Beach Party marks official opening of Okanagan Lake walkway

Penticton celebrates official opening of Okanagan Lake walkway and anniversary of the SS Sicamous' first crossing of the lake.

In addition to other improvements

In addition to other improvements

Walkers, young and old, have been enjoying the walkway along Okanagan Lake since renovations were finished early this year, and now, the City of Penticton says its time to celebrate the project.

They’ve planned an official opening for the walkway combined with a beach party fundraiser for the SS Sicamous and it all takes place  on July 12 from 11 a.m. to 1 p.m. down near the historic paddle wheeler.

“Penticton’s waterfront has always been busy, and it’s incredible to see how the enhanced Okanagan Lake waterfront has brought even more people to Lakeshore Drive with a wider, more accommodating walkway,” said Mayor Garry Litke.

July 12 is a special date in another way. It marks the 100th anniversary of the first daily run by the SS Sicamous across Okanagan Lake, one of the many high points being recognized by Steamfest, an 18-month long festival recognizing the impact of steam power on the valley, starting with the launch of the Sicamous and the arrival of the Kettle Valley Railway a century ago.

To mark the occasion, Hoodoo Adventures is offering a free historical kayak tour leaving the Sicamous at noon. Information on upcoming centennial events will be available, and the public can get a taste of the Steamfest regatta coming in September that celebrates what Aquatic Days used to be like in the 1900s.

Activities at the beach party include a slip-n-slide into the lake, a water balloon toss along the new walkway, along with a bouncy castle and crawl zone for the kids and a hot dog barbecue benefitting the Sicamous Society.

Starting in April 2013, sections of the waterfront were closed as crews widened the walkway to four metres and resurfaced it, including a special recycled rubber surface in a treed section at east end of the beach. More accessible design features to allow those with mobility aids to access the beach.

The project $2.1 million project was partially paid for by a $1.2 million grant from the federal gas tax fund.