Many Kamloopsians are familiar with the city’s vast and diverse history, including the era when steamboats pioneered the region. Recently, a new sign was placed in downtown Riverside Park to honour the rich history of the Kamloops Sternwheelers.
While the sign has been up for a few months now, its official unveiling was on February 16th. It’s unique and bold feel is part of a new template for future interpretative signs in Kamloops.
The sign was built at the request of Mr. David Davies and presented to the City of Kamloops Heritage Commission to feature the significant history of Kamloops of sternwheelers, complemented by historical photographs from the Kamloops Museum and Archives’ collection.
For those curious, a sternwheeler is a steamer propelled by a paddle wheel positioned at the stern of the boat.
With the many interconnected rivers in the Thompson Okanagan, steamboats were the main form of transportation in the region prior to the advent of the rail system.
While they got their start shipping passengers and freight, sternwheelers went on to assist the growing railway. For many years the boats mainly towed logs and other industrial equipment, but in 1912 the region saw the launch of a new boat; The Distributor.
Since the new boat was built and launched right here in Kamloops at Riverside Park, having the sign placed here was the perfect choice.
While I might be a little young to have rode on the old steam boats of the 19th Century, I remember riding on the old Wanda Sue paddle wheeler boat around the Thompson River during its prime, and it was fascinating learning about the history and seeing the behemoths in action.
Our CAP Team has seen the new signage many times at the park during our travels and we encourage everyone to do the same. It is important to remember how far we have come as society, to look back at all the ways that technology, transportation, and industry have evolved, and to not forget where we have come from and remember our roots.
This article was written by Jon George, Customer Care and Patrol (CAP) Team Member. Reach us at 250-572-3008/3009. Email firstname.lastname@example.org. Follow us on Facebook, Instagram (Downtownkamloops) and Twitter (@downtownkamloops) too!