Located in the heart of Lake Country, between Wood Lake and Kalamalka Lake, Oyama is a small town known for its pristine lakes and inviting hospitality. With only 1,000 residents, the quaint town plays host to those who want a quiet getaway from modern day stresses. Like the other communities that make up Lake Country, Oyama is comprised mostly of rural orchards and large acreages with a few subdivisions scattered along the countryside. Here in Oyama, visitors will find serenity amongst some of the British Columbia's finest lakeside scenery.
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.
Oyama is named after a Japanese field marshal, Prince Iwao Oyama (1842-1916), who fought in the Russo-Japanese war of 1904-1905.
Oyama is located in Lake Country, on Oyama Road off the eastern side of Highway 97, 25 kilometres (16 miles) south of Vernon, and 11 kilometres (7 miles) north of Winfield.
Proudly farming in Oyama, B.C. since 1929, Gatzke's Farm Market produces an excess of 50 varieties of treefruit throughout the year. It now includes a licenced Orchard Cafe, a Bakery, and specialty products unique to the Okanagan. In addition to all this, Gatzke's Farm Market also includes comfortable lodging at cabins that overlook both the Kalamalka and Wood lakes. You can fill your days with endless recreational opportunities to entertain people of all ages. You can also take a look at the Farm museum, enjoy Orchard tours, and much, much more!
Virtually at the back door of the City of Vernon, this fine example of north Okanagan grassland is dotted with ponderosa pine and groves of Douglas-fir. The spring wildflower show is truly spectacular. The largely undeveloped park has an all season appeal to those interested in its natural setting. The sloping, paved trail which wanders down to the beautiful private beaches, is filled with informative signs that let you know about the flora and fauna along the trails; in winter, cross-country skiers enjoy the wild beauty here.
A variety of birds, reptiles, and plant-life reside in this mosaic of grassland communities. To date, 432 varieties of vascular plants have been identified in the park, a rare find in such a small area. This peaceful park is ideal for the study and appreciation of natural history all year round.
Nestled on the northeastern shore of Okanagan Lake, Ellison Provincial Park includes 200 hectares of forested benchlands above a rocky shoreline of scenic headlands and sheltered coves. The park's natural attractions, combined with the dry, sunny Okanagan climate provide many recreational opportunities from spring through fall. Hiking trails along the scenic headlands are steep and require care and attention.
The Lake Country Museum features an extensive collection of community newspapers, manuscripts, and artifacts depicting the area's history.
The Creekside Theatre serves as a community hub for musicians and artists. Sit back and enjoy an evening of performances that will dazzle you with their creativity and style!
The Lake Country Art Gallery showcases local artists.
Oyama is situated between these two lakes where water sports abound in the summer time.
Golfers can tee off at Predator Ridge Golf Course, 9 km (6 mi) north of Oyama. Select from three great 9-hole courses: the Osprey, the Peregrine, and the Red Tail, each ranging in length from 2,600 yards to over 3,500 yards. Each course has its own style and beauty, allowing golfers to combine different courses to provide a challenging variety.
The group of lovely lakes east of Lake Country, accessed on the Beaver Lake and Dee Lake Roads, has long been recognized as one of British Columbia's finest fishing grounds. Set like pearls in the midst of wooded hills of great beauty, and connected by waterways and trails, this group of 20 lakes is well stocked with Kamloops trout. Top among the lakes are Dee Lake, Island Lake, Deer Lake, and Crooked Lake. A recreation site, boat launch, and campground are located at Island Lake, with a boat launch at Dee Lake, which boasts the largest rainbow trout. In addition to good fishing in the larger lakes, fishing is also good at Ellison Provincial Park on Okanagan Lake.
Oyama is located between two major ski areas: Big White Ski Resort, approximately 64 km (40 mi) southeast of Kelowna, and Silver Star Mountain Resort, 22 km (14 mi) northeast of Vernon.
With its lush parks, glorious trails, forests and streaming waters, there's no better place to birdwatch than the Okanagan Valley. This area offers some of the best shorebirding, gull-watching, and urban birding experiences in BC. The Valley plays host to hundreds of birds in dozens of varieties.
Otter Bay in Ellison Provincial Park, just a few miles north of Carr's Landing, is the site of western Canada's first freshwater scuba-diving and snorkelling park. A number of objects have been sunk here to attract a variety of fish and other lake-dwelling creatures.
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