The dance floor was full when Quesnel band Country Calibre took the stage at last year’s Country Bluegrass Jamboree, which took place at the Quesnel and District Seniors’ Centre. Lindsay Chung photo

This and that for seniors: the snowbird capitals of Canada

Ginnie Dunn Webb writes about visiting the Okanagan and local events for seniors

Where is the snowbird capital of Canada?

I’ve just come back from joining in with the fun in the south Okanagan area. The whole area from Penticton through Okanagan Falls, Oliver, Osoyoos and Keremeos have designated themselves as the snowbird capital of Canada.

Seniors come from Manitoba, Saskatchewan, Alberta and B.C. to take part in the winter activities. They fill the motels in these small communities, usually for very fair rates, for the entire winter.

I was only there for a couple of weeks. It surprises me how few B.C. people were present.

The main activity is the dancing. Each week, each community holds a dance at their own Senior Centre. Usually, the dance halls are full. The same people make the rounds to all the dances, so they actually dance the winter away. Travelers look forward to meeting their friends from previous years, and the Senior Centres are full of happy, laughing and physically fit seniors. They dance every dance, so no wonder they are fit!

READ MORE: High hospital occupancy amidst seniors housing shortage in Quesnel

These dances are held in the daytime. The weekly dance at the Oliver Senior Centre takes place regularly on Saturday mornings at 10 a.m. They dance non-stop for two hours to waltzes, polkas, foxtrots and many more old-time dances and some ballroom dance styles. Most of the dances are about three hours long.

Music is supplied by seniors as well. In some communities, a regular band made up of seniors plays all the music. Sometimes, it’s a conglomeration of seniors on the stage taking turns so the dancers get different styles of music to dance to over the couple of hours.

The cost to attend is usually $5 each, sometimes less. One of the dances even offers sandwiches and treats, along with coffee, during intermission. There’s always an MC to inform the dancers how many people are present from each province. Manitoba wins most of the time! There was even one person from Ontario and a couple from the U.S.

I am sure I’m not the only senior who can appreciate getting dressed up to go dancing early in the day, then going out for a nice dinner after lots of fun exercise and driving home in the daylight!

And the best part, arriving home early enough for your favourite bedtime! And yes, at first, it does feel really strange going dancing so early in the day, especially at 10 a.m. Nevertheless, once you’re dancing and laughing with the others, it’s easy to forget the time.


The 22nd Annual Country Bluegrass Jamboree runs ths weekend from Thursday, April 25 to Sunday, April 28 at the Quesnel and District Seniors’ Centre.

The annual Over 80s Tea is scheduled for May 22 at the Golden Centre. There will be a guest speaker from Motor Vehicles who will be sharing information about the recent changes concerning driver’s license retesting procedures. There are many changes seniors will need to know about. Spouses and/or support people can attend. There will be signup sheets to register for the dinner at Maeford Place, the Seniors’ Centre and also at Dunrovin. Or phone the Golden Centre at 250-991-0090 or Seniors Centre at 250-992-3991. Interested people must register by May 17.

I have also been informed that the Canada Day Senior Tea will be organized by Honey Affleck.

Ginnie Dunn Webb is the new writer of the Observer’s monthly column This and That for Seniors

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