From mountain towns to its shoreline, BC offers plenty this fall

Ways to explore BC this fall

In fall, vivid colours transform an already spectacular setting. With fewer crowds and a slower pace, it’s a wonderful time to travel within our vast backyard. Here are four ways to experience BC this fall.

Remember to plan ahead, and travel responsibly. 

Visit Charming Small Towns

BC’s small towns are tucked among mountaintops, rainforests, and coastlines—find your ideal location and stay awhile.

Mountain towns are perfect for anyone looking to reconnect with nature on a grand scale. Forested peaks are at your doorstep calling you to adventure. Nestled in the Selkirk Mountains, Nelson is home to hundreds of heritage buildings and an eclectic food scene. Further east, towns like Cranbrook, Golden, and Fernie offer the dramatic scenery of the East Kootenays. 

BC’s rugged shoreline draws both adventurers and artists, who flock there for inspiration. Gibsons and Sechelt on the Sunshine Coast boast vibrant art scenes with plenty of locally-owned shops and galleries. Explore sheltered waterways in a kayak, and enjoy fresh fish and chips on land. 

Celebrate Harvest and the Changing Season

Autumn is a time for celebration and renewal, from colourful foliage to food and drink. See the elusive golden larch in E.C. Manning Provincial Park, or on a guided hike with Playwest Mountain Experiences in the Purcells. Celebrate fall’s harvest with a visit to a winery or a farm tour along culinary corridors like the Fraser, Okanagan, or Cowichan valleys. Prepare your palate for October’s Craft Beer Month with a taste test on the BC Ale Trail.

Change Your View With a Cabin or Ranch Stay

Get off the grid with a relaxing getaway to a luxury lodge, guest ranch, or rustic cabin. Stay at Quaaout Lodge & Spa at Talking Rock Golf Resort for lakeside serenity in the Shuswap or Cameron Ridge Bungalows in the Cariboo’s playground of pine and spruce. For a memorable holiday on horseback, visit Wells Gray Guest Ranch or Flying U Ranch

Find Beauty in the City

The tree-lined streets of BC’s urban centres offer plenty of natural beauty. Stay in Victoria and rent a bike to explore the Galloping Goose Regional Trail that runs from Victoria’s downtown waterfront to a hidden lake, a quiet cove, and a forest of fall foliage. Pick up treats at Little Vienna Bakery to refuel after your ride. 

Spend a weekend in Vancouver and wander the West End for a display of Instagram-worthy autumn leaves. Or, visit Dr. Sun Yat-Sen Classical Chinese Garden in Vancouver’s Chinatown, with its water lily pond and burgundy hues, for a peaceful oasis in a bustling city centre.


Babylon by TELUS Health offers convenient care during COVID-19

Make most of virtual care

B.C. has been praised for its effective response to the pandemic. But many aspects of life have still been impacted, including regular access to care.

According to a recent study by Nanos Research and TELUS Health, a third of British Columbians have delayed medical care for themselves or their loved ones due to fear of exposure to COVID-19.

Virtual care tools, such as Babylon by TELUS Health, are on the rise, providing safe, convenient access to care that complements existing health services. In fact, more than three in five B.C. residents had a phone or video call with their family physician during the pandemic, and over half said they would use virtual care services even after the pandemic subsides.

Still, more than half are eager to learn more about virtual care. With 74% of British Columbians concerned that a second wave of the virus will impact their ability to receive care, it’s important for them to better understand how these services work.

“The pandemic brought a lot of uncertainty,” says Dr. Sarah Olson, a B.C. family physician. “When used to its full potential, virtual care will help give families more access to the care and support they need, reassuring them in the face of a potential second wave.”

Particularly helpful for those without a family doctor or who have trouble accessing a healthcare provider, Babylon by TELUS Health allows British Columbians to check their symptoms and quickly connect with a B.C.-licensed physician even during evenings, weekends and holidays. Through the app, B.C. residents can receive care for respiratory symptoms, skin conditions, or even anxiety and depression, as well as get referrals for any necessary diagnostic testing or specialist appointments, and have prescriptions filled, all through their smartphones.

Dr. Olson recommends these tips to make the most of a virtual appointment:

• Register in advance — Register via virtual care tools, such as Babylon by TELUS Health, in advance of any health issues or concerns, ensuring the service is ready to go as soon as you need it.

• Gather personal health information — Complete your profile with your medical history, current medications or allergies, and list your symptoms when booking your appointment so the physician has enough information to make an accurate assessment.

• Secure a private setting — Consider conducting the virtual session in a quiet, private setting that offers the same level of confidentiality as a physician’s office.

• Share consultation notes — If you have a family doctor, add your physician’s name and contact information to your profile to have your virtual consultation notes shared directly with them.

Financing deal helps boost affordable home construction plan

More Habitat homes coming

The comfort, safety and independence created by affordable housing just got a step closer to reality for more families, seniors and veterans in B.C.’s Interior region.

Thanks to an agreement with Interior Savings Credit Union to provide financing services, Habitat Kamloops will be able to significantly increase the number of homes it helps build each year for those in need.

Historically, Habitat’s home ownership program offered 100% financing with zero interest, no down payment and 500 hours of volunteer work by a recipient family whose monthly mortgage payment was tailored to not exceed 30% of their income.

“That meant Habitat needed to fund 100 per cent of the land and building costs,” says Bill Miller, executive director of Habitat for Humanity Kamloops, adding some of those funds came from a number of sources, including sponsorships, and donated supplies and materials.

“Basically, we have now negotiated a deal that provides a combination of a mortgage with the credit union, and a second mortgage with Habitat,” Miller says. “It has typical mortgage terms covering 65 per cent of a home’s assessed value. And where the home recipients win is the remaining 35 per cent covered by Habitat acts as equity.”

That allows Habitat to buy back the property and offer it to another family, senior or veteran in need if the original homeowner moves.

But moreover, what the addition of financing means is Habitat can build a greater number of houses each year, all while the cost to the home recipients remains at a manageable amount, based on their income.

“Typically, we were only able to provide one of two units each year. This agreement with Interior Credit Union will enable us to move in an entirely different direction that will allow us to build many more,” Miller says, adding the ultimate goal is to provide 40 to 60 homes annually.

“And that can be single-family residences, duplexes, townhouses or multi-family homes.”

While this will help fill part of the need for affordable housing in the region, the local economy will also benefit from getting people into their own homes, thanks to the ability for Habitat to access capital to buy materials and pay for services when building homes.

“Originally, we used the model where we asked the community to donate their time or materials to build a home,” Miller says. “But you can only ask the community for that so many times.

“Now, we can call up a business and tell them to give us their best price.”

Studies have also shown that for every dollar Habitat Canada spends in the community, it creates $4 of economic benefit.

For more information about Habitat Kamloops, visit their website at habitatkamloops.com.


This article is written by or on behalf of the sponsoring client and does not necessarily reflect the views of Castanet.

Take survey, maybe win $100 by explaining which path you took

Go to work, or go to school

How did you decide whether to seek or avoid more formal education after Grade 12? A new online survey in B.C. wants to find out, and participants have a chance to win $100.

Dawne Bringeland, a faculty member at Thompson Rivers University and BCIT, is researching how people make the decision whether to get a post-secondary education as part of her dissertation.

“I’m just trying to understand the thought processes behind choosing to go to some form of education or not, and I’m seeking to understand the barriers that might be present that influence the decision-making process,” says Bringeland, a doctoral candidate at Fielding Graduate University’s School of Leadership.

The online survey takes about 10 to 15 minutes to complete, Bringeland adds. Participants can enter a random draw for one of five $100 prizes.

Bringeland is also looking for a cross-section of interviewees who will each be paid $50. All personal data will be kept separate from the anonymous survey.

She hopes to hear from a wide range of respondents from across the province.

Some may have entered an undergraduate degree program; trade school or other stream of formal education while others may have entered the workforce directly after high school or considered upgrading their skills later in life.

Bringeland’s research draws on previous studies, which have looked at barriers to post- secondary education such as the increasing cost of tuition, parents’ own education background, psychological barriers and emotional gaps.

She intends to learn a bit about the backgrounds of the people who made the post-secondary education decision. For example, some students may have had no barriers whatsoever and still decided against it.

Finding out what drives such decisions could benefit students, educators and schools but also have a wider positive impact, Bringeland says.

“There’s a split here,” she says. “What do we need as an economy—in terms of school and student outcomes—to support and grow the economy? And what do we need to do as a society to provide the opportunities for youth to get into those streams [to follow their passions] so that they are not left behind?”

Bringeland’s research on decision-making and post-secondary education has been underway for a decade and she finds the timing of the survey during the pandemic fascinating, she explains.

One thing she wonders is how work-from-home scenarios might influence a person’s decision. Part of B.C.’s workforce has avoided returning to the office but that isn’t an option for workers in manufacturing and production, for instance. The entertainment and hospitality industries have been hard-hit and responded in creative ways, but what will they look like in the future?

Bringeland believes the pandemic has presented an opportunity to consider how and where we work, and “really think about where we want the economy to land.”

She says her findings may present opportunities to look at different models of education that are as legitimate as an undergraduate degree or trade school, but provide an easier path for people to pursue their passions.

“One of the things I hope to come out with is some recommendations on how we present educational opportunities and what kind of changes might need to be considered to get people into school,” she says.

“We’ve got a very linear model of education right now. If we think about open-education models, are there different models that would work better for some of these students who say, ‘It doesn’t work for me because of X, Y and Z’?”

Don’t miss out on the opportunity to share your experience and win $100, the survey runs online for one month, click here to enter.

Kamloops market is still trending in sellers' favour despite COVID

Compete in seller's market

British Columbia and the rest of Canada may still be battling the challenges of COVID-19, but the real estate market in the Kamloops region firmly remains a seller’s.

That’s the view of Aaron Krausert, who along with brother Chris is keen to offer experience and insight to prime clients with the best strategies when either buying or selling their home.

“Yes, we are in a pandemic, but what controls the real estate market is the simple economic concept of supply and demand,” Aaron says. “And in Kamloops, as we have been for the past three years, the demand side has been outweighing the supply side, making for a seller’s market.”

This comes despite the negative national real estate market projections as the COVID-19 virus has affected the Canadian economy.

“With all this worry of value reductions and market collapses, for Kamloops specifically, we remain in a strong seller’s market,” Aaron says. “That means buyers have to be sharp if they get into competitive, multiple-offer situations.”

Helping keep the demand for properties strong has been Kamloops’ diverse economy, which is helped by the fact that both of Canada’s national (CP and CN) rail lines run through the community.

“There are also two mines operating in the region. Plus, Royal Inland Hospital and Thompson Rivers University are major employers that help keep the local economy healthy,” Aaron says. “We are not a one-horse town.

“Yes, some businesses have been affected. But on a larger scale, Kamloops has continued to move forward, and that has been reflected in our real estate market.”

Given that, buyers should be ready to take action when they enter the market. Foremost, that means making sure they have a full pre-approval financing letter from their lender and a sizeable down payment in hand.

“A larger deposit than typical—seller’s will notice that if there’s a multiple offer scenario,” Aaron says.

“Even more importantly, if buyers have a short subject removal period—say, a week, rather than two—that will put the buyer in a much more favourable position.”

Thanks to their experience, Aaron and Chris also have a custom checklist of strategies designed to give their clients an edge in multiple offer situations.

“You must treat those occasions completely differently than when you are simply writing an offer as a sole buyer,” Aaron says. “And it’s a set of strategies we only share with our clients so these methods remain effective for them.”

To find out more about how Aaron and Chris Krausert can help you land the property you want, check out Your Kamloops on Facebook, or email [email protected].

The 2020 Classic Car Raffle revved up and ready to help provide attainable housing

Car raffle returns

Habitat for Humanity Kamloops is getting revved up for its second annual classic car raffle that will help to provide attainable housing for families, as well as seniors and veterans, across all four of their regions in B.C.

This year, a lucky winner will get the keys to a dark cherry red, 1968 Pontiac Beaumont convertible with soft, deep black leather interior — just one of 47 built that year.

This fully restored car is a product of Tappen’s, Mike Hall and his crew at Rust Bros., which is featured on the History Channel’s reality show Rust Valley Restorers.

It’s that kind of support from local businesses, groups and individuals that is helping Habitat Kamloops provide the much-needed assistance in placing seniors, veterans and families in attainable housing.

One project Habitat Kamloops is working on specifically for veterans is in Enderby, B.C., and it will provide 60 housing units.

“We also have a need for about 100 units in Vernon, and Revelstoke is about the same amount,” says Rex Landis, a veteran and Habitat’s procurement and donations coordinator.

“We see this as a much-needed lift for veterans and seniors,” Landis says. “Since John Rose, GM of our ReStore, and Scott Lukianchuk, Habitat’s warehouse and construction manager, and I are all veterans, we know where our veterans and seniors are coming from as well as what a struggle it is to afford decent housing.”

Rose says many veterans depend solely on their small retirement pensions for financial support, which makes housing costs a concern.

“A lot of veterans are dealing with PTSD (post-traumatic stress disorder), which can affect their ability to get hired and supplement their income,” Rose says. “When I tell people about the help Habitat Kamloops can offer, it brings tears to their eyes.”

The opportunity to help make attainable housing a reality for people is what Lukianchuk values.

“I am lucky enough to have a job with a company that is not just about making profits,” he says. “We can actually make a difference in all the communities we serve. The fact that we can help seniors and veterans makes me proud to be a part of Habitat Kamloops.”

Tickets for the 2020 Classic Car Raffle are $25 each and are available online from Habitat Kamloops’ website as well as at the Kamloops Restore. The 2020 draw will be held Dec. 16 at 12:15 p.m. on CFJC’s Midday show.

Landis adds that tickets will likely be sold out quickly, so buyers will need to act fast to ensure they have a chance at the big prize which will be featured in the upcoming new season of Rust Valley Restorers, starting in early December.

For more information about Habitat for Humanity Kamloops, visit online at: habitatkamloops.com.

Catalpa Community sales raise money for Kamloops initiatives

New project helps everyone

A new Kamloops housing development in Brocklehurst is providing more than just a place to call home.

It’s helping to improve Kamloops for everyone.

The 73-unit Catalpa Community, located near the end of Ord Road, is the latest Wings Above Kamloops project, which is dedicated to assisting a variety of local causes. The latest is the creation of a new home for Kamloops Search and Rescue, and SRD (Search, Rescue Detection) K9’s of B.C. at the corner of 8th and Halston, which is the location of the old Soccer Quest and Dirty Jersey Sports Bar.

“What’s incredibly unique about this development is the fact that the developer is hugely philanthropic and community-minded, making a commitment to donate $10,000 from every sale to these very worthwhile groups,” says Realtor Aaron Krausert, who is the exclusive listing agent for Catalpa Community.

The new facilities for Kamloops Search and Rescue will be its regional command centre, and will include training facilities for both search and rescue personnel and the K9 members.

“It will be the new, customized home for search and rescue,” Krausert says. “And with 73 units in Catalpa Community, the financial commitment is significant and extremely generous by the developer.”

The donation comes through the Cooper Family Foundation, which most recently made significant contributions expanding the Marjorie Willoughby Snowden Memorial Hospice Home. The Cooper family formerly owned and operated the Cooper’s Foods chain of grocery stores that was sold to the Overwaitea Food Group in 1999.

“The Cooper Family Foundation has been active in Kamloops for many years and focuses on projects that unbiasedly improve the region for all of us,” Krausert says.

Sales of the single-family detached homes and duplexes at Catalpa Community are scheduled to hit the market by the end of May or early June, with prices purposefully below the median house price in Kamloops, ranging from $399,900 to $459,900.

“There’s nowhere else in Kamloops you can buy a brand new, detached house with a double-car garage, your own fenced yard and high-end finishings like quartz countertops for that price,” Krausert says.

Located at the end of Ord Road near the Ord Road Dog Park, Catalpa Community is close to the River’s Trail along the Thompson River and about one kilometre from Kamloops Golf and Country Club.

The development will uniquely feature a five-kilometre walking path and a spacious amenities area with catalpa trees. Catalpa trees have heart-shaped leaves and are symbolic to the development’s sense of community care.

“It will be the development’s own park, with picnic tables even fitted with charging stations for portable devices. That way, you can work or recreate outside while getting your vitamin D in this extremely sunny western edge of the city,” Krausert says. “With hiking or biking trails, close proximity to the 18-kilometre river’s trail, the golf course, and direct access out of city limits into vast forests and lakes, Catalpa Community has something for everyone. ”

For more information about Catalpa Community, visit online at catalpacommunity.com.

Canada is the country of choice for immigrants. Here's why

It only takes to read the newspaper headlines to know that we live in an unsettled world. There’s Brexit in Great Britain, labour strikes and immigration debates across Europe, and economic challenges in Latin America.

In addition to that, there are the messages about border walls and denied entries coming from the United States. It’s little wonder that Canada is becoming the country of choice for many immigrants.

Canada also announced that it wants to attract 350,000 immigrants a year by 2021. The country was built by immigrants and is firmly committed to the ideal that diversity and its people can make it stronger. However, Canada also needs more skilled workers to reach its full economic potential.

“Canada welcomes everyone regardless of race or religion,” says Rachel Gary, COO of Canada Direct. “The Canadian government wants brilliant minds and skilled workers to come here.”

Now is the time for people who always wanted to move to Canada. “More and more people want to become Canadian citizens,” Gary says. “North America has always had huge appeal to people from around the world, even Europeans. Now, with everything that’s happening in the States, more are turning to Canada.”

People see Canada as a place where they can thrive, live a happy life and meet their own potential.

However, it’s not enough to say that their country of origin is in political or economic turmoil. The Canadian immigration requirements are largely based on people’s desire and ability to contribute to the economy.

“When people come to us asking for information, we make sure they meet proper age and education requirements,” Gary says, explaining how Canada Direct helps their clients through the whole process from the first application to submitting documents for their permanent residency.

“There are things that the Canadian government asks of the potential immigrant. It works on a points system and we help people get the required number of points. For instance, everyone, even if they are native speakers, has to take an English proficiency test. We provide the course and help them prepare. We let them know which documents they need and how to bring them up to Canadian standards. If they are able to apply to multiple programs, we do hybrid applications.”

Do you want to find out if you meet Canada’s eligibility requirements? Canada Direct can help. Click here to start the process of immigrating to Canada today.

Donation prepares TRU respiratory students for hospital work

Perfect timing for donation

Health-care workers have always been unsung heroes, but the COVID-19 pandemic has put a new spotlight on the people who spend their lives saving others. TRU is fortunate to have alumni among these heroes, including nurses, health-care assistants and respiratory therapists. Their expertise is more important than ever.

While the Nursing and Population Health building at TRU will be outfitted with improved simulation technology for training front-line workers, future respiratory therapists (RTs) have also received upgraded diagnostic equipment.

Earlier this year, Peak Medical Group provided TRU with nine pulmonary-function stations that conduct respiratory testing to diagnose chronic lung conditions such as COPD or asthma. Equipping learning spaces with state-of-the-art technology is one of the priorities of TRU’s Limitless campaign to raise $50 million coinciding with the university’s 50th anniversary this year. (Science students are also benefitting from improved lab space thanks to a donation.)

TRU alum Robert Biddlecombe is senior project manager with Peak Medical Group and initiated the donation after slight changes to Alberta’s testing requirements last year put the equipment out of commission in that province.

“We hated to think the machines were going to stay at the back of a warehouse, and we thought of Thompson Rivers University,” he says. “This is equipment that’s being used in hospitals in B.C. right now. It was a great opportunity to upgrade their fleet so students can use equipment that’s being used on patients in the hospital.”

The pulmonary stations allow respiratory therapists to measure how well a patient’s lungs take in and release air, how well they move gases into the body’s circulation and whether treatment will work. Purchasing the equipment new would have cost the university upwards of $600,000.

“We rely heavily on donations from companies that usually have our graduates working for them, and that’s very helpful for us,” RT program chair Mike Lemphers says. “With the small amount of money that’s available for capital equipment, we just wouldn’t be able to do it.”

‘This is a cool job’

Students learn key concepts and practise it in a controlled lab environment before they work on real patients. This preparation is essential, students say. Tyson Edwards was a paramedic before making a career change to respiratory therapy, but not all students have previous health-care experience. Being ready for the hospital environment is important because respiratory therapists are relied on.

“If an RT shows up, everybody just calms down,” Edwards says. “They’re looked to for advice.”

Edwards didn’t know RTs existed until he worked as a paramedic. TRU student Tiaura-Lee Jenkins agreed they fly under the radar.

“I didn’t know this was even a career and when I learned about it, it seemed so interesting,” she says. “The past three years in this program have just solidified how passionate I am about this and how cool our job is.

“I’ve heard people say RTs are the problem solvers of the team. That’s why it’s important for us to know the equipment, because we are looked up to as knowing how to troubleshoot.”

TRU is the only university in B.C. with a respiratory therapy program. The largest hospitals in the province employ approximately 150 respiratory therapists, and TRU takes 80 students into the program each year to keep up with the needs of employers.

For more on Limitless, visit tru.ca/limitless.

Don’t get caught by this caper

“The Trust Trap” may sound like the next big rollicking comedy out of Hollywood, but it’s one of five warning signs for destructive investment fraud schemes that bilk investors out of their money, and the B.C. Securities Commission (BCSC) wants the public to know it’s far more common than people suspect.

Fraudsters take advantage of the trust amongst friends and family or in religious or cultural-social groups, convincing victims to invest their money in the scheme because of personal trust.

One fraudster who used this technique to a legendary extent is Bernie Madoff, who is infamous for running what may be the biggest Ponzi scheme ever, in which he swindled $65 billion from thousands of investors.

When friends and family reveal a “sure thing” offered by a friend or acquaintance, then urge you to get in on it before the opportunity vanishes, it’s a textbook example of how Ponzi and other fraud schemes succeed by leveraging relationships to gain trust. Those who unknowingly perpetuate the fraud are often devastated to discover their unwitting complicity in the scam.

With March being Fraud Prevention Month, the BCSC hopes to empower investors to be skeptical of “hot investments” heard through word-of-mouth. When friends and family reveal a “sure thing” offered by a friend or acquaintance, then urge you to get in on it before the opportunity vanishes, it’s a textbook example of how Ponzi and other fraud schemes succeed by leveraging relationships to gain trust.

These days, people are on the receiving end of a torrent of information, so it’s understandable if they may put more trust in personal referrals. But the BCSC urges you to go online and use their free investor education resource, InvestRight.org, to learn how to spot deals that are too good to be true.

The 5 Fraud Warning Signs

1. The Trust Trap

An important thing to know is, the person who’s brought you the opportunity might not even know fraud is taking place. That’s why this scam is successful – it trades on investors’ inherent trust in their friends and family.

2. High Return, No Risk, Guaranteed

The reason clichés like “there are no guarantees in life” exist is because they’re true. As InvestRight.org explains, fraudsters “may suggest that their ‘risk-free’ investment is backed by ‘assets’ of some kind, or ‘held in trust’,” but this sort of assurance is bogus. There is no such thing as a high-reward no-risk investment, it’s that simple.

3. Fear of Missing Out

People don’t want to be left behind, and scam artists know this. They’ll tell you others are getting rich while you’re sitting on the sidelines because you haven’t got the guts to jump on their amazing offer. If they talk of exclusivity and how others can’t get in on this deal without the golden invite they’ve extended you, that’s a red flag, because legitimate investments usually have one requirement – having money to invest. Authentic investments aren’t about who you know, the luck of the draw, or a backroom deal.

4. Pressure to Buy

If there’s a ticking clock on the deal, it might be part of the fraudster’s ruse in which they pressure you to act fast. They do this so you can’t research the offering or turn to authorities like the BCSC to see if it’s a real deal. If you’re being pressured, err on the side of caution and walk away.

5. Questions Not Answered

Much like the “non-denial denial” that evasive politicians use to avoid tough questions, scam artists are masters of ducking and diving when you want information on their “great opportunity.” They may send piles of legalese and jargon that are hard to sift through and make no sense – a method of intimidation – or they might say they’re too busy to reply because others are so keen to jump on the opportunity you’ve been offered. Follow your gut – if you think you’re getting the run-around, you probably are.

Older is Wiser, But Fraud Never Discriminates

While many investors 55 and older are savvy to such schemes, and the BCSC’s research shows those between 18 and 34 are most vulnerable to being scammed, the reality is that no one is immune.

Embarrassment and shame prevent many people from reporting scams, especially in close-knit groups where people may try to resolve it internally rather than report ‘one of their own’.

If you suspect someone is duping others, or you believe someone you love is being taken advantage of, file a complaint or submit a tip to the B.C. Securities Commission, either at www.bcsc.bc.ca or www.investright.org. You can do it anonymously, but if you leave contact information, then investigators can follow up with you if they need more information.

Past, present and future part of TRU’s 50th celebrations

Fifty years ago, commercial aircraft manufacturer Boeing introduced the first of its iconic, 747 “Jumbo Jets.”

The U.S. space program launched Apollo 8 to perform the first manned orbit of the moon.

Bobby Orr went airborne to score the winning goal in the Boston Bruins’ Stanley Cup win over the St. Louis Blues.

And Thompson Rivers University opened its doors.

Five decades later, the Kamloops-based school is celebrating its five decades of serving the educational needs of the region, and beyond, with a series of events. And one that captures the essence of the time is the free screening of Let It Be, a film documentary about The Beatles which earned an Academy Award for best original song score.

The film will be shown as part of the annual Kamloops Film Festival at the Paramount Theatre (503 Victoria St.) on Saturday, March 7 at 4 p.m.

“It is a very important anniversary for our institution, so we wanted to invite our entire community to see a film that was released in the year of our inception,” says Lucille Gnanasihamany, TRU’s Associate Vice President of Marketing and Communications.

Gnanasihamany adds film-goers will be encouraged to dress up in fashion conducive to the era of the film.

“It’s a great reminder for everyone to think about the fact that all year long we are celebrating being 50 years old, and encouraging people to recollect key milestones of the time.”

Helping keep the 50th celebrations rolling throughout the year is a calendar filled with other major and ongoing events.

One of them is TRU’s Gifts of Learning series featuring monthly opportunities to be present at a unique presentation showcasing the school’s faculty, programs and research.

The Tap into Research events offer a lecture every two weeks or so at a local craft brewery or restaurant covering a wide variety of intriguing topics.

In March, International Days (I Days) features a celebration of culture, diversity, sustainability and innovation through a celebration of the university’s global community.

With around a third of TRU’s population made up of international students, Gnanasihamany says I Days is a fitting event that shows how TRU has evolved and grown.

There will also be another large celebration Sept. 11-13 with the Homecoming event.

“That weekend will mark the official start of our first year of operation at TRU,” Gnanasihamany says.

And nominations are being accepted to name a top 50 of influencers in the school’s history, from academics and students to community members and administrators.

“They will be celebrated at a reception in September,” Gnanasihamany says.

For more information about TRU’s 50th anniversary, and a calendar of events, visit online at tru.ca/tru50.

Donors give $130,000 for health-care education at TRU Gala

Health-care education is getting more lifelike at TRU with the purchase of a new mannequin that can simulate the behaviour of a sick infant.

The TRU Foundation dedicated its 2020 Gala to the cause, raising $130,000 to buy a high-fidelity infant mannequin for nursing and respiratory therapy programs. Donors raised their paddles to give anything from $50 to $7,500 per bid. The TB Vets Charitable Foundation alone donated $20,000.

Funds raised contributed to TRU’s Limitless campaign to raise $50 million by the end of the year as TRU celebrates its 50th anniversary—with $43 million raised to date.

“I had no idea the community would support us that much,” said Wendy McKenzie, simulation co-ordinator and faculty member in the School of Nursing.

“It felt really good because it meant we got the message out that this is critical for students. We see this as a crisis, and we’d like to have the support of the community to help us overcome it.”


Students have few opportunities to work with critically ill child patients in Kamloops. Because of medical advancements, patients are managed at home and, if their conditions become serious, they are transferred to hospitals on the coast, McKenzie said. This has prompted a need for more expensive training equipment at TRU to simulate situations students aren’t exposed to during their clinical training.

 “The real world is ever changing. They can give you the basic skills in your program, but to really practice on the floor you have to think and act quickly,” said Kalen Hutton, a student in the health-care assistant program currently enrolled in a practicum.

“I’m definitely learning to think as I go,” he said.

This September, TRU’s Nursing and Population Health Building will open a whole new learning environment for students, including patient simulation labs where future nurses will work will high fidelity mannequins.

These mannequin can simulate complex conditions and respond to interventions incredibly realistically. Some have cameras in their eyes. Some can even talk. Sick children behave differently than adults, however, and instructors have been using dolls to teach about infants.

“These are expensive pieces of equipment,” McKenzie said. “The more realistic we can make it, the more prepared they are when they see it in practice. We can stop, redirect and try again. Students just get better and better and better.”

Community shows overwhelming support

Fundraising at the TRU Foundation Gala for the equipment far exceeded its $100,000 goal.

The TB Vets Charitable Foundation and its board of directors contributed TRU $20,000 toward the infant mannequin because they understand its enormous value.

“I was very moved by the experience at the TRU Gala as I could see how important this grant was,” said Kandys Merola, executive director of the TB Vets Charitable Foundation. “Many excited students and staff came to thank me.”

Dean of Science Tom Dickinson said the respiratory therapy and nursing programs have collaborated for several years to develop and use simulation to teach students about the importance of inter-professional co-operation in providing quality health care.

“It was heartwarming to see the community come together to support Thompson Rivers University,” said Rani Srivastava, dean of the School of Nursing. “I am filled with gratitude that so many people raised their paddle to support us.”

To learn more about TRU’s Limitless campaign, visit tru.ca/limitless.

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