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Kamloops, BC

Kamloops, BC

Overview:
Kamloops is located in the Thompson Okanagan region of British Columbia, about a two hour drive from the Lower Mainland. The third-largest centre in B.C.'s Interior, Kamloops is a major industrial hub and a service hub for surrounding towns and villages. Kamloops is known as both the “Beef Capital of B.C.” and the “Tournament Capital of B.C.”, reflecting the city's emphasis on the cattle industry and sports tournaments.

The climate here is hot and sunny in the summer, cold and snowy in the winter. Average temperatures range from -4 degrees Celsius in the winter to 27 degrees Celsius in the summer. Kamloops averages 2040 hours of annual sunshine, as compared to Vancouver’s 1920. Average rainfall is only about 250 mm, and average snowfall ranges from 86 cm in the city of Kamloops to 559 cm at nearby Sun Peaks Resort.

The Kamloops area climate is classified as semi-arid, so year-round precipitation is minimal, making this a very attractive place for those looking for recreational opportunities as well as retirees from across Canada.

Population: 92,882 (2006 Census)

Access: Kamloops lies at the intersection of BC’s major highways: the Trans-Canada Highway, which winds through the scenic Fraser Canyon and along the beautiful Thompson River, and the Number 5 highway, which goes through Merritt and along the Nicola area's ranchlands via the Coquihalla. The distance from Vancouver to Kamloops (using the Coquihalla route) is 354 kilometres.

Greyhound offers bus service to Kamloops.

There is a large airport at Kamloops. Service to the area is provided by
Greyhound bus service

Greyhound bus service

Central Mountain Air and Air Canada. On a seasonal basis, Horizon Air provides service from Seattle. Charter services are available from the Kamloops airport, including corporate flights and helicopter tours.

If you have the time, why not experience the area by rail? You can sit back and enjoy the amazing scenery without having to concentrate on your driving. Via Rail offers regular service to Kamloops and Rocky Mountaineer Rail Tours stops in Kamloops on several of their routes.

There are public transit services in Kamloops.

Major Industries: Tourism, Manufacturing, Construction, Agriculture, Forestry, Mining.

History: Kamloops has been a major meeting place from the very beginning. The Shuswap First Nation named the area “T’kemlups”, meaning a coming together. Later, fur trappers paved the way for the Hudson’s Bay Company to set up a trading post in the area, so they could pasture their horses and trade with the surrounding peoples. The 1850s Gold Rush brought prospectors and miners through Kamloops, many of whom stayed to take advantage of the fertile lands, establishing farms and ranches that provided beef, pork, vegetables, and grain to the growing population of settlers.

As the CPR was constructed through Kamloops, the town grew, incorporating in 1893. As more highways and rail lines were built, Kamloops turned into a major transportation hub, moving with the times, and providing services to the surrounding farms and ranches. Although the World Wars and the Great Depression slowed its growth for a time, the mining and forestry industries soon revitalized the area, and have kept the city of Kamloops growing and prospering ever since.

Festivals:

The Alpine Blossoms at Sun Peak

The Alpine Blossoms at Sun Peak

Sun Peaks Winter Festival of Wine - late January. Previously known as the Sun Peaks Ice Wine Festival, this event is not just about ice wine but all the Okanagan's famous varietals. Taking place at nearby Sun Peaks Resort Village, this three-day event gathers over 20 Okanagan Valley wineries, and is a unique and memorable winter experience for wine lovers. “Sun Peaks is about the best wine festival there is on five continents”, wrote Jurgen Gothe, wine and food editor for Nuvo Magazine.

Kamloops Cowboy Festival - early March. This festival showcases cowboy poetry, music, and Western art. In 2005, its 10th anniversary, it drew over 4,000 people. Sponsored by the BC Western Heritage society.

Sun Peaks Alpine Blossom Festival - late July to early August. Millions of alpine wildflowers burst into bloom in late summer, and a great place to view them is at Sun Peaks Resort. Guided nature tours and wildlife walks in the alpine are available, and in the village, there are barbecues, afternoon teas, entertainers, and the Music in the Mountains concerts, featuring the Kamloops Symphony.

Kamloopa Pow Wow – late July. Celebrate the heritage and culture of the First Nations people during this spectacular three-day event.

Kamloops Outdoor Pro Rodeo - late August. Voted by cowboys the #1 pro rodeo in North America in 2001, and the #1 rodeo in Canada for 7 of the last 10 years, it features great rodeo events, dances, and other activities.

Provincial Winter Fair - late September. Closing out B.C.'s agricultural fall fair season, this weekend event features all the trappings of a good old-fashioned fall fair, with judged competitions, entertainment, and other fair events.

Wildlights - December to January. The BC Wildlife Park in Kamloops plays host to the “most interactive Holiday Season Festival in British Columbia.” With eight different light shows, 350 lighted wildlife sculptures, and other entertainment and attractions, this truly is a must-see holiday exhibit.

Recreation in Kamloops:

There are several golf courses in this area, including Sun Rivers Resort,
Golfing in the Kamloops area

Golfing in the Kamloops area

The Dunes at Kamloops, Aberdeen Hills Golf Club, and Kamloops Golf & Country Club.

Kenna Cartwright Park in Kamloops is the largest municipal park in British Columbia, providing miles of trails in the city.

Kamloops is a mountain biking paradise. With hoodoos and grasslands, rugged canyons and wide open spaces, the trails that you choose will be memorable.

Kamloops is known as the “Tournament Capital of BC.”, hosting local, provincial, national, and international sports tournaments throughout the year. In 2008, the city hosted 116 tournaments. Tournaments for 2010 include the Provincial A Cup Soccer Finals, the World Masters Athletics Indoor Championships, the CIS Men's Volleyball Nationals and the Canadian Gymnastics Championships.

The British Columbia Wildlife Park is a 50-hectare zoo featuring BC wildlife and their habitats, a miniature train, a playground for the children, and a number of great events and activities.

The Kamloops Heritage Railway offers day-long trips on the fully-restored 1912 steam train, which showcases the beautiful scenery and colourful history of the area. Be on the lookout for notorious bandit Billy Miner and his gang!

The Kamloops Museum and Archives offers a fascinating glimpse into the Wild West history of Kamloops. Exhibits range from the history of the area's First Nations people, to the development of the frontier town, to more current developments. Maps for self-guided walking tours of Kamloops can be found here.

Nearby Attractions:

Kamloops Lake

Kamloops Lake

Sun Peaks Resort is an international four-season resort located just north of Kamloops. More than 80 trails tumble down from the high peaks of Tod Mountain to the award-winning base village. The second-largest ski area in British Columbia, with over 3000 acres of skiable slopes, this resort is constantly expanding, and is becoming internationally renowned (the Austrian national ski team uses Sun Peaks as their early-season North American training centre, and they trained here for the 2010 Winter Olympic Games.)

Tranquille Lake, a half-hour drive from Kamloops, provides over 40 miles of groomed trails for Nordic skiing and snowmobiling.

The Kamloops area boasts “A lake a day for as long as you stay." Fly-fishing and guiding services are available in Kamloops. This area is famous for its productive lakes and rivers, especially the Thompson River and nearby Kamloops Lake, which offer excellent fishing for kokanee and rainbow trout.

Kayakers consider the section of the Thompson River between Kamloops and Cache Creek a good warm up for the more challenging rapids around Lytton. Launch facilities to nearby Kamloops Lake are located towards the edge of Kamloops, and boaters may travel east to the Shuswap Lakes chain from here.

For More Information:

The City of Kamloops

Tourism Kamloops

Venture Kamloops
Contact Information: #200 - 313 Sixth Street, New Westminster, BC V3L 3A7 CANADA
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