Presiding over the fertile dairy and ranch land of the Spallumcheen Valley, is the small community and commercial centre of Armstrong. Agriculture and ranching are the traditional economic ventures of Armstrong, named after E.C. Heaton Armstrong, a London banker who helped finance the Shuswap and Okanagan Railway in 1892 and local development at the turn of the century. The influence of Dutch immigrants settling in the valley after the Second World War is represented by their cheese-making knowledge, and Armstrong is well known today for the great cheese it produces.
Armstrong Cheese: Perhaps you’ve heard of Armstrong cheese? Well, this is where it originated, so be sure to visit the Armstrong Cheese Factory retail store or visit the Village Cheese Factory where the tradition of cheese making continues. At the Village Cheese Factory you can come and enjoy the art of cheese making at its best, and watch the master cheesemakers at their craft. Whether you fancy a wedge of savoury cheddar, a slice of spicy Monterey Jack, or a handful of fresh squeaky curds, Armstrong’s cheese is like no other.
The Armstrong-Spallumcheen Museum and Art Gallery on Pleasant Valley Road, the site of the old Armstrong Machine Shop, houses over thirty historical displays, replicas of the railways, a schoolhouse, a grocery store, a blacksmith shop, and a comprehensive archive of photographs, newspapers and maps.
Interesting spots for visitors to check out are The Old School House, one of the original educational institutions of British Columbia, the 1892 Armstrong Hotel, and Canoga Carriages, where the art of horse-drawn carriages continues to thrive.
Armstrong is home to the Caravan Theatre, a band of professional thespians who have long provided entertainment throughout the Okanagan. They now produce numerous annual events and festivals from their base on a working organic farm.
Experience the nostalgia of passenger rail travel as you enjoy the magnificent scenery of the Okanagan Valley aboard the Okanagan Valley Wine Train. Travel in the vintage cars that toured across Canada in the 1950s and 1960s, past pristine lakes, rolling hillsides and beautiful orchards between Kelowna and Armstrong, with a visit to Vernon’s 1911 railway station en route. Take a self-guided wine tours and experience the magic first hand.
Golf: The Royal York Golf Club in Armstrong is described as “unique and deceivingly difficult”. The course is a full-length 3,200-yard par-35, 9-hole course. Facilities include a full-service restaurant, pro shop, practice facilities, rentals, and 24 fully serviced RV sites. Golf Vacations in British Columbia.
Silver Star Provincial Park in the Shuswap Highlands is home to Silver Star Mountain Resort, the most northerly winter playground in the Okanagan Valley. Skiers and snowboarders will find a year-round resort here, with hotels, restaurants, a saloon, lounges, and a grocery store all clustered at the base of the resort’s chairlifts. There’s no need for a vehicle once you arrive here, as everything is within easy walking or skiing distance. Skiers and snowboarders here have 2,500 feet (760 m) of vertical drop in which to defy gravity. There are 115 designed trails serviced by 12 lifts. The park and resort are located north of Vernon on Hwy 97, then east on well-marked Silver Star Rd, for a total distance of 22 km. Skiing & Winter Activities in the Okanagan Valley.
Cross-country skiers receive just as much welcome at Silver Star as do other winter enthusiasts. Beginning from the trailhead at the entrance to the resort, the 37 kilometres of tracked and groomed trails fan out through the park. An additional 50 km of groomed trails lead through the adjacent Sovereign Lake area. The trailhead for the Sovereign Lake cross-country area is located just west of the entrance to the resort and has its own parking area. A fee is charged for cross-country skiing here and at the resort.
The National Altitude Training Centre, a world-class sport and recreation facility, is also located at Silver Star. The centre, in addition to being a professionally equipped facility with a weight room and a wax room (bring your own waxing equipment), has been host to a number of downhill and cross-country ski and mountain-bike competitions, and is the year-round training base for several ski, bike, and luge teams. A connector bus service is available to Silver Star Mountain Resort from the Kelowna airport, about 100 km south of Vernon.
Plan to be in Armstrong over the Thanksgiving long weekend, when the skies are filled with brightly coloured hot air balloons during the annual Armstrong Hot Air Balloon Rendezvous, which attracts pilots from all over the Pacific Northwest.
Equine Industry: Known for its horses, Armstrong hosts a number of annual horse events and shows, including the Riding Club Horse Show and the BC Arabian Horse Association Horse Show, amongst others.
Surrounded by agricultural lands, orchards and vegetable patches as Armstrong is, the weekly Armstrong Farmer’s Market is a major attraction at the IPE Fairgrounds on Saturday mornings. April to October.
In the green, forested hills of the Falkland Valley is the rural community of Falkland, The Community that Cares. A side trip to Falkland is not complete without stopping at Pillar Lake. Like a giant bony finger pointing skyward, balancing a precariously perched eight-tonne boulders on its tip, B.C.’s 30-metres-high Falkland hoodoo at Pillar Lake is an inexplicable phenomenon of mythical porportions. Falkland has all the amenities; cabins, boat rentals, boat launch ramps, camping, fishing, hiking, horseback riding and – most important of all – friendly people to ensure your vacation is fulfilling and relaxing. Located on Highway 97, between Vernon and Kamloops.
South of Armstrong is Vernon, ideally nestled between the beautiful Swan, Kalamalka, and Okanagan lakes in the North Okanagan Valley. Vernon is the oldest community in British Columbia’s interior.
Circle Tours: See the best of the area on Okanagan and Kootenay Rockies Circle Tour. Travel the sunny interior of British Columbia, north through the Okanagan to Sicamous, following Highway 1 into the mountains of the BC Rockies. From Golden, head south through the Columbia Valley to Creston, and west through the Southern Okanagan, starting and ending your sun-drenched voyage in Osoyoos, the place where two lakes come together. Circle Tours in British Columbia.