With fall in full swing, the City Gardens Neighbourhood is gearing up for a vibrant and bright November. This month, we turn the spotlight to Downtown Kamloops’ rich cultural and historical hotspots. We chatted with Nic Zdunich, destination development manager at Tourism Kamloops, to give us an insight into the city’s extensive history through Heritage Walking Tours and the new Illuminate Kamloops project happening throughout the fall and winter.
With its charming mix of historic buildings and modern amenities, Downtown Kamloops is an ideal place to embark on a journey through time. Here, you can enjoy self-guided Heritage Walking Tours and learn about the fascinating stories behind each cultural building.
“Whether you’re a history enthusiast or simply curious about the city’s past, the Kamloops Heritage Walking Tour offers something for everyone,” explained Nic.
Before beginning the tour, Nic recommends locals and visitors stop by the Kamloops Museum and Archives, one of the oldest museums in the province with a wealth of information about local culture and the early days of European settlement in Kamloops, where people can gain a deep understanding of the city’s historical roots.
As you begin to stroll along the picturesque streets, you’ll be surprised to learn stories of early pioneers, Indigenous heritage, and the evolution of this beautiful city. With numerous notable stops along the way, these tours offer a comprehensive and unique experience of the region’s past.
Among some of the best spots to visit, you will find St. Andrew’s on the Square at 159 Seymour Street.
“This beautiful Gothic Revival church built in 1887 stands as a striking architectural landmark,” said Nic. “Its presence on the tour highlights the city’s religious and architectural history.”
The Old Courthouse at 7 Seymour Street, now home of the Kamloops Art Council, is another fascinating stop to check out.
“This historic building offers insights into the city’s legal history and provides a glimpse into Kamloops’ architectural heritage,” he added.
Additionally, as Nic shared, Tourism Kamloops’ new campaign ‘Illuminate Kamloops’ will allow residents to explore the downtown area in a whole new light – quite literally!
This innovative project features a series of multi-location activations and exhibits that will transform the city into an enchanting canvas of light and art. It’s a celebration of culture and creativity, offering a fresh perspective on the city’s identity.
“Illuminate Kamloops enhances places and spaces around Kamloops with interactive light and sound displays,” he explained, adding that most of the exhibits are best experienced at night.
As part of the project, people are encouraged to scan the QR codes at each site to learn more about the area, the exhibit, and things to do nearby.
“We recently finished a light and sound exhibit on the Old Courthouse and lit up the arboretum at the Old Men Provincial Cemetery,” said Nic. “More exhibits will be popping up throughout the fall and winter, and once complete, we’ll further enhance the exhibits with events like street festivals or night markets.”
Eventually, Tourism Kamloops plans to have each installation become a permanent exhibit with placement throughout Kamloops, and with the inclusion of lights, residents and visitors will be able to experience the city after hours.
Whether you decide to take a self-guided Heritage Walking Tour or check out the impressive light installations across downtown, Nic suggests downloading the ‘Loops Explorer Pass’ to unlock amazing deals while experiencing the city’s rich heritage.
As you can already tell, living in the City Gardens Neighbourhood promises an exciting November filled with cultural enrichment, historical discovery, and artistic inspiration. Let the fall foliage be your backdrop to the city’s heritage sites and illuminated art installations this month.
Photo Credit: Tourism Kamloops/Mary Putnam