Kamloops began as a fur trading post in 1812 for much the same reason as it has become today’s Tournament Capital of Canada: great access to transportation. Visitors can reach Kamloops via the Trans Canada, Yellowhead and 97 highways or the VIA train without being robbed by Bill Miner. The Thompson rivers meet at Kamloops, which is why the Secwepemc First Nation named it Tk’emlups, ‘where the rivers meet’. There are many reasons to visit and stay in a Kamloops hotel: great golfing and restaurants, wild fly-fishing and whitewater rafting, and a Winter wonderland of snow sport activities. You can also celebrate the cowboys who were lured to this area by the promise of land in the late 1800’s or visit St. Andrews Church, Kamloops' oldest public building. Unfortunately, in 2006 the Mountain Pine Beetle was attracted to Kamloops by warmer than usual winters and damaged many acres of Ponderosa Pine trees. Fortunately, the Kamloops area's wildlife and nature parks were not destroyed and the Rivers Trail makes it easy for visitors and residents to access nature near the city's downtown core. According to Statistics Canada’s 2007 Kamloops Community Profile, Kamloops has a population of 85,000. Education and the healthcare sectors are its two largest employers and, based on 2005 BC Stats data, its median family income is $49,879.
Tournament Capital of Canada
Kamloops has come a long way since it hosted the first-ever BC Winter Games in 1979. In 2001, City Council declared Kamloops the ‘Tournament Capital of Canada’, and the community backed this claim by voting ‘Yes’ in a 2003 referendum authorizing Council to invest about $50 million in new sporting facilities. This investment has paid-off since, according to recent City of Kamloops estimates, the city hosted about 100 regional, national and international men’s, ladies, boys and girls tournaments in 2008: basketball, hockey, baseball, soccer and curling to name a few. The City of Kamloops’ ‘Tournament Capital of Canada’ program supports the aggressive marketing of new facilities such as its Tournament Capital Centre. The ‘Tournament Capital of Canada’ will host the 4th World Championship in Athletics and CIS Men’s Volleyball Nationals tournaments in 2010 and the Western Canada Summer Games in 2011.
Mountain Pine Beetle
For an insect as small as a grain of rice, the Mountain Pine Beetle has caused plenty of trouble since arriving in Kamloops in 2006. No, it’s not necessarily Fall if you notice a sea of red pine trees on your next visit to Kamloops. About three quarters of Kamloops’ pine trees are dead or dying: the pine beetle has tunneled its way underneath the bark of these trees and blocked water and nutrient movement within them. An infested tree’s pine needles turn red from malnourishment and dehydration, and grey about a year later once it has died. A damaged Kamloops area Ponderosa Pine must be harvested and milled into lumber within five to 18 years after dying or it is of no commercial value.
Kamloops Heritage Patrol
The Kamloops Heritage Patrol has been giving visitors to cowboy country a cowboy’s welcome since 1992. For most of the year, these red-shirted, cowboy hat-wearing, horse-riding volunteers can be found trotting down by the Thompson River on the Rivers Trail and in other public places throughout Kamloops. Train passengers today receive a much warmer welcome from the Kamloops Heritage Patrol than Bill Miner, a not so good old cowboy, gave a train-load of passengers just outside Kamloops in the early 20th Century. Modern-day visitors to Kamloops must feel much like early western settlers who were welcomed by the red-uniformed, horse-riding Mounties in the late 19th and early 20th centuries. It’s nice to know that there is someone to guide you when in a strange, new land.