Oliver is in wine country and is home to many wineries/vineyards, as well as bed and breakfast operations to support the wine tourism industry. The town is surrounded by parks and wildlife preserves, giving residents plenty of opportunity to explore the outdoors. While it has a small-town feel, Oliver offers arts and entertainment, as well as recreational options, and has restaurants serving local and international fare. Having one’s own transportation is recommended, as bus service is limited and mainly operates to connect Oliver to the surrounding communities, though there are many areas of the town that are accessible by walking.
Oliver is located in the southern portion of the province, near Osoyoos and the Canada/United States border. The area extends from Willowbrook Road in the west to McKinney Roadin the east, and from Brauns Road in the north to Black Sage Road in the south. The town includes land to the east that belongs to the Osoyoos Indian Band. The community trickles out from the centre of town into more rural areas connected by the highways.
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Entertainment, Restaurants, Cafes
There are many wineries and vineyards in and around Oliver that offer tours and tastings, as well as special events. Tinhorn Creek produces red and white wines and holds concert series and weddings at their location. They also have a wine club and an onsite restaurant called Miradoro. Oliver Twist Estate Winery produces both white and red wines, and holds events such as car shows, retro-themed tastings, and seasonal parties. They also have a wine club and offer tastings at their tasting room. Road 13 Vineyards produces white, red, and rosé wines and has both a tasting room and a lounge area. The vineyard holds culinary workshops and dinners for visitors.
Oliver’s variety of dining options ensures there is something for everyone. Oliver Garden Restaurant on 97th Street offers Chinese cuisine in buffet, fine dining, or takeout selections. The award-winning restaurant also provides catering for events. Pappa’s Firehall Bistro on Main Street features hearty comfort food in a warm, inviting environment. They also have a wide selection of beers and wines to complement any meal. Medici’s Gelateria on Fairview Road is a European-inspired restaurant with a selection of gelato, sorbetto, espresso, soups, and paninis. The colourful and intriguing décor adds to the European feeling when patrons step inside the restaurant. Auntie Ag’s Seafood Café on Main Street is a British-style fish and chips place, complete with fresh seafood dishes and a charming interior.
Housing in Oliveris mostly single-family detached homes, with some apartment buildings and other dwelling types.The average price for single-detached homes in the area is $349,000, which is much lowerthan the average price for single-detachedhomes in British Columbia overall($663,000). The population of Oliver is 4,824, and this has remained fairly steady for the past 15 years. Families make up 14% of the population here, 53% are couples, and 33% are single. The average annual income is $44,878, which is less than the average annual income in the province as a whole, and 37% of residents are university or college educated.
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Air quality in Oliver can be affected by local sources, including garbage burning, wood and yard waste burning, wildfires, engine emissions, and dust. These sources can cause issues when winds are calm and particles settle in the community. Noise can be an issue in areas near highways and industrial buildings.
Oliver is serviced by the RCMP. Crime rates in Oliver have been increasing slightly over the past decade. The most common types of crime in the area are vehicle theft and property theft.
The Okanagan Similkameen School District No. 53 operates primary and secondary schools in Oliver, including Oliver Elementary School, Tuc-el-Nuit Elementary School, and Southern Okanagan Secondary. SenPokChin School is an independent school option that includes learning about the culture and traditions of the area’s First Nations people. Okanagan College has a campus in Oliver, and offers programs in vocational, professional development, and general interest fields, as well as literacy tutoring for adults. Other post-secondary options can be found in neighbouring communities, such as Sprott Shaw College in Penticton, which offers courses in business, healthcare, education, and social work. Kelowna is home to the University of British Columbia Okanagan Campus, which provides students with programs in history, business, technology, math, education, health sciences, and the arts.
While there isn’t local bus service to all areas of Oliver, BCTransit does operate two routes that run through the town (Route 2 – Osoyoos/Penticton and Route 3 – Osoyoos/Kelowna). These routes provide transportation between communities from Osoyoos to Kelowna.
Oliver is close to a number of parks and greenspaces, including Inkaneep Provincial Park, which is great for hiking, birdwatching, and camping in the 16 hectares of riverside cottonwood forest. The South Okanagan Grasslands Protected Area includes four sites in 9,364 hectares: Mt. Kobau, Kilpoola, Chopaka East, and Chopaka West. The area features dry grasslands and open forests, and is host to a wide variety of endangered and rare birds, mammals, and reptiles and amphibians, as well as numerous plant species. Visitors can participate in a variety of activities, including cycling, fishing, hiking, horseback riding, hunting, and wildlife viewing. Haynes’ Lease Ecological Reserve is a protected space that includes a natural segment of the most arid ecosystem in the province. The 101 hectares are home to numerous rare and endangered species of plants and animals, so recreational activities within the area are restricted to hiking, photography, and wildlife viewing.
Spaces for indoor activities in Oliver include the Oliver Arena, which has skating and hockey lessons, as well as games and competitions. Public skate times are also available, and the facility includes a weight room. The Eastlink Curling Centre has men’s, women’s, mixed, and corporate leagues and features Olympic-sized ice and a new gas-fired heater to provide warmer conditions. For those more interested in the arts, the Oliver Theatre shows major films in a small-town venue, and also has a film club. The Frank Venables Theatre is a performing arts centre built in 2014 that features musicals, movies, plays, and other events/performances. The venue is available to rent, and is home to the Oliver Community Theatre Society.
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