedy movement and offers wheelchair access to every room on the property. All rooms are non- smoking and offer kitchens to create simple or deluxe meals. Amenities on the property include beach BBQs and designer patio furniture for individual or group gatherings, bike rack, wireless internet, and some units have phones.
Del Ray B&B. It is brand new, has spacious main floor rooms with private entrances and ensuites with jacuzzi tubs. It is situated in the middle of an apple orchard and while you relax in the gazebo you have a spectacular lake view. You can either rent a room with breakfast or a one bedroom suit by the week. the hosts, Bob & Phyl are very friendly and helpful.
Cabana Beach Campground and RV Park offers family campers one of the nicest sandy private beaches in Osoyoos. There are a dozen rv sites, with electric and water hookups, situated right on the waterfront overlooking the lake and sandy beach. There are more accommodations inside the main campground. Unique tenting sites with "cabanas" (a cooking shelter, with water tap, electricity, sink, light and optional fridge rental). Also full hookups are available for motorhomes up to 30 feet and trailers up to 25 feet. (Larger RVs are unable to be accommodated at this time). Camping cabins are also available for weekly rental (bring own bedding). This campground has seen many generations of happy campers! Reservations are recommended for July and August. Your hosts: Gary and Alison. Sorry, No pets.
Coast Osoyoos Beach Hotel. Canada Select 3.5 star hotel. The Coast Osoyoos Beach Hotel lies on the tranquil shores of Osoyoos Lake and features 250 feet of private beachfront, making it a perfect summer destination to visit with family and friends.
Spirit Ridge Vineyard Resort & Spa Canada Select 4.5 star resort. A true oasis, Spirit Ridge Vineyard Resort & Spa places you in the heart of south Okanagan’s rich cultural landscape and wine county in Osoyoos, British Columbia, an area know as "Napa of the North". Surrounded by dramatic sun-drenched landscapes, miles of vineyards and views to Lake Osoyoos’ warm, blue waters, Spirit Ridge’s Osoyoos vacation rentals are within reach of desert golf, luxurious spa experiences and unique cultural opportunities at the cultural centre.
Holiday Inn & Suites Osoyoos The Holiday Inn Hotel & Suites in Osoyoos is the ideal family destination year round!
Walnut Beach Resort Nestled on the shores of Canada’s warmest lake, Lake Osoyoos, and surrounded by breathtaking mountain views, Walnut Beach Resort features 110 suites, an 800’ private sandy beach, outdoor pool, wine bar and meeting facilities for up to 150 people.
Watermark Beach Resort This luxury Osoyoos lakefront resort is in the centre of the town of Osoyoos on the shores of Osoyoos Lake. The resort consists of a main building that houses 123 suites on four stories as well as 30 Beachfront 2 Bedroom suites spread out in 5 separate buildings along the shores of Osoyoos Lake. This 1.8 hectare resort encompasses over 1,000 feet of beachfront along the shores of Osoyoos Lake. All of the suites contain fully equipped gourmet kitchens as well as private balconies.
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