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The History of Osoyoos

A Hidden Gem in the Heart of the Okanagan

People visit Watermark for many reasons, including our comfortable suites, our beautiful lakeside restaurant, and the many opportunities for golfing, biking, and wine touring. One of the biggest draws, though, is the sparkling expanse of Osoyoos Lake next to the resort. Walking out from your private villa onto the beach is an experience that epitomizes summer vacation.

The picturesque town of Osoyoos and its stunning lake are as much a part of Watermark as any of our amenities. Learn a bit more about the history of Osoyoos and the unique region we belong to.

The Rich History of Osoyoos

The South Okanagan was formed by a huge glacier during the last ice age. The original inhabitants of the land, the Syilx/Okanagan people, left behind many artifacts such as their stunning rock art and handmade tools. Many stories of the land before the arrival of the fur traders and gold miners have survived thanks to the tales passed down through generations of Syilx people. The name Osoyoos is derived from the Syilx word Soo-yoos, which means “the place where two lakes come together.”

Humble Beginnings

In 1811, the first European fur traders arrived in the South Okanagan region, quickly creating an enterprise built on fur, whisky, and gun trades. Osoyoos is located on the U.S. border, and is the southernmost Canadian city in the Okanagan. Because of its desirable location and temperate climate, many American ranchers brought over their cattle and settled in the area. The well established trading route has since connected the Okanagan to the Kootaneys, and is now the backbone of the Crowsnest Pass many travellers use today.

A Growing Town

Although the fruit-growing possibilities were noticed by the early settlers, it was not until 1907 when the first commercial orchard in the area was established, growing cherries, apricots, peaches, plums, and apples. The first winery in the Okanagan, Calona Wines, opened in 1933. Today, vineyards are a major feature of the landscape and contribute to the rich culture of the South Okanagan.

Canada’s Warmest Lake

Originally fed by glacier melt, Osoyoos Lake is the warmest lake in Canada. With its miles of pristine sandy beaches, it has quickly become one of Canada’s most desirable swimming destinations. Boasting an average temperature of 26-33 degrees Celsius in the summer months, it stretches over 10.5 km across the valley. Today the water is fed by nearby eastern mountain snow packs, with water being funneled down through a series of lakes connected by the Okanagan River. Osoyoos Lake is also considered an international waterway due to the lake waters that feed into the American Okanogan Riverway.

Lakefront Accomodations

As longtime residents of the South Okanagan, we are so proud to share in the rich culture and history of Osoyoos Lake, and we are proud to offer our guests world-class beachfront accommodations. Our comfortable suites include full kitchens and laundry facilities, private balconies, and boast views of the lake and surrounding mountains. We also provide beachfront townhouses just steps from the beach for a family gathering, bachelorette weekend, or special event. Watermark’s doors are always open to welcome you to our sunny slice of paradise.

The water’s warm, so jump in and visit us alongside beautiful Osoyoos Lake to create your own history of memories. Call 1-888-755-3480 to secure your reservation today.

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