“Why are you moving from Kelowna to Kamloops?”
The disdain in their voices is easily discernible. Behind the question, I can hear the statement they’re making: Kelowna is beautiful. Kelowna is better. Why would you want to leave?
I’m not going to lie to you, Kelowna is beautiful. As the picture above (and my 2 years studying at Okanagan College) proves, I loved living there.
The mistake is in thinking that because Kelowna is so stunning, other places can’t be.
People often discount Kamloops as brown, dusty and dry. Okay, it may be all of those things, but it is also blessed with rolling hills to hike, an up-and-coming arts, music and craft beer scene, and a quaint downtown next to a (sometimes) clear, rushing river.
Every place has something amazing to offer – if you’re willing to open up your eyes and mind to it.
I moved to Kamloops for school, and I’m glad I did. British Columbia is stunning, and despite what you may have heard, Kamloops is no exception.
After living downtown on Battle Street for 4 months, in Upper Sahali for another 4 months, and studying Journalism for the total 8 months, I’ve come to find a fond spot for this city in my heart. In researching for a large article I wrote about Kamloops for BC magazine, I discovered that this city is complex, diverse and thriving.
Here are 5 of my (personal) favourite places in Kamloops I wouldn’t miss on a trip to Nature’s Playground:
Enjoy a hand-crafted latte and pick up hand-crafted soap, locally made jewellery or a piece of art hanging on the walls. Customers can snag a secluded spot in the back to study and play games or sit near the front, where hidden letter are tucked between the cracks in the red brick wall, waiting to be read. I’ve attended a few open mic nights here, but I haven’t worked up the courage to play a song myself (yet).
Not only are the employees at the downtown museum extremely knowledgeable, the exhibits are also interesting, interactive and fun! My friend Carli and I probably spent far too much time downstairs in the kids section… With admission by donation, you have no excuse not to check it out.
Fresh donuts baked daily in-house. Need I say more? Come for the coffee, stay for the green tea donuts, chai donuts and pumpkin spice cream-filled donuts. YUM.
Unlike the crowded beaches around Okanagan Lake, I don’t have to share my spot next to the Thompson River. (Though sometimes I choose to – this is one of my favourite study-spots and a prime place to hula hoopa with my girlfriends.) Every evening throughout the summer, the Rotary Bandshell is filled with Music in the Park.
I’ve never hiked so much in my life as I have in Kamloops. (With so many hills, you can’t help but hike a little.) One of my favourite spots is Cinnamon Ridge, for the orange hoodoos and rewarding view across the rolling plains.
I have one more semester to complete at TRU in Kamloops before I move on. It’ll be hard to say goodbye to such a warm and welcoming community, but the reality is, every place has its own unique beauty. Luckily for me, my job is to go find it.