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The Corporation of the City of Penticton
Penticton waterfront and the SS Sicamous at night
Penticton waterfront and the SS Sicamous at night
Flag of Penticton
Coat of arms of Penticton
Coat of arms
Official logo of Penticton
The Peach City
A Place to Stay Forever
Penticton is located in British Columbia
Location in British Columbia
Penticton is located in Canada
Location in Canada
Country Canada
Province British Columbia
Region Okanagan
Regional district Okanagan-Similkameen
 • District 

December 31, 1908
 • City  May 10, 1948
 • City 42.10 km2 (16.25 sq mi)
 • Metro
1,724.95 km2 (666.01 sq mi)
344 m (1,129 ft)
 • City 33,761
 • Density 801.8/km2 (2,077/sq mi)
 • Metro
43,432 (68th)
 • Metro density 25.2/km2 (65/sq mi)
Demonym(s) Pentictonite
Time zone UTC−08:00 (PST)
 • Summer (DST) UTC−07:00 (DST)
Forward sortation area
Area code(s) 250, 778, 236, 672
Highways Highway 97
Waterways Okanagan Lake, Okanagan River, Skaha Lake

Penticton ( pen-TIK-tən) is a city in the Okanagan Valley of the Southern Interior of British Columbia, Canada, situated between Okanagan and Skaha lakes. In the 2016 Canadian Census, its population was 33,761, while its census agglomeration population was 43,432.

Name origin

The name Penticton is derived from a word in the Okanagan language. It is conventionally translated as "a place to stay forever" but is actually a reference to the year-round flow of Okanagan Lake through Penticton where it enters Skaha Lake. Differing accounts of the meaning are given in the British Columbia Geographical Names Information System entry for the city:

"Place where water passes beyond." (information from Isaac Harris, published in Vernon News, July 18, 1918); compare with: "Derived from the Okanagan dialect of the Salish tribe, the word Pen-tak-tin meaning 'a place of permanent abode where waters pass by'." (50th Anniversary booklet of Penticton, 1958)

From the Indian name Pente-hik-ton, "ever" or "forever", referring to the constant, steady flow of the Okanagan River out of the lake.... applied by the Indians to the locality at the outlet of the lake, meaning that the stream ran on ever, or forever, in contrast to other streams which dried up during the summer (6th Report of the Okanagan Historical Society); compare with: "Derives from the Okanagan word Sin-peen-tick-tin, loosely translatable as 'permanent place'." (c1980 advice from Randy Bouchard, BC Indian Language Project).


The site of the city was first settled by the Okanagan people, of the Interior Salish language group, who initially named the community Phthauntac, meaning the "ideal meeting place", followed by Penticton, meaning a "place to stay forever", or officially "a place where people live year-round" in the Okanagan language. They settled around the city's two lakes: Skaha Lake and Okanagan Lake; the former was originally known as Dog Lake. Their descendants are based at the Penticton Indian Band, a First Nations government part of the Okanagan Nation Alliance situated near Penticton.

In 1866, Irishman Thomas Ellis and his family traveled to Penticton, and became the first white settlers. He started to develop a community by building a cattle empire, and planting fruit trees. The Penticton Hotel was established in 1892 by Ellis, who positioned it around the local government area, and its first road: Front Street. The sidewalks on the street were made from wood, with coal oil lamps being introduced to the sidewalk. Ellis and his relatives retired in 1892, and sold a portion of their land to property dealers. Around this time, a number of European fur traders traveled through Penticton and the surrounding communities.

The sternwheeler S.S. Aberdeen, which began service on Okanagan Lake in 1892, meant that more services could be shipped to the area. A group of residents formed their own local public government board for the community, by 1907, in the hopes of promoting the area. It was referred to as the Board of Trade, who attempted to specialize in arts, commerce, education, and recreation. Another sternwheeler was launched that same year, the S.S. Okanagan, for use on Okanagan Lake, while other sternwheelers served Penticton and other communities on Skaha Lake.

Penticton was incorporated as a district municipality on December 31, 1908. Shortly after the district was incorporated, the fruit trees planted by Ellis, many of them apple trees, started to grow. Residents of the area packed fruit in boxes, so they could distribute it worldwide. In 1912, the Canadian Pacific Railway (CPR) developed the Incola Hotel for the city, which operated for approximately 70 years.

Headquarters of the Kettle Valley Railway were situated in Penticton.

During World War I, the S.S. Sicamous came to the community, while the Kettle Valley Railway train service began operating, by moving specific passengers. In 1949, Penticton purchased the ship from the Canadian Pacific Railway. The Penticton Regional Airport was developed during World War II due to wartime military air transportation concerns, which acted as an emergency landing strip until its tarmac was completed. Its land was expropriated from the Penticton Indian Band in 1949 under the War Measures Act.

In 1948, a provincial highway opened between Hope and Princeton, which allowed access to Penticton, and created competition for the Kettle Valley Railway; headquarters for the railway were chosen to be in Penticton, in 1910, but the location burnt down in 1964. Much of the railroad's original route has been converted to a multi-use recreational trail, known as the Kettle Valley Rail Trail, which carries the Trans-Canada Trail through this part of British Columbia. It was incorporated as a city on May 10, 1948, with the governor general of Canada declaring this. Reeve Robert Lyon served Penticton as the first mayor, while Lord Alexander was made a freeman of the city.


Penticton hosts many events annually, among them the Challenge-Penticton Triathlon, the Valley First Granfondo Axel Merckx Okanagan, the Okanagan Wine Festival, the Okanagan Children's Festival, Fest-of-Ale BC, the Penticton Peach Festival (commonly known as "Peachfest"), the Miss Penticton Pageant, which takes place during the Penticton Peach Festival, the Pentastic Hot Jazz Festival, the Peach City Beach Cruise, and the Elvis Festival, which was featured in the Summer 2006 issue of British Columbia Magazine. Penticton was home to the Ironman Canada race from 1983 until 2012.


Penticton is home to recreational opportunities such as skiing at the Apex Mountain Resort ski area, boating and fishing on Skaha Lake and Okanagan Lake. There is golfing on the area's many courses, as well as hiking or biking the Kettle Valley Railway Trail, and rock climbing at Skaha Bluffs. Penticton is home to the BCHL hockey team Penticton Vees who play throughout the winter months, as well as the PCSL soccer team Penticton Pinnacles, who play from May until July.

In September 2006, residents voted 80.3% in favour of the construction of the South Okanagan Events Centre. The $73 million arena, sports complex and convention centre could possibly serve as a summer or early fall training facility for the Vancouver Canucks and is the home of the BCHL's Penticton Vees, so named in honour of the senior hockey team that in 1955 won the Ice Hockey World Championships against Russia. The Centre has boosted the city's convention market and is a popular stop on concert tours and for other special events.

The Penticton Art Gallery (formerly the Art Gallery of the South Okanagan) is a registered not-for-profit, charitable organization. Local and visiting artists show their works at the gallery. The PAG offers workshops and holds seasonal events. The During the winter holidays, there is an art under $300 event for gift giving accessibility.

Penticton is the hub of wine tourism in the Okanagan Valley with access to 120 wineries within an hour's drive. Nearby Naramata has 40 wineries at last count- by the beginning of the 2016 Fall Wine Festival.

The Kettle Valley Rail Trail, with trail heads leading to more than 160 km of flat, railbed trails for hiking and biking outings, can be accessed from Penticton. This trail is part of the Trans Canada Trail. Penticton has finished the building of the Penticton Aquatic Centre


Penticton, British Columbia
An aerial view of Penticton; Skaha Lake can be seen in the foreground, while Okanagan Lake is visible in the background. Penticton Regional Airport's runway can also be seen.
Skaha Lake along the Okanogan River
Skaha Lake sits along the Okanagan River near Penticton.

Penticton is located at the geographical coordinates of 49°29′28″N 119°35′19″W / 49.49111°N 119.58861°W / 49.49111; -119.58861 and covers an area of 42.10 square kilometres (16.25 sq mi), with a maximum north-south distance of 7 kilometres (4.3 mi) wide between the Okanagan Lake to the north and Skaha Lake to the south; these lakes are part of the drainage system of the Okanagan River, a tributary of the Columbia River. Its borders are formed by Skaha Lake Road to the south and west, which changes to Highway 97 after city limits, Naramata Road to the east, and to the west, Highway 97. Penticton has an elevation of 385 metres (1,263 ft), and is situated five hours from Seattle, Washington, or Vancouver, British Columbia, and eight hours from Calgary, Alberta, by highway.


Penticton is the largest city by area and population in the Okanagan-Similkameen Regional District, which is part of the Okanagan as a whole, for which the city is the third largest in the region. It is the 21st largest settlement in British Columbia itself by population, while its metropolitan area, including the city plus Okanagan-Similkameen Electoral Area D, serves as the 71st largest in Canada; by area, Penticton ranks 20th in its province; statistics are based on the Canada 2011 Census. It lies at the south bottom of Okanagan Lake, and north beginning of Skaha Lake. Between Okanagan Lake and Skaha Lake are a number of residential areas, farms, which grow orchard and wine products.

Pine and fir are commonly found in the mountains and high country around Penticton, which include the Okanagan Highland, and to its east, the Monashee Mountains. Apex Mountain Resort, which sits 33 kilometres (21 mi) west of the city on the Thompson Plateau, is home to the tallest mountain peak in the Penticton area; ski services are offered. The Okanagan Highland is an intermediary plateau-like hilly country between the Okanagan Valley and the Monashee Mountains.


Penticton airport
The local and upcoming weather of the city is observed at the Penticton Regional Airport.
Weather chart for Penticton
temperatures in °C
precipitation totals in mm

Penticton has a semi-arid climate (BSk) with low precipitation, hot summer days with cool nights, and moderately cool, mostly cloudy winters. With 346.0 mm (13.62 in) of annual precipitation, Penticton is the fourth driest city in Canada. It averages 58.7 cm (23.1 in) of snowfall per year.

The high daytime temperatures throughout the summer means that Penticton has on average the second most number of days in a year over 30 °C (86.0 °F) (after Kamloops) and the city has the lowest amount of fog in Canada. Penticton experiences 1,923 sunshine hours annually, lower than one might expect in a dry climate. This is the result of temperature inversions during the winter that leave a layer of cloud cover at the top of the valley where warm moist air collides with the cooler dry air that fills the valley. During December and January, Penticton is one of the cloudiest places in Canada. By contrast, the summer months are some of the most cloud-free in Canada. Overall the sun shines for 39 percent of daylight hours, varying between a low of 13 percent in December and January to 63 percent in August.

Mean relative humidity hovers between 63–77 percent in the morning throughout the year, but afternoon mean relative humidity is more uneven, ranging from 36 percent in July to 69 percent in January and December. The local and upcoming weather of Penticton is observed at the Penticton Regional Airport by Environment Canada. It typically experiences four distinct seasons annually, having hot summers, relatively mild winters, and little snow, according to the British Columbia government based on statistics from Environment Canada. Despite having a mild winter, Penticton often sees moderate stretches of below freezing weather, typically confined to December and January.

Climate data for Penticton Regional Airport, 1981−2010 normals, extremes 1907−present
Month Jan Feb Mar Apr May Jun Jul Aug Sep Oct Nov Dec Year
Record high °C (°F) 15.7
Average high °C (°F) 1.8
Daily mean °C (°F) -0.6
Average low °C (°F) -3.0
Record low °C (°F) -26.7
Precipitation mm (inches) 26.9
Rainfall mm (inches) 12.6
Snowfall cm (inches) 18.3
Humidity 71.2 61.8 48.7 39.9 39.2 39.2 35.1 35.8 41.4 52.0 65.5 71.0 50.1
Avg. precipitation days (≥ 0.2 mm) 12.6 9.8 9.6 9.2 10.7 10.6 7.8 6.9 7.0 9.5 12.1 13.4 119.2
Avg. rainy days (≥ 0.2 mm) 6.5 6.6 8.6 9.0 10.7 10.6 7.8 6.9 7.0 9.5 9.9 5.5 98.7
Avg. snowy days (≥ 0.2 cm) 7.7 4.1 1.6 0.43 0.0 0.0 0.0 0.0 0.0 0.03 2.9 9.6 26.4
Sunshine hours 35.0 81.4 144.3 189.7 234.3 237.3 287.9 279.7 212.3 135.0 53.0 33.7 1,923.3
Source: Environment Canada


Historical population
Year Pop. ±%
1921 3,979 —    
1931 4,640 +16.6%
1941 5,777 +24.5%
1951 10,548 +82.6%
1956 11,894 +12.8%
1961 13,859 +16.5%
1966 15,330 +10.6%
1971 18,146 +18.4%
1976 21,344 +17.6%
1981 23,181 +8.6%
1986 23,588 +1.8%
1991 27,258 +15.6%
1996 30,987 +13.7%
2001 30,985 −0.0%
2006 31,909 +3.0%
2011 32,877 +3.0%
2016 33,761 +2.7%
Sources: Statistics Canada

In the 2021 Census of Population conducted by Statistics Canada, Penticton had a population of 36,885 living in 17,361 of its 18,457 total private dwellings, a change of 9.3% from its 2016 population of 33,761. With a land area of 43.03 km2 (16.61 sq mi), it had a population density of 857.2/km2 (2,220/sq mi) in 2021.

In 2016. Penticton has a dwelling occupancy rate of 93.2%. The median value of a private dwelling is $359,167, just under the national median of $374,975. The median age is 52.4, much higher than the national median age of 41.2. 29.0% of residents are 65 years or older, compared to 16.9% nationally.

As of 2016, 84.8% of residents are white, while 8.2% are Indigenous and 7.0% are visible minorities. The largest visible minority groups in Penticton are South Asian (2.8%), Filipino (1.1%), Chinese (0.8%), and Southeast Asian and Japanese (0.5% each). 86.4% of residents spoke English as their first language. Other common mother tongues are German (2.2%), Punjabi (1.8%), French (1.8%), Portuguese (0.7%) and Tagalog (0.6%).

As of 2011, 52.9% of residents were Christian. The largest denominations were Catholic (15.8%), other Christian (14.5%) United Church (8.6%), Anglican (4.7%), and Baptist (2.0%) The largest minority religions were Sikhism, practiced by 1.7% of the population and Buddhism, practiced by 0.5%, while 43.5% held no religious affiliation.


According to SkyscraperPage, there are eight notable buildings in Penticton, the largest of which are the Lakeshore buildings, which contains 15 floors, with the building's construction by concrete completing in 2008. The building is associated with an engineering organization, construction company, and real estate agency, but was made for residential use. The Athens Creek Tower serves as the second largest building in Penticton, and contains ten floors, with its construction ending in 2011. The Alysen Place also contains ten floors, and thus is the second largest building in Penticton, along with the Athens Creek. Third largest building, Cherry Lane Towers, is home to eight floors, and its use is also residential.

Public spaces

Little tunel
The Kettle Valley Railway runs through Penticton, and the nearby city Kelowna.

Due to its warm climate, the city has a diverse array of public spaces, from parks to hiking trails. It is home to ten public parks, including Gyro Park, Lakawanna Park, Marina Way Park, Okanagan Lake Park, Penticton Youth Park, Rose Garden, Rotary Centennial Pavilion, Rotary Park, Skaha Lake Park, and Munson Mountain. There are also seven beaches situated in the city, including Okanagan Lake Beach, Skaha Lake Beach, Airport Beach, Marina Way Beach, Okanagan Lake Park Beach, Sudbury Beach, and Three Mile Beach.

The larger metropolitan area contains the Okanagan Falls Provincial Park, located in the unincorporated community Okanagan Falls. Penticton maintains a policy on dogs that are allowed at parks or beaches. Other public spaces include trails, such as part of the Trans Canada Trail, and Kettle Valley Railway; the former was formed throughout Canada, while the latter runs through Penticton and nearby city Kelowna. Rock climbing area Skaha Bluffs is located south of city centre on a hillside above the Skaha Lake in the Skaha Bluffs Provincial Park. It is the second most popular rock climbing area in British Columbia, after the Smoke Bluffs in Squamish.

International relations

In early 1975, residents of the Penticton area traveled to Japan, in order to search for business opportunities. They met Kaneyasa Marutani, the mayor of Ikeda, Hokkaido, a town in the Nakagawa regional district of Japan. He claimed that the town was proposing a sister city relationship, and stated that Penticton was a reasonable option, due to its similarities with winery production, cattle industry, and geographic features. Later that year, residents of the Ikeda area toured Penticton and met with the government of Penticton, reaching a decision to become a sister city in 1977.

Since 1977, Penticton has served as a sister city of Ikeda. The relationship is one of the oldest in Canada, with a number of residents having exchanged visits to the respective locations annually. In 1993, there was consideration for building a Japanese garden in Penticton, in order to honor their agreement, with the garden's construction beginning in 1997. It is known as the Penticton–Ikeda Japanese Garden.


The city hosts games played by ice hockey teams Penticton Vees, a junior "A" team in the British Columbia Hockey League, and one of the most successful Junior A teams in Canadian history. (BCHL), The city formerly hosted the Penticton Lakers, a junior "B" team in the Kootenay International Junior Hockey League (KIJHL). The Vees play at the South Okanagan Events Centre, while the latter played in the arena of the neighboring Okanagan Hockey School. The former were founded in 1961, and have won the Doyle Cup, and Royal Bank Cup, while the latter were established in 2009. The Penticton Upperdeck Vees are also a junior ice hockey that were founded in 2008, and also play at the South Okanagan Events Centre; people who have special needs are part of the team's squad, which is in the Special Needs Hockey League (SNHL).

The Penticton Pinnacles are a soccer team that were established in 1997 that play at the Kings Park for the Pacific Coast Soccer League (PCSL), the Penticton Pistoleras, a local roller derby team part of the South Okanagan Roller Derby Association, and Penticton Harlequins, a local rugby team in the British Columbia Rugby Union, also play tournaments for the city; the South Okanagan Event Centre serves as both of their venues.

Beside team sports, the city hosted the 2010 British Columbia Scotties Tournament of Hearts, 2010 World Junior A Challenge, 2013 Continental Cup of Curling., the 2016 BC Winter Games, the 2017 International Triathlon Union Multisport World Championships and Curling Canada's 2018 Scotties Tournament of Hearts

The South Okanagan Events Centre is the venue of a number of sport teams in Penticton.


Penticton is served by School District 67 Okanagan Skaha, a school district with education institutions also based in nearby communities Naramata, Kaleden, and Summerland; its head office is held in Penticton itself. The district administers children from kindergarten to grade 12 locally, those of which are between kindergarten to grade five attend elementary schools, while children in grades between grade six to eight attend middle schools; ninth to 12th graders are served by secondary schools. School District 67 Okanagan Skaha currently maintains 11 elementary schools, four middle schools, and three secondary schools, including Penticton Secondary School and Princess Margaret Secondary School. On June 30, 2016, School District 67 closed McNicoll Park Middle School. During the 2016/2017 school year School District 67 operated 10 elementary schools, 3 middle schools, and 3 high schools. Penticton has three independent schools; Penticton Christian School, Holy Cross School, and Concordia Lutheran School.

The Conseil scolaire francophone de la Colombie-Britannique operates two Francophone schools: école Entre-lacs primary school and the école secondaire de Penticton.

The city is home to a Sprott Shaw College campus, and an Okanagan College campus, the latter of which, in 2010, had an enrollment of 610. It also contains the Okanagan Hockey School, which has had partnerships with professional hockey teams, such as the Vancouver Canucks.

The Penticton Public Library was founded in 1909; from 1948 to 1968, it was a part of the Okanagan Regional Library. In 1968, a successful referendum separated the library from the Okanagan Regional Library.



Penticton Transit 8031
Mass local transit in Penticton is offered by the Penticton Transit System.

Mass local transit in Penticton and Okanagan-Similkameen is offered by the South Okanagan-Similkameen Transit System under the BC Transit label, operating on six routes. There is also a service for people who are unable to use regular transit, HandyDART. The bus transportation system is funded by Penticton, Okanagan-Similkameen, and BC Transit. Its services are provided to points of interest, such as the Cherry Lane Shopping Centre Downtown Penticton. as well as traversing the distance lake to lake.

A number of parks and recreation transportation services are offered in the city, including trails, such as part of the Trans Canada Trail, and Kettle Valley Railway; the former runs through Canada, while the latter runs through Penticton, and Kelowna. Headquarters for the trail was chosen to be in Penticton in 1910, but the location burnt down in 1964. The city has access to transportation corridors running north, south, east, and west, while the Highway 97 can also be accessed.

It is served by the Penticton Airport, a regional airport located 1.8 nautical miles (3.3 kilometres) southwest of city centre. In 2018 a $6million upgrade to the facility was initiated to expand the departure and arrivals lounges as well as increase capacity for managing passenger flow. Although it has historically provided flights to several destinations, the airport currently offers flights to the Vancouver International Airport, which are provided by Air Canada Express; these services are provided three to four times daily, while the exception of Sunday, when two flights are available. WestJet Encore flies twice daily to its Calgary hub. The city is also home to the Penticton Water Aerodrome (TC LID: CAH8), a water aerodrome situated adjacent to the Penticton Airport and is home base to HNZ Topflight, an advanced helicopter flight training school operated by HNZ.

Notable residents

  • Andy Bell, pro freestyle motocross champion, host of MTV's Nitro Circus
  • Jeannette Armstrong, Syilx Elder, Author, and Professor at UBCO
  • George Bowering, poet, first ever Canadian Parliamentary Poet Laureate
  • Tyler Breeze, professional wrestler
  • Layla Claire, soprano
  • Thomas Ellis, the first European settler in the area in 1866
  • Brett Hull, National Hockey League (NHL) hockey player, graduate of Penticton High School
  • Paul Kariya, retired NHL player, graduate of Penticton Secondary School
  • Duncan Keith, NHL hockey player, graduate of Penticton Secondary School
  • Alan Kerr, hockey player
  • Shane Koyczan, spoken word poet
  • Spencer Krug, musician from the band Wolf Parade
  • Richard H. Leir, chief of maritime operations for the Canadian navy.
  • Ivan McLelland, Penticton Vees player and 1955 IIHF World Hockey Champion
  • Andy Moog, hockey player
  • Brendan Morrison, NHL hockey player, graduate of Penticton High School
  • Terry David Mulligan, actor and television personality
  • Bob Nicholson, CEO of the Edmonton Oilers
  • Andi Naude, 2018 Olympian on the Canadian National Ski Team
  • Nakai Penny, professional rugby player for the Seattle Seawolves of Major League Rugby
  • Cameron Phillips, radio broadcaster
  • Justin Pogge, hockey player
  • Mike Reno, musician from the band Loverboy
  • Mark Allan Robinson, political activist
  • Alexis Smith, actress
  • Blake Wesley, hockey player

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