April, 2016 Archives

Tourism Stakeholders Recognized for Outstanding Service

Distinguished Service Awards

The Distinguished Service Award was initiated by Mayor and Council to acknowledge those, who, over a period of time, have dedicated their time and service to the well-being of our community and its citizens. Tourism Kamloops congratulates Terri Axani of DiVine Tours for her community contributions and exemplary citizenship.

2016 Honourable Recipients
Back L - R: Cst. Rod Buchanan, Mike Stewart-Smith, Stan Fike, Cst. George Buttuls.

Front L - R: Sherry Chamberlain, Francois Lambert, Delores Owen, Terri Axani. Photo: Peter Olsen Photography.

Distinguished Service Award

Posted in Tourism,

Driving Tourism Together 2016 - R.S.V.P


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Please join Tourism Kamloops and Thompson Okanagan Tourism Association for the 2016 Driving Tourism Together Road Show!

TOTA President & CEO Glenn Mandziuk, TOTA team members and Tourism Kamloops will co-host the session.


Thursday, May 12


3:30 – 5:30


Cordillera Room
Sandman Signature Kamloops
225 Lorne Street, Kamloops, BC V2C 1W2

These are exciting times for our tourism industry as we embark together on a bold, new strategic direction to launch Year 4 of the Thompson Okanagan Regional Strategy, Embracing our Potential.

Key topics will include:

  • Local tourism updates
  • Regional Strategy implementation update
  • Destination Development – new initiatives
  • Key Destination Marketing Programs
  • And much more….

Please quote reference “KAMLOOPS” and R.S.V.P. before May 9 to support@totabc.com 

Posted in Tourism,

Renowned Travel Expert Robin Esrock brings Canada's Bucket List to Kamloops

Join Robin on His Latest bucket List Adventure!


Robin Esrock, the author of Canada’s #1 bestselling travel book – The Great Canadian Bucket list, is fulfilling another bucket list challenge right here in Kamloops: “Ride with an Olympian!” Having travelled to over 100 countries on 7 continents, international travel guru and bestselling author, Robin Esrock, is coming to Kamloops on a book tour to promote The Great Canadian Prairies Bucket List and The Great Northern Canada Bucket List, now available from your favourite bookseller. Two time Olympian Catharine Pendrel will join Robin, in exploring the trails of Lac Du Bois Grasslands, before heading out on her “Road to Gold” in Rio, Brazil this August.

Robin spent years personally visiting every province and territory to discover the one-of-a-kind destinations and activities to thrill visitors and locals alike. His first book, The Great Canadian Bucket List, has been the #1 selling Canadian travel book since 2013.The Great Western Canada Bucket List, another bestseller, features iconic local experiences including, exploring the region’s heralded bike routes on a Harley Davidson, enjoying delicious bites at The Noble Pig Brewhouse, which he states as “one of his favourite pubs in the province”, and experiencing the Adams River Salmon Run.

Spanning adventure, culture, history, trivia, and food. Robin’s discovery of Canada is full of humour, awe, and appreciation and quirky in nature. Get ready to:


  • Float in Canada's very own Dead Sea
  • Feel the hot breath of a wild polar bear
  • Kayak between icebergs
  • Drink a cocktail with a severed human toe
  • Cross the mythical Northwest Passage
  • Spend a night in Ottawa’s haunted prison hotel


Presented by Ford Motors and Tourism Kamloops,

Robin Esrock will be giving a free multimedia talk at The Noble Pig

on Thursday April 28th at 7pm as part of his spring 2016 book tour.   

Contact Jaclyn Hodsdon | jhodsdon@dundurn.com or

Andrea Heath | andrea@tourismkamloops.com

To arrange an interview.

Committed media to this tour include, CBC Radio, Global TV and CTV in Alberta, Saskatchewan and Manitoba.

Robin Esrock’ s stories have been published in over a dozen major publications worldwide. As a travel expert, he has been profiled by 60 Minutes, CNN, MSNBC, Travel+Leisure, CBC, CTV, GlobalTV, Canadian Geographic, and many others. A former columnist for The Globe and Mail, Robin is also the creator and co-host of the 40-part television series, Word Travels, seen on OLN in Canada, and National Geographic and Travel Channel in over 21 languages worldwide. 

www.robinesrock.com / www.canadianbucketlist.com / @robinesrock

Catharine Pendrel – local Kamloops 2 time World Champion and Canadian Olympian on “The Road to Gold “for the  2016 Rio Olympics, is excited to share some of her favourite Kamloops trails with Robin.  Catharine is down to earth, a genuine ambassador for the local mountain bike community and holds a passion for travel and great destination experiences. 


Top 5 Unique Hikes in Kamloops

Guest Writer and Photographer: Doug Smith

April 2016


Kamloops lies at the junction of two river valleys and in every direction, the hills rise up to the Interior Plateau.   The drier climate in the City and in the surrounding valleys supports grasslands and open forest slopes.  Above those slopes, forest covers the higher elevations of the Interior Plateau.   Hikers can pick from dozens of trails that explore the grasslands hills, mountainous slopes, or upland forests.  Some of the Kamloops’ best hikes are featured here.


  1. Battle Bluff

The Battle Bluff Trail starts in the Dewdrop Range, a protected grasslands area west of Kamloops overlooking Kamloops Lake.   The trail climbs over some low hills, then drops to a lower open bench before climbing a rocky bluff to a viewpoint over the lake.   The moderate-level trail is a 5 km return hike.   The viewpoint on top of Battle Bluff is the featured spot of the route, but while hiking the trail, watch for bighorn sheep, deer, coyotes, hawks, and eagles.  

The road to the Dewdrop Range is a 20 minute drive from the Kamloops North Shore (directions).   The parking area and trailhead is on the left at a Parks BC sign (more information).


  1. Dewdrop Trail

The lava cliffs of Red Plateau rise 2000 feet above the Dewdrop Range.   From the trailhead, the route approaches the bottom of the cliffs then winds up a gully and onto a ridge which brings hikers to the rim of the escarpment.   The trail continues west along the tops of the cliffs with open views to the east, south, and west.   There are several good viewpoints on the way up, but if the goal is to have lunch on the top, the hike is 4 km up.   Since the trail continues west for a few more kilometers you can pick your turn-around point, retracing your steps down the slopes to the start.

The road to the trails the same as the one to Battle Bluff (directions). The trailhead is 800m east of the trail to Battle Bluff on the north side of the road (more information).


  1. Mara Canyon

Right on the edge of town, Mara Mountain stands over the floodplain of the Thompson River on Tranquille Road.   The mountaintop stands 700 m above, but we can start hiking right next to the road.   This is an informal (but popular) trail inside the Lac du Bois Protected area.   Although some hikers park on the side of Tranquille Road and cross the CN Tracks, it is much safer to use the level road crossing at Ord Road, taking the left turn, parking at the end of the road.   From there, a single track trail winds up through the sagebrush and splits into two.   Take the left fork as it climbs a hill next to the canyon.   Follow the track for 0.5 km and watch for a turn down to the canyon floor.   The route continues up the dry stream course for 1km where the terrain opens up.   A trail goes to the right to the top of the ridge (a good place to have lunch).   Turn there and follow the ridge south to complete a loop route of about 4 km.   The canyon features hoodoos, ragged erosion features, colorful cliffs, and fine views from the ridge.   This rugged trail requires good hiking shoes/boots and trekking poles are recommended.  

Directions and more information can be found here.  Click here to view a feature article on Mara Canyon.


  1. Sunset – Mesa Trails

Kenna Cartwright Park is the largest city park (800 hectares) in British Columbia.  There are over 36 designated trails ranging from easy to difficult.   Hikers can combine trails to their own interests (Kenna Cartwright Park  map). One of the best trails on the slopes of Mount Dufferin is a series of single and double tracks on the west end of the park.   There are several official trailheads to choose from, but the one on Hillside Drive will be the best choice.   Follow the Ponderosa Trail over to Sunset Trail to go to the viewpoint to enjoy the view out to Kamloops Lake, then follow the Mesa Trail as it winds its way through gullies, over ridges, up to viewpoints, working its way back Ponderosa again to return to the parking area, a 8km route on open slopes with many views.  


  1. Grasslands Community Trail

North of Kamloops is the Lac du Bois Grasslands Protected Area, 15 712 hectares of grasslands, dry forests, hills, ponds, mountains, and a wide variety of habitats and terrain, all in close proximity to each other, but also close to Kamloops.   One trail traverses multiple ecological zones from its high point in the McQueen Lake- Isobel Lake area down to the end of the trail near Deep Lake.  
This trail is best done using a two vehicle system.   Leave a vehicle lower down on Ida Lane (or at Westsyde Shopping Center) and start the hike at the trailhead in the forest at 990m elevation.   Follow the signed trail through the forest on the east side of Griffin Lake staying outside the McQueen Lake Environmental Education Center over to meadows east of Clay Lake.   The trail then winds through the forest and down through the gully of McQueen Creek before emerging into the open upper grasslands.   The final section of the 14 km trail climbs over hills before dropping down to the lower grasslands near Deep Lake, then out to Ida Lane. 

Directions on how to find the trailheads is found here and a featured article on the trail is found here – Grasslands Community Trail.


There are hundreds of trails to explore in the Kamloops area. Hikers and snowshoers take to the trails in all 4 seasons. We will see you on the trails.

Global Action Sports Phenomenum Nitro Circus Live Makes Kamloops Debut


Spectacular New Show Visits Hillside Stadium October 1 During North American Tour


Tickets On Sale Friday, April 15


KAMLOOPS – APRIL 11, 2016 – Direct from sell out shows across the globe, Travis Pastrana’s Nitro Circus Live will visit Kamloops for the first time in history when it returns to North America for a 40-city tour starting in April. Fans now have the chance to see the death-defying stunts and mind-blowing tricks that have captivated sold out audiences worldwide when Nitro Circus Live, the most explosive live event to ever visit Kamloops, takes over Hillside Stadium on Saturday, October 1. Tickets are on sale April 15 at 10am.

Nitro Circus’ daredevils, the greatest action sports stars on the planet, will perform the most incredible choreographed riding routines in freestyle motocross (FMX), BMX, skate and more for a theatrical spectacular area fans have never experienced before. Highlights include the explosive “Nitro Bomb” featuring all riders simultaneously flipping through the air. During FMX trains, riders slice and dice, wheel-to-wheel, mere inches apart before descending to earth for a smooth landing. The (in)famous 40-foot Giganta ramp is the centerpiece of the action and launches brave Nitro Circus riders high above the crowds while attempting another flurry of jaw-dropping tricks on ridiculous contraptions like trikes, a recliner, a bathtub and much more.

Nitro Circus Live has sold out legendary arenas such as Madison Square Garden in New York and the O2 in London. More than 35,000 people packed Johannesburg’s FNB Stadium, site of the 2010 soccer World Cup final, for a massive 2014 show; 45,000 filled Melbourne’s Rod Laver Arena, the second highest attendance of any touring act at that venue. Now, Kamloops fans do not want to miss their chance to see Nitro Circus Live.

Check out show highlights here.

Tickets go on sale to the general public Friday, April 15.

Fans looking for the ultimate Nitro Circus experience will want to get their hands on the all-new Nitro Club VIP package. Starting at just $99 each, plus applicable service fees, these exclusive passes include the best seats in the house, watching the final 20 minutes of rider rehearsals, as well as a chance to get up close and personal with the stars of Nitro Circus during an exclusive Q & A. Nitro Club pass holders will also receive a souvenir lanyard and electronically signed Nitro Circus poster, as well as a chance to win cool Nitro Circus swag.

The positive economic impact the tour will generate also means Kamloops businesses can anticipate receiving a major boost with the show’s arrival drawing thousands of people to their cities.

“Hotels, restaurants, bars and practically every other business in Kamloops will benefit from having Nitro Circus Live in town,” says Michael Porra, Nitro Circus CEO and creative director. “Through audience research we’ve seen that fans are blown away, saying it’s the most exciting show they’ve ever seen. We’re thrilled to bring an event that has sold out huge stadiums across the globe to these new cities.”

For Nitro Circus news, tour updates, full rider lineup, exclusive behind-the-scenes content, and more, go to http://www.nitrocircus.com. Follow Nitro Circus on Twitter: @nitrocircus and Facebook: www.facebook.com/NitroCircus. Athletes subject to change.

About Nitro Circus

Named #22 on Forbes magazine’s 2015 list of, “America’s Most Promising Companies,” Nitro Circus continues to position itself as the world’s leading youth action sports & entertainment brand.  From humble beginnings in 2003 – with Jeremy Rawle, Gregg Godfrey and extreme sports superstar Travis Pastrana producing DVDs from a Utah garage -- to a smash TV series which has aired in over 60 countries, Nitro Circus has exploded to global popularity. In 2012, Nitro Circus: The Movie 3D, featuring cast members from the hit television series, was released in cinemas worldwide. In 2015, Nitro Circus announced a partnership with NBC Sports Ventures.  The multi-year strategic alliance will feature TV specials and series programming airing nationally in the U.S. on NBC and NBCSN as well as streamed on NBC Sports Live Extra.

The TV show was transformed by current CEO and action sports industry guru Michael Porra into a must-see live event in 2010, creating the global touring phenomenon that is Nitro Circus Live. Since its inaugural Australian trek five years ago, the show has travelled the globe, obliterating box office records and cultivating a legion of diehard fans.  Nitro Circus has now rolled across five continents, blown away over two million fans and sold-out shows in the United States, Canada, Europe, Australia, New Zealand, China, Japan, the Middle East and South Africa.  After close to 100 shows globally in 2015 and a packed 2016 touring schedule visiting even more cities coming up, Nitro Circus is the world’s most successful action sports touring brand.




For More Information:

Dan Grody

Tellem Grody Public Relations

Ph: 310-313-3444

E-mail: dan@tellemgrodypr.com

Tourism Kamloops Welcomes New CEO

Tourism Kamloops' Incoming CEO
"Passionate Tourism Opportunity Advocate"



April 5, 2016

Kamloops, B.C.: Tourism Kamloops, the organization responsible for destination marketing on behalf of tourism industry stakeholders and the City of Kamloops, welcomed its new CEO to the organization this week. For years, the Kamloops region has seen strong and steady growth in the tourism industry, and the new CEO is no stranger to either the area or in leading organizations on a pathway of success.

"The Board of Tourism Kamloops is pleased to announce that we have selected Beverley DeSantis as our new CEO, effective April 4, 2016," says Darcia Ball, President of the Board of Directors. "Our hiring committee received numerous high quality applications for the position, and Beverley was chosen due in part to her strong personal connections to the area and also because of her outstanding business and leadership experience and abilities. We have every confidence that Beverley and the team at Tourism Kamloops will continue to move the organization forward."

Ms. DeSantis' resume is remarkable. Her exceptional business/tourism experience and longstanding track record in leadership, coupled with countless accolades for her community and philanthropic experience, made her a stand out candidate for the CEO role. Her desire to move to the area from her current home in Calgary, Alberta and innovative ideas for enhancing the work of the organization sealed the deal for the hiring committee, a process which took months.

"I'm thrilled to be moving to Kamloops and to work for this forward-thinking organization," says Ms. DeSantis. "I am a passionate advocate of tourism opportunity development and have been involved in the tourism industry for over 30 years. I look forward to bringing my experience in growing regional and urban enterprises and building exceptional teams and community champions to my role as CEO. My husband and I love this area, and we look forward to enjoying the work/life balance the beautiful city of Kamloops has to offer us, and in turn sharing that story with others."

Ms. DeSantis is excited to join the team at Tourism Kamloops to continue the work the organization has started under the leadership of Acting CEO Monica Dickinson.

"The work that's underway to build strong community relationships and to engage with stakeholders is great to see," says DeSantis. "Working together, we as a team and community need to work cohesively to enhance the reputation of Kamloops as a great place to let loose and just play."

ABOUT TOURISM KAMLOOPS: Since its inception in 2005, Tourism Kamloops' mandate has been to lead all external tourism marketing of Kamloops as a unique, accessible, and affordable destination on behalf of the City of Kamloops, the Kamloops accommodation industry, and tourism stakeholders.


For Interviews/Information:

Darcia Ball                                                                           Beverley DeSantis
Tourism Kamloops, Chair                                                    Tourism Kamloops, Incoming CEO
c: 778.471.8034                                                                    c: 250.517.9094 w: 250.372.8000



Posted in Press Release, Tourism,

Motorbike Season is Here - Hog Poker Run!

Biker Blog - HOG Poker Run

April 2016

By: Bill McQuarrie

It’s almost considered the “official” start to bike season even though most of us - given the great weather we’ve been having - have been on our bikes for weeks already.  I’m talking about the Kamloops HOG Poker run that happens this May on the 27th and 28th.

If you haven’t been on the ride before, then be prepared to be blown away as it’s one of the best in the West if not all of Canada.  About 700 bikes start showing up Friday, May 27th and while the Poker ride doesn’t happen until Saturday, the good times begin happening when you arrive.

After checking into your motel, head up to Kamloops Harley to pick up your registration package and stick around for some music, a BBQ and a parking lot party on Friday night.  And of course, Kamloops Harley will be open all evening and you can bet they’ll have some great deals happening. 

By the way, with that many bikers in town, it’s best to book your room as soon as possible.  There are lots of motels to choose from with a range of prices to fit any budget.  Two places that have specialized in catering to bike enthusiasts are: The Accent Inn and The Country View Motor Inn. Both are biker friendly motels (right down to washing stations in the parking lot) with easy access to Hwy 1.Both have restaurant and fast food places within easy walking distance. For more information you can check out Tourism Kamloops’ website at www.tourismkamloops.com for more details on accommodation and restaurants.

When Saturday morning rolls around, head back to Kamloops Harley for the start of the ride.  There’s a pancake breakfast happening and if you’re planning on getting together with some others riders, it’s the perfect place to arrange to meet.  

There will be bikes everywhere but it’s still easy to find a place to park your ride and a great opportunity to see what everyone else is riding...Just another reason I like a motel that makes cleaning and polishing my bike easy.

Once you’ve packed away a few pancakes and a coffee or two, it’s time to ride and if you’ve never ridden in the Kamloops area before, you are in for something unique.  In fact, I know when some of my buddies come up here for the first time, they can’t believe this kind of ride friendly country exists just a few hours from Vancouver.  There are so many amazingly different one-day rides around here that you’d need to stay for weeks just to try them all.

For instance: This year’s Poker Run will at one point take you through the closest thing to a desert Canada has.  For some of it, you’ll be forgiven if you think you’re riding through parts of Montana or Wyoming or even northern New Mexico.  Sagebrush, grasslands, Ponderosa pines, sandstone hoodoos and long sweeper curves running through rolling hills.

If it’s twistiness you’re looking for, the ride between Cache Creek and Fountain Flats will give you an opportunity to lean into a few and scrape some floorboards if you want to push it.   This part of Hwy 99 seems purposefully designed for bikes, so enjoy and remember, you’ll be coming back this way, so you’ll get to experience it twice in one afternoon...which may still not be enough.

The ride back to Kamloops starts at Fountain Flats and after retracing your route to Cache Creek, you’ll head over and down to Ashcroft, cross the Thompson River and then begin a spectacular climb up into the high country as you head for Logan Lake.  

And speaking of Logan Lake...When you arrive you’ll pass two turn offs at the entrance to town.  The one on your right, Hwy 97C, would take you to either Merritt or Spences Bridge. To the left is another ride to Tunkwa Lake and eventually back to Savona and Kamloops.  If you’re thinking of staying an extra day or coming back soon, these are both rides I’d recommend and will be covering them in more detail in another blog.

After Logan Lake, it’s a short run to Hwy 5 (the Coquihalla) and back to Kamloops.  If four lanes are not something you’re into, don’t take the on ramp, continue straight ahead and try using the Lac Le Jeune road instead.  It will still get you to Kamloops but through forest and ranch lands and on two lanes instead of four.

The Poker Run ends with a dinner/dance at the Valley View Arena on Saturday night and the local HOG chapter has arranged for a shuttle bus between most major motels/hotel and the arena.

This Poker Run is limited to 700 bikes and usually sells out, so you should book now.  All the information you’ll need and registration forms can be found at https://www.kamhog.com/forms/2016Registration.PDF

Got questions about this or other rides in the area?  Let me know. And remember, if you live in the lower mainland you can leave after work on a Friday and be here in just a few hours.  Ride totally different roads on both Saturday and Sunday.  Hang out at our two amazing Craft Brew Pubs and be back home by Sunday evening…It doesn’t get any better than that.

Stop by the Kamloops Visitor Centre to pickup your copy of  Motorcycle and Dualsport Circle Tours.

Photo Credits: Rhonda Rivers