invasive species

The Beauty of Okanagan Beaches

Did you see the government ad about the Okanagan’s wonderful beaches? See it here. They understated the truth, that’s all I can say. For your holiday pleasure, here are the public amenities at “Lakeshore Beach” on Okanagan Lake.

P1170193 The beauty of this quintessential Canadian urban design makes me weep. You could travel the whole world and never find anything so pure. Here’s a closer view.

P1170194 Pretty down home and cozy, huh! That’s the Canadian way, don’t you think otherwise. Oh, shucks,  why not look again …
Right down to the empty tuna tin and the lid from a plastic storage tote that drifted in on the winter winds! I blush to show you such riches. Now, if this were private land, you’d think, aw, I wish I could live there, all snuggly and all, but it’s not, see, that’s the beautiful part. This is City of Vernon recreational land, in other words, a public beach! Of course, the lake is also a boating playground. We can share, right? Don’t paddle too hard, now!

oarOoops! And, heck, just a multi-sport recreational paradise when you get right down to it.

P1170176Na, not just the canoe, which is a beauty of romantic aging-in-place and jerry-rigged repairs with a spray can, but look at it’s, ahem, deck (for suntanning, I presume?) …

P1170174A bike stunt platform in the frost! Hey, where else would you find this level of civic infrastructure at your disposal? Oh, speaking of disposal, totally up to date and state of the art. Why, the wetland in behind is so compromised by gravel infill and somebody’s sewage that it, ahem, needs a little help getting into the lake, but there are always helping hands. This is no backwards third world country or anything like that, you know.


It stinks, that’s all I’m saying, but only half as much as this:

which contains this whopper of pristine ad copy:

British Columbia’s Okanagan Valley boasts rich, fertile soil, endless days of summer sun and 135 kilometers of pristine lake fed by pure mountain streams. It almost doesn’t seem fair that one place should have so much. But thank goodness.

Thank goodness, indeed! Now, don’t you dare get all weepy and think for a second that european society is an invasive organism in this dry grassland, because if the city can’t afford picnic facilities, here in Canada the neighbour can, right off the edge of the beach, in the wetland…


… and homeless people can use it, and everything. That’s the beauty of the Canadian way: all putting our shoulders to the wheel, in honest work and honest play, in the great outdoors, surrounded by the pristine and the beautiful. Why, we love our lake so much, we even pump it up the hill, so we can follow it back down. Welcome, ladies and gentlemen from afar, to the waterslide…

P1170038Wheeee! No, no, no, no, this is the invasive species.


Starlings! Boo!

15,000 of these were killed last year.

Canadians. Responsible environmental stewards, lovers of nature, every time, where going to the beach is like sitting in your own front yard. Or back yard…

P1170011Up, up and away!

Next stop, the international space station!





2 replies »

  1. As perhaps you can see, Harold, I’m trying to catch up with your posts. This one is almost unbearably sad. I’ve been to the Okanagan twice, both a long time ago now — early 70s and again in 1978. Then the lake and surroundings did seem pristine and beautiful. A group of us, food writers all, were out here to see the salmon run on the Fraser — fish so thickly packed you felt you might skip across the river on their backs.


    • I remember that water well. There are still fish runs like that, but Okanagan Lake is in trouble and Osoyoos Lake smells like gasoline, from all the boats. There was a big change … one class went away to university, leaving another class to make money. Unfortunately, the class that wanted to be stewards was largely the class that went away. The industry that benefited was real estate, and the creative class that came into the vacated ecological niche was an advertising class, which advertised postcard versions of the land that they were destroying. They have continued, and have intensified the campaign, long past any attachment to reality … and it still works. It still brings more people to the valley, all of them chasing a dream that doesn’t exist. Darn rights it’s sad. I left in 1992 because I couldn’t stand the postcardization. It hurt too much. I came back because there is no other place for me, like it or not. Well, except for Iceland.


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