Located in South Central B.C., Kamloops is a beloved tourist destination as well as a vibrant and growing residential community.
The city has grown exponentially over the years. Famous for its wine, outdoor activities, and mild climate, BC’s 12th largest municipality draws new home-owners and visitors alike.
The city’s centre is in the valley near the confluence of the two branches of the Thompson River, with suburbs that stretch up the steep hillsides along the south portion of the city and lower northeast hillsides.
The region was originally home to the Secwepemc people. European explorers established a trading post in 1812 called Fort Cumcloups. (“Kamloops” is the Anglicized version of the Shuswap word “Tk’əmlúps,” meaning “meeting of the waters.”) The fort merged with a second, rival post and became known as Fort Kamloops. The 1861 gold rush brought more traffic, much of it passing through on the way to the Cariboo.
The construction of the Canadian Pacific Railway reached Kamloops in 1885 and brought further growth, resulting in the incorporation of the City of Kamloops in 1893 with a population of about 500. The logging industry of the 1970s helped further boost its population with the immigration of many Indo-Canadians, mostly from the Punjab region of India.
Part of the attraction, besides the scenery, wine, and outdoor activities, is the region’s weather. Kamloops experiences mild winters—the third mildest of any non-coastal city in Canada— though it does experience cold snaps where temperatures can drop to around −20 °C (−4 °F).
Summers are warmer than in many places at lower latitudes, with prevailing dry and sunny weather.
Private schools include Kamloops Christian School, Our Lady of Perpetual Help School (Catholic), and St. Ann's Academy (Catholic). The Conseil scolaire francophone de la Colombie-Britannique operates école Collines-d’or, a Francophone primary school.
Thompson Rivers University offers a range of undergraduate and graduate degrees as well as certificate and diploma programs. Thompson Career College and Sprott Shaw College are private post-secondary institutions with campuses in Kamloops.
Kamloops lies southwest of Sun Peaks Resort, which features hiking trails, a bike park and numerous ski runs.
The “tournament capital of Canada,” the city hosts over 100 tournaments each year.
Year-round, visitors and locals alike hike and mountain-bike the extensive trail network outside of the city. With 100 lakes within an hour’s drive, Kamloops has some of the best freshwater fishing in North America.
Kamloops also has the highest number of golf courses (13) per capita in Canada and boasts one of Canada’s most diverse golf landscapes.
The city hosts many festivals including the Kamloops Wine Festival and the Kamloops Film Festival. The Kamloops Symphony Orchestra and Western Canada Theatre are among its arts organizations. Venues include the 706-seat Sagebrush Theatre and the 150-seat Pavilion Theatre.
Galleries include the nationally recognized Kamloops Art Gallery and the Kamloops Museum and Archives. The riverside Secwepemc Museum & Heritage Park features the remains of a 2,000-year-old village.
Other popular attractions include the Adams River Sockeye Salmon Run; Kamloops Bike Ranch; BC Wildlife Park; Kamloops Heritage Railway; and the Kamloops Wine Trail.
Kamloops has emerged as an award-winning wine region with a climate ideal for growing grapes. It is home to four award-winning wineries: Harper’s Trail, Monte Creek Ranch, Privato and Sagewood. Micro-breweries include Noble Pig Brewhouse, Red Collar Brewing, and Iron Road Brewing.
The annual event Chefs in the City celebrates the area’s food, wine and beer.