ałi kwu suknaqinx | We Are Okanagan
From the Interior Salish nsyilxcən word snpintktn, the name Penticton, while commonly translated as “a place to stay forever,” more accurately and correctly means “a place where people have always been all year long.” For over 7,000 years, our region has been home to the syilx First Peoples, who were instrumental in helping the first European fur traders travel through the Okanagan in the early 1800s. You can learn more about local indigenous cultures and the history of the syilx, through a variety of community events including the annual Pow Wow Between the Lakes or by visiting the En’owkin Centre.
Penticton has a rich diverse history, waiting to be explored. The PENTICTON sign, adorning Munson Mountain constructed in 1937 remains a source of civic pride, as well as being a great spot to take incredible panoramic pictures of the city and Okanagan Lake. Just below, running along the Naramata Bench, you will find arguably, the most well maintained section of the famed Kettle Valley Rail (KVR) Trail. Once a comprehensive railroad system, the decommissioned tracks are now home to an extensive recreational trail providing almost 650 km (400 mi) of connected pathways throughout the region.
If you want to learn more about the history of the Kettle Valley Railway there is a fantastic working model on display at the SS Sicamous Museum and Heritage Park on the shores of Okanagan Lake. Now a museum the SS Sicamous was once a luxury stern wheeler that was used to transport passengers and cargo to remote communities along the shores of Okanagan Lake. As the largest surviving stern wheeler in BC, the SS Sicamous is a unique part of Okanagan history and heritage.
Another way to bring Penticton’s history to life is through the fascinating exhibits and interactive learning spaces at Penticton Museum & Archives, on Main Street. It’s a great way to round off a self-guided walking tour of the historical buildings and landmarks of the cities downtown core.
With such a rich history and incredible natural surroundings, it’s not surprising that a vibrant arts scene has flourished in Penticton.
Numerous art galleries, exhibitions, theatrical performances and all range of musical events take place throughout the year, both indoors and out. You can enjoy a dramatic performance amidst the vineyards, take in a live show at a cozy local bar or soak up the ambiance on a walking art tour or sculpture tour along colourful Front Street and Downtown Penticton.
When planning your visit be sure to check out our Events Calendar for information on concerts, plays and other amazing experiences to enhance your stay.
Be Inspired by Natural Surroundings
Rugged landscapes, verdant orchards, crystal blue lakes and diverse local wildlife provide a wealth of potential for aspiring and professional artisans. Find a secluded nook in the charming Ikeda Japanese Garden overlooking Okanagan Lake or head for the rolling vineyards of wide open wine country.
For decades Penticton has been a draw for artists of all genres from around the world, who are happy to share their works and the stories behind them. Creativity blossoms here, as naturally as fruit trees and grape vines.