Flowers in the Thompson Okanagan, Photo Allen Jones
Barriere is a special place with its own unique character. This is a small, friendly community, located only 45 minutes north of Kamloops, that has all the major conveniences of a city, but offers a life of quiet, relaxed living. Surrounded by rolling, forest-covered mountains, the local scenery is an excellent example of why British Columbia is known for its spectacular beauty.
With 75 lakes within a 40 km / 25 mi drive of the community, water-related activities are popular throughout the area. If you’re into more laid-back activities like canoeing, sport fishing, swimming, or scuba diving, the calm, clear waters will provide a nice haven. For those looking to mix it up a bit, consider boating, river/pontoon boat tours, or water skiing.
Head to the local mountains and you’ll not only have phenomenal memories from your adventures in Barriere and the surrounding area, you’re guaranteed to take home some remarkable photographs, too.
Situated in Kamloops Country in the Lower North Thompson Valley in the Thompson Okanagan region, Barriere is located 66 km (41 mi) north of Kamloops on Highway 5.
The name of Barriere can be traced back to 1828 although the reason for this name is unsure. Two theories suggest that it was so named due to the difficulty crossing the river at this point by the fur traders, or it was connected to a fishing technique used by the local indigenous people.
First Nations people of the Tk’emlúps, and the Simpcw lived here long before the Europeans arrived. The Tk’emlúps today are known as one of the most forward-thinking in Canada. The Simpcw are part of the Shuswap Nation and are one of 17 bands that live in this valley.
When the white people arrived in the early 1800s they found the area difficult to navigate, however by the mid-1800s the fur trade was flourishing and a fur trading post was established. By 1861 gold had been discovered and the gold rush was on.
The early 1900s brought prosperity to the area when the rail line was brought in to the valley. The town of Barriere flourished and a post office, telephone and school were established.
In 2003 the McLure fire almost destroyed the whole area and Barriere residents and others in the surrounding area were evacuated. The fire lasted 75 days. The town folk rallied however and became more resilient than ever.