Kamloops is a city in south central British Columbia, Canada, at the confluence of the two branches of the Thompson River and near Kamloops Lake.With a population of 90,280 (2016), it is the largest community in the Thompson-Nicola Regional District and the location of the regional district’s offices. The surrounding region is more commonly referred to as the Thompson Country. Kamloops is ranked 36th on the list of the largest metropolitan areas in Canada and represents the 2nd largest census agglomeration nationwide, with 103,811 residents in 2016. The population of the regional district is 132,663 (2016).Kamloops is known as the Tournament Capital of Canada and hosts over 100 tournaments each year at world class sports facilities such as the Tournament Capital Centre, Kamloops Bike Ranch, and Tournament Capital Ranch. Health care, tourism, and education are major contributing industries to the regional economy and have grown in recent years.Kamloops was British Columbia’s first city to become a Bee City in 2016 as numerous organisations in the community are actively protecting and creating bumble bee habitats in the city.
The first European explorers arrived in 1811, in the person of David Stuart, sent out from Fort Astoria, then still a Pacific Fur Company post, and who spent a winter there with the Secwepemc people, with Alexander Ross establishing a post there in May 1812 – “Fort Cumcloups”.
The rival North West Company established another post – Fort Shuswap – nearby in the same year. The two operations were merged in 1813 when the North West Company officials in the region bought the operations of the Pacific Fur Company. After the North West Company’s forced merger with the Hudson’s Bay Company in 1821, the post became known commonly as Thompson’s River Post, or Fort Thompson, which over time became known as Fort Kamloops. The post’s journals, kept by its Chief Traders, document a series of inter-Indian wars and personalities for the period and also give much insight to the goings-on of the fur companies and their personnel throughout the entire Pacific Slope.
Soon after the forts were founded, the main local village of the Secwepemc, then headed by a chief named Kwa’lila, was moved closer to the trading post in order to control access to its trade, and for prestige and security. With Kwalila’s death, the local chieftaincy was passed to his nephew and foster-son Chief Nicola, who led an alliance of Syilx (Okanagan) and Nlaka’pamux people in the plateau country to the south around Stump, Nicola and Douglas Lakes.
Relations between Nicola and the fur traders were often tense, but in the end Nicola was recognised as a great help to the influx of whites during the gold rush, though admonishing those who had been in parties waging violence and looting on the Okanagan Trail, which led from American territory to the Fraser goldfields. Throughout, Kamloops was an important way station on the route of the Hudson’s Bay Brigade Trail, which connected Fort Astoria with Fort Alexandria and the other forts in New Caledonia to the north (today’s Omineca Country, roughly), and which continued in heavy use through the onset of the Cariboo Gold Rush as the main route to the new goldfields around what was to become Barkerville.
The gold rush of the 1860s and the construction of the Canadian Pacific Railway, which reached Kamloops from the West in 1883, brought further growth, resulting in the City of Kamloops being incorporated in 1893 with a population of about 500. The logging industry of the 1970s brought many Indo-Canadians into the Kamloops area, mostly from the Punjab region of India. In 1973, Kamloops annexed Barnhartvale and other nearby communities.
“Kamloops” is the anglicised version of the Shuswap word “Tk’emlúps”, meaning “meeting of the waters”. Shuswap is still spoken in the area by members of the Tk’emlúps Indian Band.
An alternate origin sometimes given for the name may have come from the native name’s accidental similarity to the French “Camp des loups”, meaning “Camp of Wolves”; many early fur traders spoke French. One story perhaps connected with this version of the name concerns an attack by a pack of wolves, much built up in story to one huge white wolf, or a pack of wolves and other animals, travelling overland from the Nicola Country being repelled by a single shot by John Tod, then Chief Trader, thus preventing the fort from attack and granting Tod a great degree of respect locally.
Kamloops industry is diverse and includes healthcare, tourism, education, transportation and natural resource extraction.
The Royal Inland Hospital (RIH) is the city’s largest employer. RIH is the region’s acute care and health facility and is one of two tertiary referral hospitals in the Southern Interior with 239 acute beds and an additional 20 more beds upon completion of the expansion in 2016.
Thompson Rivers University (TRU) serves a student body of 25,754 including a diverse international contingent mainly from Asian countries. Thompson Rivers University, Open Learning (TRU-OL) is the biggest distance education provider in British Columbia and one of the biggest in Canada.
Four major highways join in Kamloops, the BC Highway 1 (Trans-Canada Highway), the Coquihalla Highway (BC highway 5 south of the city), the Yellowhead Highway (BC Highway 5 north of the city) and BC Highway 97, making it a transportation hub and a place which attracts business. There are over 50 trucking and transport companies located in Kamloops that ship across Canada and into the United States. Both the Canadian Pacific Railway and the Canadian National Railway service Kamloops with both lines running through the city.
The Canadian Pacific (CPR) and Canadian National (CNR) mainline routes connect Vancouver in the west with Kamloops. The two railways diverge to the north and east where they connect with the rest of Canada. Kamloops North station is served three times per week (in each direction) by Via Rail‘s Canadian.
Kamloops is home to Kamloops Airport (YKA). Airlines flying to Kamloops include: Air Canada Express, WestJet Encore, Canadian North, and Central Mountain Air, as well as three cargo airlines. In 2018, Air Canada Rouge launched its direct flight from Kamloops to Toronto.
Local bus service is provided by Kamloops Transit System and funded through BC Transit with 18 routes across the Kamloops area and contracted out to First Student Canada. In 2018, the City of Kamloops partnered with the Tk’emlups te Secwepemc to expand its services on Tk’emlups te Secwepemc land for Route 18: Mount Paul Route.
Geography and location
Kamloops is in the Thompson Valley and the Montane Cordillera Ecozone. The city’s centre is in the valley near the confluence of the Thompson River’s north and south branches. Suburbs stretch for more than a dozen kilometres along the north and south branches, as well as to the steep hillsides along the south portion of the city and lower northeast hillsides.
Kamloops Indian Band areas begin just to the northeast of the downtown core but are not within the city limits. As a result of this placement, it is necessary to leave Kamloops’ city limits and pass through the band lands before re-entering the city limits to access the communities of Rayleigh and Heffley Creek. Kamloops is surrounded by the smaller communities of Cherry Creek, Pritchard, Savona, Scotch Creek, Adams Lake, Chase, Paul Lake, Pinantan and various others.
The climate of Kamloops is semi-arid (Köppen climate classification BSk) due to its rain shadow location. Because of milder winters and aridity, the area west of Kamloops in the lower Thompson River valley falls within Köppen climate classification BWk climate. Kamloops gets short cold snaps where temperatures can drop to around -20 °C (-4 °F) when Arctic air manages to cross the Rockies and Columbia Mountains into the Interior.
Although Kamloops is above 50° north latitude, summers are warmer than in many places at lower latitudes, with prevailing dry and sunny weather. Daytime humidity is generally under 40% in the summer, sometimes dropping below 20% after a dry spell, which allows for substantial nighttime cooling. Occasional summer thunderstorms can create dry-lightning conditions, sometimes igniting forest fires which the area is prone to.
Kamloops lies in the rain shadow leeward of the Coast Mountains and is bio geographically connected to similar semi-desert areas in the Okanagan region, and a much larger area covering the central/eastern portions of Washington, Oregon and intermontane areas of Nevada, Utah and Idaho in the US.
These areas of relatively similar climate have many distinctive native plants and animals in common, such as ponderosa pine (Pinus ponderosa), big sagebrush (Artemisia tridentata), prickly pear cactus (Opuntia fragilis in this case), rattlesnakes, black widow spiders and Lewis’s woodpecker.
The highest temperature ever recorded in Kamloops was 41.7 °C (107 °F) on 27 July 1939 and 16 July 1941. The coldest temperature ever recorded was -38.3 °C (-37 °F) on 6 and 8 January 1950.
|Climate data for Kamloops Airport, 1981–2010 normals, extremes 1890–present[a]|
|Record high humidex||15.8||17.0||23.3||31.9||36.8||39.0||47.4||40.3||38.4||31.2||22.8||15.0||47.4|
|Record high °C (°F)||16.1
|Average high °C (°F)||0.4
|Daily mean °C (°F)||-2.8
|Average low °C (°F)||-5.9
|Record low °C (°F)||-38.3
|Record low wind chill||-42.0||-36.7||-33.9||-13.0||-5.2||0.0||0.0||0.0||-6.5||-23.2||-39.1||-45.1||-45.1|
|Average precipitation mm (inches)||21.1
|Average rainfall mm (inches)||5.3
|Average snowfall cm (inches)||18.7
|Average precipitation days||9.7||7.2||6.8||6.2||10.2||10.7||8.4||8.0||7.6||9.0||10.0||11.7||105.6|
|Average rainy days||3.6||3.8||5.5||6.1||10.2||10.7||8.3||8.0||7.6||8.8||7.1||3.4||83.3|
|Average snowy days||7.6||4.1||1.9||0.3||0.0||0.0||0.0||0.0||0.0||0.3||3.9||9.3||27.4|
|Average relative humidity (%)||72.6||60.0||43.0||35.6||36.2||36.4||33.5||34.4||41.4||52.9||65.9||70.9||48.6|
|Mean monthly sunshine hours||55.2||95.6||165.3||202.8||251.6||252.0||303.4||289.5||223.3||130.9||63.7||46.6||2,079.8|
|Percent possible sunshine||20.9||33.9||45.0||49.0||52.4||51.2||61.2||64.3||58.7||39.2||23.5||18.6||43.2|
|Source: Environment Canada|
|Hottest Summer||Most Days above 30°C||Driest||Warmest Spring||Fewest Fog Days||Most Sunny Days in Warm Months||Most Growing Degree Days||Most Days Without Precipitation|
|Rank Among 100 Largest Canadian Cities||1st||1st||2nd
(next to Whitehorse)
(next to Chilliwack)
(next to Penticton)
(next to Portage la Prairie)
(next to Windsor and St. Catharines)
(next to Medicine Hat and Lethbridge)
|Value||26.94 °C (80.5 °F)||29.28||278.98 mm (10.98 in)||9.65 °C (49.4 °F)||7.28||148.93||2308.61||258.12|
|Data is for Kamloops Airport (YKA), in the city of Kamloops, 5 NM (9.3 km; 5.8 mi) west northwest of the town.|
Kamloops is known as the Tournament Capital of Canada and is home to a range of professional athletes from many sports. Kamloops has the Kamloops Sports Hall of Fame, which includes 2008 Summer Olympics bronze medallist Dylan Armstrong and the National Finalist Roma’s soccer team.
With 100 lakes within an hour’s drive, Kamloops has some of the best freshwater fishing in North America. Every year, the Freshwater Fisheries Society of BC stocks lakes in the Thompson-Nicola region with roughly 1,000,000 fish including rainbow trout, brook trout, and kokanee salmon.
Kamloops is known for its professional anglers including Brian Chan, Jordan Oelrich, and Brennan Lund. Fishing guides in the Kamloops area include: DNA Fly Fishing; Interior Fly Fishing; Maricle Fly Fishing; Riseform Flyfishing; and Fast Action Fishing Adventures.
Kamloops’ extensive trail network and desert-like climate creates world class conditions for year-round mountain biking across the city. Popular parks include the Kamloops Bike Ranch, Pineview Valley; Lac du Bois Grasslands Protected Area, and Kenna Cartwright Park. Two time UCI Mountain Bike & Trials World Championships – Women’s cross-country (2011 and 2014), gold at the 2014 Commonwealth Games and 2016 Summer Olympics bronze medallist Catharine Pendrel lives and trains in Kamloops. Kamloops is home to world-famous mountain bikers such as freeride pioneers and Mountain Bike Hall of Fame members Wade Simmons, Brett Tippie, (also a former Canadian National Team member for snowboard cross and giant slalom), aand Richie Schley. Freeriders Matt Hunter, and Graham Agassiz also live in Kamloops. Kamloops was featured in the first mountain bike film by Greg Stump, Pulp Traction, and later the first three Kranked films, which starred the original Fro Riders, Tippie, Simmons and Schley.
Ongoing trail maintenance has been spearheaded by local organisations such as the Kamloops Bike Riders Association, Kamloops Performance Cycling Centre, and Dirt Chix Kamloops.
Kamloops has highest number of golf courses (13) per capita in Canada and boasts one of Canada’s most diverse golf landscapes. Golfers enjoy three seasons of golf due to the dry and hot climate of the area. Several of the local golf courses have been designed by famous golf architects such as Robert Trent Jones, Graham Cooke, and Tom McBroom.
The 13 courses include: Tobiano Golf Course; The Dunes, Talking Rock Golf Course; Pineridge Golf Course; Rivershore Estates; Big Horn Golf & Country Club; Kamloops Golf & Country Club; Sun Peaks Golf; Eagle Point Golf Course; Mount Paul Golf Course, and Chinook Cove Golf.
Kamloops is home to the Western Hockey League‘s Kamloops Blazers who play at the Sandman Centre. Alumni of the Kamloops Blazers include Mark Recchi, Jarome Iginla, Darryl Sydor, Nolan Baumgartner, Shane Doan, Scott Niedermayer, Rudy Poeschek and Darcy Tucker (Recchi, Doan, Iginla, and Sydor are now part-owners of the club). Two-time champion coach Ken Hitchcock would later win the Stanley Cup with the Dallas Stars.
Sun Peaks Resort is a nearby ski and snowboard hill. Olympic medallist skier Nancy Greene Raine is director of skiing at Sun Peaks and the former chancellor of Thompson Rivers University. The Overlander Ski Club runs the Stake Lake cross country ski area with 50 km (31 mi) of trails.
Lacrosse teams include the Thompson Okanagan Junior Lacrosse League‘s Kamloops Junior B Venom, as well as the junior ice hockey team the Kamloops Storm. Also calling Kamloops home is the Canadian Junior Football League‘s Kamloops Broncos, and Pacific Coast Soccer League‘s Kamloops Excel, both of whom play at Hillside Stadium.
Kamloops hosted the World Masters Indoor Championships in March 2010.
Kamloops hosted the 2011 Western Canada Summer Games.
Kamloops hosted the 2014 Tim Hortons Brier (The Canadian Men’s Curling Championships).
The Kamloops Rotary Skatepark at McArthur Island Park is one of Canada’s largest skateboard parks. Also located at McArthur Island Park is NorBrock Stadium, the McArthur Island Sports and Events Centre and the McArthur Island Curling Club. The city boasts 82 parks which are great for hiking, including Kenna Cartwright Park, the largest municipal park in British Columbia.
Total visible minority population: 6,975
Data is from the 2001 census.
Public schools in Kamloops and adjacent communities are run by School District 73 Kamloops/Thompson.
The Conseil scolaire francophone de la Colombie-Britannique operates one Francophone school: école Collines-d’or primary school.
Thompson Rivers University also has an open-learning division. Thompson Rivers University, Open Learning (TRU-OL) is the biggest distance and online education provider in British Columbia and one of the biggest in Canada. The Thompson Rivers University WolfPack are the athletic teams that represent Thompson Rivers University.
Thompson Career College and Sprott Shaw College are private post-secondary institutions with campuses in Kamloops.
Officially recognised neighbourhoods within the city of Kamloops.
Unofficially recognized areas are listed beneath the neighborhoods to which they belong:
Below is a list of people who are from Kamloops, or who lived there for an extended period.
- Edward Bellew, recipient of the Victoria Cross.
- Jim Chamberlin, aerodynamicist, who contributed to the design of the Canadian Avro Arrow; NASA‘s Project Mercury, Project Gemini and the Apollo program.
- Kanao Inouye, the notorious “Kamloops Kid”, the first of the two Canadians ever convicted of war crimes.
- Allan McLean, son of Donald McLean and leader of the outlaw gang known as the Wild McLean Boys.
- Donald McLean, former Chief Trader of Fort Kamloops and one of the casualties of the Chilcotin War.
- Frank Robert Miller, former deputy minister of the National Defence.
- Chief Nicola, conjoint chief of the Nicolas and the Kamloops Secwepemc during the fur trade and gold rush eras.
- John Fremont Smith, a pioneer settler of Kamloops, a Black Caribbean from the Danish West Indies, served as Indian agent.
- Johnny Ussher, settler, provincial magistrate and gold commissioner (killed by Allan McLean).
- Mark Sweeten Wade, medical doctor, newspaperman and historian.
- Jack Davis, politician who was elected to both the Parliament of Canada and Legislative Assembly of British Columbia.
- Jodie Emery – marijuana activist and politician.
- John L. Frazer, politician: member of the House of Commons of Canada from 1993 to 1997.
- Davie Fulton, politician: member of the Canadian House of Commons from 1945 to 1963, and 1965 to 1968. Son of Frederick John Fulton.
- Frederick John Fulton, British born politician and lawyer, father of Davie Fulton.
- Phil Gaglardi, aka Flying Phil, former Provincial Minister of Highways and Mayor of the city.
- Leonard Marchand, QPC, CM, the first person of First Nations ethnicity to serve in the federal cabinet and the first Status Indian to serve as a member of parliament.
- Nelson Riis, former Kamloops alderman and Director of the Thompson-Nicola Regional District, later federal MP for Kamloops.
- Peter Wing, North America’s first elected mayor of Chinese descent, elected in 1966 and served three terms in Kamloops.
- Graham Agassiz, freeride mountain biker, bronze medal at Red Bull Rampage 2015.
- Dylan Armstrong, Olympic shot putter who finished 4th in the 2008 Olympics but subsequently was awarded the bronze medal in 2015 after the 3rd place putter Andrei Mikhnevich from Belarus tested positive for drugs post 2008 Olympics.
- Don Ashby, former National Hockey League (NHL) ice hockey player.
- Murray Baron, former NHL ice hockey player.
- Mitch Berger, former National Football League (NFL) player.
- Rick Boh, former NHL ice hockey player.
- Corryn Brown, Canadian curler, skip of the 2013 Canadian Junior Curling Championships winning rink, 2012 Winter Youth Olympics bronze medallist.
- Jim Cotter, Canadian curler, 2013 Olympic Trials runner up, 2014 Tim Hortons Brier silver medallist.
- Craig Endean, former NHL ice hockey player.
- Todd Esselmont, ice and roller hockey player.
- Erin Gammel, is a swimmer who competed at the 2004 Summer Olympics.
- Stu Grimson, former NHL ice hockey player.
- Don Hay, former NHL head coach.
- Jessica Hewitt, short track speed skater, silver medallist at the 2014 Sochi Olympics.
- Joe Hicketts, 2015 World Junior Ice Hockey Champion, Detroit Red Wings defenceman.
- Murray Kennett, is a former World Hockey Association (WHA) ice hockey player.
- Doug Lidster, former NHL ice hockey player.
- Steve Marr, ice hockey defenceman.
- Bert Marshall, former NHL ice hockey player.
- Spencer McLennan, Former Canadian Football League (CFL) player.
- Don Moen, Former CFL football player.
- Josie Morrison, Canadian speedskater, 2018 Winter Olympian.
- Bob Mowat, former WHA ice hockey player.
- Shane Niemi, is a Canadian sprinter.
- Kelly Olynyk, Miami Heat and Canada international basketball player.
- Paul Osbaldiston, former CFL football player.
- Catharine Pendrel, cross country mountain biker, 2016 Olympic bronze medallist, 2011 and 2014 World Champion
- Rudy Poeschek, former NHL player.
- Kevin Powell, former CFL football player.
- Nancy Greene Raine, named Canada’s Athlete of the Century in 1999, Olympic skier who won gold for Canada in 1968, and 13 World Cups (the Canadian record) for a total of 17 Canadian Title Championships.
- Mark Recchi, former NHL ice hockey player and three time Stanley Cup (1991, 2006, 2011).
- Justin Ring, former CFL football player
- Peter Soberlak, former American Hockey League (AHL) professional ice hockey player.
- Dave Vankoughnett, former CFL football player.
- Tim Watters, former NHL ice hockey player.
Arts, culture and media
- Benjamin Ayres, actor, born in Kamloops.
- Dan Bremnes, Christian musician, born in Kamloops.
- Steven Galloway, novelist, was raised in Kamloops.
- Elise Gatien, actress.
- Boris Karloff, actor, joined the Jeanne Russell theatre company in Kamloops in September 1911.
- Chris Masuak, punk rock singer-songwriter, inducted into the ARIA Hall of Fame, born in Kamloops – lived in Brocklehurst (North Kamloops) in the 1960s. Now resides in Spain.
- John Pozer, award-winning filmmaker.
- Robert W. Service, poet and writer known for his ballads depicting the Klondike Gold Rush of 1897, he worked at Kamloops branch of the Canadian Bank of Commerce from July to December 1904 before being transferred to Whitehorse.
- Michael Shanks, actor, born in Vancouver, but grew up in Kamloops.
- Lawrence Paul Yuxweluptun, First Nations painter.
Other notable people
- Nadine Caron, first female First Nations surgeon.
- Andrew Collier, Commander of the Royal Canadian Navy.
- Vivian Dowding, leading birth control activist.
- Mildred Gottfriedson, first First Nations individual inducted into the Order of Canada and founding member of the B.C. Native Women’s Society.
- Lesra Martin, resident lawyer who helped with Rubin “The Hurricane” Carter’s prison release.
Elections into the municipality in Kamloops are held with the rest of the province every four years.
Provincially, Kamloops is considered to be bellwether, having voted for the governing party in every provincial election since the introduction of parties to British Columbian elections, until 2017. By contrast, Kamloops has regularly voted against the party in power federally until the 2006 Federal election. Kamloops is represented in two provincial ridings – Kamloops-South Thompson and Kamloops-North Thompson – and one federal riding – Kamloops—Thompson—Cariboo.
- Mayor – Ken Christian
- Members of the Legislative Assembly:
Federal Members of Parliament:
- Cathy McLeod (2008–present) Conservative Party of Canada
- Betty Hinton (2000–2008) Canadian Alliance and Conservative Party of Canada
- Nelson Riis (1980–2000) New Democratic Party
- Don Cameron (1979–1980) Progressive Conservative Party of Canada
- Leonard Marchand (1968–1979) Liberal Party of Canada
The city’s name was adopted for a crater on the surface of Mars. Crater Kamloops was officially adopted by the International Astronomical Union, and Working Group for Planetary System Nomenclature (IAU/WGPSN) in 1991. The location of the crater on the Martian surface is 53.8° south latitude and 32.6° west longitude, with a diameter of 65 km (40 mi).
- Uji, Kyoto Prefecture, Japan
[Kamloops Information Source: Wikipedia]