A Local's View of Summerland: Cathi Shaw, Author and Writing Instructor

Learn a local’s perspective of life in Summerland, BC – things to do, places to see, and what the community is all about.

Our family moved to Summerland in 2008, but we had been talking about relocating to this area for years.
Before moving here, we lived in West Vancouver and vacationed in Summerland just about every year – we loved it.
Eventually, we made the decision to move here and it was the best move we ever made. With our kids growing up, we wanted to live in a smaller town and we soon discovered that this community has so much to offer.

A Soothing Spot For Writing

My first novel, Five Corners: Book 1 of the Marked Ones, was published on January 30. I also co-wrote a textbook for first-year university writing courses called Writing Today prior to working on this project.
I think Summerland overall has had a great influence on my writing. I like to write at a little café we have called Good Omens. I like the space, I like the lighting, and most of all, I like the people there – the owners are awesome; you never feel rushed to leave.
I also have an amazing home office space to write in – it has a stunning view of the lake. I find it easier to write in Summerland than Vancouver – you don’t have that same feeling of busyness here; that need to go-go-go.
I also teach writing at Okanagan College, at both the Penticton and Kelowna campuses. One thing I love about teaching here is that I know many of the students in my classes because they are Summerland grads. In a small town, everyone gets to know each other.

Natural beauty & rich culture

The Okanagan, in general, and Summerland, in particular, has a surprising amount of culture.
There’s a great art gallery here and my daughter loves the art program at the high school. The theatre program is also really well known throughout the valley.
I think the Okanagan really nurtures the artist in each of us. My eldest son, who is soon moving to Toronto to pursue a Bachelor of Music degree, didn’t play any instruments until we moved to Summerland. It’s really fed his passion being in the Okanagan.
I think this area brings out the artistic qualities of people, mainly because it’s just so beautiful here.
And of course, Summerland is a vacation destination. When we first moved here, we seemed to always have a friend or relative wanting to stay with us pretty much every other weekend. After a few years we started to host a big summer blow-out weekend every August – we take our guests on wine tours, bike rides and, of course, to the beach.
But aside from all of the natural beauty, it’s the community of Summerland itself that makes you really feel as if you belong. People here are always willing to lend a hand if you need one and they look out for friends, family and strangers, alike. We take pride in one another’s accomplishments. I guess you could say there’s a real sense of belonging that makes one just feel at home.