Penticton a popular summer destination on Okanagan Lake, Incredible scenery!
Call the 'Peach City', a beautiful spot in the south Okanagan nestled between two lakes: The 155km long Okanagan Lake to the north, and the smaller Skaha Lake to the south. Tourism in Penticton is largely seasonal. In the summer tourists double Penticton's population to 60,000. Historically, in the winter things were very quiet, but now that World Cup Freestyle Skiing stops at local Apex Mountain every winter, the winter scene is picking up.
This area has been inhabited for thousands of years by the Salish group of First Nations people. They called their settlement in this area Snpinkten which translates as 'a place to stay forever' and gives Penticton its name. The first non-native settler Thomas Ellis preempted land in Penticton in 1869 and started a very successful cattle ranch. With the arrival of engineering marvel Kettle Valley Railway the boom in Penticton had begun. Penticton was officially given life as a municipality in 1908, and received 'city' status in 1948.
Since the beginning Penticton's climate was well suited for agriculture, and thousands of fruit trees were planted all along the west and east bench areas overlooking Okanagan Lake. From cherries in early July to apples and pears in early September, Penticton has always been a large producer and exporter of non-citrus tree fruit. Many local oldtimers decry the trend of ripping out perfectly healthy and productive orchards for the more lucrative vineyards which supply grapes for the regions more than thirty boutique wineries. Today Penticton's two largest industries are tourism and the growing wine industry, which threatens to eclipse the fruit production industry.
Penticton's climate and geography is a northern, four-seasons version of what some call mediterranean. Large clay banks, benches, and scrubland skirt the mid-level mountains that frame the valley on the east and west sides. Summers are hot with an average temperature of 27C, and peaks of 35-40C are not unheard of. The large size of Okanagan Lake tempers the climate in winter which sees an average temperature of -2.6C. It can and does snow occasionally, but generally only during December and January will it accumulate in modest quantities. You can check the snow level with a quick glance to the mountains, which will have a white apron about half to three-quarters of the way up. Penticton sees about 2000 hours of sun per year, which is a higher average than Rio de Janeiro.