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Kamloops: history and economy

About Kamloops

Kamloops is a city in south-central British Columbia, Canada, at the intersection of two branches of the Thompson River and east of Kamloops Lake. The surrounding region is more often referred to as "Thompson's Country". With a population of 97,902 (according to the 2021 census), it is the 12th largest municipality in the province. The Kamloops agglomeration ranks 36th among Canada's census urban areas and agglomerations with a population of 114,142 in 2021.

Before Kamloops

The Kamloops area was inhabited by the Secwepemc and Nlaka'pamux people, who lived there for about 10,000 years. The fur trade appeared in Kamloops in 1811, when three merchants arrived in the area and established trade with the local indigenous population. In 1812, they established a post for the Astoria Company, which later became the Hudson's Bay Company Fort. The next big influx of people occurred during the gold rush. Although the gold rush was not a success, provincial land ownership privileges attracted other people and turned former gold diggers into landowners, marking the beginning of ranching in the region.

Establishment of the city

In the late 1850s, gold seekers arrived, and ranching and farming began. Kamloops has become a common depot for the region. The completion of the Canadian Pacific Railway in 1885 contributed to further development, and by 1893 Kamloops was incorporated as a city with a population of 1,000.

In the 20th century

At the turn of the century, Kamloops grew exponentially, bringing people, and businesses, expanding the courthouse and creating the Royal Inland Hospital. The growth of agriculture has led to the laying of orchards and the expansion of agricultural production, especially canneries for the production of tomatoes. 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 brought heavy industry to Kamloops: an oil refinery, a gas pipeline, and, by the 1960s, a pulp and paper mill were built.

After the merger of Kamloops and the city of North Kamloops in 1967, in the 1970s the city expanded to include a number of neighboring areas, including Dallas, Valleyview, Brocklehurst, Westside, Heffley Creek, Raleigh, Knutsford, and Dufferin. This decade also saw the opening of the first institution of higher education, which became Thompson Rivers University, and the construction of the Yellowhead Highway was completed in 1970, and the Trans-Canada Highway in 1971.

In the 1980s, Canada faced serious economic problems, and Kamloops faced significant difficulties, which led to one of the first declines in the city's population since World War II. An economic revival came in the late 1980s after a successful referendum in 1988, which led to the opening of the Riverside Coliseum in 1992 and the beginning of Kamloops' path to the status of the capital of Canada's tournaments.

The 1993 Canadian Summer Games brought Canada to Kamloops and helped establish a reputation as a center for tournaments, sports, and cultural events, which was strengthened after the completion of the Tournament Capital Center in 2006.


Kamloops is a trade and distribution center for southern British Columbia. It is served by Canadian National and Canadian Pacific railways, several airlines, and three major highways. Initially, the economy of the city was dominated by agriculture, but by the 1960s forestry and mining became very important. A large pulp mill is still the main employer, and many companies and services related to forestry are located in the city. In addition, the New Afton mine, located 10 km west of Kamloops, produces copper and gold, and the Highland Valley mine, located 50 km southwest of the city, produces copper and molybdenum.

Kamloops' other significant employers include the Royal Inland Hospital, Thompson Rivers University, and the headquarters of the British Columbia Lottery Corporation.

More than 200 lakes in the region offer tourists the opportunity to go fishing and boating. There are several ski resorts nearby, including Sun Peaks.

Kamloops Today

Kamloops, British Columbia is a very attractive city. The ideal climate, location, and much more attract buyers from all over the province and the country. The combination of friendly family quarters, amenities, schools with high grades, and lots of outdoor activities perfectly matches the lifestyle in Kamloops. A strong economy, interesting events, and other things prove that the city not only works a lot but also plays a lot.

Offering something for everyone, Kamloops is a Mecca of entertainment and outdoor recreation, while balancing the need for everyday amenities and services. The city is rich in history, diversity, and culture, welcoming everyone who wants to call it home.