Osoyoos is the southernmost town in British Columbia's Okanagan Valley, just 3.6 kilometres north of the United States border. The town is located on the east-west Crowsnest Highway (Highway 3), and there's a steep ascent out of the valley in either direction. The beach community is located on the shores of Osoyoos Lake, at an elevation of 227m.
Osoyoos is advertised as Canada’s Warmest Welcome. Osoyoos Lake is Canada's warmest fresh-water lake, with gorgeous sandy beaches. During July and August, water temperatures average 24 °C. The lake stretches over 19 kilometres, on both sides of the border; with 14.7 kilometres in Canada. Golfers enjoy more play, with over 2,000 hours of sun each year. Nearby Baldy Mountain has some of the mildest winter conditions of any ski resort.
The population is 5,085 (2016 census), and it's been growing at a rate of 1.23% per year. The average age is 55.4 and reflects the number of retirees who have made Osoyoos their home. The average age of the Osoyoos senior population is second only to Qualicum Beach (60.1 years) in Canada. Seniors make up 43% of the population.
Tourism has long been a key component of the Osoyoos local economy, but the community is increasingly recognized for its wine and agri-tourism and Aboriginal cultural tourism. This shift from beachfront family summer vacation spot to a high-end major resort destination has attracted new investment to Osoyoos and is increasing real estate values.
Osoyoos' increasingly diversified economy and the incredible quality of life it offers have made it easy to attract skilled, talented people. Blazingly fast internet and lower total costs of operating a business, when compared with other communities in Canada or the United States, have made Osoyoos very attractive to business investors. Businesses have access to one of the lowest electric utility rates in North America, low labour costs, affordable housing prices and competitive tax rates.
The Buena Vista Industrial Park offers low-cost serviced lots that are available for purchase by private owners. One of the unique advantages of the Buena Vista complex is the ability for startups to include a residential living space within the industrial project.
Oliver Osoyoos Wine Country is situated in the southern tip of the Okanagan Valley. Nine of the region's wineries are in Osoyoos: Adega on 45th, Blue Sky, Bordertown, Lariana Cellars, La Stalla, Moon Curer, Nk'Mip Cellars, Tumbleweed Spirits and Young & Wyse.
Osoyoos' climate, according to the Köppen climate classification, is cold semiarid (BSk), with hot and dry summers. September and October are typically sunny and dry, with cool mornings. Winters are short, dry and mild. Arctic outflow conditions can sometimes bring cold weather from the north, with sporadic snowfall. Annual temperatures average 10.1°C and Osoyoos receives 2,039 hours of glorious sunshine each year. The average annual precipitation is 317.6 mm, with 267 mm of rainfall and 49 cm of snowfall.
During the summer months, the southern Okanagan Valley has some of the hottest temperatures in Canada. The average summertime temperature is 28 °C and the average winter temperature is 1.3°C. 17 days each summer, on average, temperatures rise above 35 °C. The dry air still allows the nights to cool sufficiently to be comfortable.
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Osoyoos has a median household income of $52,352, and an unemployment rate of 7.2%. The Osoyoos economy has long relied on tourism and agriculture as its two primary business sectors, and they remain pillars in its future growth. The town has evolved from a summer beachfront vacation area to a sophisticated four-season destination.
Tourism in the South Okanagan generates approximately 350,000 visitors and an estimated $59 million annually in directly related visitor spending. Osoyoos has a strong specialty retail sector, with unique products and exceptional customer service that monetize the influx of visitors each year. There is a growing agri-tourism industry with farm tours, roadside markets and restaurants that cater to the summer tourist market.
Osoyoos has capitalized on its unique terroir, with fertile bottom-lands that produce the earliest fruit in Canada, and some of the most prized wine grapes in the world. The Okanagan-Similkameen is home to about 25% of BC's organic farms. 96% of BC’s soft fruits are grown in the south-central Okanagan, and Oliver/Osoyoos has become known as Canada's wine country.
Emerging industries include advanced manufacturing, agriculture products, food and beverage processing, logistics and warehousing, tourism infrastructure and retail amenities. Osoyoos is part of a growing, innovative, and diversified aerospace industry that supplies aviation and defence markets around the globe. Another growing field in the southern Okanagan Valley is biotechnology, with development of new fruit and grape varietals.
Another emergent industry is the manufacturing of value-added wood products like prefabricated housing, millwork, furniture, cabinetry and pallets. Construction is booming in Osoyoos, with new housing in Osoyoos and Oliver, commercial development, and renovation projects. The Osoyoos Film Industry is a new sector that's experienced rapid growth. With its many scenic backdrops and unique locations, Osoyoos has been featured in many film and television productions.
School District 53 Okanagan Similkameen oversees public education in Osoyoos.
Located next to the Osoyoos Library and Sonora Community Centre, Osoyoos Elementary School teaches children kindergarten through grade 7. Special programs include StrongStart for children 0-5, the NEST (Nighthawk Elevated Support Team) for students desiring extra help, Hockey Academy, Roots of Empathy, and Indigenous Education.
Osoyoos Secondary School is a three-building campus that overlooks Osoyoos Lake. OSS has roughly 315 students, grades 8 through 12, and a teaching staff of 17. Over 50% of the students are involved in various athletics programs. All of the students have the opportunity to be involved in Fine Arts programs, including drama and band. Other special programs include Career Resource Centre, Golf Academy and Hockey Academy. Career Resource Centre provides hands-on work experience to help students prepare for the transition from secondary school to finding a career in the workforce.
Sprott Shaw College Osoyoos Campus offers a wide range of programs including medical/veterinary, legal/paralegal, executive office administration and business administration, tourism and hospitality, early childhood education and much more. Of particular note is a new Health Care Assistant program offered by the Penticton campus, in partnership with Mariposa Gardens in Osoyoos. The program is offered on-site in conjunction with the management and staff at Mariposa Gardens. The facility hires the majority of students from its in-house classes.
Another exciting option for Osoysoos post-graduate students is Okanagan College - Penticton Campus, a 50 min (60.8 km) commute. Okanagan College has established a reputation for providing quality education and training for the wine and hospitality industries. Unique to the Osoyoos region is their Signature Programs, which include: Winery Assistant Certificate, Viticulture Certificate, Wine Sales Certificate, and Career Facilitator. For students interested in a career in oenology (winemaking) and viticulture (grape growing), there is a transfer program to Brock University to obtain a degree.
Osoyoos is a charming little town with a walkable town centre and boutique-style shopping, unique products and personal service. All of the required amenities are just minutes away, and some of the businesses sprinkled across Downtown include AG Foods, Buy-Low Foods, Red Apple, BC Liquor Store, Fields, Home Hardware, Pharmasave and Shoppers Drug Mart. Osoyoos also has several banks, regional 24/7 hospital, medical clinics, dental surgeons and optometrists.
There are no shopping centres in Osoyoos, but 18 minutes north via Hwy 97 is the Oliver Place Mall and a range of additional shopping options in Oliver's Downtown. 50 minutes north of Osoyoos, the city of Penticton offers big-box shopping and all the amenities a city has to offer.
As a tourist and winery destination, Osoyoos has an excellent selection of dining options, with local cafés and bistros; ethnic restaurants; brewpubs and wine bars; and a few fine dining establishments. Visitors are pleasantly surprised by the selection for such a small community.
For a quick bite, there's, of course, a variety of popular franchise options, like A&W, Boston Pizza, Dairy Queen, McDonald's, Quiznos, Subway, Smitty's Family Restaurant and Tim Hortons. Popular cafés include Bits and Bites Cafe, Jojo's Café, Gyro Beach Cafe and Kozo Cafe. The Owl Pub and Sage Pub are popular stops for pub comfort food, BC craft beer and Okanagan wine. Owl Pub has karaoke every Thursday, and Sage Pub features 8 large screens to display all major sporting events.
Osoyoos is also a great place to find your favourite International and ethnic dish. Convivia Bistro Cuisine serves up Italian and French cuisine in downtown Osoyoos. For the authentic taste of Thailand, Leena at Dolci Thai Bistro has created a variety of dishes that complement each other.
If you're cravings lean towards the Mediterranean, Osoyoos has you covered. For a great pizza, there's Mamis Pizza, Pizza 97A and Pizza Factory. Diamond Steak & Seafood House offers traditional Greek and Italian comfort foods, steaks and salads. Mckia's Greek Restaurant offers a variety of International dishes, with a hint of Mediterranean on the palate. And for dessert, Roberto’s Gelato serves the best Italian style gelato and sorbetto in the Okanagan.
For a dash of Mexican spice, there's the Sofia’s Mexican Food Truck, parked at the Westridge Motor Inn, and Tidal Tacos Osoyoos. If you're thinking Asian cuisine, Kozo Cafe and Sushi 17 are the top sushi spots in town. Golden Chopsticks is a family-owned restaurant specializes in authentic Chinese cuisine, served in their lunch and dinner buffets, and à la carte. O' Delights Asian Fusion Restaurant offers a large menu with about 100 Chinese food selections, with combination dinners and à la carte ordering. Indian Flame on Main is located in the heart of Downtown and serves authentic Indian dishes. Choose from Biryani rice specialties, bread and stuffed breads, hot sizzlers like Tandoori chicken or chicken tikka; or a wide selection of seafood, chicken, lamb and vegetarian dishes.
If you're planning a special occasion or date night, Osoyoos has some restaurants sure to please. Watermark Beach Resort, right on the lake, delivers spectacular views; with your choice of the patio, a table inside or intimate chef's table dining. Enjoy the exceptional flavours of the local terroir. Greenside Bar & Grill Fresh serves local ingredients in their chef-inspired selection of appetizers and entrees that cater to all appetites. Extensive decks and patios overlook the Osoyoos Golf course, with views of orchards and lake below.
For a truly unique and memorable Osoyoos experience, you have to try The Bear, The Fish, The Root & The Berry – modern vineyard cuisine inspired by the Okanagan Valley's Indigenous roots. The Syilx People of the Okanagan Nation have a unique approach to food, based on the creation stories of their culture. The restaurant's name is based on a story of the Four Food Chiefs. The Four Food Chiefs – Black Bear, Chinook Salmon, Bitterroot, and Saskatoon Berry – represent the key elements of Indigenous cuisine. Executive Chef Murray McDonald brings a wealth of international culinary experience to the team and has a distinct passion and creativity.
Osoyoos is located at one of the busiest Canada/US border crossings, and at the junction of two major transportation routes. Driving the scenic Crowsnest Hwy (Highway 3), Vancouver is 4 hours 27 minutes (397.5 km). Heading northward on Highway 97, Penticton is 54 minutes (63.0 km) and Kelowna is 1 hour 37 minutes.
Osoyoos’ strategic location is attracting businesses looking to locate in an area where distribution infrastructure will provide a competitive advantage in their industry.
BC Transit Route 40 connects Osoyoos with Penticton. BC Transit Route 41 provides local bus service within Osoyoos. Residents are served by two general aviation airports: Osoyoos Airport (YYF) and Oliver Municipal Airport. Penticton Regional Airport is 45-minute drive north to Penticton, and WestJet and Air Canada offer daily flights to Vancouver and Calgary.
The Osoyoos Community Theatre, located at the Osoyoos Secondary School, seats 286 people. The theatre provides the school's drama club with professional facilities but also brings in national and international performers through the Osoyoos Concert Series. Each year, the Osoyoos Concert Series arranges four music concerts during the fall and winter months.
The Osoyoos District Arts Council has been promoting the artists, musicians and writers of the South Okanagan for over 30 years. The Arts Council also coordinates the work and programs of artists and cultural associations through the Arts Centre. It organizes events to celebrate BC Arts & Culture week each spring.
Located at the Sonora Community Centre, the Osoyoos branch of the Okanagan Regional Library offers access to the books of all 32 branches, magazines, movies, e-book collections, e-learning from Lynda.com and Rosetta Stone, e-magazines and more.
Rated the "best small town museum" in British Columbia, Osoyoos Museum displays a diverse and eclectic selection that ranges from antique cars to settler history, to items from both World Wars and pop culture. With 15,000 square feet, there's something to interest everyone.
Osoyoos is one of the best beach destinations in Canada, offering a Mediterranean-like climate, a warm lake and large sandy beaches. Osoyoos Lake is the focal point for recreational activities in Osoyoos, with water skiing, windsurfing, swimming, sailing, para-sailing, boating, and fishing. Dogs are welcome in most parks in Osoyoos, provided they are under control on a leash.
Gyro Beach is the largest beach in Osoyoos. The park has shade trees, warm shallow waters and closed off swimming areas that are safe for children. Haynes Point Provincial Park is a narrow spit that juts far into Osoyoos Lake. The park offers waterfront campsites, a beach, change rooms, picnic tables, a dog beach and walking trails. There's a natural marsh in the park that abounds with birdlife, including canyon wrens, white-throated swifts and red-winged blackbirds. There's a boardwalk that passes through the wetlands and a spotting tower for bird watchers.
Legion Beach Park has a popular sandy beach and is located in Osoyoos' Downtown. There's a designated area on the east side of the beach for dogs to enjoy a swim. There is also an off-leash dog park and four dog-friendly swimming areas, open year-round. Lions Park at Centennial Beach is connected to Gyro Park with a paved walkway. The park has a large grassy area, picnic tables and shade trees. There are change facilities, washrooms, a playground, a dog swimming area, a public boat launch and a floating pier for short-stay boat tie-ups.
The Sonora Community Centre provides a large gymnasium, dance studio, weight room, multi-purpose rooms, stage, bleacher seating and change rooms. The venue has 320 seats for theatre-style events. The centre is a popular venue for birthday parties and family gatherings.
Sun Bowl Arena is a full-service facility with 85 x 200 ft NHL regulation-size ice sheet, with seating for 850 people. The building has four dressing rooms, an officials room, and a full-service concession area. The arena is home to the Osoyoos Coyote Hockey Team, the Sun Bowl Skating Club, South Okanagan Minor Hockey, public skating and host to other special events.
Osoyoos has one 18-hole golf course: Osoyoos Golf Club, and one nine-hole course: Sonora Dunes. There are two more 18-hole courses in neighbouring Oliver: Fairview Mountain Golf Club and the Nk’Mip Canyon Desert Golf Course.
Baldy Mountain Resort is just 57 min (58.0 km) from Downtown Osoyoos. At 1,726 meters, Baldy Mt has one of the highest ski resort elevations in Canada. Baldy Mountain Resort offers many green, blue or black options off each lift, and 80% is beginner to intermediate terrain. Baldy Mt has world-class grooming and long-lasting fresh powder after a snowfall. The mountain offers 35 alpine runs, 360 acres of trails, and 240 acres of glades for tree skiing and boarding. Baldy Mt offers 5 km of groomed cross-country skiing trails for beginners to intermediates and 5 km of snowshoe trails.
Osoyoos offers a wide range of property options, from a rural farm, or rural home with a view overlooking the lake and Canada’s only desert, to in-town lots in quiet subdivisions, or high-end lakeside condos. Property prices are well below those in Metro Vancouver or Calgary. Osoyoos is an excellent place to raise a family, with many parks and outdoor recreation options, and great schools.
There are three 18 hole courses with challenging executive layouts close by, and you're less than an hour away from the ski slopes of Baldy Mountain Resort. Osoyoos' accessibility has made it a very attractive option for businesses searching for very affordable commercial real estate. Water sports on Lake Osoyoos range from kayaking, stand up paddling, dragon boat racing, sailing, and powerboat activities like bass and salmon fishing or waterskiing.
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