#OkanaganExploring

#OkanaganExploring

A little bit urban, but a lot outdoorsy. The Okanagan is a place you can settle into for a week or more in winter. It has it all – and we mean everything – from winter carnivals to wineries and awesome outdoor adventures, too. Sounds too good to be true? Well, it’s not when you go #Okanagan Exploring.

Kelowna and Vernon get into winter mode with an array of events and festivals all season long. Up in the the mountains at their world-renowned ski resorts, you can get your winter on with dozens of Canadian activities: downhill, cross-country, skating at the highest elevation outdoor rink. You’ll wish winter lasted longer. You can easily drive or fly here and once you arrive, simply pick your base and settle in for winter fun on the slopes at Silver Star or Big White or in the city where you can dine in style or casually, sample craft ciders and beers – and of course a massive selection of local wines.

Ski, stay and play across Kelowna and mark your calendar to head into the Okanagan for a wide range of events including the Vernon Winter Carnival in Feb 8 - 9.

What ever you uncover tag your adventures with #OkanaganExploring on social media, and you might be featured on our social media channels. 

#ExploreBC go #OkanaganExploring this winter!

Stories

It was 9 a.m. and cool clouds of mist hovered over Tuc-el-nuit Lake, soon to be burned off by the morning sun peeking over the South Okanagan valley’s eastern ridge. The pastel landscape looked so peaceful. I, on the other hand, was catching my breath and trying to tame my wind-blown hair after letting out a hearty “whoo!” - disrupting the serenity.

Heading north into Vernon, as the teal waters of Kalamalka Lake come into view on your right, you’ll notice a building to the west, perched high above the grasslands. The Allan Brooks Nature Centre is the place to learn all about the flora and fauna of the area, and to understand how Vernon has sustained generations of orchards, farming, and biodiversity.

 

The Bear, the Fish, The Root, and the Berry. What a curious name for a restaurant I thought. I was spending one last night in Oliver before heading up through Penticton and on to Kelowna during my #OkanaganExploring expedition. The fine dining establishment at Spirit Ridge was named after the Four Food Chiefs of the syilx/Okanagan Nation. Little did I realize that these four would become the theme for my adventure the following day. 

Without hesitation, Chef Michael Buffett of Start Fresh Kitchen declares his pasta-making classes the most popular.

The aha moments come thick and fast while cycling the section of the Okanagan Rail Trail that hugs glinting green Kalamalka Lake. There are jaw-dropping vistas galore along the 23-kilometre glacial body of water.

From McIntyre Bluff to the Canada-U.S. border, from the Black Sage Bench to the Golden Mile Bench and everywhere in between, Oliver and Osoyoos are pure South Okanagan wine region eye candy.

Vernon, B.C. – The story of the Okanagan Valley can be told through a natural corridor that runs along the valley; moving from the Syilx (Okanagan) band to gold-rush-era miners and turn-of-the-century rail lines. Today, the former Canadian Northern rail corridor once again connects communities from Coldstream to Kelowna, this time as the Okanagan Rail Trail. It’s a unique addition to the ever-expanding bike trail system of the Okanagan. 

Oliver, B.C. – The presence of some 400 farms clustered around Oliver, B.C. have earned this South Okanagan community the title of “Wine Capital of Canada.” 

But, in addition to grapes, Oliver is also cultivating community through a unique local Christian non-profit. It’s not only Oliver’s wines that are being shipped around the world, but soup as well. 

Kelowna, B.C. – Nearly a century ago, a new rail line connected Kelowna’s goods to the rest of the country. Today it connects communities along the Okanagan Valley on a scenic non-motorized trail. 

#OkanaganExploring Sipping his morning pick-me-up out of a coffee mug featuring a photo of his family, Sun Country Cycles owner Ricardo Smith was gracious enough to meet me as I began my Vernon cycling journey. I arrived first thing in the morning and the Sun Country parking lot was already full of customers - either dropping off their bikes to get serviced or picking up rentals like me.

#OkanaganExploring Love biking? Check out Vernon and get ready for the ride of your life.

#OkanaganExploring Ogopogo is B.C.’s very own Loch Ness Monster, turned friendly water creature, the legend hunters have been trying to capture on film for the past half century. It’s seemingly a part of our heritage, until you find out the true meaning behind the serpent-turned-cartoon-statue and you become, as the kids say, woke - with a sudden understanding of the spirit of Ogopogo truly means.

#OkanaganExploring Hike and explore the spirit of Ogopogo, Kelowna and discover the region’s Indigenous heritage

#OkanaganExploring Oliver, B.C. is home to more than 20 of B.C.’s wineries, the Black Sage Bench, the Golden Mile Bench - which has been recognized as a distinctive sub-Appalachian wine region - three lakes, thousands of bird species, indigenous history, and Nçaylintn - one of the province’s most distinctive rock formations.

Art, wine and nature come together in the Wine Capital of Canada – Oliver, B.C.