May, 2016 Archives

Travel Trade Update for the Month of May

Tourism Kamloops was pleased to partner with Rocky Mountaineer to host 6 FAMS, a total of 70 participants, during the month of May.  The groups hailed from the UK (2), Germany, Eastern Canada, New Zealand and Australia – all destinations that have been identified by Destination BC as key markets.  The intent in supporting Rocky Mountaineer in hosting these FAMS is to create national and international relationships with tour operators, wholesalers and travel agents, and to showcase the Kamloops experience.  Participants on our FAMS are provided information about Kamloops, have any questions answered that they may have about the area and are offered ongoing support for all future trips they may have coming through Kamloops whether they are coming through on the Rocky Mountaineer or by fly/drive.  Through these FAMS, Tourism Kamloops is able to gain valuable information through a follow up survey that will allow us to gauge the value of travel trade tourism in Kamloops. 

Takeaways from the FAMS:

  • Participants are excited to have a direct contact that they can reach out to with any future inquiries
  • Participants are surprised at the size of Kamloops and how much we have happening here, some saying that Kamloops wasn’t on their radar before but it is now
  • Participants were impressed with Riverside Park, some saying that it reminded them of Stanley Park
  • The passion and expertise at Red Collar captivated the group
  • Many requested to be added to a newsletter to receive updates about Kamloops

Thank you to our local partners who assisted in co-hosting these FAMS with us:  The Noble Pig, Frick and Frack Taphouse, Fireside Steakhouse & Bar, Red Collar Brewery and Painted Pony Café.

Posted in Tourism,

You are invited to the 2016 Kamloops Wine Trail Open House

You are invited to the 2016 Kamloops Wine Trail Open House! Saturday, June 11th & Sunday, June 12th from 11am to 5pm

Our open house celebration will feature complimentary wine tastings, winery tours, a variety of food items, live music and more!













Festivities will take place at each of our three wineries:


  • Harper’s Trail – 2761 Shuswap Road
  • Monte Creek Ranch – 2420 Miners Bluff Road
  • Privato – 5505 Westsyde Road                                                                                                           














Take a self-guided tour or book with one of our local tour operators:


  • divine

Be sure to collect a passport stamp from each winery for your chance to win a fine selection of local product.


For more detail click here

Double Tree by Hilton to Host Fort Mac Fundraiser

The Double Tree by Hilton Kamloops is reaching out to their fellow community members for support in assisting our neighbours in Fort McMurray, Alberta.

Saturday, June 4, 2016  save the date for the Restoring Lives Through Big Hearts Fundraiser. An event donating 100% of proceeds to the Fort McMurray Wildfire Relief Efforts!

A cocktail reception will kick off the evening at 5:00pm, followed by a delectable four course dinner and live auction. Partake in a great deed while simultaneously enjoying an evening of good company, great music, delicious cuisine, and mesmerizing wine sponsored by our neighbors, Monte Creek Winery.

We ask that you don't forget to partake in our live auction featuring a number of fantastic prizes including a gold level trip for two donated by our very own Rocky Mountaineer. Trip value over $4,500. Prefer to head south for the winter? Then be sure to raise your bidding paddles for a one night stay in any Hilton hotel worldwide, valued at over $7,600! We are really thrilled to welcome many more great sponsors to our live auction including: WestJet, Paddle Surfit, River City Cycle, Harley Davidson, The Blazers, The Dunes Golf Kamloops, and many more.

It's shaping up to be a great night thanks to our community and our neighbours!

Our community has already done so much for our Fort McMurray neighbours but let's not stop now. Please join us in showcasing what big hearts we have here in Kamloops!

Please RSVP to




Posted in Events,

Western Canada Theatre receives $10,000 donation from RBC Emerging Artists Project

Western Canada Theatre would very much like to thank RBC Emerging Artists Project and those from RBC associated with it for their donation of $10,000 to WCT.

Dave Maurer, RBC Branch Manager Kamloops Main and Chase, and Pam Shaw, RBC Regional Vice President, presented the cheque to Lori Marchand, General Manager of WCT, on the set of the WCT/TRU Young Company’s production of The Velveteen Rabbit.

The RBC Emerging Artists Project helps artists bridge the gap from emerging to established and supports organizations that provide the best opportunity to advance their career trajectory. It supports arts organizations and artists in a range of genres including visual art, music, theatre, performance, literature and film.

Bridging the gap from emerging to established is something in which WCT has great experience. The theatre company has a long history of supporting and encouraging emerging artists. We believe it is a long-term investment that begins with exposure through our school matinee program, continues through our Stage One Theatre School and manifests itself in professional opportunities, such as the WCT/TRU Young Company, for those who choose a career in the performing arts, be it in performance, stage management, design, playwriting or directing.  The Velveteen Rabbit not only provided those launching their professional careers, but also introduced 900 children from 12 local schools to the wonders and magic of theatre.

WCT thanks RBC and the Emerging Artists Project for their generous contribution, which allows us to continue developing talent for now and the future.

 Photo:  On the stage of the WCT/TRU Young Company’s production of The Velveteen Rabbit

FRONT ROW LEFT: Lucy Geary (WCT Growth & Engagement Director), Dave Maurer (RBC Branch Manager Kamloops Main and Chase) & Lori Marchand (WCT General Manager); CENTRE FRONT: Maddison Hartloff, Krystine Lucas & Taylor James MacCallum (Cast); CENTRE BACK: Celine Majcher (Stage Manager) & Heather Cant (Director); FRONT ROW RIGHT: Terri Runnals (WCT Education Coordinator) & Pam Shaw (RBC Regional Vice President)

For more information, contact Catrina Crowe at 250-372-3216 Ext. 530



Posted in Press Release,

Discover BC Wildlife Park & Turtle Valley Donkey Refuge

Written by, Nick Waddell

Looking for a place to see some Kamloops wildlife this summer? The British Columbia Wildlife Park and Turtle Valley Donkey Refuge are two great places for families, children, and animal lovers to get their fix on several interesting animals native to British Columbia.

British Columbia Wildlife Park Kamloops

The British Columbia Wildlife Park houses several different species of BC wildlife for rehabilitation, research, and breeding located just 15 minutes east of Kamloops along the Trans-Canada Highway. The 50 hectare park is home to everything from big cats, birds, bears, canines, small animals, hoof stock, to reptiles and amphibians. Their mission at the BC Wildlife Park is to encourage the appreciation of and respect for BC’s wildlife and to assist in preserving biodiversity through education, research, captive breeding, and rehabilitation services. The BC Wildlife Park’s goal is to connect people to BC’s wildlife and wild places in order to encourage a sustainable society.

 There are several activities and events to go see at the wildlife park all summer including interactions with the animals, tours, special events like the bird of prey flight demonstrations and laser light shows. The park features a wildlife express miniature train as well as a playground and waterpark to help keep young children entertained. At the far end of the park there is a short hike to a waterfall for the perfect picture moment

 I visited the wildlife park on a hot afternoon in April and was instantly impressed by the look and feel of the services and buildings offered by the park. The staff were helpful, kind, and my visit was self-directed which let me do my own thing around the park. The first thing you notice is the wide-open, grassy spaces, dotted with trees that look ideal for an afternoon picnic. My favourite part was actually the Home Hardware barn where farm animals and smaller live stock are kept. The goats would prop themselves up to eat out of hay baskets hanging from the ceiling. You could pet and take pictures of the animals. The birds of prey were mesmerizing and beautiful. I was glad to see the animals were getting the proper attention they needed after being injured in various accidents. I enjoyed the hike at the end and took some great waterfall pictures.

 For more information about the BC Wildlife Park concerning directions, rates, and hours, check out their website at or give them a phone call at (250) 573-3242.

Turtle Valley Donkey Refuge

 The Turtle Valley Donkey refuge is a beautiful farm to visit this summer for families, children, and animal lovers. The refuge, located just outside of Chase, BC, is run by founders Rob Miller and Shirley Mainprize who devote their time to caring for senior, neglected, and abused donkeys. The refuge began 19 years ago when the two developed a passion for the animal and wanted to create a space for neglected donkeys. The Donkey Refuge is now owned by the Turtle Valley Donkey Refuge society but the original founders still volunteer daily on the farm. As donkeys can live up to 50 years, many are abandoned by owners who were not aware or prepared for the commitment. Donkeys are often not taken care of properly due to the unique care they require.

 Donkeys are native to South Africa, and the BC climate and topography allow for numerous health issues to pop up if the animals are not taken care of properly. Dental and hoof care are the most expensive and common things to attend to when caring for the animal. Turtle Valley runs on a budget of approximately $350,000 a year and obtains most of their funding through grants, sponsors, admissions, and donations. The refuge encourages visitors to sponsor an animal to help out with some of the costs and are ideally looking for 20 sponsors per animal. Due to expensive veterinary bills and an increase in the price of hay due to a shortage, any donations are highly appreciated.

The farm currently has 105 permanent resident donkeys to interact with which include 3 different sizes of donkey. The animals themselves are quite calm, friendly, and enjoy interacting with humans. The six staff members running the refuge offer tours and one-on-one time with the donkeys as well as information about individual donkey personalities and care.

 I dropped by the refuge to be energetically welcomed by the two founders, Shirley and Rob. Having never been within 10 feet of a donkey before, I really didn’t know what to expect from the animals. However, I was presently surprised. As Shirley educated us about the miniature donkeys, they would simply come up and bump into you looking for attention. It was quite adorable and I continued to pet and give my attention to several donkeys who were interested in what we were doing. The entire experience was quite peaceful as you look at the beautiful mountainous and green surroundings of Turtle Valley.

 For more information and directions to the refuge, check out their site at You can also get in touch with one of the founders Shirley Mainprize by sending an email or phone call to (250) 679-2778 and respectively.

Local Farm Serves up Farm to Fork Dinners

Tricia Sullivan with lambs born on Sullideo Farm in 2015.
Image Credit: Sullindeo Farm via Facebook

















With bureaucratic red tape out of the way, a north Kamloops farm is looking forward to putting a meal in front of visitors.

Sullindeo Farm on Dairy Road is now allowed to serve farm-to-plate dinners, and co-owner Tricia Sullivan says she’s looking forward to getting back in the agri-tourism game. She says the farm had been doing on site dinners years ago when they found out they didn’t have all the administrative documents in place.

“We already have been doing Rock Mountain Railway dinners 3 years ago,” she says. “I would like to have them return.”

She says similar events are big in other parts of Canada, with dinners in Albertan grain fields selling out at $180 a plate.

Now that city council granted a temporary permit for her farm, Sullivan says she looks forward to the return of farm dining guests.

Sullivan hopes the farm can help educate people about how food gets to their plate and says promotion of local food is particularly important to Kamloops because around 44 per cent of the land is covered by the Agriculture Land Reserve. As the farm produces meat as well as vegetables, she says almost all ingredients to be used are grown on the 10-acre property.

The farm had to stop its previous dinners after complaints from one neighbour about a different neighbourbrought government intervention, she says. After applying to the Agricultural Land Commission and the city for permission to resume the dinners council voted on Tuesday, May 17, to provide a temporary permit allowing eight dinners a year for up to 30 people.

On the Road Again!

 Written by: Bill McQuarrie

One of the first things you’ll notice about this ride is the lack of traffic.  In fact it’s mostly on roads that nobody else seems to know exist.  Mostly two lanes, paved and the perfect mix of sweepers and twisties with just enough straight stretches to let it go.  Total distance for the ride, 350 km and a map can be found at the end of the blog.

You’ll be riding along side a clear mountain creek past a few lakes, through some high country mesa, sandstone cliffs, ranchland, a few small towns (pubs, restaurants, gas) and even a chance to stop at a local cider brewery.  Towards the end, when you are following the famous Thompson River, you’ll be on Highway #1 but even then, most if it will be on two lanes. And speaking of roads, if you’re a dual sport biker you will be passing a lot of forestry roads, so bring your GPS and do some extra exploring.

I just did this ride May 6/16 with morning temperatures around 15’C (About 60F) and late afternoon temps that were closer to 30’C (High 80’s in Fahrenheit), so expect to end the day in a T-shirt. 

By the way, the least expensive gas in the region is found in Kamloops, so top up before leaving.  Now let’s get going...

Heading west out of Kamloops on Highway #1 towards Savona, you’re going to turn left onto the Tunkwa Lake Rd just before entering Savona (about 43 km from Kamloops and well signed).   This road is paved but a bit uneven in places.  


However, the scenery is spectacular and the turns and climbs make it all worthwhile.

Your next major junction is only 40 km away, so take your time and enjoy.After riding through the provincial park, you’ll arrive at the Logan Lake junction and you want to continue straight ahead on 97C.  Unless you’re hungry or need gas in which case hang a left into Logan Lake.  I recommend the Black Bull Pub on Poplar Dr. if you’re looking for lunch.

Back on the road and heading south on 97C, you’ll see Left Field Cider on your right.  I wasn’t much of a cider fan until I stopped their last summer and learned what real cider should taste like.  I now enjoy cider and I recommend you stop as well.                          

The next 35 or so km are going to take you through rolling hills and a mix of grasslands and forest before heading into cowboy country as you approach Merritt. At the intersection of 97C and Highway 8 (Nicola Highway) you have a choice.  You can turn left for a quick trip into Merritt or go right to continue towards Spences Bridge.  There’s no gas between here and Cache Creek so might be an idea to head into Merritt and gas up

Merritt is a ranching community and I’d recommend heading downtown for a visit and maybe something to eat.  They’re known as the Country Music Capital of Canada and you might want to visit the Canadian Country Music Hall of Fame.

Back on the road, you’ll be heading west towards Spences Bridge on 8, following a valley carved out by the Nicola River.  It’s two lanes all the way and you’ll be riding by grasslands, pine forests, semi-desert sagebrush country, sandstone cliffs and the clear running water of the Nicola.  There’s parks and recreation sites along the way, so lots of chances to stop and explore the countryside.  Mind you, the road seems to have been built for bikes, so you may not want to stop.  It’s around 65 km to Spences Bridge and some say this is the best part of the ride.

Once you’re in Spences Bridge and just before hitting the junction of 8 and Highway 1, look up and to your right and you’ll spot the tallest waterfall in the area.

Turning right onto Hwy 1 you’re on your way to Cache Creek.  It’s 50 km away and the road is in perfect shape…Mostly 2 lanes but long passing lanes on the hills.  You’re now following the historic Thompson River and the highway you’re riding on began life as part of the Cariboo Gold Rush trail.

As you near Cache Creek and start your decent into town, the speed limit drops to 70 km/h and then quickly to 50.  It’s a well-patrolled section of highway…just saying.

From Cache Creek, it’s 45 minutes to Kamloops on Hwy 1 and again, mostly two lanes with lots of passing lanes in the hilly sections.  If you’ve timed this last part of the ride right, the sun will be on your back and beginning to set.   Long shadows in the hoodoos beside the road, the tops of the hills lit up, Kamloops Lake eventually appearing on your left and cooling things down a bit as you near the end of the ride.  And if you want to watch the last of the sunset happen, stop at the lookout at the crest between Savona and Tobiano.  You can climb out on the rock bluffs and watch the sun go down.

When you’re back in Kamloops I recommend you stop by the Noble Pig, one of our local brew pubs.  It’s right downtown on Victoria St., makes all it’s own beer on premise, has a great scotch bar as well, large selection of wine and menu that insures you won’t go away hungry. 

If you’re looking for a place to stay that is nearby, check out the Thompson Inn (next door), the 540 Hotel (a block away) or the Plaza Hotel (2 blocks away).  There’s also a good choice of motels up on Columbia St that are just 3 or 4 blocks away.  So it’s easy to park your bike for the night and enjoy an evening at the Pig.

If you’ve decided to stay another day to experience more rides, - something I really think you should consider - then I’ve got another great highway touring ride to tell you about.  Or for dual sport riders, there’s an incredible ride that will take you through the Douglas Lake Ranch on mostly gravel roads.



Favourite Early Season Hike- Visit the Grasslands Today!

Hiking the Grasslands

Written by Doug Smith

From the “meeting of the waters” in Kamloops the hills rise above the valley on every side offering hikers an opportunity to walk through the grasslands in 3 seasons.   The hills first start to clear of snow in early March opening up trails in the lower grasslands.  

Right on the edge of the City is the 15000 hectare Lac du Bois Provincial Grasslands Protected Area (BC Parks) and the Lac du Bois Road goes north into the lower grasslands, then up through the middle grasslands to the upper grasslands near McQueen Lake.   Hikers and mountain bikers go to the sagebrush and bunchgrass lower grasslands by driving up through Batchelor Hills for 2 km to a signed parking area and trail network directions.   Wildflowers appear in March with sage buttercups, yellow bells, making the first appearance.   Meadowlarks sing from their perches on sagebrush and bluebirds flit through the treeless landscape.

By driving farther up the Lac du Bois Road, hikers can venture into the middle grasslands. The sagebrush disappears and bunchgrass dominates the rolling hills. At 9km there is a small parking area on the right directions for a trail that wanders past ponds and over open hills to views of 1.5 km Long Lake. Curlews and sharp-tail grouse can be spotted in this zone in the spring. Ducks and geese dabble and dive on the ponds.   Killdeer and a variety of smaller grasslands birds keep low around the wet areas. Raptors circle overhead.   Burrowing owls are native to the area. Wildflowers bloom in spring covering the slopes with spring beauties, old man’s whiskers, buttercups, camas, woodland star, yellow bells, vetch, yellow daisies, alumroot, and many more link to Kamloops Wildflowers video.  

The upper grasslands can be explored at Lac du Bois and for 3 km beyond (directions). Small lakes, aspen groves, and hills with open forests of douglas fir can be explored on foot. The Nature Conservancy of Canada has a protected area allowing low-impact recreation to this unique habitat.   Bears, deer, and a wide variety of wildlife can be spotted if hikers walk quietly on tracks to the east and west. Chocolate lilies and a display of shooting stars, tiger lilies, lupine, fairyslippers, sticky geranium, clematis, and many more varieties that  greet hikers from May to July. Waterfowl can be spotted on a number of small lakes and ponds.   All tracks are unsigned, but most are in open terrain so hikers can pick their own routes.

There are other trails to explore the lower grasslands. Valleyview Nature Park , Deep Lake , and the Barnes Lake Trails are good options for short hikes. Kamloops has dozens of routes, tracks, and trails into BC’s rare and valuable grasslands ecosystem.