Kamloops is one of the most charming cities in British Columbia. The city was built around its premier education institution, Thompson Rivers University. This University offers excellent Bachelor of Arts, Law, and Journalism programs that attract over 3,500 international students each year.
These students help drive Kamloops’ economy by renting properties, purchasing cars, and frequenting local businesses. If you plan to move to Kamloops on a study permit in the near future, you should familiarize yourself with the city beforehand. To make this easier, we have summarized 10 essential things to know before moving to Kamloops, BC.
1. The Town-Like Feel
Kamloops’ metro area has over 100,000 residents, and it is very much a city. However, if you presently reside in a major metropolitan city in another country, Kamloops may feel like a town to you.
This is because people in different town-like communities often get to know one another, and it’s not uncommon to pass familiar faces when walking through its streets. This adds to the city’s charm, and many people find this feel enjoyable.
2. Lots of Space for Outdoor Activities
British Columbia’s diverse terrain makes it excellent for different types of outdoor activities, and Kamloops is no different. You try mountain biking on one of the city’s numerous trails or practice shooting at one of the city’s shooting ranges. You could also drive North of the city and ski at the prestigious Sun Peaks Resort ski hill.
3. The Challenges of Finding Affordable Housing
Property is in high demand in Kamloops, and this can make it difficult for many newcomers to find a suitable property to purchase or rent.
If you are coming to Kamloops as a student, you should know that the rent for most apartments in the city’s downtown areas can be quite high. It is possible to find more affordable accommodation in different parts of the city. However, such apartments are usually far away from the more developed part of Kamloops.
For this reason, you should definitely get in touch with a realtor or real estate agent to help you find a suitable property before you move to Kamloops.
4. Unique Weather Conditions
Kamloops is one of the few Canadian regions that get to experience all four seasons. The region is a semi-arid desert because it is located in a rainshadow. This means the Summers can get extremely hot while the Winters can get very cold.
Kamloops’ valley regions typically receive around 6 inches of snowfall per year. The mountainous regions can get anywhere from 48 to 96 inches of snow per year, which can be extreme for people immigrating from warmer countries. So you should be prepared to deal with a lot of snow accumulating around your property, depending on where you choose to live.
Many parts of British Columbia experience wildfires each year. Some of these are caused by people, while others are caused by lightning.
There is no way to stop these wildfires from occurring, so Kamloops residents have learned to live with them. The good news is that it is rare for people to be directly harmed by these wildfires. However, the downside is that the smoke from these wildfires can create a thick smog that covers the sky for many days or weeks each year.
6. Urban Crime
The crime rate in Kamloops is comparable to other parts of British Columbia. Much of this is petty crime, so most people feel comfortable walking around the city.
Most of the crime that does occur in this city happens in the North Shore and South Shore downtown areas. However, people in the suburban regions may also fall prey to crimes such as vehicular theft. For this reason, Kamloops residents often keep their cars in garages and other valuables on their property out of sight.
7. Diverse Economy
As mentioned earlier, much of Kamloops’ economy is centred around Thompson Rivers University. However, a large chunk of the city’s GDP comes from its copper and molybdenum mines. There are over four hundred mining suppliers in Kamloops, so it is safe to say a large chunk of residents is part of this mining industry.
Kamloops’ other major industries include forestry and agriculture. This means people living in the region have job opportunities in many different types of industries.
8. The City Layout
Kamloops has a unique layout because its urban centers are divided into two distinct areas. The main downtown area is located in the South Shore region. This part of the city has shopping centers, restaurants, and cinemas, which makes it perfect for both shopping and entertainment.
The North Shore region has flatter land and larger lots. However, this part of the city has a relatively small downtown area. If you intend to reside in the North Shore area, you might not be satisfied with the shopping options available here.
9. High Taxes
If you plan to move to Canada from another country, you may have already heard that the country charges high sales tax on goods. Such taxes usually aren’t included in the list price for different products and must be factored in when purchasing them.
British Columbia charges a 7% Provincial Sales Tax and a 5% Goods and Services Sales tax. When combined, these taxes mean you will end up paying 12% above the retailer’s list price for good.
This tax rate is lower than that found in other provinces such as Nova Scotia, Ontario, and New Brunswick. However, you should still be prepared to pay sales taxes when you go shopping.
10. Limited Number of Immigration Agencies
There is a limited number of immigration consultants in Kamloops, BC, so your options can appear limited if you intend to look through a wide range of immigration agencies. However, each of these consultants possesses a license that allows them to provide immigration services in Kamloops.
Such consultants spend many years studying immigration law and have been certified to practice as immigration consultants in Canada. They are familiar with different BC immigration programs and can guide you on the best immigration route to take.
Moving to a new country in North America can be both exciting and stressful. Please reach out to immigration experts if you need guidance on studying or immigrating to Kamloops. We are based in British Columbia and understand the challenges new newcomers face once they move here. Allow our experts to help you plan your stay in Kamloops.