Where Are We?
At the gateway to the Okanagan and Similkameen Valleys lies Canada’s only desert, and the delightful lakeside town of Osoyoos. We’re a year-round destination, located at the northernmost tip of the great Sonoran Desert, offering a distinct and authentic visitor experience. Osoyoos is a small, friendly resort community that exudes a big city style, with unique shopping, exceptional dining and remarkable things to do. Whether that’s trekking through the desert, swimming in Osoyoos Lake (Canada’s warmest lake!), sucking back oysters at the Annual Osoyoos Oyster Festival, or launching on a sockeye salmon fishing expedition with First Nations guides, your experiences will be unforgettable.
Did You Know?
Population of Osoyoos: 5, 115
Population of Area: 6, 200
Elevation: 227 m or 909 ft above sea leavel
Primary Industry: Agriculture and Tourism
A Great Place to Play!
When you come to Osoyoos, all things are possible. Bring comfortable clothes and footwear so you can enjoy the cornucopia of things to do! Located at the northernmost tip of the great Sonoran Desert, be prepared for the sizzle of summer. Osoyoos is often singled out as Canada’s Hot Spot. Daytime temperatures in July and August can reach into the high 30’s Celsius and even the low 40’s. Plan your summer days so you’re active in the morning, and relaxing in the afternoon. The seasons of spring, fall and winter are more temperate, allowing you to be active outdoors any time of day. Activities include golfing, hiking, walking, shopping, biking, bird watching, horseback riding, fishing, water sports, snowshoeing and skiing. The Sonora Community Centre offers year-round activities and summer playground programs.
Hours of sunshine: 2039
Average January high: 2C or 32F
Average July high: 31.5C or 84F
Average Annual Rainfall:25 cm or 9.8 in
Average Annual Snowfall: 5.4 cm or 2.1 in
The Aboriginal Experience
Osoyoos has a long, rich aboriginal history with a strong Aboriginal presence. The Nk’Mip Desert Cultural Centre is a must-see attraction in Osoyoos to learn about the history and culture of the Syilx First Nations peoples. The Nk’Mip Desert Cultural Centre is a state-of-the-art interpretive centre, sensitively constructed into a hillside at Nk’Mip Resort. Extensive indoor and outdoor exhibit galleries create a fun, interactive learning environment with hands-on displays, education stations and two multi-media theatre experiences. You will discover indoor and outdoor nature and cultural exhibits that showcase desert ecology and wildlife and the history of the Osoyoos Indian Band. You can even get a close look at a live rattlesnake or sign up for a hike/rapelling excursion in the desert.
Osoyoos is a unique landscape and home to one of North America’s most fragile and endangered ecosystems. We’re referred to as a “Pocket Desert”, dry shrub grassland that is the northernmost extension of the shrub-steppe community of the Great Basin. By visiting the Osoyoos Desert Centre or walking through the interpretive trails at the Nk’Mip Desert Cultural Centre, you can see first-hand how our special and fragile desert ecosystem works and how each part of it – plants and animals – are so dependent on one another. Or book an ecotour with Great Horned Owl Eco-Tours for a guided tour through the wildlands around Osoyoos.
Osoyoos Lake is the liquid jewel of our region and the warmest freshwater lake in Canada. Osoyoos Lake is legendary among many families and extended families, who have enjoyed the refreshing embrace of these waters for their summer holidays, year after year.
Take a dip in its shimmering waters, camp on its clean beaches, cruise or sail your boat. Partake in your favourite watersport: waterskiing, wakeboarding, wakesurfing or kneeboarding…it’s all here.
Like the Napa Valley in California, Bordeaux in France, or Italy’s Chianti region in Tuscany, grape growing and wine production in the Osoyoos region is both a business and a way of life. It defines the character and lifestyle for those of us lucky enough to live along the vineyards positioned along the rolling desert hills. And it’s a lifestyle in which you can indulge no matter how long the stay.
The numerous microclimates and soil variations make it possible to cultivate some 60 different types of grapes within a small area. So you’ll find wineries producing an assortment of varietal wines such as Merlot, Cabernet Sauvignon, Pinot Noir, Pinot Gris, Chardonnay, and our unique Ice Wine, among others.
The Bounty of Fruits & Vegetables
We’re not just known for our great wine. With local family farms just minutes away from our many restaurants, we attract foodies from around the world. Local chefs create dishes using an unbelievable variety of local fruits and vegetables picked at their peak of perfection, giving their creations an enormous depth of flavour and breadth of variety.
It’s no accident that Osoyoos was chosen as the locale for the Slow Food Canada National Conference in 2013 held at the Watermark Beach Resort. Foodies from all over the world flocked to Osoyoos to share their ideas about promoting what Osoyoos has always been known for – the traditional pleasures of using food grown and raised sustainably and prepared with fruits and vegetables saturated with regional flavors.