Once-modest Osoyoos is on the brink of change, as it embraces an upscale and developed future as part of the new Okanagan Valley. The town takes its name from the First Nations word 'soyoos,' which means 'sand bar across,' and if the translation is a bit rough, the definition is not: much of the town is indeed on a narrow spit of land that divides Osoyoos Lake. It is ringed with beaches and the waters irrigate the lush farms, orchards and vineyards that line Hwy 97 going north out of town.
Nature's bounty aside, this is the arid end of the valley and locals like to say that the town marks the northern end of Mexico's Sonoran Desert; much of the town is done up in a manner that loses something across two borders. From the cactus-speckled sands to the town's cheesy faux tile-and-stucco architecture, it's a big change from the BC image of pine trees and mountains found in both directions on Hwy 3.