Salmon Arm | The Canadian Encyclopedia


Salmon Arm

Salmon Arm, British Columbia, incorporated as a city in 2005, population 17,706 (2016 census), 17,464 (2011 census). The city of Salmon Arm is located at the head of the southwestern arm of Shuswap Lake, also called Salmon Arm, 110 km east of Kamloops.

Indigenous Peoples

Salmon Arm is located on the traditional territory of the Secwepemc Nation (see Interior Salish), who fished along the shores of Shuswap Lake. Today, several Secwepemc First Nations or bands are based near Salmon Arm. These First Nations include, Splatsin First Nation, Neskonlith Indian Band and Adams Lake First Nation.

Settlement and Development

The Big Bend Gold Rush (along the Columbia River) of the mid-1860s briefly brought prospectors into the region. However, exploration did not begin until 1871 when a route was surveyed for the Canadian Pacific Railway. Settlement began in the late 1880s, spurred by the railway. In 1905, the District Municipality of Salmon Arm was incorporated. Settlement boomed and in 1912 the city of Salmon Arm separated from the district municipality. The city later downgraded to a village (1958) and in 1970 reunited with the district municipality. To commemorate its centennial Salmon Arm again changed its status to a city in 2005.


Today, manufacturing, lumber, tourism, dairy farming and provincial government agencies are Salmon Arm’s major employers. A satellite campus of Okanagan University College is located here. Salmon Arm has a museum, art gallery and active theatre group.

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