Have you ever heard about Kamloops in Western Canada? Those eager explorers among you may have heard of the “city at the confluence” as a central point of the VIA Rail train service passing between Vancouver and Jasper, a particularly beautiful track through the western Rocky Mountains. But Kamloops deserves more than just to be known as a “stop in transit”. Let me tell you why this is so, especially for those of you wanting to explore the local (native) cultural and foodie scene.
Kamloops, that’s many centuries of cultural traditions whose fascinating landscapes and history only wait to be discovered by you.
Kamloops and the Shuswap region are located on the territory of the Secwepemc Nation. In addition to learning more about the native people of this part of Canada, our visit here entails some of the newest breweries, restaurants and cafes in the heart of Kamloops. The word Kamloops is the English translation of the Shuswap word Tk’emlúps, which means “where the rivers meet”. The “city at the confluence” has been home to the Tk’emlupsemc, the “people of the confluence“, for many centuries.
First of all, I can recommend you to go and see Secwepemc Museum & Heritage Park, where the likes of you curious travellers can learn more about the lifestyle and culture of the Secwepemc Nation. Legends of the Secwepemc people, historical photos, artefacts and hiking trails through the Heritage Park on the banks of the South Thompson River: The archaeological remains of a 2000 year old winter village with an ethnobotanical garden and traditional Secwepemc plants are guaranteed to leave you spellbound!
… the very rock being a natural and cultural monument in the unique landscape around Kamloops. From here, you have undisturbed views of the famous “inverted tree line” of the region and the “stone carved Hoodoos“, bizarre rock formations of this semi-arid desert at the transition from higher mountain regions to drier lowlands. Balancing rocks in the Thompson Okanagan region serve local First Nations peoples as territorial boundaries, Frank tells us. Linked to the legend of the coyote, these natural markers each have their own history (check out more here through the website of Aboriginal British Columbia).
Canoeing on the Thompson River: Frank Antoine, of “Moccasin Trails”, is our naturally-born storytelling hero.
Frank is a local storyteller, historian and naturalist. Soon enough, we find ourselves hanging on his lips. All his knowledge, ideas and skills are skilfully packed into his indigenous enterprise called “Moccasin Trails“, their website is really worth the extra look. Paddling gently down Thompson River, we enjoy footprints of the animal kingdom and take in the peaceful, natural surroundings. All while Frank tells us more about the myths and legends of his people, the Secwepemc First Nation.
Last but not least, here are some foodie tips for exploring the city of Kamloops for you.
Must-Eat: Breakfast at the (nomen est omen) Hello Toast: THE breakfast place of the locals! Hello Toast offers a comfortable environment to relax and enjoy; among all the local guests we really feel at home. Besides almost everything else, they also have vegan and vegetarian options. I choose the popular breakfast classic “Eggs Benedict”: Delicious.
The Noble Pig Brewhouse is a local favourite too – casual convenience food meets refined craftsmanship and delicious homemade beer (read more about why I was only allowed to taste the non-alcoholic beer here)! Be sure to try their fried pickles. Really strange I must say, but good!
Check out even more pictures about Kamloops in the Rocky Mountains here:
Disclaimer: We have been invited by “Destination Canada” & “Tourism Kamloops” on this culture trip to Kamloops and around. All opinions are my own.