Author: Larry St Aubin
We are leaving the gorgeous views of Alberta and heading to beautiful British Columbia. A breath taking drive to Kamloops.
The traditional lands of the Tk’emlúps te Secwépemc within Secwepemcúl’ecw,
I woke up to a steady rain outside the window. We’ve been fortunate with the weather. Eve and Greta weren’t too thrilled about the morning walk. The only place open at 6 am is Tim Horton’s. I got there at 5:58. Behind me a line started. I brought back some sausage to add to their kibble.
The Astoria Hotel is a bit of a landmark. Built in 1925, it was one of the original hotels.
Mount Robson, BC. Following the Yellowhead Highway and the Fraser river. We stop in Mount Robson for coffee and pee break. Mount Robson, located in Mount Robson Provincial Park, is the tallest mountain in the Canadian Rockies. It is a World UNESCO heritage site.
Yellowhead Pass. We are taking this route through the Rockies. It is a low level, meaning not much chance of hail coming down. Named after a blonde fur trader named Tete Jaune. The Hudson Bay Company used it to transport leather and moose hides.
Because it was raining, the pugs didn’t really want to go out and be photographed. I was hoping to get more photos during this stretch but couldn’t see the tops of mountains. The clouds gave a unique texture to the mountains, I thought.
Mount Robson Provincial Park. We cross the Pacific time zone and gain an hour. My original plan was to see Mount Robson. However, because of the clouds, it wasn’t happening.
I was supposed to be able to look up from the visitor centre and see the tallest peak in British Columbia. Took a photo of the Information Board image.
The mountain in the other direction was available and I had got Eve and Greta out to have a walkabout.
Cafe Mt Robson has been serving folks for over 100 years. They roast their own coffee using organic, fairly traded coffee. However, because of the time change, it was 7 am -not the 8 am opening time. The Visitor Centre was also closed.
We then followed the North Thompson River south to Kamloops. Quite a number of provincial parks enroute. I could come back to this area and easily spend two weeks.
The Gathering Tree. Because Cafe Mount Robson was not open, I was looking for a place to get coffee. Turning into Valemount, BC, I found this place. The woman serving were friendly and chatty. And the dark roast coffee was superb. The sign on the wall outside says it all.
Kamloops. By the time we got to Kamloops, the rain had stopped. It was overcast and about 18 degrees. Perfect weather for the pugs to walk about.
Downtown Back Alley Art Tour. The tour is offered by the Kamloops Tourist office. However, some of the art work has been painted over, others have been replace.
1 – Sports in the Loops – 520 Seymour Street Artist: Ken Wells (2016)
This one was no longer there
30 – Films on the Mind – 503 Victoria St. Artist: Zach Abney “This mural was completed in the summer of 2019. It features a number of scenes from films played at the Paramount, going back to the first film that was known to be played- Seven Brides for Seven Brothers. The mural is meant to show people recalling these scenes that stuck with them, which is why it fades from a person’s face to the movies depicted.”
3 – Billy Miner Train Robbery – 120-5th Ave. “This mural was completed in the summer of 2010 by Alexander Moir-Porteous. Fredrick Fulton, a local community leader, prosecuted the infamous train robber, Billy Miner, in Kamloops in 1905. Billy Miner is known for coining the phrase “Hands Up”. After a successful robbery in Mission, BC in which Billy netted almost $100, 000, he came to Kamloops and became a respectable rancher. The thrill of train robbery was, however, far too tempting, and Miner struck again in Kamloops. Unfortunately, he only managed to steal $17, and the attempt led to his capture by the Mounted Police. Frederick Fulton put him in jail on a twenty-five-year sentence. He soon escaped and was never re-captured. The mural depicts the last of the old West train robberies by cowboys on horseback. This mural is dedicated to that piece of Kamloops’ history. The artist took great pains to ensure that this mural was historically correct.”
For this one I had to do a video to get it all in.
5 – Moving Art – 167 4th Ave. Ken Wells. “Ken worked with the art gallery owner to create a design that suited the wall. Fun details you’ll notice are the feet of people carrying the painting and fish that have fallen out of the painting. This creates a feeling of action within the mural. This is also rumoured to signify our declining salmon stocks and the impact humans have on spawning grounds.”
Kamloops Fire Hall #1. I saw the plaque on this building. It was built in 1935 to replace the wood frame station on Victoria Street. The new station could accommodate more trucks and a corps of firefighters.
6 – Alley Oasis – 126 4th Ave. Artist: Kelly Wright (2013)
“The owners wanted to create this mural to go with the oasis pub in the alley. The art wraps around the corner of the building and continues on the walls under the pub’s patio. This mural was done with a mix of exterior latex brush work and high production air-gun painting.”
This one I found in an alley but couldn’t find any info other than the artist’s signature.
Red Collar Brewery. Stopped for a pint at their pet friendly patio. However they have a “Fireplace Room”. In the winter, owners can bring their dogs in there for a pint. It is sealed off from the main restaurant.
Eve wanted to jump on the couch.
There was one big art piece near the brewery – Community Confluence. Celebrating place and community, this monumental mosaic shows a topographical view of the confluence of the North and South Thompson Rivers set in an abstract colour field representing land and people. The tiles representing the river are kinetic and refractive, moving in the wind and shimmering with the play of light over their anodized aluminum surfaces. The background is formed by multi-coloured powder-coated aluminum tiles that, combine and contrast to evoke diamond patterns large and small in the eye of the viewer. BR The 80,000 individual tiles of different colour and size represent the residents of Kamloops and the larger diamond patterns represent community groups. The tile subtly shade into one another to illustrate the interaction of these groups around our local geography. Water and people mixing together in a community confluence.
We went to the farmer’s market that they have on Wednesday. Found this vegan food truck and order the Dragon Bowl. Grilled veggies – red pepper, cauliflower, zucchini – in a coconut cream sauce on a bed of curry basmati rice.
I got a sourdough roll to go with the bowl. The pugs made there day. Greta let the woman pet her. Although, Greta was in the stroller so didn’t have much choice.
There was some art sculptures down by the South Thompson River. We had to cross the railway tracks. There were 2 trains going through so we could either wait, or they had a foot bridge going over. I had to pick up the stroller with Greta in it and carry it up the stairs.
Now this is the piece that was supposed to be in the spot. It’s called Creation by Percy Zorillo.
However, this is the piece in its place and it is not identified.
The River’s Trail Labyrinth – used for creating peace and understanding. Eve doesn’t understand it.
And this one is simply called Mayors Grove History
Greta with the South Thompson River in the background.
As you can see from the map above, there were lots more back alley art to discover but our 3 hour parking was up and time to check into our hotel.
Days Inn by Wyndham Hotel. This one was booked with airmiles. It is on the outskirts. Eve and Greta were pretty tired after that walking tour so they have settled in for the night. I head back downtown for dinner.
The Noble Pig. They have their own own brewery on site. Happy Hour is 6$ for a pint of their Big Bad Wolf IPA. The Bee’s Knees pizza has spicy salami and hot honey. It sounds strange but the combination of sweet and spicy is really good.
I had an early morning because I had planned to stop at some lookouts. However, the province was in the process of paving 50 km of highway between the border and Kamloops. Lots of slowing down and sometimes stopping. The views were great but was anxious to get settled in. Spent the evening getting this post ready.
Good night from the pugs and I. Tomorrow is Whistler.