Win a Basket from the Thompson Okanagan Tourism Association!

As much as I love Edmonton, my mind seems to naturally drift to warmer climes when the mercury drops. How easy is it to get lost in a daydream just looking at the photos below?

Thompson Okanagan

The sky that never ends…

Thompson Okanagan

Can I have the bottle please?

And as luck would have it, I have a gift basket from the Thompson Okanagan Tourism Association (TOTA) in British Columbia to give away – just in time for Christmas! The basket is worth over $750, and includes: 

Though I’ve been through the Okanagan region before, it was many, many years ago, and I was too young to appreciate the full bounty of our neighbour to the west (well that, and being a child, the wineries were off limits). I do, however, remember seeing more fruit on trees than I ever had before. Cherry picking our way through one orchard, my youngest sister gorged herself to the point of inevitable illness.

Since then, I’ve only explored the area vicariously through a few of my fellow local bloggers – Jennifer Cockrall-King, who organizes the annual Okanagan Food & Wine Writers Workshop, FoodieSuz, and Liane Faulder – a read through their experiences is to believe that paradise is only a half day away. The winner of this basket will no doubt have an amazing time getting acquainted with the area firsthand!

thompson Okanagan

Food, glorious food

To enter the contest, simply leave a comment below with your favourite memory of the Okanagan. Or, if you’ve never visited the area before, what do you most look forward to enjoying in the Okanagan? The contest closes at 5 p.m. on December 3, 2010. I will contact the winner by e-mail.

To learn more about the Thompson Okanagan region, check out their website, Facebook page, or follow them on Twitter. Good luck!

Edit on December 6, 2010: Congratulations to George Wenzel for winning the basket. Enjoy your trip, George!

124 thoughts on “Win a Basket from the Thompson Okanagan Tourism Association!

  1. Okanagan has a nice close network of wineries in close proximity, and Burrowing Owl had a fantastic lunch and balcony that overlooked the vineyards. I’d definitely go back.

  2. I don’t have a lot of memories of the Okanagan since most of my trips were when I was younger but the one thing that totally sticks out in my mind is totally cliche and from sometime in my elementary school years, eating cherries. The memories almost seem stolen since everyone seems to have the same one. Sitting in the back of some vehicle plowing through a pail of road side stand sold cherries. I think we only washed them in the same way you run cold water over lettuce and let it soak a few minutes before draining it, half assedly. It’s hard to remember and talk about a meal like this without really being able to remember much of the details about the whole situation all together. The one thing that totally sticks out though is that no one, and I do mean no one, appreciated us spitting pits out at their cars as we drove by. This was probably how a young me learned about road rage and the use of the middle finger.

  3. Lush green wineries, big lakes surrounded by people, boating and fresh fruits, thats all I can remember now!

  4. oh wow, this basket sounds like a fabulous way to get reacquainted with the Okanagan! I haven’t been since I was a kid, and what I remember best was the glorious heat and my first experience playing minigolf. I also remember the hotel having a great swimming pool which was, alas, what I judged all vacations by as a child.

    That said, I’ve definitely had dreams of re-visiting the area as an adult, after listening to stories from my parents and friends. I dream of soaking in the sun while eating and drinking on the famed Summerhill Pyramid balcony, savouring both the atmosphere and the glorious tastes of the food and wine, followed by touring it and other wineries and enjoying all the incredible scenery!

    Although this basket, in and of itself, sounds like a dream trip come true, without needing any prior dreams or plans! Pretty please pick me?

  5. Most of my memories of the Okanagan are vague, as it’s probably been 15 years since my last visit, but I clearly remember enjoying pleasantly warm t-shirt weather in Kelowna, while after a short drive up to Big White, it was still mid-winter and wonderful skiing.

  6. I have never been to the Okanagan but have always wanted to take a trip there. As someone who likes winter and the snow because I love to snowboard, I would look most forward to experiencing the champagne powder and going to the ski resorts like Big White and Sun Peaks.

    And if it were the summer time, I would certainly visit the wineries especially during the Okanagan Wine Festival and the Dirty Laundry Vineyard (cool name!).

    Thanks for promoting this on your website. I didn’t know much about Thompson Okanagan region but after going to their website, I think I may go for a visit soon!

  7. Never been to the Okanagan but people have told me how beautiful it is. The same people also go there every summer. So if I win, I would look forward to eating all the fresh fruits. Make every pear/apple/peach, etc dessert there is.

  8. I’ve never been to the Okanagan either but would love to go and take my mom with me. She loves wine and I think getting a chance to experience a trip to some Canadian vineyards would be delightful (I wouldn’t mind sampling a sip or two myself).

  9. Early season cycling camp in Pentiction. It was only March, but that didn’t stop us from going for a swim in the lake!

  10. A lovely day of plucking a fresh warm peach right off the tree, winding my way through the abundance of wineries, stopping for a taste, chatting with the winemakers themselves, and patting the winery dog. Jumping in Okanagan Lake to cool off, and then baking on the beach. Dinner perched on the edge of a magnificent view, noshing on local farmers’ fare – artisan cheese, tender lamb, sweet garden vegetables, and magnificent fruit dessert, showcasing the fruit ‘o the season.

  11. My favourite memory? Teaching at Thompson Rivers University in the Winter of ’05. Great city, great view, and a great drive to Vancouver. I miss the Okanagan!

  12. I remember tasting wines at Quail’s Gate. I was a new wine drinker and just begininng to appreciate the differences in varieties and learning what I liked best. At the long counter I was being helped by an extremely helpful man. It was the first time that I was able to pick out individual flavour notes, like you sometimes read in the description on the back of a bottle. Cantaloupe! Passion fruit! Grapefruit! I got it!

  13. Gosh, my story was similar to yours. Every year for vacation I remember visiting my Grandparents in the Okanagan valley, and I remember the very long and very hot days of my parents tasting wine while I trailed slowly behind, trying to catch a sip while no one was looking, my only one salvation was when we reached a place that had wine and cheese, and I would finally be able to try something!

    I most fondly remember the Corn, and all the stands up on the roadside selling the freshest most delicious peaches and cream corn. The meals we had afterward will always be burned into my memory and I think is the reason I love to cook with Fresh food today.

    Honestly your blog was revitalizing that, having moved to the big city very recently, and being very busy attending school my fresh and local ingredient fix was becoming ignored, until I found this and now I have a watchful eye for all of the greatest places to visit for fresh local tastiness!

    So thanks, and I would relish the opportunity to revisit the area being able to drink wine now. 🙂

  14. My favorite Okanagon memory is my wedding! My Husband and I got married there in the summer a few years ago. It is still one of our favorite places to go.

  15. I have, unbelievably, never been to the Okanogan! But an old friend of mine got married at a Winery there and the pictures were stunning. So I guess I would most be looking forward to the WINE.
    And this basket really does look like the perfect way to aquaint myself with the best the area has to offer!

  16. My wife and I spent our 10th anniversary last summer in the Okanagan. My favorite memory from the trip was sitting down at the terrace restaurant at Mission Hill winery, enjoying some expensive snacks, and feeling the cool rain drift in while we were eating! There are downsides to outdoor restaurants, but the staff were awesome and brought out blankets and umbrellas to keep us warm until the shower passed.

    We would love to return to the Okanagan valley again. Truly a beautiful place!

  17. I’ve haven’t been to the Okanogan area since I was really little. We went to Kelowna and visited Flintstone Village! Since then I’ve heard so many great things about the fantastic lakes and beaches. The fresh fruit and eating places from roadside to fancy are also enticing. My kids (5 and 7) saw pictures of their cousin’s vacation in Osoyoos and now keep asking to go the “ocean.” 🙂

  18. When I was living in Whistler, I met my best friend (who lives in Edmonton) in the Okanagan for a weekend. It had been months since we had seen each other and it was the perfect place for us to get together. We ate, toured some wineries and a had a fabulous couple of days together 🙂 The weekend was short but so worth the long drive on both of our parts. When you live so close but yet so far its nice to have such a beautiful place to meet up 🙂

  19. Not that I’ve been many places but I have to say the Okanagan valley is probably my favorite destination. For anyone who is the least bit interested in a food/wine destination, it can’t be beat. The scenery is stunning and changes somewhat from the northern okanagan, (north of Vernon) down to the south by osoyoos. Very interesting to see the only dessert in Canada. Meeting lots of different people at the wineries is interesting. Many folks looking for a life change so decide to get into the wine business. Also many from abroad. I simply love it and would relish any opportunity to visit again.

  20. getting a taxi and spending the day winery-hopping! laying on the beach and reading a novel. the fresh fruit. houseboating. did i mention the wineries?

  21. What don’t I love about the Okanagan? My fiancee and I are big winos. It was very suiting to our style when we choose to have our wedding next summer at Summerhill Pyramid Winery in Kelowna! We will have both families gathering from all over North America to enjoy a beautiful location to celebrate our future together! It you ever have a chance to go to Summerhill, plan to eat in their restaurant, the food is amazing. I highly recommend with chicken gnocchi with a mascarpone gravy. I think my best memories of the Okanagan are yet to come!
    I cannot wait for our many returns to the Okanagan to discover more of its beauty.

  22. My favourite memory hasn’t happened yet. A very good friend of mine recently became the caretaker of a bird sanctuary in Vernon. I can’t wait to visit her, drink wine on the patio, watching the birds and the lake.

    But my favourite memory to date? Discovering Naramata for the first time and all their amazing wines. And pretending that one day I could afford to live there! Sigh.

  23. I remember staying at the Myra Canyon Ranch and wishing that we could have spent much more time in Kelowna. What a beautiful place! On the way home (driving) we stopped by a farmer’s stand and packed our cooler with honey and many, many varieties of fruit.

  24. I drove from Edmonton to Kelowna in the fall a couple years back. It was wonderful to see the change of seasons on the way there. We went from snow capped mountain peaks to red-green foliage in the span of a couple hours!

    Kelowna is awesome in the fall! Amazing colors outdoors and wonder food and wine indoors! 🙂

  25. I’ve never been to that region, but since I moved to Alberta, a year and a half ago, everyone has been telling me that I HAVE to go there! I hear it’s sunny and warm and beautiful. I hear they produce great fruits and wine. Maybe it’s a little bit like the Niagara region in Ontario? Or Switzerland? 😉 What I would love to see there, if I ever went there, would be the orchards and the vineyards 🙂

  26. Wow, those pictures are beautiful. I’ve never spent much time in the Okanagan, just driven through. I can’t believe there’s a sun-soaked wine region so close, and yet the only one I’ve been to is in Tuscany.

  27. My aunt and uncle used to live in Penticton, and our neighbours had access to a cabin in Naramata, so we would consistently go twice a year. In the winter, it was always difficult to fly; Penticton, more often than not, was snowed in, the plane diverted to Kelowna, and a peeved father having to rent a car and drive down the lake in a snowstorm. The payoff: time spent with a set of relatives I cherished, and who insisted on a Christmas goose every year. As a kid, summer was where it was at though – days on the beach, barbecued food with sand between your toes, inner tubing the canal between Skaha and Okanagan lakes … and the best part was the fruit. So much fruit, gorging on cherries and peaches. I was too young to appreciate the wine, and the relatives have since shuffled off this mortal coil, but now that I have a new set of relatives who built a spectacular new house in Kelowna, I have to go back.

  28. Mine was when our family would still take annually summer vacations (we stopped a few years ago). We went in 2000 and to this day, can still remember how much I enjoyed our trip to Kelowna. It would of been the second time I went; the other time me being a toddler. We stayed at the Holiday Park Inn & RV Resort. I remember the hotness, humidity and the natural beauty of the Okanagan. But what I remember most was….well, drinking lots of wine and visiting tonnes of wineries! I wasn’t drinking lots-I had sips here and there (I was still ‘young’). My parents took my sister and I to visit the numerous wineries in that region-Summerhill, Mission Hill, Quail’s Gate, Calona Wineries and Rosehill. I still remember by the end of the day, my parents felt a little “drunk”
    because of the overtasting of wine. By favourite of all was ice wine in a chocolate dessert cup. I’m still very fond of those memories. I hope one day we can all take a vacation there again.

  29. hi

    My favorite memory was being in Penticton for Ironman Canada. We stayed right off the lake by the start line. It was so beautiful! Watching my husband and his friend Mark finish ironman was amazing. What a great atmosphere!

  30. Born and raised in Kelowna, I have many many found memories. It was the perfect place to grow up in. Summertime has always been my favorite, the day are hot and the beach is always calling. Walking along the waterfront downtown with ice cream or enjoying a glass of wine on a patio. Nothing quite cools you off after a 35 day like night swimming. Now that we live in Edmonton, we are often returning to the okanagan to visit friends and family. Recently, we’ve been exploring more and more the variety of wineries and food destinations. This past summer my husband and I did a day trip to Naramata. The drive was filled with gorgeous scenery and bountiful vineyards. So wonderful to take in all that the Okanagan has to offer. I’m truly in love!

  31. I am really looking forward to seeing central BC. I have been to the coast and to Yoho, but never to the interior. It would seem like a bit of a shame to go much longer without experiencing all of the food and wine our neighbour has to offer, especially since you can get there in the same day without even stepping on a plane. I also looking forward to daylight!

  32. Oh so many memories.
    At a younger age I loved camping with my family at Bear Creek in our little tent trailer. We’d sometimes take a day to drive up to Summerland Sweets for the syrup tasting and a big ice cream cone.
    In my late teen years we upgraded the tent trailer for a boat and I just loved those hot summer days out on the lake sun tanning, swimming, wakeboarding and tubing. We’d often drive up to the El Dorado hotel for margheritas and nachoes. Or for their great Sunday brunch on the patio.
    Most recently I travelled to the Okanagan for wine fest with my parents and boyfriend. Such a fun time discovering new wineries and tasting fantastic wine all day with such beautiful scenery around.

  33. June 2009. Camping at Okanagan Falls Provincial Park. Hitting all the wineries we could in the area, taking a fantastic tour at Sumac Ridge, sipping the delicious raspberry and apricot fruit wines at Elephant Orchard on their beautiful patio, coming home with lots of wine but now wishing we had bought more! Definitely time to go revisit and have some more samplings and restock our wine rack 🙂

  34. Biking along the shore of Lake Skaha and Lake Okanagan, staying on the beach, swimming in the lakes, and all the great restaurants.

  35. I went camping in the Okanagan a few years ago, did the winery tours, drove through Summerland and took the Kettle Valley Train Tour which stopped at a Cherry Farm with a cute old couple selling huge bags of freshly picked cherries.

  36. I remember the first year we did an Okanagan wine tour after the birth of our son. I carted him around in a backpack carrier and I’ll never forget when we went down to the humble little tasting shed at Nichol. My partner and I had a taste of the first wine, looked at each other and smiled. We knew we’d discovered something really special.

  37. We went there with your parents and sister 2 years ago, staying at the local B&B in Peachland, right by the lakeside. What more would you ask while enjoying the home made breads and scones, sipping coffee, watching the ducklings swimming by at the lake, and the warm sun shining on them. I had a great moment especially with good friends.

  38. I’ve never been to the Okanagan, but I am really looking forward to visiting the various orchards and wine-tasting! I also am looking forward to their laid-back lifestyle and sampling good eats.

  39. My family went to the Okanagan often when I was a child and my most memorable memories are the many fruitless searches for the elusive Ogopogo 🙂

  40. My favorite memories from the Okanagan come from the trips my family would take there every summer when I was a teenager. We’d get a hotel near the lake and spend all day hanging out at the pool or near the beach, soaking up the sunshine. I wasn’t old enough to be interested in wine, but if I could go back now (it’s been a few years!) I would love to visit the vineyards and taste some great vino! And of course, enjoy some delicious eats!

  41. I’ve only driven through the Okanagan ~ but the lush scenery and having the opportunity to relax and enjoy great food is what I would look forward to.

  42. Sadly I have never been to the Okanagan for a visit (drive through only). But I would love to go and be able to stay for a few days to experience the beauty that is there.

  43. I have great memories as a child visiting this area and going bike riding with my entire family and camping in the beautiful campgrounds. I remember feeling that I was in paradise!

  44. My favourite memory is a family camping trip when I was in Junior High. We went to a beach, and I remember it was so hot the sand burned my feet.

  45. Going fishing on the wonderful lakes with my entire family (when i was young)… it was great. Also camping!

  46. Favourite memories of the Okanagan – staying in beautiful Naramata with an old fashioned clawfoot tub in the room – visiting the wineries and sampling the wines in Naramata and Penticton. Hitting the Penticton farmers markets and buying the local produce and jams. Eating at the delicious greek restaurant. Would love to go back!

  47. Most of my memories are vacation memories as a child. Warm sandy beaches, fresh fruit, and apple picking! I would love to get back there as an adult and make some newer memories!

  48. A few years ago, my wife and I spent a week camping next to Gallagher Lake near Oliver. The campsite served as our home base at we spent the week visiting wineries, hiking and enjoying the local art scene. Each day we’d come back to our site, take a dip in the chilly lake, then cook our meals on my Coleman stove. We’d pair our dinners with the wines we had bought that day.

    In all, we went to 25 wineries, intentionally avoiding most of the bigger, well-established ones. I can find Mission Hill in most Edmonton liquor stores. It’s harder to find wines from Thornhaven, Le Vieux Pin, Stoneboat, La Frenz, Blue Mountain and other lesser known gems.

    We did stop at Burrowing Owl, but we only picked up one bottle of the Pinot Gris (still a great wine, by the way). That night, it made its way into our campstove risotto recipe. Perhaps it was the glow of the wine, the beautiful setting under a cliff face, or simply exhaustion from a long day of wine tasting, but it was one of the most romantic meals we’ve had together.

  49. The Okanagan conjurs images of a pretty amazing childhood. My parents were young and we could not afford the glitzy vacations that would carry us on an airplane. We relied on an old camper which carried my parents, aunt and myself every summer to campgrounds in the area.

    We hit every little travel spot a long the way. Enchanted forests, Flinstone park … every greasy burger joint. When we arrived my aunt and I would play tag in the campground hiding in the trees with new found friends. At night we eat obigatory hotdogs and smores … later in the night we would tell ghost stories. Im sure many of the stoires were invented on the spot, but they have become part of the ‘Okanagon Lore’ to me.

    Im now past the age of camping with my ‘not so cool’ parents, but I get insanely jealous when I get an email from the parents who tell me they have stopped at ‘this place or that place’ which are still around. Places include the wine factory where my aunt (16 at the time) toured and became ‘tipsy’ prompting a phone call back to her mother (my grandma) one night. I didnt know what was happening at the time, but I remember pointing and laughing unaware of my Dad’s worry that his Mom would be mad at him 🙂

    Basically the Okanagan was a setting for great family memories – an important part of childhood summers that stretched on much longer than the summers of today.

  50. My favorite memories of the Okanagan are from family vacations there. It’s the perfect back drop for spending time with the ones you love, because there really is something for everyone – from watersports to good meals and fresh fruit to farmers’ markets, the beach, night life and of course, wine tours. I have so many happy memories there it would be impossible to pin down one.

  51. 27 celsius, sitting by the lake, glass of gewustraminer, grilled caeser salad, sitting with my wife and kids, perfect day.

  52. My husband and I spent a week in the Okanagan for our honeymoon. We spent the week driving around in the gorgeous weather visiting vineyards. I remember amazing meals, amazing wine and relaxation. Would love to go back.

  53. My favorite memory of the Okanagan is definitely the time a group us use managed to taste wine at 19 wineries one one day. We spent most of the day in and around the narmata bench. Wine tasting is one activity that everyone in my family (although to a lesser extent, my little brother) can enjoy together. My parents love that there adult children still want to vacation with them (there), haha.

  54. I go to the Okanagan a few times every year. I practically grew up in the lake. My favorite memories range from jumping off huge piers in Westbank as a child, to enjoying a glass of Syrah at Burrowing Owl. Biting into a white flesh peace a a fruit stand overlooking the lake, sirene moments like that are what make the Okanagan such a spectacular place.

  55. The Okanagan is a great area…the sparkling cold lakes, the beautiful wineries, numerous restaurants, and a golf course on every corner. I remember fondly enjoying a wine tour in the afternoon, followed by a dip in the lake and a feast of grilled fish and vegetables on the deck!

  56. My memories of the Okanagan is passing through the northern tip of it, on the way to Clinton (starting from Calgary). I would love to actually stop longer than gassing up and picking up some fruit. I would especially like to spend some time at the wineries, particularly Summerhill. I enjoyed and sold a lot of their wine when I worked at a liquor store.

  57. Gah! I really have to ‘most’ look forward to a single thing? I haven’t been there, so it seems like this would be a pretty arbitrary selection for me to make. I’m just going to have to say I would most look forward to actually going there.

  58. I think my favourite memory of the Okanagan was a couple of summers ago spending the day tooling around Penticton, Summerland and the Naramata Bench. We visited all sorts of wonderful wineries sampling wines and meeting wonderful winemakers and visitors just like us. We then went for a wonderful dinner at the Hillside Winery Bistro where we watched the sun set over the lake. We then retired the Therapy Vineyards guesthouse where we were staying and sipped a nightcap under the stars and dreamed about moving to the Okanagan permanently. Such a wonderful place and we feel blessed to have been able to visit.

  59. Perhaps not my favourite but definitely my most ridiculous Okanagan memory is checking out a winery at which Nelly Furtado’s sister worked. She was doing our tasting, and her identity was pointed out to us mid-tasting by a very socially-oblivious winery manager who eventually cajoled her into autographing one of the bottles of wine we bought despite us not really wanting it and her definitely not wanting to do it. Pretty funny.

  60. My wife is from the area so we go back every year at least once, but my favorite memory was the first time I snowboarded big white, both days had a foot of fresh powder and there was almost no one on the mountain, just an awesome couple days.

  61. That top photo looks an awful lot like the view from Blue Mountain’s vineyards down onto Vasseux Lake.

    The Okanagan is awesome. I spent a decade travelling through Europe’s beauty only to discover we had our own treasure nearby. Our favorite stretch is between Oliver and Osoyoos along the Golden Mile and Black Sage Bench. My toddler daughters call it ‘fruitland’. It’s dotted with wineries open for tastings, surrounded by epic natural beauty, and…well, that’s enough, no?

    For some South Okanagan wine tasting lowdown:

  62. We have spent the past two summers in the Okanagan. Kids playing on the beach. Great food. But a road trip wouldn’t be complete without our pilgrimage to Blasted Chruch vinyards We always pick up a couple of cases.

  63. I don’t know if I have a favourite, but being a big fan of snow, I’d have to say that skiing Big White is always near the top. A gorgeous hill that is always beautiful!

  64. My parents used to rent an apple tree there. We would stop on our way home from vacation and pick that tree clean, then drive home with the fragrance of apples wafting up each time the car trunk was opened.
    With peaches and cherries we always drove home non-stop, but apples allowed some stops along the way.

  65. The best memory i have was when i went sea doo-ing in the Okanagan lake. It was amazing speeding through the lake at more than 70km/h.
    I would also love to make it out to Big White, as i hear it’s a great mountain.

  66. A week on the lake in a houseboat, with day trips to vineyards, stopping by the fruit stands for freshest best tastes, and the cider…delicious cherry and apple. The kids sleeping under an open sky on the upper deck, looking at an impossible array of stars, drifting off to sleep with the promise that tomorrow we’d go searching for Ogopogo. Great Okanagan memories.

  67. I have never been, but I would love to go hiking in the Okanagan! And maybe run into Jarome Iginla as well 🙂

  68. Everything in this basket sounds amazing! I would look forward to spending my days hiking or skiing, eating good food, touring wineries, fishing, then relaxing in the spa! Sounds like the perfect retreat to me.

  69. My favorite memory was when my whole family went there for my Grandparents 50th wedding anniversary. It was great having everyone together, swimming, relaxing and visiting!
    That was over 10 years ago!

  70. My favourite memory is being a child and floating down the creek (Penticton or Kelowna) on a rubber raft on a gorgeous sunny, summer day. Pure bliss!

  71. I’ve never been to the Okanagan area but would love to make a trip there one day just to get away from the city and enjoy the great outdoor with my busy family who do not spend time in the outdoors that often . I would look forward to spend some time with them away from our busy lives simply to relax and enjoy the good food!

  72. I have been to the Okanagan before as a kid but never as an adult. I would most like to visit the wineries and discover the adult version of the Okanagan. I would enjoy the great outdoors, the fruit, food and definitely the wine.

  73. My favourite memory of the okanagan was the drive! It is so pretty to just drive around and look at the amazing scenery! I was able to go a few years ago but it was a quick trip and we didn’t have much of a chance to tour around.

    Thanks for the chance! 🙂

  74. I had the opportunity to visit the Okanagan a few years ago. My mom, brother and I met there for the first time in 2 years, as we all live in different places in this wold. We had the opportunity to go to Jackson Triggs, which is a beautiful winery, with a beautiful view of the river.
    I am in the restaurant industry and since then I’ve had the opportunity to grow my food and wine palate and would love to have the opportunity to expand my horizons.

  75. My boyfriend at the time (husband now) and I spent a week on the south Okanagan a few summers ago. We stayed in a fantastic bed and breakfast, Howling Bluff Estate Winery, just outside of Naramata. Naramata town and the bench on the southeast side of the lake is quite possibly the best place on earth!
    We were in the middle of numerous boutique wineries; vineyards recently turned over from orchards and just beginning to grow into their potential – they were all phenomenal. We hiked along the Kettle Valley Railway. Skied on the lake in the afternoons when it was too hot to do much of anything else. Enjoyed innovative and delicious food and the local restaurants –the roof-top patio of Hillside Estate Winery & Bistro during sunset is a spectacular dinner experience!
    It was such a soulful, down to the earth place with friendly and welcoming people. Hands down one of the best holidays since my childhood summers on the Shuswap Lakes.

  76. In 2002-2003, I worked as a ski lift operator for Big White. I had a great time and met lots of really amazing people. The Okanogan is such a beautiful place. It was always such a remarkable experience to hitchhike down the mountain side and go from -15 to +10 in 45 minutes. My favourite memory is from when I first moved to Kelowna, before heading up the mountain. It was exactly eight years ago, to the weekend, Grey Cup. I’m an Edmonton girl, born and raised and my local football team made it into the Grey Cup to be played on home turf. It was an exciting time at home and I was so homesick. I hated being away, but I knew I was going to be a part of an incredible adventure.
    So instead of being surrounded by friends and family watching the game at commonwealth, I was surrounded by Australians in the downtown hostel who had no idea what ‘gridiron football’ was all about. In the end Edmonton lost 25-16, and the game would have been a let down if I had been at home, but because I was surrounded by people who didn’t really know anything about the sport they’re positive attitude raised my spirit. That day I knew that I had made the right decision to follow my childhood dream to live in the mountains, and now that I’m back in Edmonton I still look back on that weekend with love. Kelowna is a pleasant place filled with travellers, great wine, great food, mountains, fruit trees, a lake and 1 Ogopogo. I would love the opportunity to go back some time, remember the good times, and make new memories.

    But here we are in Edmonton, and we must look at the positives:
    -Its only -2
    -Its our turn to host Grey Cup once again
    – And it’s FRIDAY!


  77. Wow great stories, everyone should win.

    Anyway, my best memory of Kelowna was the endless expression of FUN that my son had on his face during a one hour ride on a seadoo on the lake.

  78. Hi there,

    I love your website. I love food and love to try new things. I have never been to the Okanagan but would love to go. I love wine but have never been to any wineries. My good friend lives in Kelowna and has always told me how beautiful it is there!

  79. I have never been there before, but snowboarding is my passion and i would love to go to Big White.
    Thanks for this amazing opportunity!

  80. I drove from Vancouver to the Okanagan (Kelowna, specifically) and literally everything was spectacular. The drive through the BC interior (on my way there), spectacular scene through the Coquihalla, the blue sky in Kelowna, the wineries (my favourite was Thornhaven and Dirty Laundry)… Ah, I need to go back soon!

  81. Have heard so much about Okanagan but never been there before. My sister and her family went there couple of time and always came back telling me that I should go and how beautiful the place is and the scene is amazing, of course never left out the wineries part where they went wine tasting. It is definitely one of the many places on my list to visit. 🙂

  82. Best Okanagan memory would be family vacations in West Bank at the Happy Valley Orchard campsite… feeding ducks wandering through the campsite, ice-cream at the beach…. oh summer!

  83. For most of my childhood, I spent 4 weeks every summer staying at my uncle’s house in Pentincton. I remember driving through the orchards and vineyards, many days on the beach and touring the winery (even though we were many years from being able to drink it!). I would wake each morning and go out into my uncle’s backyard and pick my breakfast of cherries, raspberries and pea pods! I think that is what started my wanting to be connected to my food.

  84. My favorite memory from the Okanagan is my best friend’s wedding last summer. It was the most beautiful, fun and happy wedding I’ve ever been too. It was so special to me to see my friend of 15 years get married and in such a beautiful backdrop!

    I would love to go back and make my own beautiful memory of the place. Thanks for holding this contest.

  85. My favorite memory is from two summers ago. Camping at a small campground just outside of Oliver. No showers, no amenities, but the most beautiful stars at night. Drinking Okanagan red wine around the campfire. Gorging on the blueberries growing all on the bushes around our campsite. Touring the local wineries (in grubby camping gear), and bringing home two cases of wine. Trying The Best red wine ever, the Fifth Element from Road 13 on the Golden Mile. I’m not sure I could find a wine I enjoy more in the Okanagan, but I’d certainly like to try.

  86. Food, wine and the view! The Okanagan has it all. And let’s not forget the world’s best hardware store in Osoyoos.

  87. My favourite memory of the Okanagan is when I went to visit a friend of mine who lives there. I went there mid summer, when all of the wonderful farms have their markets, where you can buy fresh fruits, veggies and jams straight from the grower! We also visited some of the amazing wineries during the week, so it was like having a private wine tour. I love the Okanagan and would absolutely love to have the chance to visit again.

  88. I have always had a fondness of the Okanagan! I love the area and fully appreciate the opportunity to visit the wineries in person, meet those who make the wine and enjoy a nice glass of wine on the winery grounds. There are wonderful restaurants in the Okanagan as well, many whom source locally grown ingredients.

  89. My best memory is playing beach volleyball with a groom directly after his wedding ceremony (still in his suit!) on the shores of the Okanagan. Beautiful place, and I would loooove to go back!

  90. Eating fresh peaches on the beach in the sunshine. I could use some of all three stuck here in Edmonton this winter. 🙂

  91. I have never been to the Okanagan before and would love to go. I love BC. The scenery would definitely be what I’m most looking forward to!! Not to mention all the possible culinary adventures!

  92. Growing up I remember camping throughout the Shuswaps, but my favorite memory centers around floating in an inner tube down the Okanagan Valley channel to Skaha Lake and riding back to the starting point with an entire bus full of strangers singing Aerosmith songs at the top of our lungs… that was the best summer a teen could ask for!

  93. One of my favorite Okanagan memories is an afternoon where we stopped by a farmgate to grab a basket of peaches to go with our picnic. It was a perfectly hot, sunny summer day and we drove down to this gorgeous spot on the lake. The peaches were so ripe and deliciously messy, we just hopped in the lake afterwards to clean off. The kids absolutely thought this was the greatest!

  94. My favorite Okanagan memory dates back nearly 40 years ago, to when we rode our motorcycle (huge to us then, but puny by today’s standards for bikes) through on our way to Vancouver. We stopped at a fruit stand to get a couple of peaches, and ate them on the spot. We had to stand with our feet well back because the juice was dripping off our chins and fingers.
    Later, I recall arriving in a town and being able to smell the bakery before it was even in sight – that does not happen in a car.

  95. My all time favorite memory of the okanagan is of spending one summer on my aunt and uncle’s peach orchard. We woke up early every day, played crib for hours and ate peaches until we were sick. And at the end of the trip we took home enough canned peaches to last all winter. Every time I opened up one of those cans it took me right back to the orchard. There is definitely something special about that part of the world that makes the food taste a little bit better than it would have coming from somewhere else.

  96. Hi sharon! Well, I’ve never been to the Okanagan region though I’ve heard many a story about it (mostly from my fiance’s parents as they frequent it often), and seen some beautiful pictures of the area. If I was to go to Okanagan I would look forward to the many wine tours to be had and the breathtaking wineries that are out there (some have amazing chalets & views of the water!). Seems like it would be an ideal vacation with wine tours, gorgeous scenery, wine to taste and of course tasty food!

  97. I would love to go snowboarding in the Okanagan. I’m new to snowboarding so any chance to practice would be great.

  98. I’ve neverbeen to the Okanagan, and I would love the chance to visit this beautiful place. I would love to do some wine tasting and enjoy the beautiful scenery!

  99. I would love to stay at the Watermark Beach Resort. I’ve heard great things so here’s my chance!

  100. I have fond memories of touring a group of wineries on a sunny October day. My favourite was a small winery where the owner/winemaker was offering generous servings of several vintages of ice wine.

  101. My favorite memory is my husband buying a huge box of fresh peaches froma a farmer just across the big bridge on a local farm by Lake Okanagan. The taste of these wonderful globes was perfection itself.

  102. We were there last year for a wedding and during our winery tour, my husband discovered that not all ice wine is as sickly sweet as he’d thought. Unfortunately, it ended up costing us a good chunk of change to bring a few bottles home! We also discovered the most delicious combination of smoked salt and chocolate caramels.

  103. Tubing in Big White. I didn’t know what to expect, but it was a lot of fun on a cold winter night at Christmas.

  104. i have never been so would love to see/experience the great food i read about, the lovely weather, and the warm and friendly people.

    thanks for the opportunity


    su 🙂

  105. Watching the Penticton Ironman, then cycle-touring the Okanagan during the summer of 2009!

    I hope to make many trips back to rock-climb the cliffs at Skaha Bluffs, and to consume (several) bottles of wine with friends around a campfire somewhere.

  106. The once annual Pig Roast at my good friends orchard. Live music and great food. Havent been back in years!

  107. My favorite memory is going for diner at Rod Butters (now gone) restaurant Fresco. I was with my future wife enjoying a romantic meal. We had ordered a bottle of kettle valley merlot. It was the best wine I ever tasted! Once we got back home, I couldn’t wait to get another bottle to enjoy. When I finally did manage to get another bottle, it wasn’t the same at all. That’s when I realized that wine, like food, is so strongly connected to memory that it can completly mess with your palate!

  108. My favourite memory of our many summers in the Okanagan was when I was about 10 or so. Every summer we camped at Mara Lake. This particular summer (we are talking some 40 years ago!) my parents became friendly with some young Dutch 20 -something tourists. These Dutch “kids” decided to swim across Mara Lake. To my young eyes, it was a huge distance. And MY MOTHER decided to swim with them! Dad rented a boat; everyone set out to swim across; most of the group made it across but had no desire to return via their own power. But MY MOTHER swam back. And I remember, all these years later, how proud I was of my mom, and her amazing ability to do something extraordinary, like swim across a lake!

  109. I’ve been in the Okanagan (Penticton) once and am looking forward to going back again. I stayed 5 minutes from the lake, which means that I spent quite a bit of time laying on the beach after had visited a bunch of wineries. This is a place where I would like to live in at some point of time.

  110. I have so many great memories. My aunt owns an orchard in Kelowna, so we visit the Okanagan often, and always revel in the bounty the region produces, including its stellar wines. My favorite memories are of alfresco dinners with my husband and aunt Germaine, uncle Jean (who has since passed away) and cousin Robert, eating wonderful meals and drinking amazing wines as the sun set over the valley. Ahhh.

  111. My favourite memory is from a wine tasting trip we made in 2002. We visited some fantastic wineries, found some new favourites (Nota Bene comes to mind), and met some amazing region ambassadors at the B&B’s we stayed at. We participated in a 10 year vertical tasting of Chardonnay at Mission Hill, culminating in the amazing, award winning 1992 Chardonnay. The winery had 3 cases of this amazing wine in their cellars, and we were able to bring a bottle home with us. Opening that bottle 2 years later brought back fantastic memories of our trip.

  112. While I have travelled to BC many times, it’s generally to the coast to get the smell and taste of the ocean. I would enjoy the opportunity to experience the sunshine and warmth of the Okanagan!

  113. Ack! I almost missed entering! Oh the Okanagan – I have never been. I think I would most look forward to visiting my husband’s grandma (and taking her little great grand daughter to see her). Of course the wine stuff wouldn’t hurt either 🙂

  114. I remember going to the Okanagan Valley with my family when I was 16. Since I couldn’t drink yet, it was my job to drive my family around from winery to winery. I would love to go back and actually sample the wine!

  115. I remember going on a wine tour with my boyfriend where we biked to get from winery to winery, it was hot and fantastic! I also loved the food and restaurants like Rotten Grape in Kelowna and The Dream Cafe in Penticton. Peach caipirinhas at Peachfest were amazing too!

  116. Touring the glorious wineries all along the Naramata Bench with friends. So many great wines and good times…

  117. I spent a weekend at my buddy’s place in Kelowna. The weather was beautiful, the water was warm, the food was great, and the company was spectacular.

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