The Okanagan-Shuswap area is nestled in the interior of British Columbia, between the Coast Mountains to the west and the Selkirk & Rocky Mountains to the East. The Okanagan was named by the area's Salish natives, who's colorful language accounts for many of the place names in the area. The lake was labeled as Ookanawgan by explorer and geographer David Thompson, and is believed to refer to the farthest point that salmon traveled. The name Shuswap came from the Shuswap band of the Interior Salish tribe that lived in the area. The lake was first labeled on an 1827 map as "choo-choo-ach".
The Okanagan & Shuswap area has a population of over 250,000 people, mostly clustered in the larger cities in the Okanagan (from south to north): Penticton, Kelowna, Vernon, and along the Trans-Canada Highway are Salmon Arm and Kamloops. These communities also contain much of the area's shopping, government services, and recreational facilities.
The Okanagan Valley runs north and south between two high plateaus. The climate of the Okanagan Basin is atypical compared to the rest of the interior of the province. The area has warm summers (with hot days, but cool nights) with an average maximum temperature of nearly 28 degrees Celsius (82 degrees Fahrenheit), and fairly low humidity. The winters are relatively mild compared to areas north and east of the Valley, with more cloud than in summertime and with dry fluffy snow. Thaws occur at Valley bottom on about one-half of the days in January. The southern Okanagan is the northern end of the Great Basin Desert and even grows bananas. The Central Okanagan has an annual average of 200 hours of bright sunshine per year, one of the highest in Canada.
The major industries in Okanagan are fruit & agriculture (including the manufacture of wines, canned fruit, fruit products), tourism and hospitality services. The Okanagan Valley is known around the world for its quality wines, and by tourists for its many fresh fruit stands. The area to the north of the Trans-Canada Highway has strong resource extraction, farming and tourism sectors.
The area is rich in recreational pursuits, with water sports on the area's large lakes, hiking and mountain biking on the trails through the area's many national, provincial and regional parks, and skiing on several mountains in the area.
The Indians that settled around Okanagan include the Inland Salish, related to the Coast Salish around Vancouver, and the Kootenay, which settled the mountainous terrain east to the Rockies. The rivers, lakes and forests provided an abundance of both food and building materials, and enabled them to develop a sophisticated culture including a system of trade.
In 1845, the Americans push for annexation of the Hudson's Bay lands on the West Coast, under the slogan "54-40 or Fight". The next year, the Treaty of Washington establishes the international boundary at the 49th Parallel, and down the middle of the Juan de Fuca Strait. The Royal Navy settles into Esquimalt Bay.
In 1849 the settlement around Okanagan officially became a British Colony, the same year as the California Gold Rush. Fort Okanagan becomes the HBC's western headquarters. In 1850 Robert Blanshard sails over to become the first governor of Vancouver Island, and is later superseded by James Douglas. Douglas begins buying native land for the Crown under "treaties" with the natives in 1852.
In 1858, gold was discovered in the lower Fraser River, bringing more than 25,000 prospectors (including many who gave up after the California Gold Rush of '49) who managed to find over $500,000 in gold. Those diggings were then left to the harder working Chinese in 1859. Gold in the Caribou attracted many to that area, but was too deep and expensive to recover. In 1865 more gold was found on the Columbia River's Big Bend, near Revelstoke, but this gold rush fizzled out in a year.
By 1866, the BC and the Victoria Island colonies were united, but an economy based on just fur trading and mining was not stable enough to grow a colony. In 1871, four years after Canada was given its independence by Britain, BC joined Canadian confederation. The BC provincial government began encouraging the agriculture and forestry industries, to begin economic diversification.
To entice it to join Canada, BC was promised a railroad linking it to the eastern part of the country. While one crew was building from the east, across the Prairies and then through the Roger's Pass. Another crew was laying track from the West, up the Fraser River canyon and into the Thompson River valley. On November 7, 1885 the Canadian Pacific Railway set the last spike in its construction at Craigellachie, just east of Shuswap Lake. The first trans-continental railway train arrived in Port Moody on July 4, 1886. The following year, the railway was extended the last 20 kilometres into Vancouver. Since then, BC has shipped much of its natural resources east to the rest of Canada, and become the country's gateway to the Pacific nations.
In the 1860s Cornelius O'Keefe was driving cattle all the way from Oregon to the Cariboo to provide beef for gold-seekers. By 1867, he had bought land and breeding stock and went on to become the Northern Okanagan's leading cattle baron. The area between the Okanagan and Shuswap lakes is not warm enough for tree fruit, and the higher elevations are suited only for growing trees or cattle-grazing grass.
Tom Ellis planted the first Okanagan orchard in 1874 near Penticton soon after the Indians were moved to a reservation. In 1891 Scottish-born Lord Aberdeen and his wife bought 5,367 hectares from George Vernon, renamed it Coldstream Ranch, and made it into one of the largest producers of fruit in the British Empire. John Moore (JM) Robinson, an unhappy prairie farmerand former editor of the Winnipeg Free Press, set up irrigation and lured settlers into fruit farming in the communities of Peachland, Summerland and Naramata. By 1900 the Okanagan had over 1 million fruit trees growing. As a land developer, he helped settle many Manitobans in the area. The Kelowna area's cash crop used to be tobacco, but after the post-First World War slump, those farmers switched to fruit. The Okanagan now grows about 1/3 of all of Canada's apples. Kelowna, with a handy steamboat ferry dock in the middle of the Okanagan, grew by the turn of the century to have 11 sawmills, three fruit-packing plants, and two canneries.
In 1958, the (then) world's longest floating bridge was built, joining the west shore and east shores of the Okanagan at Kelowna by highway. This made access to all parts of the valley much easier. In the mid-1980s the Coquihalla Highway was built to speed traffic along the Trans-Canada Highway. While it was feared that tourist traffic would bypass the Okanagan, the Coquihala Connector through Merritt, made it easier for Vancouver residents to get to the Okanagan, increasing tourism. The Okanagan now has several ski resorts, with several just to the north at Kamloops, Salmon Arm and Revelstoke. The area also has over 50 golf courses and a number of airports for national and regional carriers. The 2-lane floating bridge, was replaced in 2009 with a span that can better handle the region's growing population and tourism traffic.
The region has a mix of housing from single-family housing in urban and acreage settings, lakefront or lakeview vacation homes, cottages and time-share condominiums, as well as high rise condominiums and apartments in the urban cores of the major centres.
Here are some of the more notable communities in the Okanagan (from North to South):
Smaller communities in the Okanagan & Shuswaps (from North to South)
Zoom-out for outlying communities, zoom-in for inner city.
Here are a featured SAMPLING of home builders, realtors, mortgagee lenders, as well as moving & storage companies. For a complete (and searchable listing) use the red SEARCH feature at right.
Here are some of the Okanagan-Shuswap Home & Condo builders listed in the Moving In Canada directory:
Okanagan Overdoor is a locally owned, family operated overhead door (garage door) sales, installation, & service business located in Penticton, British Columbia.
Vernon's finest Adult Resort Community, bordering a first class golf course, nestled in the sunny Okanagan. Four seasons retirement fun. View new home plans today.
Kelowna Townhomes in most desirable neighbourhood. Hidden Lake Lane Townhomes offer luxury living, in spectacular natural mountain setting,yet only minutes from downtown and UBC Okanagan. Wilden, the finest in Kelowna Real Estate. Visit Wilden.
Murano, a 'Green Building' - offers condominiums and townhomes of uncompromising quality, sophistication and style, located in the heart of Kelowna.
Stylecraft Homes is a home builder, contractor located in Kelowna BC specializing not only in custom homes but also major renovations.
Here are some of the Okanagan-Shuswap realtors with knowledge of suitable homes available in the neighbourhood you want, listed in the Moving In Canada directory:
Browse Penticton Real Estate listings today. Whether you are buying or selling your home, Fox & Fox can help, call today to get started!
Chris Sereda and Associates Kelowna Homes service the greater Kelowna area for all your real estate needs.
Summerland BC Real Estate,
Summerland BC Homes for Sale,
Raymond MAASKE, and Home Star
Kelowna Business Brokers helps business owner and prospective business owners buy and sell their businesses.
View Kelowna Real Estate listings, including residential homes, lots, condos developments and lakeshore properties for Kelowna, West Kelowna and the Okanagan. Kelowna Realtor with years of local experience, ready to help you buy or sell your home.
Here are some of the Okanagan-Shuswap mortgage lending and mortgage broker companies listed in the Moving In Canada directory:
I can provide you the options and expertise to get the Best Mortgage. With access to over 50 lenders (some offered exclusively through brokers) you have unmatched choice and convenience!
Kelowna Mortgage Broker John Antle is THE most recognized and trusted mortgage brokerage in KELOWNA. Flexible options, find the right mortgage for you today
Whether you are a first-time buyer or an experienced buyer with excellent credit, Dominion Lending Centres has access to the very best products and rates available across Canada. Give us a call... we think you'll be pleasantly surprised!
The Mortgage Centre services mortgages
in Vernon, Kelowna, Penticton, Kamloops,
Thompson Okanagan, and Canada. Our
Mortgage Brokerage reflects the passion
and the integrity of the people who work
I'm Ric Lazare, a Kelowna Mortgage Broker. My job is to assess your financial situation and present mortgage options that make sense to you. As an independent Mortgage Broker in Kelowna I will always be on your side.
Here are some of the Okanagan-Shuswap moving & storage companies listed in the Moving In Canada directory:
The largest storage centre in Kelowna, offering personal & commercial self storage, RV, boat, and vehicle storage, commercial lease space, mail boxes, & MI-BOX portable storage containers.
Cidel Moving & Storage has been a part of many BC moving experiences for over 35 years. We have an outstanding record of satisfied customers within our community and have been noticed by Atlas Vanlines as a National Quality Award Winner.
Pack Rat Movers offers a full range of moving, packing and storage solutions to fit your move and budget with 12+ yrs of experience. We have our own supplies for you short or long distant residential or commercial move in best affordable price.
Moving & Storage Solutions for Your Home or Business: BigSteelBox has a vast network of stores across Canada to make moving & storage simple for residential, commercial and construction customers.
Our Kelowna movers recognize that every move has different needs and requirements and are committed to handling each one with individual attention.
If your business is not already here or in the "& CityName & " FoundLocally directory (try the SEARCH box at the top), and you would like to be featured (randomly), add yourself to the Free Listings!
Strong Business Case: You can be found on BOTH FoundLocally.com AND on MovingInCanada.com
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Here are some of the great neighbourhoods you can move to in & around Okanagan-Shuswap
BC: Since the early to mid-1980s considerable commercial development took place , and ovder the past decade several multiple family developments
BC: Penticton is in the South Okanagan, midway between Kelowna and the US border (nestled betwen two lakes). The city is best known for food processing and packinng, for the wine-making and grape growing.
BC: halfway between Kelowna and Penticton on the west shore of Okanagan Lake.
BC: Sicamous is the eastern gateways to Shuswap Lake is a major harbour for rental houseboats.
BC: The rolling countryside and gentle climate makes it ideal for farming and fruit growing. The Coquihalla offers quick access to Vancouver.
We have lots more neighbourhoods for you to explore and investigate...