What is becoming of Kamloops


If you’re not in England, and someone hears you mention Wimbledon, they’re likely to think you’re talking about the pinnacle of tennis matches. What else is that city known for on the global scale? The same sort of thing might happen if you’re nowhere near Indiana when you bring up Indianapolis. A lot of Europeans might expect that word to be followed by the number 500, because that city is internationally known only for formula one racing. This is how I think it will soon be whenever an atheist hears Kamloops mentioned outside of Canada; they must be talking about the international conference called ‘Imagine No Religion‘.

Bill Ligertwood of the Kamloops Centre For Rational Thought chose his own humble little home town to host an annual gathering of rational thinkers flown in from all over the world. There are no direct flights to this place; the airport is too small. But as remote as it is, the idea works and has worked for three years running. Consequently Kamloops is becoming something of an atheist Mecca. ;-)

The town itself is rather charming in the spring, and the Kamloops Coast Hotel and Convention Centre offers a perfect venue. It’s an intimate setting. The conference centre is an elegant dinner theater only big enough for a few hundred people. Fountains and flowing streams run all through the hotel interior. The lounge, dining rooms, the catering for all diets, all very nice. I’ve been to a lot of freethinking secular humanist skeptical atheist conventions over the last few years; this was organized as well as any of them.

I understand the line-up changes every year. The hosts of The Thinking Atheist and the Atheist Experience were there last year, along with Laurence Krauss and several others of that calibre. This year the line-up of a couple dozen speakers and performers included Victor Stenger, Dan Dennet, and Aruna Papp. Her personal and deeply-moving presentation brought a standing ovation with ‘not a dry eye in the house’.

Most of the attendees were Canadian, -albeit from all over the country- and there was a surprising number of conventioneers from the UK. Otherwise there wasn’t a lot of ethnic diversity this time around, I’m sorry to say, but gender and age groups were well-represented, and absolutely everyone seemed to be having a really good time. There was no apparent drama, no one with issues to be addressed or avoided. Just a couple hundred people who flew in happy to be there and sorry to leave.

One last thing, be sure to try the local specialty brew, an opaque black chocolate stout called ‘Back-Hand of God‘. Not only is the name amusingly ironic -given the customers in question, but the beer is actually quite good!

Comments

    • Hairy Chris, blah blah blah etc says

      Yep, the city of London as opposed to the City of London… ;-)

      Wimbledon itself if a bit meh. Town centre is generic suburban crap. Some nice leafy parts though.

  1. andrewkiener says

    Just another slight error: Indy isn’t really known for Formula One racing. They have run the US Grand Prix there off and on, but the Indy 500 isn’t an F1 race.

    Sorry to pick nits, but this sort of thing starts fistfights in some circles. Religious nuts have nothing on race fans :-)

  2. left0ver1under says

    There’s nothing wrong with hosting it in Kamloops, although Kelowna would have been a nicer and more picturesque place to visit.

    But if you know BC politics, you know it would never be held in Vernon, and not because of Vernon’s size.

  3. Susan Ferguson says

    I wanted to attend this conference but was unable to do so. I am really surprised that this happened in Kamloops. I’m from Kamloops, it’s a town of may chuches. My sister still lives there and there are six churches within walking diatance of her house. It was a town where Jehovas witnesses and Mormons were always making a nuscience of themselves, knocking on your door at dinner time to tell you about god. It was a town where half my grade 12 biology class walked out on the instructor the day we were supposed to learn about evolution. I’m glad things are improving.

  4. Dave Jones says

    we really enjoy it when you little whiners start calling the police, but they won’t save you from JUDGMENT DAY

    usaparanormalchallenge.tumblr.com/

    how we won the James Randi $1,000,000 Paranormal Challenge

      • bryanfeir says

        Looks like a classic Mabus/Markuze posting, though it’s unusual in that it doesn’t use ‘dm’ as initials somewhere.

        • Lord Narf says

          Yeah, there are a lot of similar details to his ranting insanity, now that you mention it.

  5. says

    That’s a spammer trying to get you to go to his site with a totallly bogus come on. I think the name is Mabus. Total dipstick. Ignore any post that includes “how we won the James Randi $1,000,000 Paranormal Challenge.” It remains unclaimed.

    • Lord Narf says

      I dunno. Dave Jones doesn’t seem like a normal spambot. He’s actually somewhat on subject and is reminiscent of some other mentally unstable people we’ve had harrassing the skeptic community, in the past, like Bryanfeir said.

  6. spike13 says

    Unless i’m mistaken,Kamloops is also home to some world class mountain biking trails as well.
    “Come for the Atheism,stay for the suicidal plunges!”

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