There is room for the arts in the Tournament Capital

Image Credit: Kamloops Sports Council

KAMLOOPS – Mayor Peter Milobar has said over and over a performing arts centre will not diminish the Tournament Capital Brand.

While the Tournament Capital is Kamloops’ crafted identity, and a significant amount of investment has gone into creating it, Milobar contends there is room for a vibrant arts scene as well.

User groups feel the arts community in the city has been ignored. The athletic supporters have had their time, and now with the proposed performing arts centre, its arts’ turn.

Henry Perjil, president of the Kamloops Sport Council, agrees.

“Personally I do feel it’s their turn,” he says, adding any reason to draw people to Kamloops, to showcase local talent, is a win for everyone.

“An event, is an event," he says.

As far a rivalry between the sport community and the art community, Perjil doesn't understand how the two could be mutually exclusive, explaining Kamloops is just too small for that.

“I can't think of one sports family who doesn’t have one kid in hockey and someone else in dance,” Perjil says.

It's his opinion sports organizations have always worked with the arts community, establishing a legitimate partnership. He uses the example of open ceremonies during the city’s many tournaments which featured Kamloops arts and cultural groups, adding he can’t wait for the opening ceremonies in a new performing arts centre.

Perjil believes the perceived conflict is an issue of timing. The sports community had outgrown its facilities before the arts community had, and lobbied the city for more, he says.

The state-of-the-art sports facilities in Kamloops allows the city to attract high-caliber athletes and important competitions and the same is true of the performing arts centre, in Milobar's opinion.

“This is really about adding capacity of stages to the city,” the mayor says.

He believes once the peforming arts centre is built it will eliminate the conflicts being experienced at the Sagebrush theatre. Even though there are sporadic days available, from the perspective of the “theatre world” the centre is completely booked, Milobar says. Like the Tournament Capital Centre before it, he hopes a performing arts centre would attract high-level entertainment to Kamloops.

Perjil says while sport gives the city an identity and a sense of pride, he sees no reason why sports and the arts can't be mutually beneficial.

To contact a reporter for this story, email Dana Reynolds at or call 250-819-6089. To contact an editor, email or call 250-718-2724.

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