Penticton | The Canadian Encyclopedia



Penticton, British Columbia, incorporated as a city in 1948, population 33,761 (2016 census), 32,877 (2011 census). The City of Penticton is nestled between Okanagan and Skaha lakes in south-central British Columbia.

Settlement and Development

Originally called Phthauntac ("ideal meeting place") and later Pen-tak-Tin ("place to stay forever") by the Okanagan First Nation (see Interior Salish), the site was visited by David Stuart in 1811 and Alexander Ross in 1812, both of whom were Scottish fur traders employed by the Pacific Fur Company. The brigade trail passed by it between 1812 and 1948 (see Fur Trade Routes). The first orchards appeared in the 1890s; the Southern Okanagan Land Company provided irrigation in 1905. A town was formed in 1906.

Transportation via rail to Okanagan Landing and stern-wheelers to Penticton had been in place since 1892. The Kettle Valley Railway linked the town to Crowsnest Pass and Hope by 1915.Tourism started with the opening of the Hope-Princeton highway in 1949 and increased with completion of the Rogers Pass section in 1962. The opening of the Peach Bowl convention centre in 1965 firmly established the city's year-round attractions.


The two largest sources of employment are the service industries and trade. Agriculture, forestry, manufacturing, mining and the retirement industry are also important. Penticton is the largest retail and service centre in the South Okanagan. The wine industry has grown dramatically since the mid-1980s. A good climate, excellent beaches on two lakes and expansion of Apex Alpine to a year-round ski resort have increased tourist interest in Penticton.