Sunset over Kamloops
The City of Kamloops is a commercial and cultural center, a thriving cosmopolitan community where shopping, entertainment, and artistic expression and sporting challenge are found in full measure. Come in the summer and explore some of the amazing gardens with stunning displays, experience art & culture to the fullest, discover the BC Wildlife Park, take a rail tour, do a spot of fishing, and get out and hike, bike and enjoy the wonderful outdoors. Winter too is special in Kamloops, with lots of powder snow to entice the winter sports enthusiast.
Located 354 km (220 mi) northeast of Vancouver via Hwys 1 & 5 (Coquihalla Hwy), 87 km (54 mi) north of Merritt on Hwy 5, and 109 km (68 mi) west of Salmon Arm via Hwy 1.
The Kamloops area was exclusively inhabited by the Secwepemc (Shuswap) nation (part of the Interior Salish language group) prior to the arrival of European settlers. The first European explorers arrived in 1811, and David Stewart set up Fort Kamloops, a fur trading post, on the south side of the river junction for the Pacific Fur Company in 1812. The North West Company quickly established Fort Thompson on the northeast side of the junction, and the following year the Pacific Fur Company left the area. In 1821, the Hudson’s Bay Company merged with the North West Company and took control of the fur trade at Fort Thompson. In 1842, a new Fort Kamloops was built on the northwest side of the junction.
The gold rush of the 1860s and the construction of the Canadian Pacific Railway in the 1880s brought further growth, resulting in the City of Kamloops being incorporated in 1893 with a population of about 500.
“Kamloops” is the anglicized version of the Shuswap word “Tk’emlups”, meaning ‘meeting of the waters’. Shuswap is still actively spoken in the area by members of the Kamloops Indian Band. Another possible origin of the name comes from the French “Camp des loups” meaning ‘Camp of Wolves’, likely spoken by fur traders.