An elderly man and woman walk under trees towards town. Reports show that Penticton may be the hot new place for Canadian snowbirds to move to in efforts to avoid harsh winters. (Photo: Jeff Chiu/Associated Press)

An elderly man and woman walk under trees towards town. Reports show that Penticton may be the hot new place for Canadian snowbirds to move to in efforts to avoid harsh winters. (Photo: Jeff Chiu/Associated Press)

Snowbirds flock to the Okanagan’s “Palm Springs North”

Penticton is becoming a hot-ticket destination for Canadian retirees.

While the nickname “Palm Springs North” may not be official yet, it’s proving to be an apt moniker for Penticton.

When someone mentions snowbirds our thoughts usually jump to images of Canadian retirees living the good life in Florida, Arizona, California, or Mexico.

However, recent trends show that Penticton might just be the next best place to escape those frigid winters.

Thom Tischik, executive director of Travel Penticton, said many local hotels and motels switch from nightly to monthly rates in the winter, hoping to attract people looking for a place a little easier to endure than, say, Thompson, MB.

The city’s economic development specialist, Andrew Kemp said he sees why Penticton is such an attractive place to snowbirds.

“It’s less costly than other places, espescially the Lower Mainland, and the weather is amazing,” said Kemp.

Penticton lies in the heart of the Okanagan Valley, which is known for its balmy falls and mild winters. This makes it the ideal winter retreat for those living in regions with more unforgiving climates.

While the milder winters are certainly appealing, it’s not the only perk of retreating to the small Canadian city.

Other than the weather, snowbirds flocking to Penticton can also enjoy the city’s ample, easily accessible recreational activities. The golf season in Penticton is one of the longest in Canada, often going late into the fall and starting early in the spring. Many wineries offer year-round tasting. The city’s great walkability and community centre are also quite alluring for seniors.

Not to mention the cost of migrating to Penticton for the winter is very reasonable compared to bigger Canadian cities and American markets. One local motel said that they rent out rooms suitable for two people for $900 a month from November to March.

The airports in Penticton and Kelowna also make it very easy for snowbirds to escape to a place like Mexico for a few weeks if they are so inclined.

Tischik also said that the many new restaurants and coffee shops in town are yet another reason snowbirds in Penticton are never short of things to do.

“It’s not just sitting in your room watching TV,” Tischik said.

Snowbirds previously lured down south to the U.S. may now also be more inclined to stay in Canada due to a variety of socioeconomic factors like the exchange rate, health insurance, and the U.S. political climate, said Tischik.

Tischik said that he’s seen firsthand the evidence of seniors living life to the fullest in Penticton.

”I’ve heard it be called Palm Springs of the North,” Tischik said.

“If you go out to the bowling alley here, you’ll see a ton of seniors out having a great time.”

To report a typo, email: editor@pentictonwesternnews.com.

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