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WHAT’S UP DOWNTOWN – A step into Riverside Park’s history

(Image: Ken Rigeau & Royal B.C. Museum)

HOW MANY WAYS can a community use a single space?

That question is often tossed around in CAP Team discussions. As the eyes and ears of Downtown Kamloops, we see early morning coffee shops turn into late night music venues. We’ve helped transform a parking lot into a public plaza.

In February, I discussed how the Brownstone building has transitioned from a bank, to city hall, to a contemporary restaurant. Today, I’ll explore how our community uses a multipurpose space, Riverside Park.

Situated on the banks of the South Thompson River is Riverside Park. In the warmer months, visitors can try their hand at basketball, pickleball, tennis, lawn bowling, running, and more.

Kids can cool off in the river or jump around splashpads. Couples can pack a picnic and have an impromptu date night at Music in the Park. Yet, this greenspace wasn’t always the accessible urban oasis that we know today.

Throughout the 1800s Kamloops was a major link in the fur and lumber trade. The American Fur Trading Company and The North West Fur Company were established on the North Shore of the Thompson River. Meanwhile, the Shuswap Milling Company operated on the southern shore, which we now know as Riverside Park.

When the Shuswap Sawmill burned down in 1901, the City of Kamloops bought the land and transformed the space into a public park. Throughout the decades, beachgoers flocked to the park to escape the dry summer heat at the same time that fountains and flower beds were installed.

In 2015, a community garden sprouted up in the west end of the park. In 2016, pickleball courts were installed at the west end of the park with the support and lobbying efforts of the Kamloops Pickleball Club. Riverside Park has become a destination crafted by our community.

I am excited to see how our community will use and transform Riverside Park in the next few years and I hope you are too. To find out more information about cultural sites in Kamloops, visit the Kamloops Museum & Archives or browse the the Royal BC Museum’s website.

This article was written by Angie Halas, Customer Care and Patrol (CAP) Team Member. Reach the team at 250-572-3008/3009 or the Customer Care & Info Centre at 250-572-3017. Email capteam@downtownkamloops.com. Follow on Facebook, Instagram (Downtownkamloops) and Twitter (@downtownkamloops).

 

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About Mel Rothenburger (5950 Articles)
ArmchairMayor.ca is a forum about Kamloops and the world. It has more than one million views. Mel Rothenburger is the former Editor of The Daily News in Kamloops, B.C. (retiring in 2012), and past mayor of Kamloops (1999-2005). At ArmchairMayor.ca he is the publisher, editor, news editor, city editor, reporter, webmaster, and just about anything else you can think of. He is grateful for the contributions of several local columnists. This blog doesn't require a subscription but gratefully accepts donations to help defray costs.

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