Osoyoos is located in the southern Okanagan Valley on the shores of Osoyoos Lake.
The name Osoyoos comes from a First Nations word "Souyoos," which roughly translates as a narrow waterway or where the land almost meets. This is likely in reference to the narrow strip of land that nearly divides the lake in two. Osoyoos is noted for its clear skies and lack of air and light pollution.
Clear Night Skies
Mount Kobau, northwest of Osoyoos, was selected as the site for a national observatory in the 1960s. The observatory was not built, but amateur astronomers still use the easy-access summit for stargazing. Three small private observatories are located on the flanks of Anarchist Mountain east of town.
Osoyoos stands in the midst of one of Canada's most endangered ecosystems. In this farthest northern outpost of the Great Basin Desert, most of the native antelope brush and shrub-steppe ecosystem has been destroyed by human activity over the last century-and-a-half.