This 3,500 resident town is just above the Canada-US border. The east side of Osoyoos Lake is home to a sand desert that extends 48 kilometres north to Skaha Lake, and forms Canada’s only “pocket desert.” The climate and terrain here is similar to Spain’s leading to the adoption of Spanish building styles. Since 1974, the town has been rebuilding on the theme “Spanish Capital of Canada.” The US border crossing is just 4 km south of Osoyoos.
Osoyoos lies on the Crowsnest Highway #3 the southern route of the Trans Canada Highway (247 km East of Hope, 1144 km east of Princeton, 114 km W of Grand Forks) near the very south end of Okanagan’s Highway 93 (63 km south of Penticton, and only 4 km from the Oroville US border ctossing)
The town’s name comes from the native word for “narrowing of the waters” because of its location at a narrowing of Osoyoos Lake. The town decided in 1964 to creatively recycle its sewage, rather than polluting the lake. The treated effluent is used to water the sparkling greens on the golf course, which doesn’t allow any golfing for a few hours after the watering.
The town has 19 kilometres of sandy beach lining one of Canada’s warmest freshwater lakes. The town is home to a waterslide park and Mt Baldy Ski Area.
The area around Osoyoos was inhabited primarily by the Syilx (Okanagan) people who established villages along the shores of Osoyoos Lake. Today, they are represented by the Nk’Mip Band with offices east of Osoyoos. European explorers, fur traders, and missionaries began arriving in the early 1800s. he Hudson’s Bay Company established Fort Okanogan near present-day Osoyoos in 1811.
As settlers moved into the area, agriculture and ranching became important industries. The warm climate and fertile soil in this part of soutern BC are conducive to growing a variety of crops. The introduction of irrigation techniques, and the construction of the South Okanagan Lands Project, revolutionized agriculture in Osoyoos.
Osoyoos grew as a popular tourist destination due to its warm climate, picturesque surroundings, and recreation. Osoyoos Lake, as Canada’s warmest freshwater lake, was a major draw for visitors. in the laste 1900s, the the renowned Okanagan Valley wine-producing region experienced significant growth, and Osoyoos area vineyards and wineries boosted the local economy and tourism.
14580 146th Avenue, Osoyoos, BC V0H 1V2
(east on Road 22, 7.5 km north of Osoyoos)
This 100 hectare desert is the northern extreme of the American Great basin Desert, which extends all the way to Mexico. Since 1921, much of the area has been transformed by irrigation, except for this reserve of unspoiled desert. The climate supports several rare plants and animals. Look for burrowing owls, turkey vultures, pacific rattlesnake, bats, black-headed grosbeaks, antelope bush, sage, rabbitbrush and prickly pear cactus.
8 km west on Crowsnest Highway 3
This 12 hectare lake has heavy dissolved concentrations of various minerals including copper, silver, gold, sulphates, and epsom salts. These rise to the surface into plates that “spot” the lake’s surface. Natives called the lake “Klilok” or medicine lake, and believed that a soak brought both youth and wisdom. The lake is on private property, so viewing is from the highway.
5 kilometres west of town
Great viewpoint over the town and the lake
Banana Farm at Fernandes Market
on Highway 3, 1 km east of Highway 97 website
The only banana farm in Canada, with produce for sale at the Fernandes market.
Touch of Holland Windmill
1.4 km east on Highway 3
A replica of an 1816 Dutch windmill, complete with lower level living quarters. Stones grind flour on the upper level, with baked goods made on site with the mill’s own flour. Open may to September, Monday to Saturday 8 am to 5:30 pm, and Sundays 8 am to 2 pm; Open Monday to Saturday 9 am to 5:30 pm the rest of the year.
Gyro Community Park
This park has an 1891 log building, typical of late 1800s pioneer homes, and a provincial police exhibit covering its history since being established in 1858 during the gold rush. There are also displays of early mining tools, Indian artifacts, a moonshine still and butterflies. Open June to September.
11.5 from Osoyoos, on Mount Baldy Rd, off #3 east
This turn of the century ghost town was the home of those working the Cariboo mine from 1887 to 1903. It is said that there is still buried treasure in the area, including two gold bars stolen at gunpoint from mine officials. Do not venture beyond fenced areas.
Mount Baldy Ski Area
18 km northeast of Osoyoos, on Mount Baldy Road, off Highway 3 east
This ski area has 12 runs with over 550 metres of vertical drop.
Haynes Point Provincial Park (Swiws Provincial Park)
5200 Lakeshore Drive, Osoyoos, BC
(2 km south of Osoyoos)
sẃiẃs Park is located within the traditional territory of the Osoyoos Indian Band. Since time immemorial, the Osoyoos Indian Band’s Okanagan ancestors have inhabited and cared for the lands and waters within their traditional territory. This 38 hectare park with campsites (all assigned names by the locals) features a distinctive sand spit that reaches ¾ of the way across Osoyoos Lake. The remaining stretch can be waded across (its chest-deep) and was used as a ford by the herders working the pioneer Haynes Ranch. The park also features some unique animals, the tiny Calliope hummingbird, yellow bellied marmots, pygmy horned toads and painted turtles.
Nk’Mip Desert Cultural Centre
1000 Rancher Creek Road, Osoyoos, BC
(loacated east of Osoyoos)
This award-winning cultural center offers educational exhibits about the Indigenous history, culture, and wildlife of the South Okanagan region.
Osoyoos Desert Model Railroad
11611 115th Street, Osoyoos, BC
This large indoor model railroad exhibit showcases intricately detailed miniature scenes of the desert, vineyards, and railways.
5502 Main Street, Osoyoos, BC
This family-friendly amusement park features a variety of rides, mini-golf, bumper boats, and arcade games.
Here are the wineries in & around Oliver & Osoyoos:
Black Hills Estate Winery
30880 Black Sage Road
RR# 2 S52 C22 Oliver BC V0H 1T0
(250) 498-0666 fax: (250) 498-0690
Hours: Open daily 11 – 5 pm during Wine Festivals; Weekends May 1 – October 31 and Tuesday – Sunday; July 1 – September 30.
Burrowing Owl Vineyards
100 Burrowing Owl Place
Black Sage Road,
Mailing: RR 1, S.52, C. 20 Oliver, BC, V0H 1T0
(250) 498-0620 Toll Free:1-877-498-0620 Fax: 1-250-498-0621
Winemaker: Bill Dyer
Founder Jim Wyse is committed to ecological balance to produce world-class wines being produced. Their creative viticultural and enological practices include more than 100 bluebird boxes and two bat nurseries to devour insects, instead of using insecticides and pesticides. Since 1997, the winery has been producing wines under its own label. Restaurant on premises. Restaurant Reservations: 250-498-6202. Hours: Wine Shop open daily, 10:00 am – 5:00 pm from May – November. Tasting available for a $2 donation to the Burrowing Owl Recovery Society. Tours: By appointment only.
Carriage House Wines
32764 Black Sage Road, Oliver, BC, V0H 1T0
Winemakers: Dave Wagner
Hours: Daily 10 am to 6 pm May through October, any other time by appointment. Tours: Available by appointment
Winemaker: Anna Heinecke
The winery is nestled in the valley on the Upper Beach near Crawston. Named after Highway #3 which is also known as the Crowsnest Highway.
Facilities include dining lounge, patio and newly designed wine and gift shop.
Hours: May-Oct, open at 10:00 am – 6:00 pm & Nov-April 11am-4pm Friday, Saturday, Sunday & Monday. Tours: By appointment only
Desert Hills Estate Winery
RR#1 S-52, C-11 Oliver, BC V0H 1T0
Winemaker: Olivier Combret
Hours: daily, 9 am to dusk
13147 334th Street Oliver BC V0H 1T0
(250) 498-2211 Fax: (250) 498-2130
Winemaker: Bill Eggert
Hours: 1 – 5 pm; Tours: By appointment
Forbidden Fruit Winery
620 Sumac Road Cawston BC V0X 1C0
The winery is located in the very southern end of the Similkameen Valley right on the Similkameen River, surrounded by natural desert habitat and old growth river bottom forest. The family farm has been Organic since 1977, recieving Certified Organic Status in 1984, the year BC began certification. Fruit varieties grown include Asian Pears, White Peaches, White Cherries, and for icewine varieties (apples, pears, cherries etc.). Signature wines are Asian Pear off-dry, White Peach Dessert and Iced Apple,
Winemaker: Kirby Froese
Hester Creek Estate Winery is one of British Columbia’s most awarded estate wineries, and is located just south of Oliver in the scenic “Golden Mile.” Hot, sunny days and cool, refreshing nights, yield fruit flavours of an intensity not found in grapes grown in the warmer, southern regions of the world. Hours: 10 am – 5 pm daily; Tours: Three times daily
Winemaker: Sandor Mayer Hours: May – October, 10 am – 5 pm; Tours: May – October, 11 am & 3 pm daily
38691-97th Highway 97 N.
PO Box 1650 Oliver, BC V0H 1T0
(250) 498-4981 Fax: (250) 498-6505
1400 Rancher Creek Road Osoyoos, BC V0H 1V0
Winemakers: Randy Picton
The winery site, on a bench overlooking the shores of Osoyoos Lake, is one of the most attractive in the South Okanagan adjacent to a tract of natural desert land which contrast with the newly planted vineyards and orchards. Over 230 acres of prime Vinifera and French Hybrid grapes are grown on these South/West facing slopes used by several B.C. wineries including Andre’s Wines, Summerhill Winery, Gehringer, Nk’Mip Cellars, Mission Hills, and Vincor International for their award winning wines. Hours: Summer: open 9 am – 7 pm; Winter: open 10 am – 4 pm
2320 Oliver Ranch Road Oliver, BC
Hours: open 11:00am – 5:00pm
2152 Barcelo Road Cawston, BC V0X 1C0
Nested among the almond and walnut trees of the Similkameen is Canada’s first and currently the only strawbale winery. The family owned winery named after the mountain overlooking the winery is owned by John and Virginia Weber . Orofino means Fine Gold in Spanish.
hours: May-Oct 10am-5pm daily; winter by appt.
Silver Sage Winery
32032 87st, Road #9 Oliver, BC V0H 1T0
(250) 498-0310 or (604) 939-0326
Winemaker: Joe and Andrew Ritlop
Site 95, Comp 8 Keremeos, BC V0X 1N0
Located near Keremeos, the winery has operated since 1978 under the direction
of Winemaker Joe Ritlop. The slopes of the River are the homes of St Lazlo’s vineyards.
The wines are organically produced from the vine to the bottle. The wines have a full body style.
Grape varieties include Tokay, Perle of Csbade, Chaunac and Verdelet
Icewines are produced too. The winery also produces some sensational tasting fruit wines.
Winemaker: Sandra Oldfield
Visitors will find a lush vineyard with views of the grape crush pad, and impressive interior galleries overlooking the stainless steel tanks, oak barrels, and the cellar below. The self-guided tour of the winery and vineyard enables visitors to stay as long as they wish with ample learning opportunities about the winemaking process. The wine shop & tasting room staff will answer any questions after your tour. Buses and groups are welcome. Special or guided tours can be arranged by appointment. Winter hours: 10 am-5 pm October – May; Summer hours: 10 am-6 pm May – October
Annual First Nations Event, Rodeo Hwy 3 (26 km east of Keremeos) 250–499-5528
Oliver Arts & Culture Week
Handworks Gallery with local artists & open house at PawPrints Gallery, Weaver’s Workshop, quilters open house & Showcase of Talent with 12-18 year old performers. Weavers open house, Art Club Show, Sage Valley Singers concert, songs of the 40’s. Quails Nest Arts Centre, Oliver 250-498-0104
Okanagan Valley Music Festival
Oroville (just south of US border)
Caribou Trail Reining and Cow Horse Association
Okanogan County fairgrounds.
12 49ers Day celebration with packers’ gathering, parade, food cook-offs and more. Winthrop (just south of US border) 888-463-8469
Elks Rodeo & parade
Rodeo events on Saturday & Sunday. Elk Rodeo Parade & lawn mower races on Monday at the rodeo grounds. Famous pancake breakfast in Memorial Park Rodeo Grounds, River Rd, Keremeos 250–499-5175.
Winthrop Rodeo Days
Winthrop (just south of US border) 509-996-2125.
Molson Mid-Summer Fest
Old Oroville Days.
Oroville (just south of US border) 509-476-2739.
Many events are planned through out the day, including a pancake breakfast, parade, the Cherry Spitting competition, and at night end with a Fireworks display. Oliver 250–495-7142 or 1 (888) 676-9667.
Canada Day celebration Memorial Park, Keremeos 250–499-5225.
Celebrate Canada Day with a pancake breakfast, parade, cherry pit spit contest, fireworks & more. Osoyoos Community Beach & Park 250-495-7132
Kinsmen Rodeo and Dance
Kinsmen Rodeo Dance at Community Centre 498-3127 Rodeo Grounds 250-497-6934
BC Day celebration
Memorial Park, Keremeos 250–499-5747.
Rendezvous Blues Festival
Smith Point Orchard, Oroville. (just south of US border) 509-560-3301
Winthrop (just south of US border) 888-463-8469.
Annual Fall Apple Day
Mini fair to celebrate the best of life in apple country Grist Mill, Keremeos 250–499-2888
Memorial Park, and Victory Hall for dinner and dance. Harvest festival of peppers with music, dancing, food and vendors Memorial Park, Keremeos 250–499-5300
Okanagan Wine Festival
Consistently ranked as one of the top wine festivals around, the Okanagan Fall Wine Festival is sure to leave a lasting impression on wine lovers. With over 100 events on-hand to help celebrate the fall harvest during this 10-day celebration, you’re sure to be impressed. various locations around the Okanagan 250 861-6654
Christmas Lite-up Parade
Parade, Christmas festival, food, music, games and lighting, with evening social at Victory Hall. Downtown Keremeos, and Victory Hall 250–499-5225.
Bluegrass Country in Osoyoos
Bring your musical instrument & join in a weekend of jam sessions & band scrambles, or just stop by to enjoy some great musical entertainment. Various locations in Osoyoos 250-495-6515
Christmas Light-Up & Craft Fair
Kick off the holidays on Saturday with the annual Osoyoos Christmas Light-Up, Santa Parade & carolling in the streets. Breakfast with Santa & craft fair on Sunday. Various locations in Osoyoos 250-495-7723
Festival of the Grape
Experience live music, great art, fabulous food & shop for distinctive gifts while sampling award winning wines. Kiddies have fun at the Chateau De Kids venue. Come & uncork the fun & enter the Festival’s Grape Stomp. Join us noon to sundown Oliver Community Park 250-498-6321
Music in the Park
July & Aug
Local musical performers from rock & roll to country to classical entertain at these casual outdoor concerts. Thursday evenings during July & August. Lions Park, Oliver 250-498-0183
Tinhorn Creek Concert Series
May – Aug
Outdoor concerts are held at the Vineyards own Amphitheatre. Watch for individual ticket sales on the first of each month, for that month’s concert. Tinhorn Creek Vineyards Amphitheatre, Oliver 250-498-3742
Annual Taste of Our Valley
A festival of harvest including food, drinks, art, music, artisan and a silent auction. Since 1999. Victory Hall, Keremeos 250–499-5300