Thompson Okanagan

Okanagan region
Photographer
Doc Pow

Thompson Okanagan

Ever thought of stepping into a barrel and squashing some grapes? You can do that in the Okanagan. Ever wanted to paddle out onto an endless lake with only you and your paddleboard? You can do that in the Thompson region, just north of the Okanagan. Together they make up one big beautiful part of British Columbia, known as the  Thompson Okanagan region.

The Okanagan has it legends, like Ogopogo (think Loch Ness monster) perhaps lurking in the lake of the same name. And then it has its talented winemakers, who turn out some spectacular wines from the vineyards they tend. You could spend days exploring them, tucked along country roads, along the lake, the Naramata bench and even nestled between mountains. This is a region rich in fertile soil, turning out fruits other than grapes, so you’ll find fruit stands, and patios perfect for sipping wine and craft beers. Or, hop on your bike, golf, wind sailing or do any other water sport you could imagine.

This region, about a four-hour  drive east from Vancouver, includes the cities of Kamloops to the north (Sun Peaks Resort and Shuswap),

Vernon (SilverStar Ski Resort, and Sovereign Lakes Provincial Park)

Kelowna (Big White Ski Resort, heart of Okanagan Lake)

Penticton (Apex Ski Resort, heart of wine country)

Osoyoos (Baldy Ski Resort, Canada’s desert community)


Each of these regions within the Thompson Okanagan, have filled guide books of their own, because of the adventures, culture and nature-based experiences found here.

Province
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    Our zen hits its zenith when we sip the 2013 Perpetua Chardonnay following a hearty spoonful of the Ocean Wise seafood chowder.

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    Heading to SilverStar Mountain Resort for the bike park’s opening weekend was even better than I had hoped for, and my expectations were high.

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    By Mark Matthews

    Our visit to O’ Keefe Ranch was a first-time ranch experience for me and my girlfriend, Chelsea. Leaving the sounds of the highway, just north of Vernon, B.C., behind and stepping onto the soft dirt pathways of the working historic ranch was a refreshing experience.

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    Tucked away in the Kootenays, Rossland is a buzzing ski town that still has a very quiet off season through the summer months. But the hidden gem keeps the trails fresh and abundant for those who decide to explore them. 

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    Someone, take my pulse, I thought as we flew over the Okanagan on a gorgeous fall day. My adrenaline was pumping as we were being treated to an awesome aerial perspective flying on a helicopter – without doors – over Mission Hill winery, Kelowna and the Okanagan Valley.

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    The drive up to Myra Canyon, just 30 minutes outside of Kelowna B.C., was a bumpy one, so my expectations for our bike ride were that it might get a bit gnarly.

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    It was a classic British Columbia day with the morning fog hanging in the air, creating a magical atmosphere and making the colours of autumn seem more vibrant. Moments later the sun would peek through.

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    Somewhere between being shot out of the waterslide like a cannon ball and jumping off the top deck into shimmering Shuswap Lake, we declare houseboating our new favourite way to vacation.

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    #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.