The City of Kamloops website provides the following information about Kamloops history : “The Kamloops area has been inhabited by the Secwépemc and Nlaka’pamux peoples, who have lived here for close to 10,000 years. The fur trade arrived in Kamloops in 1811 when three traders came to the area and established trade with the local Indigenous population. They installed a post for the Astoria Company in 1812, which later became a Hudson’s Bay Company fort. The next big influx of people came with the gold rush. While the gold rush did not pan out, provincial incentives for land ownership brought others and turned former gold rushers into homesteaders, kick-starting ranching in the region. With the promise of a railway, British Columbia joined Canada in 1871. Construction came to Kamloops in 1883, bringing railway workers and establishing Kamloops as a transportation hub with the railway’s completion in 1886 and a second railway in 1912.
At the turn of the century, Kamloops grew exponentially, bringing people, businesses, the expansion of the Courthouse, and establishment of Royal Inland Hospital. Growth in agricultural brought the beginnings of orchards and the expansion of agricultural production, especially tomato canneries. World War I, World War II, and the Great Depression hit Kamloops hard, and many lives and livelihoods were lost. The post-war economic boom ushered heavy industry into Kamloops with the establishment of an oil refinery, a natural gas pipeline, and, by the 1960s, a pulp and paper mill.
Following the amalgamation of Kamloops and the Town of North Kamloops in 1967, the 1970s saw an expanded city that included a number of adjacent communities, including Dallas, Valleyview, Brocklehurst, Westsyde, Heffley Creek, Rayleigh, Knutsford, and Dufferin. The decade also saw the opening of the first higher education institution, which grew to become Thompson Rivers University, and the completion of the Yellowhead Highway in 1970 and the Trans Canada Highway in 1971.
The 1980s brought major economic challenges to Canada, and Kamloops faced significant headwinds, bringing one of the first declines in the city’s population since World War II. An economic resurgence came in the late 1980s, with the successful referendum in 1988, which led to the opening of Riverside Coliseum in 1992, and the beginning of Kamloops’ journey to becoming Canada’s Tournament Capital.
The 1993 Canada Summer Games brought Canada to Kamloops and helped build its reputation as a centre for tournaments and sporting and cultural events, a reputation that was strengthened by the completion of the Tournament Capital Centre in 2006.”
In addition to the Indigenous Kamloops resources please check the following links to strengthen your knowledge of Kamloops and its history.
The Untold Stories: Valuing Women’s Contributions to Community Life in Kamloops, British Columbia article explores women’s contribution to Kamloops from 1920 to present.. This study aims to document the stories of women’s participation and contribution to community life in the Kamloops area, from 1920 to present. Women who played a prominent role were invited to share their stories of helping to create and sustain women-centered organizations, many of which continue to exist today.
The purpose of Andrew Yarmie’s book is to track the evolution of women’s volunteer associations and document the important contributions they made in caring for Kamloops. The associations selected demonstrate women’s caring in the fields of health, culture, education, social assistance for the poor, and the welfare of the community during times of crises. The work of women caring for the community that began in the pioneer period continues to the present and remains an integral part of our community.
- Newcomer Settlement Experience
The research on newcomers’ settlement experience in Kamloops is well documented by the faculty members from the TRU School of Social Work and Human Service: Settlement Experiences in a Small City: Kamloops, British Columbia and Settlement Experiences of Family Class Immigrants in a Small City: Kamloops, British Columbia. B.C. Community Profiles in 2011 released a brief paper to Focus on Immigration and Diversity. The gaps in service delivery and ideas for new services are discussed in the Rural Development Institute Report. The purpose of this project is to better understand the settlement and integration services available to newcomers and to explore the service gaps and opportunities in Kamloops, British Columbia and 28 other rural communities across Western Canada. Top services needed for Kamloops area are outlined as assistance finding a job, educational upgrading, occupational mentorship and networking, language training, interpretation services, greeting upon arrival, information and orientation. You can also read the full study on Immigration Settlement Services and Gaps in CIC’s Western Region. The Kamloops Immigrant Services also produced the paper to “distribute information regarding the next steps for improving the capacity of Kamloops to be more welcoming and inclusive of new immigrants”: Coming Together to Support Diversity in Kamloops: A Recommendations Paper.
Review fast facts about Kamloops and learn that there are 82 parks in Kamloops, covering a total of 1,350 hectares. Kamloops is Canada’s Tournament Capital, and hosts over 100 tournaments each year consisting of 27, 878 participants. Kamloops was incorporated as a city in 1893. Kamloops is unique in that its adjacent hillsides are grass-covered with considerable sagebrush but little tree growth to the 900m level, creating what is known as an inverted tree line. In most places the trees won’t grow above a certain level due to the lack of precipitation, but in Kamloops, they won’t grow below a certain level due to the lack of precipitation. In the young years of Kamloops, the river was used as a trade route for transporting goods. There were many boats, including paddle boats, which went up and down the river carrying food, supplies and fur.
Kamloops Museum and Achieves provides lots of information on local history including 1912 European Colonial version of Kamloops history on “The Founding of Kamloops” and City of Kamloops modern version of Kamloops history: “The Kamloops area has been inhabited by the Secwépemc and Nlaka’pamux peoples, who have lived here for close to 10,000 years. The fur trade arrived in Kamloops in 1811 when three traders came to the area and established trade with the local Indigenous population. They installed a post for the Astoria Company in 1812, which later became a Hudson’s Bay Company fort. The next big influx of people came with the gold rush. While the gold rush did not pan out, provincial incentives for land ownership brought others and turned former gold rushers into homesteaders, kick-starting ranching in the region. With the promise of a railway, British Columbia joined Canada in 1871. Construction came to Kamloops in 1883, bringing railway workers and establishing Kamloops as a transportation hub with the railway’s completion in 1886 and a second railway in 1912”.
David LI. Davies, a resident of Kamloops, wrote an article The Railway History of Kamloops B.C. A Century Old Story and provided a railway story of the city where the routes of the two transcontinental railways converge/diverge.
A great way to enjoy Kamloops historical photographs is to become a member of the Kamloops History Facebook Group Sharing the history of Kamloops BC and the surrounding area. We encourage you to comment and share your photos from the 1800’s right up to the 1980’s. For photos of the current Kamloops taken by local photography check the Facebook group Kamloops Photographers.
- Tranquille history
Tranquille – A History In The Making blog post by Barefoot Nomad provides a history of the Tranquille area of Kamloops. More information about Tranquille sanatorium can be found here and here. Now you can visit Tranquille Farm which is a 150+ year old historic farm site located in the city of Kamloops British Columbia, 15 minutes from downtown. It is located in a stunning setting nestled between the shores of Kamloops Lake to the south and the famous Lac Du Bois Grasslands Park to the north. The protected Tranquille Wildlife Management to the east and the Tranquille Ecological Reserve to the west complete a quartet of neighbours most farmers would die for!
The book provides an overview on how Kamloops and other small Canadian cities confront serious social issues as a result of the neoliberal economic restructuring practiced by both federal and provincial governments since the 1980s. The contributors to Small Cities, Big Issues believe that small cities can succeed in reconceiving community based on the ideals of acceptance, accommodation, and inclusion.
If you have any other resources that can help newcomers to Kamloops learn about local history please share your suggestions with me via e-mail at firstname.lastname@example.org
Updated March 2019
Kamloops has a strong Indigenous history. Secwepemc (pronounced Se-KWEP-umk-wh) means “The People”. The word Kamloops comes from the Secwepemc word Tk’emlúps, meaning “where the rivers meet” and refers to the convergence of the North and South Thompson rivers. The Tk‘emlúpsemc, ‘the people of the confluence’, now known as the Tk’emlúps te Secwe̓pemc are members of the Interior-Salish Secwepemc (Shuswap) speaking peoples of British Columbia. This traditional territory stretches from the Columbia River valley along the Rocky Mountains, west to the Fraser River, and south to the Arrow Lakes. Most Secwepemc people live in the river valleys. Today Tk’emlups Te Secwepemc is one of the 17 bands in the Secwepemc Nation.
Please learn about Indigenous People History in Kamloops. Here is the list of resources that can help you:
The Secwépemc Museum and Heritage Park is a non-profit organization, dedicated to the preservation and revitilization of Secwépemc culture and language. Secwépemc museum is home to a variety of exhibits that offer an insightful glance into the culture and heritage of the 17 bands within Secwépemculecw (Secwépemc land). These displays encapsulate life before contact, as well as an informative exhibit about the Kamloops Indian Residental School.
The website http://www.firstnations.eu documents in pictures with commentary the environmental havoc caused by European settler society to the pre-colonial world of what is now known as British Columbia (BC). It argues that the road back to environmental sanity must go through the restitution of past wrongs to First Nations by means of strong support for their land rights over and against the continuing rapacious and short sighted destruction of primaeval forests, ancient trees, wild salmon runs, grizzly bear habitats, etc. The European First Nations website links political activism with the results of scholarly and scientific studies by juxtaposing historical images with representations of current affairs.
Tk’emlúps te Secwepemc promote and ensure the physical, mental, emotional and spiritual well-being of Tk’emlúps te Secwepemc First Nations individuals, families and communities. Learn more about the Band that currently has approximately 1,000 members living on and off its 33,000-acre (130 km2) reserve. The reserve supports a variety of uses including residential, industrial, commercial and agricultural. In 1999, the TIB purchased Harper Ranch, now known as Spiyu7ullucw Ranch Corporation, which added 20,000 acres of fee simple land and crown leases for resource development and other economic opportunities and watch their promotional video part 1 and part2. The Kamloops Indian Band Timeline documents challenges and success milestones experienced by Indigenous People of Kamloops.
Jenna K. Foster’s undergraduate thesis documents history of The Kamloops Residential School: Indigenous Perspectives and Revising Canada’s History. The goal of Foster’s thesis project is to reveal a part of Canadian history that is not widely known to the general Canadian public. The study examines the Kamloops Indian Residential School (KIRS).
The book by Marianne Ignace, Ronald E. Ignace provides an exploration of Secwépemc history told through Indigenous knowledge and oral traditions.
The White Buffalo programs and services have been created to raise the health status of Aboriginal peoples by providing holistic health care that includes physical, emotional, spiritual and mental health provisions for individuals, families and the Aboriginal community. The Society and staff are dedicated to teaching and encouraging balanced, healthy lifestyles. Our programs, resources and services are culturally based and support traditional Aboriginal values that reflect the connected nature of physical, emotional, spiritual, and mental well-being.
KAFS provides and promotes culturally based, inclusive programs, supports and activities to enhance holistic well-being and pride in Urban Aboriginal Peoples.
Thompson Rivers University is dedicated to Indigenous student success, to fostering meaningful relationships with Indigenous communities and to promoting Indigenous knowledges and scholarship. Through collaboration, innovation, respect and humility, the university fosters a welcoming environment that is grounded in the principles of reconciliation and is able to address the calls to action placed on everyone in this country.
If you have any other resources that can help newcomers to Kamloops learn about local Indigenous History please share your suggestions with me via e-mail at email@example.com
Kukwstsétsemc (thank you in Secwepemcstin)
Oleksandr (Sasha) Kondrashov
Updated March 2019
Please check some of the tips Welcome to Kamloops course participants found useful after taking Welcome to Kamloops annual offering of the course.
Tip 1: Acknowledge Traditional Territory: CAUT Guide.
One can use the Canadian Association of University Teachers (CAUT) guide that includes recommended territorial acknowledgement for institutions where CAUT members work, organized by province:
Here is the guide for acknowledgement of territory at Thompson Rivers University, Kamloops Campus:
We [I] would like to begin by acknowledging that the land is located in the Tk’emlups te Secwepemc territory that is situated in the southern interior of British Columbia within the unceded traditional lands of the Secwepemc Nation.
Tip 2: Kamloops tap water is drinkable.
The Kamloops Centre for Water Quality (KCWQ), commissioned in 2005, uses innovative membrane filtration technology to provide high quality drinking water to residents and visitors.
Tip 3: Check Welcome to BC website: www.welcomebc.ca
Immigration plays an important role in building a strong British Columbia. If you are a new resident of British Columbia, WelcomeBC.ca can help you take your first steps: getting settled; finding employment; joining your community; and contributing to the social and economic prosperity of B.C. WelcomeBC can help you find the information, tools and resources you need. It also provides links to useful resources for community leaders and service providers as they help new members of their communities.
In addition to the WelcomeBC.ca website, a number of features and tools provide up-to-date information:
Cost of Living Calculator – Estimate the cost of living in different parts of B.C.
WelcomeBC YouTube – Watch videos about living and working in B.C.
Newcomers’ Guide – Download a guide and watch videos about getting settled in B.C.
WelcomeBC: In your Language – Get downloads and videos about B.C. in 14 languages.
Tip 4: Check BC211 website www.bc211.ca
bc211 specializes in providing information and referral regarding community, government and social services in many communities in BC. Our help line services include 211, the Alcohol and Drug Information and Referral Service (ADIRS), the Problem Gambling Help Line, VictimLink BC, and the Youth Against Violence Line. BC 211 supports just access to information on government, private or community services.
Tip 5: AsKamloops Facebook Group
Live in Kamloops and have a question? Ask on AsKamloops Facebook group! Local answers to local questions.
When you visit Kamloops Apps and Maps page through the www.kamloops.ca website you can click on the map or app to launch that service. Downloadable PDF maps of individual parks can be found here or on the specific park page
Tip 7: Volunteer to Connect
Visit the Kamloops Community Volunteer Services Society, operating as Volunteer Kamloops which is committed to the concept that volunteerism improves the quality of life in the community and , therefore, supports and strengthens volunteerism through promotion, recruitment, education, orientation, and referral services for volunteers and organizations in Kamloops community and surrounding areas.
Tip 8: TRU World KIS!
Kamloops Immigrant Services (KIS) is an agency devoted to welcoming immigrants and newcomers to Kamloops and the surrounding areas. http://immigrantservices.ca/ .TRU World is the international education, training, and development division at Thompson Rivers University. http://www.tru.ca/truworld/ TRU World KIS workers can connect you to many organizations in the city.
Tip 9: Review BC Senior’s Guide
Whether you are a senior or not the guide might provide you with many relevant community resources for all ages with specific focus on seniors. The eleventh edition of the BC Seniors’ Guide provides essential information for 55+ residents of BC. For information about government programs and services, visit www.SeniorsBC.ca
If you have any other tips for successful living in Kamloops please share your suggestions with me via e-mail at firstname.lastname@example.org
Oleksandr (Sasha) Kondrashov
Updated April 2019