Having grown-up in Toronto, I often spent summers in Muskoka where we enjoyed rosé (all day) on the dock and swayed to live bands at The Kee to Bala. I will never turn down a trip to Muskoka, but a recent trip to Osoyoos, British Columbia, had me wondering if Muskoka has met it’s “cottage life” match.
Osoyoos, British Columbia, is located 5 km from the US border in B.C.’s South Okanagan. Known as ‘The hottest place in Canada’, it is surrounded by mountains, crystal clear lakes, beautiful homes and cottages, and pristine golf courses. Osoyoos is also the epicentre for notable B.C. wines. With food festivals, family resorts and outdoors activities to keep you entertained and healthy all summer long, Osoyoos is the most popular summer getaway destinations for Vancouverites making vacancies a hot commodity in the summer months.
The population of Osoyoos shoots up from 5,000 to approximately 25,000 people in the summer because there is so much to do, including 28 festivals throughout the year like The Osoyoos Oyster Festival, Devour – Osoyoos Food and Film Festival, Tinhorn Creek Canadian Concert Series and Festival of the Grape.
Getting to Osoyoos is pretty easy with Air Canada and Westjet. Both fly directly to Kelowna and Penticton from Toronto, and Lets Go Transportation makes it easy to get to Osoyoos from both airports with its fast shuttle service. You can also fly to Vancouver and do the picturesque drive through the mountain range via Greyhound bus or by renting a car.
In Osoyoos, you can ride horseback in the hills, mountain-bike or wakeboard on Osoyoos Lake, Canada’s warmest freshwater lake. You can float down the Penticton River Channel in a tube, golf, practice yoga on the beach with Breathe Studios at Watermark Beach Resort, and experience as many winery tours as you could dream of.
Oliver Osoyoos Wine Country is home to over 50 wineries, cideries and distilleries. Thanks to Osoyoos’ ideal climate for growing grapes, local Bordeaux blends are stellar and so are the regional Viognier, Pinot Gris and Gewürztraminer vins. A fun way to explore Osoyoos wine country is to take a tour or rent an electric bike from Heatstroke Cycle and enjoy a 4-5 hour leisurely ‘Sip and Cycle Tour’. You won’t need to cycle far before you hit your first winery, trust me.
South Okanagan is also full of artisan shops, fruit markets, bakeries, upscale restaurants and bistros. The best butter tarts I have ever had can be found at Lake Village Bakery, and brunch at Liquidity Bistro is a must. Tinhorn Creek’s Miradoro restaurant offers fixed-price communal table dinners once a week from April 4 – May 30. Dolci Socialhaus, Campo Marina, Sage Pub, Smoke and Oak Bistro and Terrafina at Hester Creeek by Raudz are local favourites.
Accommodation in Osoyoos is available at multiple price points. Many resorts in the area offer ‘apartment style’ accommodations that include a small kitchen with a fridge, stove and dishwasher. The Watermark Beach Resort offers farm-to-table dining, full in-suite kitchens, a wellness spa, a fitness studio and an array of suits including beachfront town homes.
If you are open to being wildly surprised by a Canadian destination, I definitely recommend planning a trip out West to Osoyoos — dare I say, the best cottage country in Canada?!