It’s not what you look at that matters, it’s what you see.
-Henry David Thoreau
Life in the Okanagan is rich. It’s like living in one of Mother Nature’s private gardens where She has cultivated a sanctuary with the adventurist in mind. Love the water? Explore the dozens of lakes and more than 7,000 acres of sandy beaches. Relish the slopes? Ski world class resorts with the best powder Canada has to offer. Enjoy a hike? Traverse the hundreds of kilometres of local trails. And at the end of the adventure settle down and relax with a glass (or two) of wine from any of the local award-winning wineries.
So what makes the Okanagan so unique? Approximately 10,000 years ago as the glaciers began their retreat the region was formed. The landscape of low hills with its string of lakes was left behind along with deposits of sediment which, in combination with erosion and flooding, contributes to the valley’s rich agricultural history.
The valley lies in the rain shadow of the Cascade and Coast mountains which shapes the region’s sunny and dry climate. Notable for its hot and dry summers with mild winters, the Okanagan receives over 2,000 hours of sunshine annually and the valley has become internationally recognized as one of the top wine regions.
While traditionally known for tourism and retirement more and more people of all demographics are calling this area home. Statistics Canada just named the Kelowna area as the fastest growing metropolitan area in Canada. As part of Canada’s leading provincial economy, and as the largest trading area between Calgary and Vancouver, this region has become a hotbed of growth and the CFIB recently named Kelowna as the second overall entrepreneurial city in Canada.
But what is life in the Okanagan really like? The Okanagan is loaded with visual clues that serve as a reminder to slow-down and appreciate life. As a father of young children this has become an ideal setting to create a memorable childhood for our daughters. Summers are filled with trips to the beach and many afternoons have been spent swimming in the lake and building complex civilizations in the sand.
Biking in the Okanagan has not only become a mode of transportation that is accessible year-round but an activity that can be enjoyed alongside some fantastic views. The Kettle Valley within Myra Canyon offers spectacular scenery and in just one section of the trail you can cross 18 trestles and pass through 2 caves; all with virtually no variation in grade.
By far the summer activity that brings the most anticipation is camping. Like no other activity, camping instantly destroys stress and creates memories that last a lifetime. With an abundance of local campgrounds around the Okanagan a rustic getaway is never more than a brief drive away.
After living in several provinces within many different cities the place that I have felt most at home has been right here in Lake Country. I am appreciative each day to live in an area with such natural beauty and to feel inspired by the warmth of the community within. I don’t claim that the Okanagan is the best place in the world to live but I will say that it has been the best place for us to call home. And through hard work and a strong foundation of connections I hope to help others find a place in the Okanagan to call home.