Planning Your Trip To Kamloops, British Columbia

Kamloops is a vibrant city in south-central British Columbia, Canada, at the confluence of the North and South Thompson Rivers. As of 2019, it had a population of over 100,000 and was the largest city in the Thompson-Nicola Regional District.


The city's name derives from the Shuswap word Tk'emlúps, meaning "the meeting of the rivers." For centuries, the Tk'emlupsemc people have lived in Kamloops, which was founded as a fur trading post in 1811 and later incorporated as a city in 1893.


Today, Kamloops is known as the "Tournament Capital of Canada," hosting over 100 yearly tournaments at its world-class sports facilities. The city is a popular destination for outdoor enthusiasts, offering excellent hiking, mountain biking, and fishing opportunities. 


With its desert-like climate, Kamloops is a hub for year-round mountain biking, attracting top athletes and events.


The local economy is driven by healthcare, tourism, and education industries. Kamloops is also home to the Highland Valley copper mines and serves as a transportation hub, with the Trans-Canada Highway and the Canadian Pacific Railway passing through the city.


Culturally, Kamloops boasts a vibrant arts scene, with professional and emerging art galleries, theatre productions, music festivals, and cultural events held throughout the year. 


The city takes pride in its Western hospitality and has successfully transitioned from a small trading settlement to a thriving urban center while maintaining its unique character and natural beauty.


History of Kamloops, British Columbia, Canada

Kamloops, British Columbia, Canada, has a rich history that dates back to its indigenous roots. The Secwepemc nation first inhabited the region, which named the area Tk'emlups, meaning "where the rivers meet." 


The first non-Indigenous settlement in southern British Columbia was established in Kamloops in 1811 by David Stuart of the Pacific Fur Company. 


Stuart built a trading post named Fort She-whaps, which was later taken over by the North West Company and the Hudson’s Bay Company in 1821.


The late 1850s saw the arrival of gold seekers, leading to the development of ranching and farming in Kamloops. The completion of the Canadian Pacific Railway in 1885 further spurred the city's growth, with a population of 1,000 by 1893. 


Since the late 1950s, Kamloops has rapidly expanded as a regional center, becoming the largest city in the Thompson-Nicola Regional District.


Economically, Kamloops serves as the trade and distribution hub for the southern BC interior, with industries ranging from agriculture to forestry and mining. 


Major employers include the Royal Inland Hospital, Thompson Rivers University, and the BC Lottery Corporation. The city's natural surroundings, including over 200 lakes and nearby ski resorts like Sun Peaks, attract tourists for fishing, boating, and outdoor activities.


Kamloops' history is deeply intertwined with Indigenous communities. The city is located on Tk’emlúps te Secwe̓pemc territory within the unceded ancestral lands of the Secwépemc Nation. 


The Secwepemc people have a long-standing connection to the land, dating back to 1811, when they traded furs with non-Indigenous communities. 


Significant events, such as the gold rush, the arrival of the Canadian Pacific Railway, and the establishment of the Kamloops Indian Residential School, have shaped the city's growth and development.


Geography of Kamloops, British Columbia, Canada

In the Thompson Valley and the Mountain Cordillera Ecozone, Kamloops, British Columbia, Canada, is situated at 50°43'N 120°25'W. The central core of the city is located in the valley near the confluence of the North and South branches of the Thompson River. 


Suburbs stretch for more than a dozen kilometres along both branches and the steep hillsides along the south portion of the city. Kamloops Indian Band areas begin just to the northeast of the downtown core but are not within city limits. 


The city is surrounded by smaller communities like Rayleigh, Heffley Creek, Knutsford, Cherry Creek, Pritchard, Campbell Creek, Savona, Scotch Creek, Adams Lake, Chase, and others, many of which are included in the Thompson-Nicola Regional District.


Demographics of Kamloops, British Columbia, Canada

Kamloops, British Columbia, Canada, has a population of 97,902 as of 2021, representing an 8.4% increase from 2016. The city is the largest in the Thompson-Nicola Regional District and the 61st-largest city in Canada.


The population is primarily English-speaking, with 94% of residents speaking only English. Immigrants comprise just over 10% of the population, with the most common ethnic origins being Italian, German, and Punjabi.


Kamloops's median age is 40.6, slightly younger than the provincial average of 42.3. The gender ratio is balanced, with 51% females and 49% males.


Economically, Kamloops has an average total household income of $104,200 and an average after-tax household income of $89,200. The employment rate is 59.2%, and the unemployment rate is 7.4%.


Educationally, 17.1% of the population did not complete high school, while 30.3% have a high school diploma, 13.6% have a trades certificate, 16.7% have a college degree, and 10.8% have a bachelor's degree.


Religiously, 48.8% of the population identifies as Christian, while 30% have no religious affiliation. Other faiths like Buddhism, Hinduism, Islam, and Sikhism comprise smaller percentages of the population.


Overall, Kamloops is a growing, economically stable city with diverse populations and educational and religious backgrounds.


Economy of Kamloops, British Columbia, Canada

Kamloops's diverse and growing economy is driven by industries such as healthcare, tourism, education, transportation, and natural resource extraction.


The city serves as a major trade and distribution center for the southern interior of British Columbia. It is serviced by the Canadian National and Canadian Pacific railways, several airlines, and four major highways, making it an important transportation hub.


Healthcare is a significant part of Kamloops' economy, with the Royal Inland Hospital being the city's largest employer. With over 25,000 students, Thompson Rivers University is another major contributor, offering a wide range of educational programs.


Tourism is a rapidly growing sector, with Kamloops welcoming over 1.8 million visitors in 2017, a 9% increase from 2015. The city promotes itself as the "Tournament Capital of Canada," hosting over 100 sporting events annually at world-class facilities.


Heavy industries in Kamloops include primary resource processing, such as the Domtar pulp mill, Tolko plywood and veneer plant, and the New Afton and Highland Valley copper and gold mines. 


Logging, beef cattle, vegetable farming, transportation, viticulture, and education are major contributors to the regional economy.


In recent decades, Kamloops has shifted towards a more diversified economy, with the tertiary and quaternary sectors, such as information services and call centers, expanding rapidly. 


This economic transformation has altered the city's urban landscape with the rise of new urbanist concepts and high-tech industrial parks.


Education in Kamloops, British Columbia, Canada

Kamloops, British Columbia, Canada, has a robust education system that includes public schools, private schools, and post-secondary institutions.


The Kamloops-Thompson School District (SD73) operates 41 elementary schools, eight middle schools, and eight secondary schools in Kamloops and the surrounding area. 


Some notable schools include Beattie Elementary, Bert Edwards Science & Technology School, and Brocklehurst Middle School.


Thompson Rivers University (TRU) is the city's main post-secondary institution, offering a wide range of undergraduate and graduate programs to over 25,000 students. TRU is a leader in international education, with students from over 100 countries represented on campus.


The Academy of Learning Career College in Kamloops is a private career college that provides diploma and certificate programs in various fields, such as business, healthcare, and information technology. 


The college uses a unique Integrated Learning System approach to support students' learning styles and needs.


Other educational institutions in Kamloops include:

  • University of British Columbia (UBC) Okanagan campus
  • Kumon learning centers
  • Okanagan College


The city's education system is further enriched by the Kamloops Indian Residential School, which operated from 1890 to 1978. Although the school is no longer in operation, its history and legacy continue to shape the educational landscape in Kamloops and the surrounding Indigenous communities.


Transport System in Kamloops, British Columbia, Canada

The Kamloops Transit System, which operates the city's public bus transit system, efficiently manages the transport system in Kamloops, British Columbia, Canada. 


The system comprises 18 regularly scheduled routes, one Sunday route, several school specials, and handyDART customized services for individuals with disabilities. 


Funding for the transit system is provided through a partnership between the City of Kamloops and BC Transit, the provincial agency responsible for planning and managing municipal transit systems. 


Operations are contracted out to FirstCanada ULC. The Kamloops Transit System primarily serves the city center and immediate surroundings, connecting areas like Rayleigh, Heffley Creek, and other communities. 


Additionally, Kamloops is part of the Health Connections network operated by BC Transit, providing intercity connections to smaller communities needing access to larger health facilities.


Healthcare in Kamloops, British Columbia, Canada

Healthcare in Kamloops, British Columbia, Canada, is well-developed and comprehensive, catering to the local community's needs and the wider region. 


The city is home to the Royal Inland Hospital (RIH), which serves as the region's primary acute care facility and is one of two tertiary care centers in the Southern Interior of British Columbia. 


RIH offers a wide range of medical services linked to the B.C. Cancer Agency's provincial cancer care program. Additionally, Kamloops boasts several private and specialty clinics, including one of only two upright MRIs in Canada, providing advanced medical services to residents. 


The city's healthcare system is supported by over 50 agencies offering various healthcare services, including extended care hospitals, health units, X-ray clinics, and community health centers. 


With approximately 150 physicians servicing the area, Kamloops has a strong medical support system that ensures residents have access to quality healthcare services. 


The city's commitment to healthcare is evident in ongoing developments, such as the $80 million redevelopment of the Royal Inland Hospital, which aims to enhance healthcare facilities and services for the community.


Tourist places in Kamloops, British Columbia, Canada

Here are some of the top tourist places to visit in Kamloops, British Columbia, Canada:


Riverside Park

Riverside Park is a popular green space along the Thompson River in downtown Kamloops. It features white sand beaches, picnic areas, an outdoor amphitheatre, playgrounds, and sports facilities.


Kenna Cartwright Nature Park

Kenna Cartwright Nature Park is the largest municipal park in Kamloops, with over 40 km of hiking and biking trails. It offers stunning views of the city and surrounding mountains.


BC Wildlife Park

The BC Wildlife Park is a zoo and wildlife rehabilitation center that is home to over 65 species of animals, including bears, cougars, and birds of prey. It also features a train ride and educational programs.


Sun Peaks Resort

Sun Peaks Resort is a ski resort about 45 minutes from Kamloops. In the winter, it offers skiing, snowboarding, and other winter activities, and in the summer, hiking, mountain biking, and golf.


McArthur Island Park

McArthur Island Park is a large urban park with sports facilities, a golf course, and a butterfly garden. It hosts many community events and festivals throughout the year.


Kamloops Heritage Railway

The Kamloops Heritage Railway operates a heritage steam train that takes passengers on a scenic 8 km journey along the Thompson River.


Other notable attractions include the Kamloops Art Gallery, the BIG Little Science Centre, and the many wineries and vineyards surrounding Thompson Valley.


Local Food of Kamloops, British Columbia, Canada

Kamloops, British Columbia, Canada, offers a diverse culinary scene focusing on locally sourced and fresh ingredients. 


The city boasts various restaurants, cafes, pubs, and food trucks serving a range of international cuisines, including Indian, Chinese, Greek, Vietnamese, Japanese, Korean, and Jamaican dishes. 


Visitors and locals can enjoy modern dining experiences at establishments like Yew Street Food Hall, which combines unique, locally-owned restaurants in one location, offering artisanal and niche culinary concepts. 


Kamloops is known for its family-friendly dining options, catering to various dietary needs such as non-dairy, gluten-free, vegan, vegetarian, and keto-friendly choices. 


The city also features charming pubs serving classic dishes like burgers, wings, cold pints, and local gems for breakfast, lunch, and coffee. 


Additionally, Kamloops hosts farmers' markets and local vendors, contributing to a vibrant food economy worth over $248 million annually.


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