Summerland is a lakefront community on Highway 97 that follows a segment of the west shore of Okanagan Lake, in British Columbia's interior. The district is situated between Penticton – on the southern end of the lake – and Peachland to the north. Across the lake is the wine community of Naramata.
Summerland has a population of 11,615 (2016 census) over an area of 74 square kilometres. The population of Summerland has been growing at a rate of 0.56% per year. It has 5 beautiful beaches and 315 acres of parkland. The Summerland district is also famous for its Bottleneck Drive, a network of roads that connects wineries in the area. There are 18 wineries in the district.
Summerland has over 700 businesses. The district is growing, with a sizeable reserve of industrial land available adjacent to Highway 97, which will extend an existing industrial park. A new industrial park, skilled employee pool and strong sense of community make this a great place to start or relocate. The Summerland Chamber of Commerce is partners with the District of Summerland on economic development initiatives, so they can offer each business license holder a free membership in the Chamber.
Summerland was originally named Trout Creek. In the 1890s Trout Creek was a cattle ranching country. The first commercial orchard was planted just before the turn of the century, with a water license issued to irrigate 1,000 acres. In 1902 Sir Thomas Shaughnessy bought out the largest ranch owned by George Barclay. He formed the district of Summerland, and it was incorporated in 1906. By 1907, Summerland was connected by road to Peachland and Penticton, and Naramata on the eastern shore of Lake Okanagan, by ferry.
The median age in Summerland is 54.8, reflecting the area's vibrant seniors community. The majority (31.78%) of the homes were constructed between 1961 to 1980. There was another surge between 1991 to 2000, during which 975 homes were built.
Sedona Heights is one of the recent communities, situated on a hillside overlooking Okanagan Lake and the surrounding countryside. The exclusive new gated community is in the heart of wine country. There are thirty-four spacious, terraced lots. To complement its natural environment, each luxury home will feature tiled roofs, timber accents, wood windows, side garages, and grand front entranceways.
Summerland is located in the Thompson-Okanagan Plateau ecoregion; one of the warmest and driest in Canada. It has a humid continental climate with hot, dry summers and cool winters. The district is characterized by grasslands and rolling plateaus, and the valley systems of the Okanagan, Thompson and Nicola Rivers. Summerland is located on a natural bench, so it remains quite warm at night. Warm nights in this dry climate results in Summerland having the lowest morning relative humidity in Canada during the months of May through September.
The mean annual temperature of the valleys is 10 °C. The summer mean temperature is 21 °C and the winter mean is −3.5 °C. During the late fall and most of the winter, there isn't much sunshine, but it makes up for it with a glorious spring. Summerland gets 88.4 days of spring sunshine on average, which is more than any other place in Canada. Annual rainfall is 264mm.
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The median household income in Summerland is $66,461 (2016 census). The unemployment rate 7.9%, less than one percent above the Canadian average for the period. In the last two censuses, its employment rates grew by 1.6%, reflecting a positive economic condition.
Key industries, by percentage, are sales and service occupations; trades, transport and equipment operators and related occupations; business, finance and administration occupations; management occupations; occupations in education, law and social, community and government services; followed by health occupations. Leading employers include School District 67, Summerland Senior Village, District of Summerland, PARC, Nesters Market and IGA.
For most of the last century, agriculture was the primary industry in the district. Summerland is known for its cherries, peaches, apricots, apples, pears, stone fruit and canneries. The district has 2000 hectares (5400 acres) of land protected by the Provincial Agricultural Land Reserve, representing one-third of Summerland's landmass. There are over 250 individual farms, primarily tree fruits and vineyards.
Over the past two decades, Summerland has become known as a wine destination, with several world-renowned wineries. Many are connected by the Bottleneck Drive. Summerland wineries include 8th Generation, Dirty Laundry, Estate Thurn, Giant Head, Heaven's Gate, Silkscarf, Sleeping Giant, Sumac Ridge, SummerGate and Thornhaven.
One of Summerland's key employers is PARC. Pacific Agricultural Research Centre is an agricultural research centre administered by Agriculture and Agri-Food Canada. The centre is important in the development of tree fruit varieties. It's estimated that 75 - 80% of cherries eaten worldwide are produced from varieties developed at the facility. Notable fruit varieties developed include Aurora Golden Gala, Spartan, Jubilee, Nicola and Creston apples; Coronation grapes; and the Lapins, Skeena, Stella, Sweetheart and Van cherries.
Okanagan Lake and its sandy beaches have made tourism is a significant industry in Summerland, attracting visitors from three major population centres: Vancouver, Calgary, and Edmonton. There are several excellent golf courses in the area. The historic Kettle Valley Steam Railway takes visitors on a round trip of Dale Meadows, ending at the Trout Creek Trestle.
Summerland's public school system is operated by School District 67 (Okanagan Skaha). There are two elementary schools: Giant's Head Elementary School and Trout Creek Elementary School. The older students attend Summerland Middle School and Summerland Secondary School.
Giant's Head Elementary School offers the Breakfast for Learning program because they believe no child should go without breakfast. They also offer the StrongStart preschool program for children 0 - 5. Trout Creek Elementary School educates 160 students, in a modern building in a rural setting. Summerland Middle School offers the Late French Immersion Program and the Aboriginal Education Program. Summerland Secondary School also hosts a French Immersion program for all grades. They also offer the Career Transition Program (CTP), a dual-credit program with one-year Entry Level Training in trades at Okanagan College's campus in Kelowna.
Summerland Montessori School was voted the best Independent School in the South Okanagan by Okanagan Life Magazine. The school utilizes Montessori philosophies, and best teaching practices like limited class size, to meet the needs of the student body. Daily French Immersion lessons and physical education classes are a part of the SMS curriculum. The Unisus School in Summerland is a day and full-time boarding school, accepting local students and those from countries around the world. The Unisus curriculum focuses on STEAM (Science, Technology, Engineering, Arts, Mathematics) and inquiry-based learning.
21.91% of Summerland's inhabitants say they have completed a university degree. Okanagan College's Summerland Centre is located in the heart of Summerland's downtown. Okanagan College offers a variety of Continuing Studies programs ranging from vocational certificates to professional development, as well as general interest courses.
UBC Okanagan Campus (UBCO) in Kelowna is a 58-minute commute by car, or 1 hour 25 minutes by line 97 bus. This top-ranked university offers 62 undergraduate programs and 19 graduate programs. UBC ranks among the 40 best universities in the world, with 1,291 active research projects.
Summerland's storybook downtown is Tudor-themed, with cozy cafes and bistros, foodie restaurants, delis, bakeries, artist studios and galleries, antique stores and unique boutique-style shops. Flowers line the streets and residents and visitors sip on coffee or wine on open patios, or explore the boutiques in the community's walkable hub.
Summerland may be a small town but has all the amenities, including Nesters Market and IGA grocery stores, Shoppers Drug Mart, BC Liquor Stores, a thriving Summerland Tuesday Farmer's Market, and an excellent selection of restaurants. Farm to table is a way of life in Summerland; not just a catchphrase. Agritourism is a large part of the local economy, with winery tours and many produce markets. Freshly picked fruit and vegetables are available at roadside stands, and there are many u-pick opportunities. Local organic and grass-fed meats are also readily available. Many of the local restaurants embody the farm to table philosophy, focusing on showcasing the freshest Okanagan ingredients.
For a quick bite, freshly baked bread from True Grain Bread, or organic coffee and fresh pastry from The Beanery Cafe might be just the thing. If you're craving Asian food, Just Delicious Bistro, Happy House Chinese Restaurant or Beijing Restaurant are sure to hit the spot. For a taste of the Mediterranean, there are Zia’s Stonehouse Restaurant, The Cellar Wine Bar and Kitchen, Murray's Pizza & Pasta, Prima Pizza & Chicken and Yaki's Pizza & Subs.
For date night, Local on Lakeshore offers Southern-inspired casual sophistication. The 60-seat urban retreat offers spectacular views of the water and natural elements, serving seasonal fresh ingredients in the style of America's South. The restaurant features local BC VQA and US wines, BC craft beers and cocktails.
Summerland’s Bottleneck Drive offers expanses of vineyards and orchards, breathtaking scenery, winding roads, 18 wineries, 3 cideries, a distillery and brewery. It's a wonderful opportunity to learn about local viniculture, browse the wine shops, sip some wine, enjoy lunch on a patio overlooking Okanagan Lake, and perhaps listen to live music. All the stops are closely grouped along the banks of Lake Okanagan, so it's easy to visit them by car or bicycle.
Kelowna and Penticton are only a short drive away and feature big box outlets and several malls. Summerland is also located with easy access to the Coquihalla Highway, which connects it to the Lower Mainland.
83.60% of Summerland's residents are vehicle drivers, but BC Transit also provides excellent public transit service. Summerland On Request – the HandyDart system – offers door-to-door service for medical and specialist appointments for seniors and those with permanent disabilities who are unable to ride the regular BC Transit buses. The handyPASS Taxi Saver program provides seniors and people with permanent disabilities a 50% subsidy, for greater travel convenience throughout the Summerland region.
Summerland to Penticton is 15 minutes by car. BC Transit Route 30 also provides regular Penticton / Summerland service. Air Canada Jazz offers daily flights to Vancouver and WestJet has direct flights out of Penticton to Calgary.
The city of Kelowna is about 40 minutes by car. Listed as one of the 10 busiest airports in Canada, Kelowna International Airport is a 1-hour drive from Summerland. Osoyoos and the Oroville US Border Crossing are just over 1 hour away. By highway, it's 4 hours to Vancouver and 7.5 to Calgary.
Summerland is located along Highway 97. The highway runs from the Yukon and Alaska through the centre of British Columbia into Washington, Oregon and California. The 97 corridor offers access to a potential market of more than 40 million people. Summerville offers access to the Coquihalla Hwy (Hwy 5).
The Summerland Art Gallery is at the heart of Summerland’s art scene. The gallery offers six openings each year, with a focus on local and regional artists. Its permanent collection features artists of note, such as Bettina Somers, Bill Hibberd, Marjorie Croil and artist and sculptor Michael Hermesh. The Summerland Arts Council offers many programs in the community including its popular Street Banner Project.
Other arts and cultural organizations include the Summerland Potters Guild and Summerland Singers and Players. The Summerland Centre Stage Theatre is a state of the art community/school theatre. It's the venue for a wide range of local and national performances.
Summerland Museum presents the Summerland district's history through displays, collections, educational activities and various outreach programs. The Nixdorf Classic Car Museum remembers the two-tone paint, leather interiors, sleek lines and flowing curves, drive-in movies and cruise nights of a bygone era, with a display of seventy restored vehicles. The Kettle Valley Steam Railway features the 3716, Summerland’s very own restored 1912 steam locomotive. The ninety-minute round trip stops at the famous Trout Creek trestle, towering 230 feet above the canyon floor.
Summerland is a four-season recreational area, with hiking and mountain biking trails, horseback trails, nearby skiing, cross country ski and snowshoeing trails, golf, tennis courts, camping, canoeing & kayaking, fishing and rock climbing.
Summerland is home to Giant's Head Mountain, an extinct volcano with a large facial profile when viewed from the southeast. The 500-metre hill dominates the town's landscape and is about an hour's hike to the top. It offers panoramic views of the Okanagan Valley, the town of Summerland and Okanagan Mountain Provincial Park.
Memorial Park is an urban park within Summerland's downtown core. The large grassy areas, mature shade trees, picnic tables and band-shell have made it a popular venue for local festivals and events. Peach Orchard Park's Spirit Square provides a large covered gazebo with a stage area. The park also features a popular Spray Park, with 15 water features, including water cannons and ground sprays. And there's a Dog Beach, where dogs and their owners can enjoy the lake.
Summerland is home to two golf courses: Summerland Golf & Country Club and Sumac Ridge Golf & Country Club. Located just 8 minutes from Highway 97, Summerland Golf & Country is a challenging, well-conditioned course, located on the Paradise Flats. It's a pristine setting for this championship course, away from urban noise, with views of the Okanagan Valley and Trout Creek Canyon. Sumac Ridge Golf & Country Club has been the highest-rated public short course in BCGA (British Columbia Golf Association) since 1961. It's a difficult course but caters to all levels of golfers.
Summerland Arena is located on 5.3 acres and offers a 200 x 85 ft ice sheet. The facility accommodates 875 spectators and has 4 dressing rooms, a fully integrated sound system, a score clock and a concession area. The curling rink has 4 ice sheets, each 146 x 14 ft, with hacks and raised platforms at each end. The concrete surface below the ice is used for summer sports programs.
Summerland Rodeo Grounds is a special use park facility. It's a popular facility for rustic weddings, horse shows and rodeos, equine clinics, club barbecue events, meetings and family reunions.
Summerland strikes a great balance between opportunity and lifestyle. The newest industrial park and Main Street area offer exceptional opportunities for business owners. The town provides a quiet, charming rural atmosphere, but is right on a major highway, and close to an international airport and the US border. Summerland offers 5 clean sandy beaches, many parks, 2 golf courses, meandering roads, spectacular lake views, orchards and wineries, fresh produce and excellent schools.
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