South Okanagan-Similkameen Communities
The South Okanagan Similkameen is a beautiful region full of orchards, wineries, lakes, and warm sunny days. Each of the communites in the region have something special to offer residents and visitors alike. Choose the community you are interested in and see what wonders it has to offer.
General Community Information:
- South Okanagan Immigrant and Community Services offers newcomers support in settling, finding employment, learning English, and integrating into the community. With 2 locations in the region, (Penticton and Oliver), they are able to meet the needs of newcomers settling in the area.
- In Penticton the CFSEO (Okanagan French Employment Services Centre), Ooknakane Friendship Centre, the Welcome Wagon, and several employment service providers also offer assistance to newcomers as they settle in the area.
- Relocation Guide
Housing rental and sales prices vary by community. Contact a realtor in your community of interest, or search local listings. Look in local community papers in the classified section for apartment and housing rentals.
- South Okanagan Real Estate Board: information on steps to buying and selling a home, how to find a real estate agent, and house listings.
- Housing Listings: a major Canada wide real estate listings site where buyers can search for houses in their area
- BC Classifieds
- In 2009 in Penticton a 2 bedroom apartment rented for $750-1,100 per month and a house from $1,100-1,900 per month.
- House prices in 2009 ranged from $275,000 to $441, 000.
- Home Owners Grant: a grant available to Canadians and Permanent Residents for their yearly property taxes
Penticton has a centrally-located state-of-the-art hospital, several care facilities, and numerous community and social services available.
- Penticton Regional Hospital Services
- There are two general hospitals situated in the region. One in Oliver and one in Princeton. As well, there are two Health Centres located in Summerland and Keremeos that service the community.
- Find a Doctor
- Health Link BC: for free information on common health concerns, flu shots, checking your symptoms, dietician services, health tools, and much more.
- Dial 811 to connect to a nurse, sk to speak in your own language
The public transit system serves major destinations and neighbourhoods. However, given the smaller size of these communities and the condensed downtown area riding and walking are a common alternative for residents.
The South Okanagan-Similkameen communities are known for their abundance of outside recreation activities. Residents are drawn to this area because of its active lifestyle.
- From water sports, biking, and rock climbing in the summer, to skiing and hockey in the winter, there is an activity for everyone.
- There is a thriving arts and music community in the area. With the South Okanagan Events Centre located in Penticton, there is always some new event or performance coming to town.
- The region is world renowned for its wine. Take a tour of a winery and have a sip of wine while viewing the beautiful vineyards below.
- Tourism Penticton, Summerland Tourism, Oliver Tourism, Osoyoos Tourism, Keremeous Tourism, Princeton Tourism
Shopping options vary from community to community in the region. Penticton however, offers a wide range of shopping options, from one of the largest outdoor Farmers and Crafts Markets in Canada, a mall, big box stores, and to a vibrant downtown shopping area. With the city centre of Kelowna from 127 to 40 km away from anywhere in the region, and Vancouver from 300 to 400 km away there are many more shopping options available to residents.
- There are numerous public schools throughout the area. Many offer specialized programs, such as French Immersion, gifted programs, Strong Start and many others.
- Private schools available in the area.
- Pursuing a post secondary education is also possible in the South Okanagan. There are colleges and trades schools in Osoyoos, Penticton and Summerland. Okanagan University College is a post-secondary educational institution in Penticton that offers a wide variety of career, continuing education, degree, developmental, trades and technologies, university studies, and vocational programs.
- BC Choose a School: Search BC Public Schools
- Information for parents on choosing a school
School District 53: school information for Okanagan Falls, Oliver, Keremeos, Osoyoos, and Princeton
School District 67: school information for Penticton and Summerland
Communites of the Okanagan Similkameen
Summerland is a community of 10,370 just north of Penticton. Surrounded by farmland Summerland is a major fruit growing area in the region and you will find a string of fruit stands along the highway selling peaches, cherries, apples, pears, and much more. Visit one of the many award winning wineries along Bottleneck Drive. Summerland has sunny beaches for swimming, parks for picnics, annd beautiful mountains to hike and bike.
What makes Summerland unique from the rest of the Okanagan is the "Old English" theme that town was modeled on. Every June the community hosts the Good Will Shakespeare Festival where highschool students from all over come to participate in workshops where they act, sing, design and take part in all aspects of theatre.
Okanagan Falls is a community of 6,000 along Skaha Lake, just 26 kilometres south of Penticton. It is along the Kettle Valley Rail Trail and includes biking, hiking, kiteboarding and windsurfing to name a few. It known for its icecream shop, homemade pies, and chocolate making. Stroll through the town with its old time feel and quaint shops. Or visit one of the many wineries and fruit farms in the area as well.
Oliver has a community of 4,400 and is located in the southern part of the Okanagan Valley. Oliver is known as the Wine Capital of Canada because of the number of vineyards and its reputation for producing some of the best rated wines. Apples, pears and cherries are also in supply and can be bought at local farms and fruit stands. With two championship golf courses, theatre performances throughout the summer, and skiing in the winter, there is something to do throughout the year.
Osoyoos is a community of about 5,000 located along the US border at the northern tip of Canada’s only desert. The Nk’Mip Desert Cultural Centre offers demonstrations and guided tours of the area, which is home to hundreds of rare animals and plants. Being on the lake and surrounded by grasslands Osoyoos is an outdoor recreation paradise. From golfing,and biking, to sailing and bird watching there are many things to do here. With the lowest annual rainfall and highest average year-round temperatures it is perfect for growing grapes, peaches and cherries. It is a destination that appeals to all ages.
Keremeos has a population of about 1,400 and is surrounded by mountains in the Similkameen Valley. It has a “Wild West” look and feel. The community is known for its fruit and vegetable stands along its streets, as a result of its warm temperatures and large variety of produce. Keremeos has fishing, camping, and hiking, amongst many other outdoor activities. It also has one of the few remaining covered railway bridges and an unusual grouping of towering basalt columns near the Keremeos Columns Provincial Park.
More Keremeos Infomation
Princeton is a city of about 3,000 located at the meeting of the Tulameen and Similkameen rivers, about 112 kilometres west of Penticton. The surrounding Cascade Mountains and river valleys provide year-round outdoor recreation opportunities. Princeton’s economy is based on agriculture, ranching and tourism. Princeton is known as the gateway to the Southern Interior, due to its location at the junction of Highway 3 and Highway 5A. Highway 3, also known as the Crowsnest Highway, is a key transportation corridor connecting the Southwest / Lower Mainland part of the province with the Thompson / Okanagan region.
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