Moving to Okanagan-Shuswap, BC home neighbourhoods, realtors, and movers

View of  Osoyoos Condos On East Shore

WHY Move to the Okanagan-Shuswaps?

Why go on vacation, when you can live it? Home to the largest lakes in BC, this area has a mild climate, ready access to both water and mountain recreation. Its growing wine industry is home to 75 wineries!

The Okanagan-Shuswap area is nestled in the interior of British Columbia, between the Coast Mountains to the west and the Selkirk & Rocky Mountains to the East. The Okanagan was named by the area's Salish natives, who's colorful language accounts for many of the place names in the area. The lake was labeled as Ookanawgan by explorer and geographer David Thompson, and is believed to refer to the farthest point that salmon traveled. The name Shuswap came from the Shuswap band of the Interior Salish tribe that lived in the area. The lake was first labeled on an 1827 map as "choo-choo-ach".

Houses On Downtown Hill in Kamloops

The Okanagan & Shuswap area has a population of over 250,000 people, mostly clustered in the larger cities in the Okanagan (from south to north): Penticton, Kelowna, Vernon, and along the Trans-Canada Highway are Salmon Arm and Kamloops. These communities also contain much of the area's shopping, government services, and recreational facilities.

The Okanagan Valley runs north and south between two high plateaus. The climate of the Okanagan Basin is atypical compared to the rest of the interior of the province. The area has warm summers (with hot days, but cool nights) with an average maximum temperature of nearly 28 degrees Celsius (82 degrees Fahrenheit), and fairly low humidity. The winters are relatively mild compared to areas north and east of the Valley, with more cloud than in summertime and with dry fluffy snow. Thaws occur at Valley bottom on about one-half of the days in January. The southern Okanagan is the northern end of the Great Basin Desert and even grows bananas. The Central Okanagan has an annual average of 200 hours of bright sunshine per year, one of the highest in Canada.

Kelowna's Sarsons Beach

The major industries in Okanagan are fruit & agriculture (including the manufacture of wines, canned fruit, fruit products), tourism and hospitality services. The Okanagan Valley is known around the world for its quality wines, and by tourists for its many fresh fruit stands. The area to the north of the Trans-Canada Highway has strong resource extraction, farming and tourism sectors.

White Spirit lakefront condos in Osoyoos The area is rich in recreational pursuits, with water sports on the area's large lakes, hiking and mountain biking on the trails through the area's many national, provincial and regional parks, and skiing on several mountains in the area.

History of the Okanagan

The Indians that settled around Okanagan include the Inland Salish, related to the Coast Salish around Vancouver, and the Kootenay, which settled the mountainous terrain east to the Rockies. The rivers, lakes and forests provided an abundance of both food and building materials, and enabled them to develop a sophisticated culture including a system of trade.

In 1845, the Americans push for annexation of the Hudson's Bay lands on the West Coast, under the slogan "54-40 or Fight". The next year, the Treaty of Washington establishes the international boundary at the 49th Parallel, and down the middle of the Juan de Fuca Strait. The Royal Navy settles into Esquimalt Bay.

In 1849 the settlement around Okanagan officially became a British Colony, the same year as the California Gold Rush. Fort Okanagan becomes the HBC's western headquarters. In 1850 Robert Blanshard sails over to become the first governor of Vancouver Island, and is later superseded by James Douglas. Douglas begins buying native land for the Crown under "treaties" with the natives in 1852.

In 1858, gold was discovered in the lower Fraser River, bringing more than 25,000 prospectors (including many who gave up after the California Gold Rush of '49) who managed to find over $500,000 in gold. Those diggings were then left to the harder working Chinese in 1859. Gold in the Caribou attracted many to that area, but was too deep and expensive to recover. In 1865 more gold was found on the Columbia River's Big Bend, near Revelstoke, but this gold rush fizzled out in a year.

Cottage Overooking Okanagan Lake By 1866, the BC and the Victoria Island colonies were united, but an economy based on just fur trading and mining was not stable enough to grow a colony. In 1871, four years after Canada was given its independence by Britain, BC joined Canadian confederation. The BC provincial government began encouraging the agriculture and forestry industries, to begin economic diversification.

To entice it to join Canada, BC was promised a railroad linking it to the eastern part of the country. While one crew was building from the east, across the Prairies and then through the Roger's Pass. Another crew was laying track from the West, up the Fraser River canyon and into the Thompson River valley. On November 7, 1885 the Canadian Pacific Railway set the last spike in its construction at Craigellachie, just east of Shuswap Lake. The first trans-continental railway train arrived in Port Moody on July 4, 1886. The following year, the railway was extended the last 20 kilometres into Vancouver. Since then, BC has shipped much of its natural resources east to the rest of Canada, and become the country's gateway to the Pacific nations.

Salmon Arm Waterfont Condos In the 1860s Cornelius O'Keefe was driving cattle all the way from Oregon to the Cariboo to provide beef for gold-seekers. By 1867, he had bought land and breeding stock and went on to become the Northern Okanagan's leading cattle baron. The area between the Okanagan and Shuswap lakes is not warm enough for tree fruit, and the higher elevations are suited only for growing trees or cattle-grazing grass.

Tom Ellis planted the first Okanagan orchard in 1874 near Penticton soon after the Indians were moved to a reservation. In 1891 Scottish-born Lord Aberdeen and his wife bought 5,367 hectares from George Vernon, renamed it Coldstream Ranch, and made it into one of the largest producers of fruit in the British Empire. John Moore (JM) Robinson, an unhappy prairie farmerand former editor of the Winnipeg Free Press, set up irrigation and lured settlers into fruit farming in the communities of Peachland, Summerland and Naramata. By 1900 the Okanagan had over 1 million fruit trees growing. As a land developer, he helped settle many Manitobans in the area. The Kelowna area's cash crop used to be tobacco, but after the post-First World War slump, those farmers switched to fruit. The Okanagan now grows about 1/3 of all of Canada's apples. Kelowna, with a handy steamboat ferry dock in the middle of the Okanagan, grew by the turn of the century to have 11 sawmills, three fruit-packing plants, and two canneries.

In 1958, the (then) world's longest floating bridge was built, joining the west shore and east shores of the Okanagan at Kelowna by highway. This made access to all parts of the valley much easier. In the mid-1980s the Coquihalla Highway was built to speed traffic along the Trans-Canada Highway. While it was feared that tourist traffic would bypass the Okanagan, the Coquihala Connector through Merritt, made it easier for Vancouver residents to get to the Okanagan, increasing tourism. The Okanagan now has several ski resorts, with several just to the north at Kamloops, Salmon Arm and Revelstoke. The area also has over 50 golf courses and a number of airports for national and regional carriers. The 2-lane floating bridge, was replaced in 2009 with a span that can better handle the region's growing population and tourism traffic.

Moving to the Okanagan & the BC Interior

The region has a mix of housing from single-family housing in urban and acreage settings, lakefront or lakeview vacation homes, cottages and time-share condominiums, as well as high rise condominiums and apartments in the urban cores of the major centres.

Here are some of the more notable communities in the Okanagan (from North to South):

Smaller communities in the Okanagan & Shuswaps (from North to South)

more info: Okanagan Shuswap Neighbourhoods

Okanagan, Shuswap & Thompson Home Neighbourhoods & Community Map

Zoom-out for outlying communities, zoom-in for inner city.

Okanagan - Shuswap Realtors, Home Builders, Mortgages & Movers

Here are a featured SAMPLING of home builders, realtors, mortgagee lenders, as well as moving & storage companies. For a complete (and searchable listing) use the red SEARCH feature at right.

Builder Listings

Here are some of the Okanagan-Shuswap Home & Condo builders listed in the Moving In Canada directory:

Search Builders

More info on Okanagan Overdoor Okanagan-Shuswap BuildersOkanagan Overdoor

Okanagan Overdoor is a locally owned, family operated overhead door (garage door) sales, installation, & service business located in Penticton, British Columbia.

More Info

More info on Murano Okanagan-Shuswap BuildersMurano

Murano, a 'Green Building' - offers condominiums and townhomes of uncompromising quality, sophistication and style, located in the heart of Kelowna.

More Info

More info on Hometown Enterprises Okanagan-Shuswap BuildersHometown Enterprises

Hometown Enterprises is a commercial and custom new home builder in Vernon, BC who also provides home and commercial renovation services through the North Okanagan.

More Info

More info on Wilden Town Homes Okanagan-Shuswap BuildersWilden Town Homes

Kelowna Townhomes in most desirable neighbourhood. Hidden Lake Lane Townhomes offer luxury living, in spectacular natural mountain setting,yet only minutes from downtown and UBC Okanagan. Wilden, the finest in Kelowna Real Estate. Visit Wilden.

More Info

More info on Square Root Homes Okanagan-Shuswap BuildersSquare Root Homes

Professional builder in Kelowna. We Build custom homes since 1990. We only build 1-2 homes per year so that we can focus on high quality.

More Info

Realtors Listings

Here are some of the Okanagan-Shuswap realtors with knowledge of suitable homes available in the neighbourhood you want, listed in the Moving In Canada directory:

Search Realtors

More info on Summerland BC and Penticton BC Real Estate and Home Star Realty Okanagan-Shuswap RealtorsSummerland BC and Penticton BC Real Estate and Home Star Realty

Summerland BC Real Estate, Summerland BC Homes for Sale, Raymond MAASKE, and Home Star Realty

More Info

More info on RE/MAX - Joanna Jameson Okanagan-Shuswap RealtorsRE/MAX - Joanna Jameson

Residential Commercial Real Estate Sales & Leasing in Kelowna & West Kelowna Region.

More Info

More info on Salt Fowler Team, RE/MAX Vernon Okanagan-Shuswap RealtorsSalt Fowler Team, RE/MAX Vernon

Salt Fowler Team, RE/MAX Vernon offers individuals the finest property services with their group of Digital Marketing experts.

More Info

More info on Value Plus 3% Real Estate - Vernon Okanagan-Shuswap RealtorsValue Plus 3% Real Estate - Vernon

Vernon's newest Realty with the experience to save you money! Call today to learn more on how to save on Vernon Real Estate.

More Info

More info on Wilden Town Homes Okanagan-Shuswap RealtorsWilden Town Homes

Kelowna Townhomes in most desirable neighbourhood. Hidden Lake Lane Townhomes offer luxury living, in spectacular natural mountain setting,yet only minutes from downtown and UBC Okanagan. Wilden, the finest in Kelowna Real Estate. Visit Wilden.

More Info

Mortgage Listings

Here are some of the Okanagan-Shuswap mortgage lending and mortgage broker companies listed in the Moving In Canada directory:

Search Mortgage

More info on John Antle Mortages Okanagan-Shuswap MortgagesJohn Antle Mortages

Kelowna Mortgage Broker John Antle is THE most recognized and trusted mortgage brokerage in KELOWNA. Flexible options, find the right mortgage for you today

More Info

More info on Bryceton Morrison Mortgage Broker @ Home Financing Solution Inc-The Mortgage Centre Okanagan-Shuswap MortgagesBryceton Morrison Mortgage Broker @ Home Financing Solution Inc-The Mortgage Centre

Mortgage Services Throughout the Okanagan including Vernon and Kelowna. We also service all of British Columbia and Alberta by phone. Residential, commercial mortgages at competitive rates. Call today

More Info

More info on Ric Lazare - Mortgage Broker Kelowna Okanagan-Shuswap MortgagesRic Lazare - Mortgage Broker Kelowna

I'm Ric Lazare, a Kelowna Mortgage Broker. My job is to assess your financial situation and present mortgage options that make sense to you. As an independent Mortgage Broker in Kelowna I will always be on your side.

More Info

More info on The Mortgage Centre - Vernon - Charmaine Scherck Okanagan-Shuswap MortgagesThe Mortgage Centre - Vernon - Charmaine Scherck

The Mortgage Centre services mortgages in Vernon, Kelowna, Penticton, Kamloops, Thompson Okanagan, and Canada. Our Mortgage Brokerage reflects the passion and the integrity of the people who work for it.

More Info

More info on April Dunn with The Red Door Mortgage Group - Mortgage Architects Okanagan-Shuswap MortgagesApril Dunn with The Red Door Mortgage Group - Mortgage Architects

I can provide you the options and expertise to get the Best Mortgage. With access to over 50 lenders (some offered exclusively through brokers) you have unmatched choice and convenience!

More Info

Movers Listings

Here are some of the Okanagan-Shuswap moving & storage companies listed in the Moving In Canada directory:

Search Movers

More info on Packrat Movers Okanagan-Shuswap MoversPackrat Movers

We are moving services provider company in Kelowna BC & provide comfortable, stress free move at affordable price. We provide residential & commercial, long & local move to Kelowna BC.

More Info

More info on BigSteelBox Okanagan-Shuswap MoversBigSteelBox

Moving & Storage Solutions for Your Home or Business: BigSteelBox has a vast network of stores across Canada to make moving & storage simple for residential, commercial and construction customers.

More Info

More info on Space Centre Storage Okanagan-Shuswap MoversSpace Centre Storage

The largest storage centre in Kelowna, offering personal & commercial self storage, RV, boat, and vehicle storage, commercial lease space, mail boxes, & MI-BOX portable storage containers.

More Info

More info on AMJ Campbell Kelowna Okanagan-Shuswap MoversAMJ Campbell Kelowna

Our Kelowna movers recognize that every move has different needs and requirements and are committed to handling each one with individual attention.

More Info

More info on Cidel Moving & Storage Okanagan-Shuswap MoversCidel Moving & Storage

Cidel Moving & Storage has been a part of many BC moving experiences for over 35 years. We have an outstanding record of satisfied customers within our community and have been noticed by Atlas Vanlines as a National Quality Award Winner.

More Info

Add your Free Listing to and to Featured Listings Add Your Free Listing
If you're not already listed

If your business is not already here or in the "& CityName & " FoundLocally directory (try the SEARCH box at the top), and you would like to be featured (randomly), add yourself to the Free Listings!

Strong Business Case: You can be found on BOTH AND on

Add Free Listing


Here are some of the great neighbourhoods you can move to in & around Okanagan-Shuswap

More Neighbourhoods...

Summerland (Okanagan Neighbourhood)Summerland (Okanagan Neighbourhood)

BC: halfway between Kelowna and Penticton on the west shore of Okanagan Lake.

More info...

Kamloops, BCKamloops, BC

BC: Kamloops is at the junction of the North and south branches of the Thompson River at Kamloops Lake. Today, the city sits where the Trans-Canada Highway (#1) meets the Coquihala (#5)

More info...

Valleyview / Rose Hill (Kamloops neighbourhood)Valleyview / Rose Hill (Kamloops neighbourhood)

BC: The eastern-most part of Kamloops along the southern bank of the Thompson River since the early 1880s, with a lot of travel-oriented commercial activity.

More info...

Downtown Kamloops (Kamloops  neighbourhood)Downtown Kamloops (Kamloops neighbourhood)

BC: Since the early to mid-1980s considerable commercial development took place , and ovder the past decade several multiple family developments

More info...

North Shore (Kamloops neighbourhood)North Shore (Kamloops neighbourhood)

BC: While the first ranch was granted in 1866, the community joined kamloops in 1967. The North Shore has ready access to Kamloops Airport (YKA), yet is anaffected by runway noise

More info...

More Okanagan-Shuswap Neighbourhoods

We have lots more neighbourhoods for you to explore and investigate...

More info...