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Home / Thompson Okanagan / Central Okanagan / Summerland

Summerland

History

Drenched in sunshine on the shore of Okanagan Lake in the Okanagan Valley, Summerland was incorporated as a municipality in 1906, thanks to the vision of John Moore Robinson, who enticed future orchardists to the area proclaiming summer weather forever.

After establishing the community of Peachland on Okanagan Lake to the north, Robinson moved south to create a lakeshore community with the patronage of Sir Thomas Shaugnessy, president of the Canadian Pacific Railway (CPR). The name Summerland was chosen by Robinson's brother, a Methodist minister, inspired by a hymn sung at seances.

Summerland is a theme town done in the same spirit as Osoyoos, only this time they chose to do it olde English Tudor style. Old Summerland is down on the water, but most of the town's business now thrives up on the hill.

LocationSummerland - Deer Orchard - Eric Simmard

Summerland is located on Hwy 97 18 km (11 mi) north of Penticton and 46 km (29 mi) south of Kelowna.

Places to See
  • Downtown Summerland

Visit downtown Summerland where hanging flower baskets and colourful artist banners adorn the old-fashioned lampposts set in the Tudor style architecture of the shopping and restaurant district. There is plenty to see and do from a visit to the Art Centre & Gallery on Main Street to a leisurely browse at a variety of antique & collectible shops dotted throughout the downtown core. 

  • Summerland Museum

Discover Summerland's rich history of agriculture, transportation, and human memoirs at the Summerland Museum. Enjoy your self guided tour of unique collections and displays. The staff is very knowledgeable about Summerland's history and would be more than happy to answer any questions that you may have.

  • Nixdorf Classic Cars

Car enthusiasts will love to visit and tour Nixdorf Classic Cars on Logie Rd. With over 85 vintage cars in the collection, visitors will be able to take a trip down memory lane when they view over 30 cars in the 9,500 sq ft showroom. You will find everything from a red 1941 Ford Thunderbird to a 1954 Chevrolet Bel Air Convertible to the 1970 Ford Mustang.

  • Kettle Valley Steam Railway

There's something about traveling anywhere - even a short distance on a steam-powered train. Your senses come alive as you hear the haunting whistle; as you feel the reverberation and power of the chiselled locomotive drawing closer to the platform; as you see the explosion of steam as it brakes to let you board.

Summerland's Kettle Valley Steam Railway brings back memories and creates new ones for all those who step aboard and travel the only remaining portion of the historic Kettle Valley Railway. Powered by a 1924 Shay, or a 1912 Consolidation engine, you can see all from a vintage passenger or open-air coach. Conductor commentary, the KVR bingo game for kids, anecdotes, song, and the lively banjo pickin of Felix Possak make regular train runs a memorable experience for the whole family. You'll also want to book a spot on one of The Great Train Robbery & BBQ theme trains, which are an all time favourite. Experience the thrill of seeing the Garnett Valley Gang ride out of the hills to board the train and rob passengers for donation to local charities and organizations. The volunteer gang, formed in 1996, consists of about 20 riders who adhere to a strict dress code for both horse and rider to create the feel of the era. The gang and the KVR won first place honours for best western themed float at the Calgary Stampede in 2002. Other special events featured throughout the season include Easter, Mothers Day, Fathers Day, and the Christmas Trains. The train is also available for group bookings, or private charters.

  • Summerland Ornamental Gardens

A beautiful garden brings delight to the heart and solace to the soul all can be found at the 15-acre (6 hectare) historic Summerland Ornamental Gardens, which has stunning views of Okanagan Lake, Trout Creek Canyon, Giants Head Mountain, and the breathtaking Kettle Valley Railway Bridge. Operated by the Friends of the Gardens, a non-profit, volunteer society in partnership with the Pacific Agricultural Research Centre; it is responsible for the maintenance and enhancement of the garden.

Well-labeled plantings provide the opportunity to take a leisurely self-guided tour. The Friendship Plaza with its rock walls, wooden arbour, rustic urns, and graceful steps is the setting for many Okanagan weddings with a backdrop of tall and majestic evergreens.

  • Bottleneck Drive Wineries

Summerland is an emerging force in the Okanagan wine industry with 11 wineries coming together to form the Bottleneck Drive Wine Route. Through winding roads, lush vineyards and hidden valleys, wine enthusiasts are encouraged to tour Summerland and discover bold reds, crisp whites and award winning fruit wines. Each winery on Bottleneck Drive offers a unique flavor and personality. 

Things to Do
  • Hiking / Biking / Horseback Riding

Exploring the natural terrain in and around Summerland is an adventure for the physically fit visitor who likes to hike, cycle, or ride horse back. The views are spectacular affording plenty of photographic opportunities for taking that million-dollar shot. Order a great picnic lunch from one of the delis, cafes, and restaurants and then head out for an exhilarating day.

  • Fishing

The Summerland Trout Hatchery in Lakeside Summerland offers self guided tours of its facility year-round. Learn more about freshwater fisheries, conservation, and enhancement. Watch the videos on fish habitat, fly tying and angling. The hatchery is one of five major hatcheries that supply over 1.5 millions rainbow trout and brook char to 280 lakes in the region. Summerland Trout Hatchery- 494- 0491- is located at 13405 South Lakeshore Drive and is open to all every day from 9am to 3pm.

There are plenty of small lakes around Summerland to try your luck, including Darke Lake (called Fish Lake by the locals, and which offers 5 camping spaces), Headwaters, Osprey Lake, and of course of the mighty Okanagan, which stretches for over 128 kilometres.

If it's trout you're after, try a family fishing experience at Hobo Hollow Trout Farm. This manmade lake, stocked with trout, offers everyone in the family a chance to catch the big one! Call 462-0839 for appointments, rates, and hours of operation.

  • Golfing

With one of the longest playing seasons in Canada, Summerland's prime Okanagan location is a draw for golf enthusiasts from around the globe. The Summerland Golf & Country Club is an 18-hole regulation golf course that rambles along the cavernous Trout Creek Canyon, while Sumac Ridge Golf and Country Club is a 9-hole, par 28 course offering bent grass, club and cart rentals, a clubhouse, a restaurant, and a bar.

  • Skiing

Summerland offers excellent cross country skiing along the Kettle Valley Railway. 

  • Bird Watching

A wide range of bird species call Summerland home, including the beautiful Blue Bird. Grab your binoculars and your camera and head out for a walk and see how many species of these feathered friends you can find!

Events
  • Okanagan Spring Wine Festival

The Okanagan Spring Wine Festival is a perfect marriage of wine and culinary tourism. For the first four days in May each year, it offers a tantalizing experience for anyone who loves excellent wines accompanied by fine cuisine. 

Visitors can choose an incredible 100 plus events throughout Okanagan Wine Country at a time of year when it is absolutely delightful to savour Spring in the warm sunshine. The Okanagan Spring Wine Festival has been described as "one of Canada's best small festivals" and it is no wonder that its success continues to grow.

Nearby Communities
Contact Information

Summerland Chamber of Economic Development Tourism
15600 Hwy 97, PO Box 130
Summerland, BC V0H 1Z0
Phone 1-250-494-2686
Fax 1-250-494-4039
E-mail: summerlandchamber@shawbiz.ca
Website: www.summerlandchamber.com

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Background Photo Credit: Destination British Columbia

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