Kamloops, BC, incorporated as a city in 1893, population 85 678 (2011c), 80 376 (2006c). The City of Kamloops amalgamated with North Kamloops in 1967 and in 1973 with surrounding residential areas to form the present city of Kamloops. It is located in southern British Columbia 355 km northeast of Vancouver via the COQUIHALLA HIGHWAY. The city is situated at the confluence of the North and South THOMPSON rivers near their entrance into Kamloops Lake. Kamloops has a rapidly expanding role in mining, is the centre of BC's cattle industry and is the second-largest city in the BC interior after KELOWNA. It is governed by a mayor and 8 councillors.
The region's first inhabitants were members of the Secwepemc (formerly Shuswap) nation of the SALISH-speaking peoples, who named the area Tk'emlups, likely meaning "confluence". David Stuart of the PACIFIC FUR COMPANY spent the winter of 1811 in the area and was impressed with the fur-trading possibilities. He built the first trading post, Fort She-whaps, in September 1812 - the first non-native settlement in southern BC. In November the NORTH WEST COMPANY (NWC) arrived and constructed a post nearby named Fort Thompson. The HUDSON'S BAY COMPANY took over the trade after union with the NWC in 1821.
In the late 1850s gold seekers arrived and ranching and farming began; Kamloops became a general depot for the region. The completion of the CANADIAN PACIFIC RAILWAY (CP Rail) in 1885 encouraged further development, and by 1893 Kamloops had a population of 1000. Since the late 1950s, it has grown rapidly as a regional centre.
Served by CP Rail and CANADIAN NATIONAL RAILWAYS and several airlines, and situated at the junction of 3 major highways, Kamloops is the natural trade and distribution hub in the southern BC interior, a financial, travel and cultural focus and the administrative centre for the Thompson-Nicola regional district. Initially, agriculture dominated the economy, but by the 1960s, the forest industry and mining had become more important. A large pulp mill is still a major employer, and Kamloops is now also the headquarters for many companies and services related to forestry. In the 1980s it earned a reputation as the "ginseng capital of Canada." GINSENG has recently become the region's second most important agricultural product after livestock production. Copper mining is still important to the economy although Afton Mine closed down in 1997. Another open-pit copper mine at nearby Highland Valley is still in operation.
Tourism is flourishing as the region's more than 200 lakes offer excellent fishing and boating. Several ski resorts including Sun Peaks Resort, a four-season destination, are found nearby.
Kamloops is served by the Royal Inland Hospital, by numerous provincial and federal agencies and by Thompson Rivers University (formerly the University College of the Cariboo). Since the 1980s the economy has become more diversified with the establishment of major new employers including the headquarters of the BC Lottery Corporation, a gaming services company and most recently a major call centre. The city has 2 newspapers (Kamloops Daily News and Kamloops This Week), a TV station and several radio stations. Its cultural scene includes a museum, art gallery, symphony orchestra and theatre company.
The Kamloops INDIAN RESERVE, established in 1862, is situated on the northeast corner of the river junction. Part of the reserve is leased as an industrial park and a new housing development features geothermal energy.