Penticton, British Columbia, was a real surprise.
Now, I was aware that this town was home to a number of world-class events—including Ironman Canada that Lisa swam 2.4 miles in—but other than that I knew nothing about this town. So just looking around after arriving here was an eye-opening experience. For one thing, the stereotype of Canada being one cold, unpopulated piece of tundra did not apply here.
Here is a list of things that surprised me:
- There are beaches! The ones in Penticton are by two large lakes—Lake Okanagan and Lake Skaha.
- It can get very warm in the summer. Temperatures routinely hit 95 degrees Fahrenheit (35 degrees Celsius).
- This place gets even less rain than my hometown of Fort Collins: only 12 inches (305 millimeters). Unfortunately it shows—the hills are rather dry and brown.
- There are wineries here (supposedly, even world-class ones)! In fact, there are 88 within a one-hour drive. One of the locals claimed there are more wineries here than Napa Valley.
- Downtown is cute, clean, and walkable with a good mix of restaurants.
Lisa and I had a decent Indian lunch here, and the next day ran/walked part of the Ironman run course (about seven miles) including a good stretch on Main Street.
Unfortunately, we could not stay here during the nights due to Penticton’s woefully inadequate supply of lodging, but what can you expect from a small town of 32,000 people?
Apparently, a lot!