So what exactly is an Overlander and why is the name attached to so many Kamloops landmarks? - InfoNews

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So what exactly is an Overlander and why is the name attached to so many Kamloops landmarks?

Photo of the Overlander Bridge, taken by Steven Gilligham.
Image Credit: Steven Gilligham
March 12, 2020 - 7:30 AM

If you're new to Kamloops, you may have been struck by how many things are named "Overlander." Maybe you've lived here awhile, and it never occurred to you to ask.

There's the Overlanders bridge, the Overlander Extended Care Hospital, Overlander Drive, the Overlander Ski Club… the list goes on.

So what exactly is an Overlander?

The Overlanders were a group of settlers, so named because they travelled "over land" across Canada from 1859 to 1862.

"There were five groups that set out from Eastern Canada attempting to get to the Gold Rush, and they took various routes across Western Canada and into B.C.," explained Chris Moser, a Kamloops native and local history enthusiast.

One of these groups chose a different route from the others, coming down the North Thompson River in 1862. Their arduous journey was five months long. 

"They almost starved to death by the time they got to Kamloops," Moser said.

Perhaps the most remarkable figure in this story is Catherine Schubert, who was the only woman settler in the party. She traveled across the country with three young children, while pregnant with her fourth.

"The day after the raft got to the fort in Kamloops, Mrs. Schubert gave birth to her fourth child," Moser said. 

According to a collection of diaries compiled in the book The Overlanders of ’62 by Mark Wade, the baby girl was originally named Kamloops, but her name was changed soon after. 

"(The Schuberts) decided to name her Rose, which is where Rose Hill comes from," Moser explained. 

The Schubert family was commemorated in a statue by artists Garry Davis and Terry Norlander. The sculpture features Catherine, her husband Augustus Schubert and one of their children, located on the corner of Victoria Street and 1 Avenue.

The Overlanders, 2003 Artists: Garry Davis and Terry Norlander. Located Victoria Street and 1st Ave.
The Overlanders, 2003 Artists: Garry Davis and Terry Norlander. Located Victoria Street and 1st Ave.

Schubert Drive is also named after this pioneer family.

Moser is the admin for the Kamloops History Facebook page, which was created in 2014. 

"We post pictures, and people post their own pictures and stories, and just share the history of Kamloops,” Moser said. 

As a longtime local, Moser believes an appreciation of Kamloops history is important.

"It defined me as a person growing up in Kamloops," he said. "It’s good for people to have common memories, plus it gives a respect for the town to know [its] history."


To contact a reporter for this story, email Brie Welton or call (250) 819-3723 or email the editor. You can also submit photos, videos or news tips to the newsroom and be entered to win a monthly prize draw.

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