Summerland lays claim to some of the best beaches in the Okanagan and they were certainly well used on the B.C. Day long weekend. Tourists and locals alike headed to the beaches to enjoy the sun, sand and cool waters of Okanagan Lake.
Of the three main beaches that Summerland maintains, Powell beach is the most obscure. Tucked away off the highway in Trout Creek, the beach is a favourite spot for picnics and social gatherings because of the large trees that provide much needed shade on a hot summer day.
The Bushman family held their annual Christmas in the summer celebration there this past weekend. The family finds it easier to reunite during the summer months than in the winter and the relatives from the coast enjoy coming to Summerland.
A ball diamond, tennis courts and a children’s playground can also be found at this beach.
Peach Orchard Beach in lower Summerland has a large grassy area for those who prefer to spread a blanket on the grass rather than on the sand. It offers a playground and water park for the children and a fenced in swimming area for dogs.
Rotary Beach is by far the most popular of Summerland’s beaches.
It is named after Gordon Beggs, a Rotarian who believed Summerland needed a beach where children could swim.
The beach opened in 1989 after it had been relocated from its original place further south on Lakeshore Drive. The need to move the beach was the result of Highway 97 being widened.
The Rotary Club, Kiwanis Club, Recreation Commission, Lower Town Residents Association, Water Skiers Group, Yacht Club members, Corporation of Summerland and the Racquetball Association, all joined forces to complete the project. A provincial Go BC Grant and compensation from the Department of Highways for the loss of the original beach covered the bulk of the cost.
The Department of Highways employees also transported the sand for the beach and rock for the breaker.
What makes this beach a favourite for the youngsters are the docks and the nearby pier. It is great fun for them to jump and dive from these structures into the cool waters below.
For the adults it is also a special place. Many locals who visit the beach regularly, have their own spots marked out and can become quite miffed if upon arriving at the beach, they find someone else sitting on their piece of sand!
John and Marilyn Topham can often be seen reading, snoozing and swimming at Rotary Beach. Citing the reasons that they choose this beach to come to, John said,
“It’s convenient, clean and the water is good.”
Marilyn also appreciates that the beach is groomed regularly and well maintained. “It’s a family friendly beach,” she said.
Carol Doyle spends as many summer afternoons at Rotary Beach as she can. Looking around at the beauty she said,
“My only question is why isn’t everyone down here?”
There is still another month of summer left to get out and enjoy one of the greatest gifts Summerland has to offer…our beaches.