Canada ’08: Up and Down the Okanagan – Peachland and Summerland
Midweek saw us travelling from Kelowna to the town of Penticton situated at the Southern end of the Okanagan Lake. Between the two lie the attractively named Peachland and Summerland. Leaving the city of Kelowna the new floating bridge, constructed recently lay before us. The William R. Bennett bridge was under consideration long before being given the green light so to speak. For many of those years too, the original floating bridge was deemed to be an inadequate crossing of Okanagan Lake with regular traffic jams. New bridge built alongside the original, the latter is now is now in an advanced state of demolition.
Immediately over the bridge and things are changing fast, politically at least. ‘The formerly proudly named Westbank is now known as ‘Westside’. An ignominious name perhaps for the proud and historic roots of Westbank.
Westbank is growing rapidly. When I first stayed there in 1994 it was much different, in particular there were far fewer businesses in the area surrounding the split road system that conveys motorists North and South. Of late, large chain stores such as Canadian Tire and London Drugs have been opened in the formerly quiet area.
After gassing up at Westbank we proceeded southbound down Highway 97 and on to the pretty town of Peachland. It’s not in our way to stay there today but all the same we take a route away from the Highway in order to travel lakeside for the superb views afforded. Most of Peachland appears at first to be snuggled by Okanagan Lake but this belies the true size of the town which stretches high into the surrounding hills. On our other recent visit to Peachland we dined on the patio at Gasthouse-on-the-Lake by the lake side which I can highly recommend. To help the post meal digestion a stroll on the good-looking promenade by the narrow beach can be also be recommended. The passive and still waters of the Okanagan flanked by the tall mountains to the East are calming in the extreme.
It’s lunchtime as we drive into Summerland on our way to Penticton. The town has a small yet busy main street with a variety of businesses. We stop awhile for lunch at a bakers/café and ponder some distinctly English-looking fayre. It’s probably the first time I’ve ever seen a pork pie in Canada. To either side of them lay various types of Cornish Pasty and sausage rolls. I ignore all and take the soup and quiche option before heading out down the street for a perusal of the stores.
Canadian store staff are built from different stuff to their contemporaries in the UK. This is especially so in small friendly towns such as Summerland. I’m in the local hardware store, mooching around the shelves as is my want and this doesn’t fail to attract the attention of the floor staff as I am asked three times in quick succession if they can be of service. It’s a genuine question asking if they really can help you, without any hint of cynicism. Just people doing their job well. I do like this principle in Canada.
The tour is continued on the following article:
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