I Went To 'Canada's Only Desert' & These 6 Things Totally Shocked Me

It feels like you're somewhere far away from Canada! 🏜️

Vancouver Staff Writer
Writer Ashley Harris. Right: Osoyoos.​

Writer Ashley Harris. Right: Osoyoos.

This Essay article is part of a Narcity Media series. The views expressed are the author's own and do not necessarily reflect the views of Narcity Media.

Last month, I ended up visiting Canada's only desert and there were so many things that absolutely blew my mind about it.

Osoyoos is a small town in B.C., but it looks like somewhere far away from the Great White North.

The town is biologically classified as "Canada's only desert" because of its unique vegetation. The latter is caused by being at the most northern tip of the Sonora Desert which extends all the way from Mexico, according to the town's website.

Not only was the climate shocking in this small town, but so many other things were as well.

If you are thinking of making a road trip to the desert town anytime soon, check out some of these things that surprised me while I was there.

I saw a rattlesnake!

I ended up spending one day golfing at Sonora Dunes, which is a nine-hole course in the desert. Right near the end of the round, I stumbled upon a rattlesnake in the bushes!

Obviously, I kept my distance because I did not want to get bit and end up going to the hospital, but it was so surprising to see a poisonous snake as opposed to the generic garter snakes that I'm used to seeing in B.C..

There's actually a lake in the desert

Osoyoos Lake might look just like any other lake in the Okanagan, but this one was surprisingly warm.

I was able to dive right into the lake late in the evening and not feel a shiver down my spine — which some other lakes in B.C. would absolutely do.

Osoyoos Lake is also the warmest freshwater lake in all of Canada, according to the town's website.

The heat can get unbearable

Osoyoos is called a desert for a reason and when you're there, you'll quickly learn why. In the middle of the day, it was hard for me to walk from point A to point B without breaking a sweat.

I definitely recommend staying in a place that has air conditioning to avoid getting overheated.

There were cactuses all around

It was so amazing to see so many different desert plants while exploring the town. I couldn't believe how many cacti and other prickly plants I saw surviving in this type of heat.

I definitely did not come across any plant that looked like they would belong in Vancouver.

I saw a beach shop on every corner

It almost felt like I was in Palm Springs because the town of Osoyoos is just flooded with swimsuit shops. At every corner, you would see a shop selling an assortment of beach gear with misting fans on the rooftops.

To be honest, I actually loved that: it definitely made me feel like I was on a vacation somewhere outside of Canada.

The stars shined so bright at night

Seriously, when viewing the stars at night, I could see so many more than I ever could in Vancouver. I guess because there aren't as many city lights in this tiny desert town to fade out some of the star shine.

I even saw few shooting stars passing by!

Before you get going, check our Responsible Travel Guide so you can be informed, be safe, be smart, and most of all, be respectful on your adventure.

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