September, 2012 Archives

Kamloops & Couples: Perfect for an Autumn Getaway

Kamloops, British Columbia is a beautiful city in the heart of the Thompson Valley and near where Kamloops Lake and the Thompson River meet. Though it is a fairly small city compared to other Canadian cities - its population hovers around the 87,000 mark - it is a busy city filled with history and culture. It is also a breathtaking escape for couples looking for the perfect fall getaway.

Home to the Kamloops Symphony Orchestra, Kamloops offers couples looking for an evening of culture and sophistication an opportunity to escape to the soothing sounds of the orchestra on virtually any weekend. Whether you're seeking an evening of classics with Beethoven or Mozart, or something more modern with the KSO's salute to Elton John, virtually every weekend has an occasion to remember with the Kamloops Symphony Orchestra or the Kamloops Symphony Chorus.

Couples looking to balance their musical experience with something quieter can also take a tour of the Kamloops Art Gallery. Situated on Victoria Street, the gallery offers a variety of exhibitions for both the new art lover and the more seasoned art connoisseur. Whether you want to check out the current art exhibition with a view to participating in the auction or appreciate the Ernie Kroeger "Confluence" exhibition - an outstanding display where history meets the modern era - you will no doubt find something different every time you visit. While by no means a sprawling gallery, there is still a great deal to appreciate for all levels of art lovers.

For couples on the move, there's always the Kamloops Heritage Railway, featuring a restored steam engine. Grab a sweater and your comfy shoes and get a great glimpse into Kamloops history. The 1912 steam engine was restored to its natural glory over the course of eight years, and now, the volunteers who brought the great train back to life truly have a passion for showing her off. There are daily tours of the train, as well as the backshop, where visitors can get a first-hand look at the restoration process. While the Kamloops Heritage Railway offers a variety of rail tours year round, there are no more rail tours until the Spirit of Christmas descends around December 20. Regardless, the tour alone is worth the visit. History buffs will definitely love this! Also, why not wrap up your tour with a fine meal at the nearby Keg? It's a near-perfect way to end your walk through history.

Couples looking to escape the stresses of life and enjoy the calm while they shut off the world for a few hours may want to check out the Sunmore Ginseng Spa, located on McGill Place. Sensuality is the key part of this adventure, from the moment you enter the spa til the time you leave. Whether it's the fragrant ginseng honey tea you're served when you arrive to the massage or just the overall pampering, every sense will be tantalized and stimulated, and your muscles will ultimately relax into this most calming of experiences. Couples can choose to enjoy a three-hour spa experience in the Sunmore Ginseng Spa's Asian-inspired rooms for $850.

For a view of nature's majesty, there's nothing better than a self-guided heritage tour. Get your most comfortable pair of hikers out because you and your sweetheart will truly love the clean air as you embark on your own Kamloops hiking adventure. Wander through the Rivers Trail at Riverside Park and discover the 30 or so heritage sites dotted throughout the area. Whether you go to St. Andrews on the Square and check out the anti-Victorian style buildings or hike down through the Nicola Wagon Road Trail - or at least, what's left of it from the days of fur and gold trading - you and your loved one will definitely get a strong taste of Kamloops' rich history.

The Balancing Rock is the stuff of legend. Balanced atop a pointy hoodoo, local lore has it that the Secwepemc First Nation and the Okanagan First Nation once disputed who should claim title to the land around Kamloops Lake. The two First Nations decided to let their strongest men decide who should own the land, and since the men from Secwepemc First Nation were able to balance their rock upon the hoodoo first, they won title to the land. Geologists, on the other hand, might say some sort of force of nature created the Balancing Rock. Regardless, it's a true testament to the wonder of nature - and to the power of legend.

Couples looking to check out Kamloops for a weekend of romance have a variety of possibilities for their exploration. They could also choose to hole up in the city's many hotels and simply enjoy the calm quiet of room service. Whatever the option, the city of Kamloops offers couples a variety of romantic possibilities.



Author Bio:

Taylor Anderson is a part of a network of bloggers writing about travel on behalf of companies such as American Express.  Aeroplan cards from American Express offer travellers a number of benefits and rewards such as Aeroplan miles on your spending



Mounties, Mountains & Moose!

The traditional three M’s of tourism marketing in Canada are mountains, Mounties and, of course, moose.  I think most international visitors come to Canada  with these three iconic images in mind.... and as a host to our Kiwi friends, I definitely felt the pressure to bring these images to life!   Of course, mountains are not a problem. Travelling from Vancouver to Whistler and then over on the old Duffy Lake hwy - the Coastal mountain range is pretty impressive. But it is the next two that would be a challenge. Since Mounties are typically only in their Red Serge for special events and moose being somewhat of a recluse animal - I knew this would be a challenge!


Taking a picture of the Coastal Mountains - Photo by Geoff.


From Whistler - we travelled back to Kamloops... eyes peeled along the way for a wildlife sighting of any sort (unlucky on this trip) and began planning for the next leg of trip. Before we departed Kamloops, there were a few more things we wanted to cross off... Blazers hockey game, Stand Up Paddling and a visit to the BC Wildlife Park.  On the night of the hockey game, we arrived to purchase tickets and were pleasantly surprised to see the Kamloops Mounted Patrol greeting everyone in line. Of course, it isn't the exact same thing as seeing a Mountie but what a great way to give visitors a photo opportunity that they will be able to show friends & Family back home. I was really impressed at the dedication these volunteers have (they greet the Rocky Mountaineer train several times a week), as it is experiences like this that really add an extra touch to a visitors stay.


Check out those big smiles!


Alright... where are we at? Mountains - check! Mounties (kinda) - check! Now on to Moose...

Since catching a Moose in the wild is quite rare (and by wild, I mean mildly wild since we did nothing in the backcountry), we decided the BC Wildlife Park would be a good backup plan. For those of you who don't know - this isn't any ordinary 'zoo'.... this is a 13 hectare area supporting over 45 different species of animals who are native to BC - most who had been injured or abandoned. I know seeing animals behind fencing isn't quite the same as seeing them in the wild but it really is the next best thing and a great way to experience BC Wildlife safely.

Having grown up in Kamloops, I have been to the BC Wildlife Park more times than I can count on both hands & feet (and even worked there one summer!) so I really wasn't expecting to see or learn anything new. Boy, was I wrong! We luckily arrived about 45 minutes before the Black Bear feeding started so we did a quite tour of the park - and to our delight - all the animals were out and active so we got to see the cougars, lynx, grizzlies, etc. However, the black bear feeding was  by far, the highlight of the tour!


Lounging in the cool grass on a warm day - Photo by Geoff.


The zookeepers go into the pen and hide fruit, fish and veggies everywhere... under, in and on top of logs, floating in the pond, buried in the ground and even on top of quite a tall stump that they would have to climb to get up on. When the bears were released, you could immediately see their personalities shine through. Both the females came bolting out but it was obviously one was more reserved than the other keeping her distance and sticking the back of the pen to start - while the feisty one booked it to all the best spots up front. After a few minutes, we saw the big guy saunter out - completely calm, in no rush. He made his way over to the pond to find an apple floating in the middle. What a smarty pants he was - he pawed the water to create waves which pushed the apple closer to him so he wouldn't have to get wet. How funny. The most amazing part to watch was the cease at which the bears climbed up the taller stumps. For such large creatures, they are definitely graceful. Even more amazing is the way they can balance their entire body on the top of it and even turn around with ease.


Climbed to the top with ease and balance. Photo by Geoff.


Now, I have to say that watching this whole process was pretty cool but what really impressed me was the fact the zoo keeper came out and talked to the crowd during the entire process. She told us the history of each bear, their personality quirks, about their diets, bear aware tips (embarrassingly, they completely contradicted what I had told our guests earlier in the week) and tons more information about bears in general. It is this type of interaction that really gets people engaged and coming back for more. After all the times that I have been to the park - this was by far my best experience and I look forward to checking out more animal encounters next year (cougar, wolves and grizzlies). Don't forget - the park is open year round with great seasonal themes like Boo at the Zoo for Halloween, Wild lights at Christmas and other special events for Mother's & Father's day and long weekends. This is a must do activity in Kamloops for any age group!

And as for that Moose.... we saw TWO!

Photo by Heather MacCollum.



Kamloops Kendel



Dogs love Kamloops! Watch our new Commercial!

Watch our new Fall Campaign commercial here:



Want to win a dog friendly vacation to Kamloops? Enter here:

For more ideas and things to do with your dog - check this out:

Kamloops a BC favourite for visitors!

"I am a visitor originally from Ontario, now living in White Rock. My husband and I had the pleasure of staying in your fine city last week. I just wanted to thank everyone for being so nice and helpful and friendly!

From the people on the street that I would ask directions of, to the clerks at Extra Foods on Tranquille, to all of the hotel staff at the Holiday Inn on Tranquille, to every single colourful person we met while in Kamloops — everyone was so warm and welcoming — what a great city!

Your beautiful geography and wonderful cycling trails and routes, downtown shops and cafes and MacArthur Island Park — just to name a few things that you are so fortunate to experience daily! Kamloops is my favourite place in B.C. Can't wait to come back! Thanks for everything! I love Kamloops!"


White Rock
Posted in Events,

A vacation that isn't soon to be forgotten!

"Our family recently spent a few days in Kamloops courtesy of Tourism Kamloops and several local businesses that supplied the activities and accommodations we won through a contest called Nana & Papa’s Grandkid Extravaganza Getaway in Kamloops.

Like most families, when summer approaches, we start to plan our annual vacation, usually travelling to one or two different places during summer break from school.

One destination that truthfully does not make it onto our vacation list is the B.C. Interior.

Well, we just came back from sunny Kamloops and we are already planning a return trip for next year.

Our time in the Interior included meeting many friendly people, enjoying the less-stressful environment and hospitality of a smaller city and great weather.

In contrast, we arrived home to Vancouver’s overcast skies and congested traffic.

Our family would like to thank Tourism Kamloops and the following businesses that made our summer vacation a fun and memorable experience:  Kamloops Mounted Patrol, Scoopz Ice Cream Parlour, Kamloops Heritage Railway, Jandana Ranch, Secwepemc Museum,  Coast Kamloops Hotel and Convention Centre and B.C. Wildlife Park.

We know next year’s vacation list will be topped with a return to Kamloops and we will do our best to relive the great things we did just a short while ago — and maybe a few new things as well."

Guy, Melanie, Sean

and Cameron Black

Port Moody

Here's Guys' 'Stand In' doing chores while he was in Kamloops having a great time!



Alpine Hiking – put it on your list!

I just returned back to work from a wonderful week long vacation.  This year, we had visitors from New Zealand so we decided to do a ‘stay-cation’ and tour them around some of our favourite spots in BC. Along the way, my husband and I also got to experience many things we have never done or seen before. We are so lucky to live in such a beautiful province, filled with diversity in landscape, recreation and attractions. I will be writing different posts about some of the things we did while in our area.

First on our list was hiking at Sun Peaks. I hadn’t done this in years so when I was planning out what we should do with our visitors, I realized we were at the tail end of Alpine Blossom season. I wasn’t entirely sure if we would see any of the flowers but knowing how active our friends are – we’d all be happy with a nice hike either way.  Driving up to Sun Peaks was great in itself… it has been said that it isn’t just about the destination but the journey as well. The 20 some kilometre stretch from the highway is a beautiful drive – cutting through forested landscapes, roadside lakes (where we stopped for some Stand Up Paddling – blog to come) and beautiful ranches.

Our guests were pleasantly surprised to arrive at Sun Peaks and see that it was a village. Where they are from, the ski resorts do not have restaurants or accommodation at the base of the mountain – so they thought that was pretty neat. After picking up our hiking passes from the activity centre ($17/adult for the lift tickets) we made our way over to Mountain High Pizza – the perfect place to fuel up before beginning a trek! Pizza in hand, we walked over to the lift which by the way - had no line…. And jumped on!  What’s great about the ride up is the view below… with mountain bike season in full swing – you can watch all the hardcore riders ripping down the mountain and taking jumps at speeds you would never dare attempt (or at least, at speeds we would never dare attempt)! Looking over your shoulder at the view of the village is pretty spectacular as well.

At the top, we pulled out our trail map and decided that we would hike to Todd Lake.  It was about 40 minutes to the lake so it was perfect for our timeframe. Walking through the forested trail, the weather was absolutely perfect… the views were amazing and we were pleasantly surprised to find that there were still thousands of alpine flowers in bloom. Many photo stops were made along the way, not only by our guests but us as well! Making it to the top was quite an accomplishment for us (remember, we were stand up paddling prior and already a little tired) so sitting down at the large picnic table and enjoying our surroundings for a little while was truly welcomed.

After we had a bit of a break and took some photos, we decided to take a different route back down. On our way, we actually ran into Phil & Grace from Dirty Feet Trail Series who were on their way to the Top of the World (another trail there). They insisted that we had to go to the top as it has the very best view of the area (we made it that far, what was another few km’s) and they almost had us convinced… however, we were slightly under dressed for that high elevation and were getting a little chilly at that point so we decided that Top of the World would be on our list for next time!

The trail down did not disappoint… the different landscape actually surprised us (more open fields) and the new vantage points of the village were just as beautiful as the first. Feeling quite satisfied by the time we hit the bottom of the hill, we all cozied up in the car and slept on the way home (well, except for my poor husband who had to drive…).  I highly recommend this activity while in our area – with so many trails available – it isn’t crowded and the flowers and views make it absolutely worth it!  Hiking at Sun Peaks is now over for the season (get your skies ready though!) but be sure to add this to your Summer bucket list next year!  Check out this link for more info about hiking in our area:


Kamloops Kendel


I Heart BC Wildlife Park

I’ve been pretty fortunate to have spent quite a bit of time at the BC Wildlife Park, located just 10 minutes east of downtown Kamloops, as a kid and now as an adult. Whether I’ve emceed events or have just been a visitor, the BC Wildlife Park is a great place to spend an hour or two, or an entire afternoon.

Now that we’re heading into September and the leaves are going to start changing colours, the Park is a gorgeous place to spend time with the family. There are 65 different species of animals which include two new grizzly cubs named Dawson and Knute – and boy, are they a big draw! Another big draw is the miniature train – I’ve got at least a dozen rides under my belt and it’s a great way to see the Park. I generally suggest to friends that they do the train ride first as it gives you a general overview of what you can see and do.

This fall, my family and I are coming up to Kamloops for our first ever visit for Boo at the Zoo at the BC Wildlife Park. I’m told the Park transforms into a Halloween playground with a Freaky Family Farm, Haunted Maze, Haunted House, pyrotechnics show and costume contests. Plus there are lots of opportunities to see wolves, owls and bears. This year’s event is October 19 – 21 and 26 – 28.

And not to rush the season, but I highly recommend making plans now to attend the Wildlights event. This is simply the most outstanding Christmas light display I have ever witnessed…with hundreds of thousands of lights, not only in the trees but also in the shapes of animals! It is a highlight of the holiday season for sure running December 14 – January 6.

Watch my YouTube visit here:


Until next time,

Mark Madryga