The District of Lake Country is located near the centre of the Okanagan Valley and is made up of four distinct neighbourhood communities: Oyama, Winfield, Carr's Landing, and Okanagan Centre. Lake Country is a beautiful, unique place, rich in its own cultural history.
The District was incorporated as a municipality in 1995. Shortly after incorporation, a referendum was held where the residents decided they wished to maintain their distinct neighbourhood communities. The result of the desire to maintain their independence resulted in the formation of the only municipality in British Columbia that currently utilizes a neighbourhood constituency system. This allows the four neighbourhood communities to each elect one Councillor, with the mayor and two councillors-at-large elected by all the residents of the District.
Lake Country has a long pioneer history. Prior to Caucasian settlement, First Nations people inhabited this area. Several locations indicate the existence of First Nations settlements dating back 7,000 to 8,000 years. Artifacts, human skeletons, and skulls have been found in various areas which have provided additional evidence of early First Nations settlements.
Caucasian settlers arrived in this area more than 100 years ago to ranch and work the ample forests, make homes, and farm the rich lowlands and arable hillsides. Irrigation helped agriculture blossom in the early 1900s, supporting the four communities of Winfield, Oyama, Okanagan Centre and Carr's Landing.
The once thriving fruit canneries on Okanagan Lake are gone today, as are the ferries that plied the lake for the first half of the 1900s. Yet today you don't have to look far to find lush green orchards, rolling vineyards, and pastoral farms growing everything from Macintosh apples to blueberries. Fruit packinghouses remain an important part of our local economy, and Lake Country maintains a strong sense of community, vitality, and a pioneering spirit.
Lake Country is located in the Okanagan Valley in the southern interior of British Columbia, between the cities of Vernon (29 kilometres) and Kelowna (25 kilometres). Access is via Highway 97, which runs from Osoyoos on the Canada/United States border to Vernon and beyond to Kamloops.
The Lake Country Museum features an extensive collection of community newspapers, manuscripts, and artifacts depicting the area's history.
Originally built in 1912 by George Gibson for his bride, the Gibson House has served as a camp for troubled youths, a training site for the Vernon Cadets, and a family home. It now serves as a museum with historical artifacts. Outside of the house, there is a beach, a swimming area, a park, and a playground.
The Lake Country Art Gallery celebrates art as an essential part of the human experience, enhancing the community through art and art experience.
Lake Country, as its name implies, is surrounded by several lakes, including: Okanagan Lake, Kalamalka Lake, Wood Lake, and Duck Lake, plus many smaller ones hidden within the Coastal & Monashee Mountain ranges. All offer endless opportunities for water skiing, jet skiing, tubing, sailing, wake boarding, canoeing and fishing.
Golf courses abound in the area. The local Aspen Grove Golf Course is a level 1,597 yard, 9-hole par 27 course situated on Vernon Creek - a favourite picnic area.
Lake Country has sensational snowmobiling and cross-country skiing trails, ice fishing, ice skating and curling. There are also two world-renowned ski resorts located nearby: Big White in Kelowna, and Silver Star Mountain in Vernon.
Lake Country is the proud home to three award-winning wineries: Arrowleaf Cellars, Ex Nihilo and Gray Monk Estate Winery. Tours are available daily during the season, and all have wine shops for visitors to sample and purchase their products. Gray Monk also offers a fine dining establishment overlooking beautiful Okanagan Lake.
ArtWalk is a highly successful annual arts festival which provides an excellent opportunity for over 300 Okanagan artists to exhibit & sell their work!
Background Photo Credit: Destination British Columbia