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Kamloops: Gateway to North Thompson, Shuswap Lakes and High Country
"There must be something special in the air, the drinking water or the soil of Kamloops. Two media friends from my Calgary days moved there as a career change from broadcasting to new ventures and never left. My cousin Dave moved there, got married and has been an on air personality at one of the local TV stations for several decades. All became successful in separate endeavors. We will be pleased to receive your stories about travel and tourism in Kamloops and area. A full profile is planned, including details about Kamloops Airport and the carriers it serves, plus the popular Rocky Mountain Rail connection. We also recall a great decade of travel fun in and around Kamloops, Anglemont and the Shuswap lake Country." Jerry W. Bird, Editor

"Where the waters meet " ( Tk'emlups -) is what the Shuswap people called Kamloops, which was a First Nations gathering place for centuries, as illustrated at the Secwepemc Museum and Heritage Park. The North and South Thompson, are a natural setting for amenities galore, including hikes, biking, horseback riding, water sports and river cruises. Did you mention fishing? Most avid anglers speak with awe about the legendary Kamloops trout. Kamloops Wildlife Park is world-class, featuring 65 species of animals, and Kenna Cartwright Park is one of Canada's largest municipal parks in Canada. Five 18-hole championship courses attract leading names from the world of golf. Sun Peaks Four-Season Resort continues to attract skiers and lovers of winter sports.

From a reader: I'd love to see mention of the Kamloops Blazers, the Canada Games, the Kamloops Rube Band, and how about this city being so-dubbed the "Tournament Capital of Canada" in the couple or three years? I live in Ontario, but Kamloops is truly home. Perhaps you could take a look into an update? Thanks, David

We have e-mailed the city and will also contact the airport authority -- and have them send us an update. Thanks. Editor

Hub of Activity: Kamloops traditional "crossroads" position was further enhanced by the fur trade, and later when the Canadian Pacific Railway arrived, running a set of tracks down the center of main street. To salute that glorious era, a 2141 Steam Locomotive is on display. Rocky Mountaineer Rail Tours spends the night here, unloading upscale tourists from the USA, Japan and Europe. The Trans Canada Yellowhead Highway's route (5) via Coquihalla Pass is a recent spoke in Kamloops' wheel as a transportation hub. Destination resorts and high adventure tourism in the Thompson Nicola region have blossomed, thanks to great highway and railway connections, plus enhanced airport services.

Ranching began here with a flourish, making Kamloops the heart of the BC's cattle industry. The conditions were ideal - sunshine, nourishing grasslands and plenty of water from the area's 200 lakes and clear running rivers. In recent years the Kamloops Cattle Drive has drawn participants from near and far. Did you know that Douglas Lake Ranch, an area attraction, is the largest working cattle ranch in Canada? The Downtown Farmers Market offers a colourful array of fresh local produce and handicrafts. Another site to check out is the Rocky Mountain Rangers Military Museum. Kamloops is home of the University College of the Cariboo, with its Applied Industrial Technology center. For cultural activities, visitors will enjoy the Western Canada Theatre, Kamloops Art Gallery and a variety of other venues. Forestry is still a main pillar of the local economy.

Adams River Salmon Run

One of the High Country most amazing spectacles occurs on the Adams River near Chase, with the world's most productive sockeye salmon run.

From Air Highways
Journal of Open Skies

Kamloops, with a population of around 80,000 is one of British Columbia's major cities. It is situated where the North and South Thompson Rivers meet, 366 km north east of Vancouver. The Trans-Canada and Yellowhead Highways, and routes leading north to the Cariboo and to Prince George, pivot here.
Rail connections to the coast mimic the highway passages, which stretch over steep slopes and chisel through tunnels. Over the past five years, Kamloops has hosted such prestigious events as the World Fly Fishing Championships, the Canada Summer Games, Memorial Cup hockey championships, the BC Festival of the Arts and the Canadian Labatt Brier Curling championships. Things are happening in the Heart of the West.

Kamloops Airport
The airport is a significant economic generator in the Kamloops region, generating the equivalent of $35 million and the equivalent of 300 full time jobs in economic activity. Growth in the tourism market in British Columbia is increasing the significance of quality air service throughout the province and Kamloops is no exception. Developments in local destination resorts and high adventure tour packages in the Thompson Nicola region will rely heavily on the future services of the Kamloops Airport.

Forestry is the largest industry and employer, while tourism, mining and cattle ranching are strong secondary contributors. Cattle ranching is our largest agricultural sector, and Kamloops is considered the heart of the province's cattle industry.

Kamloops is quickly earning the reputation of being the ginseng capital of Canada. The area is home to several ginseng growers and four processing plants with value added products such as ginseng tea, chewable tablets and oils for local and international export markets. As technology and markets become available, more value added ginseng processing will be developed. According to BC Trade, the ginseng industry was valued at $30 million in annual revenues in BC at last count.

A highly educated work force available in Kamloops is a result of the university degree-granting status of the University College of the Cariboo. Several undergraduate studies ranging from business to science can be completed at UCC. A $21 million Applied Industrial Technology center opened several years ago, with a capacity for 1000 full-time students.

The tourism industry in Kamloops is flourishing as local developments and attractions continue to show steady growth. The hotel industry has seen several new additions in the past five years. Professional golf course development is currently taking place in Westsyde and on the adjacent Kamloops Indian Band. An eighteen hole professional golf course opened at Sun Rivers Development on the Kamloops Band. Kamloops offers four seasons attractions ranging from exceptional parks, water recreation and mountain biking to downhill skiing and challenging golf courses. Kamloops even offers its very own annual Cattle Drive for those looking for a real rustic outdoor adventure!

Sun Peaks Resort, Kamloops' closest four season resort within fifty minutes of downtown Kamloops, is also showing substantial growth. Total investment into Sun Peaks is reaching $100 million in less than three years. Developments at Sun Peaks continue at a staggering pace, as the real estate market and village core begin to take shape at the base of the mountain, with developments such as Nancy Greene's Cahilty Lodge. Kamloops offers an exceptional quality of life and a vibrant business community. City Tourism information can be obtained from the Kamloops Visitor Information Centre at 1-800-662-1994.

Land and lease development information on the Kamloops Airport can be obtained from the Airport Manager at (604) 376-3613. Business information and relocation packages can be obtained from the Kamloops Economic Development Corporation (KEDCo) at 1-888-KAMLOOPS.

City Attractions
Here are just a few of things to do in Kamloops and area, courtesy of Kamloops CVB.

Wanda Sue
Stern Wheelers and Side Wheelers plied these waters over one hundred years ago. Now the Wanda-Sue is here to take you back to the past. With conveniently scheduled trips all summer, a tour on the Wanda-Sue is a popular way to spend an afternoon or view an evening sunset in Kamloops.

Kamloops Wildlife Park
Treat yourself and the kids to a trip through Kamloops Wildlife Park. Here you will see 65 species of local and endangered animals including Shardic and Sheba the grizzly bears and Zef, the Siberian Tiger. The far west corner of the park is the starting point of a favorite walking trail that culminates at the refreshing sight of waterfalls. Learn more about the indigenous wildlife, rehabilitation and captive breeding in the new 7,000 sq. ft. Visitor and education center. Click Here to Visit their web site.

Downtown Farmers Market
The Farmers Market runs from May to October in the heart of Downtown Kamloops. Saturday mornings, St. Paul Street is closed between 2nd and 3rd Ave. and you can find a wide array of fresh local produce and handicrafts. Enjoy a coffee and fresh baked treats as you shop. Enjoy informal performances by local musicians as you share one of the city's best kept secrets. If you can't make it on the weekend, a smaller market is held every Wednesday morning at the corner of Victoria and 3rd.

Kamloops Visitor Info Centre
1290 W. Trans Canada Highway
Kamloops, BC, V2C 6R3 CANADA
Phone: (250) 374-3377 or 1-800-662-1994
e-mail: chamber@mail.ocis.net

Adams River Salmon Run
As we discovered during our many trips along the lake to Anglemont, one of the most dramatic events in High Country centres on the Adams River near Chase. Every autumn, millions of sockeye salmon miraculously migrate back to their birthplace at the river to spawn and crowd the waters of the river near Roderick Haig-Brown Provincial Park yet again. Every fourth year the numbers of the bright-red fish with their brilliant green heads peak and jump into the thousands or millions.
The world's most productive sockeye salmon run grows, every four years, into a massive natural spectacle. Their long migration completed, a female and male sockeye prepare to mate by releasing eggs and sperm simultaneously into a cavity she scoops in the gravel, She will dig still more hollows and deposit more eggs before her frenzied mating activities are finished. Teeming in a pool of the Adams River, sockeye salmon spawn and search for mating partners. This stream's gravel bottom has been called the most valuable real estate in British Columbia, because of the rich commercial fishery created here.

Land of the Horse
Out here, riding and ranching is still a way of life. Visitors can see the Stetson-hat-and-cowboy-boots attire of people on Main Street in almost every community. The code of the west is simple - enjoy every minute, give thanks for every day. And visitors find there's plenty to be thankful for, as they explore High Country's phenomenal scenery the way many of the first settlers did - from the back of a horse. Horses provide access to some of the most spectacular places in High Country, where the cry of eagles and the rush of the wind through pine trees replaces the sound of highway traffic. From near the highest point in the Canadian Rockies, Mount Robson, to the rich grasslands of the Kamloops area, horses follow historic trails to wilderness beauty.

Fur, Gold and Trains
"Kamloops" is the Indian word for "the meeting of two waters", and the area was originally inhabited by the Secwepemc nation. David Stuart and Alexander Ross came to Kamloops in 1811, and the following year they set up the first fur trading post. By 1821 the Hudson Bay Company had control of the fur trade in Kamloops. In 1850 the Goldrush fever and the construction of the Canadian Pacific Railway in the 1880's were mainly responsible for Kamloops' rapid expansion. The Canadian Pacific Railway arrived in 1885 and the main line ran down the center of the main street. Thus Kamloops was known as having the "longest street-car system in the world." Kamloops was incorporated in 1893 with approximately 1000 residents. After incorporation and pre World War I, Kamloops established itself in ranching and agricultural enterprises.

Points NSEW from Kamloops
Traveling east of Kamloops, taking the Trans-Canada Highway, beyond the central Interior ranch lands, the highway travels beside the South Thompson River to the Shuswap Lakes area - a center for water sports and the home of the awe-inspiring Adams River salmon run. Visit the beautiful beach front communities around the lakes including Chase, Sorrento, Salmon Arm and Sicamous where a wealth of attractions and activities are featured, and visitors are welcomed throughout the year. The highway continues east from the Shuswap, leading to the scenic Eagle Valley with its myriad attractions. Rising gradually as it passes through Revelstoke and reaches the Rocky Mountains, the route provides access to Mount Revelstoke Park and Glacier National Park and traverses Rogers Pass. The highway then passes through Yoho National Park, entering Alberta and Banff National Park just east of the community of Field.

To travel north of Kamloops you will enjoy the scenic Yellowhead Highway, along the banks of the North Thompson River. You will travel through the communities of Heffley Creek, the access point for the new Sun Peaks Resort on Tod Mountain, onto Barriere and Little Fort, a scenic area of farms and forests dotted with crystal-clear fishing lakes. Further north, at Clearwater and Blue River, visitors have the option of entering Wells Gray Provincial Park. Near Valemount and Blue River verdant forests sweep up the slopes of the mountain on both sides of the highway and the high peaks of the Monashee Mountain pierce the skies. At Valemount you will enjoy the spectacular Mount Robson, at 3,954 metres, the highest point in the Canadian Rockies.

To the south travellers going to Merritt have the option of taking Highway 5, the continuation of the Coquihalla Highway, or following picturesque route 5A along the Nicola Valley. At Nicola Lake, travellers using 5A can also turn left and take the road past the beautiful Douglas Lake Ranch, connecting with Highway 97 in Westwold. Then onto Falkland, home to the Falkland Stampede and the World's Largest Canadian Flag.

Westwards from Kamloops, if you follow the Trans Canada Highway to Ashcroft, you can travel via 97c to Logan Lake, home to North America's largest copper mine.