Hidden History in Osoyoos, BC

The town of Osoyoos, British Columbia is a unique location with a rich hidden history. Its culture and history began thousands of years ago starting with the aboriginal people of the Okanagan Nation. Immigrants from India and Portugal also have contributed to the interesting background of this southern Canadian town.

Indigenous People of Osoyoos

Native Canadian artifacts and traditional tools

The Osoyoos Indian Band (OIB) was part of the Okanagan Nation Alliance. The early Okanagans lived on salmon, berries, bear and mountain sheep, and they also trapped rabbits and muskrat. Artifacts can still be picked up such as stone knife blades and flint arrowheads. The descendants of these early people live at Inkameep today and prefer to be called Native Canadians.

The Fur Brigade

early fur trapping and trade was popular in old-day Osoyoos

The first Europeans to arrive were fur traders who trekked through the valley in the early 1800s. They began settling in the area in 1860. The furs traded were mostly beaver, and they were traded for items such as tobacco, guns, and whiskey. The fur trade became a major enterprise, and the traders traveled the brigade trail with hundreds of horses carrying furs. They traveled south to the Columbia River and returned north with traded goods.

Gold Rush and Miners

the famous gold rush began only 30 miles away from modern-day Osoyoos

When gold was discovered in 1859 thirty miles from Osoyoos, a rush of miners came through the area. Hundreds of prospectors arrived from overseas and from the United States. Gold fever swept through the area and mining began to replace panning. Early mines produced considerable gold.

Ranchers and Ranching Development

cattle ranches in Osoyoos

Herds of cattle were being driven into the area from the United States in the early 1860s. Duties were being levied on these herds of cattle and those who couldn’t pay the duties paid with cattle. Ranches, where herds of cattle were being raised, began to stretch over thousands of acres and the number of heads of cattle in Okanagan Falls continued to expand.

Osoyoos Museum

the Osoyoos museum is the perfect place to gather more intel on the history of Osoyoos

To experience the rich history of Osoyoos, British Columbia first hand, be sure to visit the Osoyoos Museum. Guided historical walking tours can be taken during the summer. Special exhibits include the fur trade exhibit, which depicts the story of the early fur traders and the trail they used for almost half a century.

Exhibits and collections tell the stories of the ranchers, builders, farmers, and traders. Things to see include period dresses and wedding gowns, geological display, pioneer parlour and more. Learn about the culture of the First Nations through beadwork, art and stone implements.

More to See in Osoyoos

Osoyoos offers many cultural traditions and a vibrant arts community along with its historical significance. The Osoyoos Arts Centre offers the opportunity to participate in or view local works of art. Another unique experience is the Osoyoos Desert Centre where you can experience guided or self-guided tours, hands-on exhibits and information on the desert habitat.

Osoyoos BC – Best Hotels

Coast Osoyoos Beach Hotel exterior

Are you looking for the perfect Osoyoos hotel so you can experience the rich history of this Canadian town? This popular vacation spot offers high temperatures and almost no summertime rain. There are even pet-friendly hotels in Osoyoos, BC. The best option for travelers is the Coast Hotel in Osoyoos.

Coast Osoyoos Beach Hotel places you by the warmest freshwater lake in Canada. This Osoyoos Coast Hotel is a relaxing location with beautiful lake views. Come relax with us in historic Osoyoos, BC.