Visitors and neighbouring residents alike are drawn to the Okanagan for its beautiful scenery and lifestyle. Awarded with the number two most beautiful beaches in all of Canada (only trailing behind Tofino, BC), this region promises a beautiful area to visit and live year round.
The Okanagan enjoys a moderate winter climate in town with champagne powder in the mountains. World-class ski resorts such as Big White, Silver Star and Apex are within a short driving distance of the main cities. Other activities such as Nordic skiing and snowshoeing are also popular. In the summer, beautiful beaches and hot dry summers lure vacationers from around the globe. Boating, hiking, camping, fishing, mountain biking, and cycling are all in abundance – just to name a few.
The Central Okanagan is the most populated of Interior Health’s service areas. It has a population of over 313,000 and covers an area over 20,000 square kilometers. There are three major urban centers: Kelowna, Vernon and Penticton. A little more urban than other health service areas, the Okanagan still has rural areas and a strong sense of community.
The people in Keremeos embrace small town living yet still have the convenience of bigger towns and cities nearby. We work hard at our orchards, wineries, cattle ranches, and jobs, but we love taking a Sunday afternoon off to relax and float down the Similkameen River. We enjoy having almost any fresh fruit or vegetable we could wish for right in our back yard! We walk down the street and say hi and smile to anyone we pass – Keremeos is definitely small town living at its best!
- Wendy Stewart, Community Health Clerk, South Similkameen Health Centre
I’ve worked in Lumby for nine years, and I love it. This is a small town, so small there are no traffic lights, just one blinking red light in the centre of town. I would describe Lumby and Cherryville as communities that rely mostly on farming and ranching to keep the economy going. I enjoy the diversity of the work out here. As the only public health nurse in town, I get invited to a number of different tables, so I feel like a valued participant in community development. The infants I saw during my first baby visits nine years ago, I am now seeing as grade three students in the local elementary school. That’s a feeling that is difficult to describe.
- Heather Serafin, Public Health Nurse, Lumby Health Centre
The day I relocated to Osoyoos, the blossoms were blooming shades of pink and white and the sky was blue in late March. Now, 20 some years later, I am still amazed at the blossoms and love the fruit that follows. Osoyoos is Canada’s warmest place – both in weather and the people who live here! I love the community where I golf, swim, fish, take in a hockey game, hike, enjoy the beach, eat well, enjoy great wines, and watch the best fireworks at our Cherry Fiesta. I also enjoy my colleagues who work with me at the Osoyoos Health Centre.
- Bev Adams, Registered Nurse, Seniors Mental Health
I have recently relocated to Penticton and I could not be more pleased. Living in the South Okanagan is truly amazing. Beauty surrounds this exquisite valley. Since my arrival in August, I have had the pleasure of swimming and playing at the beach, hiking alpine meadows, watching the Challenge Triathlon, hiking scenic trails, visiting local wineries, shopping the summer farmers’ market, and now snowshoeing snowy trails, and skiing the powder of Apex mountain. I have felt welcome since my arrival and I am continually amazed at the beauty I see each and every day.
- Sharon Nelson, RN, Dialysis Patient Care Coordinator, PRH
Princeton offers a quiet lifestyle, plenty of clean air, and the staff is great. You get to know the community, and everyone gets to know you and trust you. It’s great when a patient says ‘I was relieved to see a familiar face’ when you are helping them in the Emergency Department.
- Dorothy Westfall, RN, Princeton General Hospital
Summerland has all of the benefits of a small, intimate community with the larger centres of Penticton and Kelowna only minutes away. It has something for everyone: Okanagan Lake beaches and parks, the Canada Trail, street festivals, biking trails, a historic steam railway, along with award-winning wineries, restaurants, and music and drama festivals. Our patients regularly comment on our friendly, compassionate, and professional staff and that coming to a smaller health facility allows them to be more at ease.
- Carla McGregor, Administrative Support Services Coordinator, Summerland Health Centre