Metaphorically speaking, one could easily make the argument that the city of Kamloops, British Columbia is indeed just a hop, skip, and a jump from the centre of the universe.
As you will see from each of the stories about Kamloops (hyperlinked below), it is a community and a region in which energy — physical, intellectual, ethical, and social — is not in short supply.
Kamloops is an interconnected and interdependent place, and in the metaphorical sense has a very “centred” and dynamic local culture.
The reference to the Centre of the Universe, however, is based on real events; some might say strange events. It all started in 1977 when Lew Woolman, who lived near Vidette Lake, not far from Kamloops, was taking his dogs to a neighbour’s place when he heard choral singing of the quality and scale of the Mormon Tabernacle Choir.
A number of years later in 1984, Lew received an unexpected visitor who announced that he (the visitor) had arrived at the centre of the universe.
The visitor was a member of a San Francisco-based Tibetan Order of Monks. The Order believes that the Centre of the Universe is an actual physical place, and according to the stranger who appeared at Lew’s door, the Order’s Master Teacher Tartangh Tulku had sent him to Vidette Lake to confirm that they had indeed correctly identified this area as the centre of the universe.
By the way, for 200 years, the First Nations people in the area had also considered it to be of special importance spiritually.
Five years later a small group of Tibetan monks arrived in the area to conduct more tests in order to confirm the discovery; and subsequently they performed a pujo (a blessing ceremony). Since that time, other monks have continued to make the trip to the Kamloops area.
For a number of common sense reasons that a social scientist or cultural anthropologist would have no difficulty recognizing, Kamloops and area (also known as Thompson Country as the city is at the confluence of two branches of the historic Thompson River) has preserved the kind of quality of life for which many people on this planet are yearning.
But, as these podcasts suggest, this quality of life is the product of the people, their values, their principles and practices, and how they have learned to interact successfully with the landscape.
But don’t just take it from me; let the people of Kamloops tell you why they love where they live.
- Context and Culture in Kamloops, British Columbia
- The Fine Art of Cross-Country Skiing in British Columbia’s Thompson Country
- Zen Skiing at Sun Peaks, with Senator Nancy Greene
- Mike Puhallo: Cowboy Poet, Storyteller, and History Buff
- The Grasslands Challenge of British Columbia
- To read the complete Kamloops-Centre of the Universe story, click here.