Lesra Martin, born in 1963 in Queens, New York. Despite passing school, he remained illiterate until he was sixteen. Regardless, Lesra was always keen to learn especially after a near-death fall from a five-storey building when he was 12.
His life changed when a group of Canadian entrepreneurs offered to help with his education in Canada after realizing his potential. He graduated high school in Ontario and received a BA (Honours) in Anthropology from the University of Toronto. He went on to obtain a law degree from Dalhousie University.
Martin became involved with the release of Rubin “Hurricane” Carter after serving 22 years in prison. With the help of the Canadian group, Carter was released in1983.
Martin’s story is portrayed in the film The Hurricane starring Denzel Washington as Carter. The National Film Board also produced The Journey of Lesra Martin.
He and his wife Cheryl have practiced law in Kamloops for over ten years.
Scott is a hockey player (b 31 Aug 1973, Edmonton). He honed his skills in Cranbrook and attracted the attention of the Kamloops Blazers, for whom he played 3 seasons. He was a West Division all-star, top student-athlete in Canadian junior hockey and a member of the team that won the 1991 world junior championships. He made a memorable pass to set up the game-winning goal that brought the 1992 Blazers their first national junior championship Memorial Cup and brought him honours as the tournament’s MVP. Drafted by the New Jersey Devils, he helped the team to win Stanley Cups in 1995 and 2000. He played for Team Canada in the 1996 World Cup and by the late 1990s he had established himself as one of the NHL’s premier defencemen. (from B.C. Encyclopedia)
Mark was born and raised in Kamloops and attended NorKam Secondary. He was a student at Cariboo College and later the University of B.C. where he graduated with a Degree in Meteorology in 1986. In 1987, Mark was hired by Environment Canada and was posted to the Pacific Weather Center in Vancouver. Mark has a passion for weather. He admits to being obsessed with weather since the age of 9 or 10, when he started tape-recording his own forecasts. Mark takes pride in his ability to inform the public of approaching severe weather conditions. Mark resides in White Rock with his wife Laureen, their two kids, Matthew and Tessa, and their two cats, Ralphie and Rachel. Mark began working at BCTV in May 1994 as the noon news weather forecaster. He moved to the Weekend Weather post in the fall of 1997, and is now Senior Meteorologist.
Meryl Matthews (Wain) was born on October 16, 1911 in Kamloops and has lived her entire life here. During the Second World War, she worked in the medical corps. After the war, she went to work at the Sentinel Newspaper she became women’s page editor, and later the city editor. In 1948, she married Fred Matthews. From 1963 to 1972 they ran the MM Garden Shop downtown from April to June. Meryl Matthews is a Charter member of the Kamloops Garden Club and Soroptimist International of Kamloops. She was elected alderman in 1972 before the 1973 amalgamation and re-elected twice after amalgamation. She served on numerous boards and was the first woman to receive the Freeman of the City Award. She currently resides at Cariboo Manor, a seniors care facility, in Westsyde. What a lady! … a Kamloops politician, volunteer and gardener extraordinaire. (from Rachel Long)
The Overlanders were gold seekers from Ontario who trekked across the western Interior to the Cariboo between 1858 and 1862. Most of them were young men of limited means who hoped to make their fortunes in the Gold Rush. The largest group made the crossing in 1862. Members gathered at the Red River Settlement in Manitoba, and the first group of about 150 people, led by Thomas McMicking, set out early in June. Two smaller groups followed. The main party’s only woman, Catherine Schubert, traveled with her husband and three young children; their fourth child was born after they arrived in BC. They journeyed by Red River cart and packhorse, crossing the plains to Fort Edmonton. Another group went overland south toward Kamloops, two were drowned along the way and the rest almost starved. A few Overlanders found gold in the Cariboo; many remained in BC and went on to have successful careers. (from B.C. Encyclopedia)
Rafe was a lawyer, politician, broadcaster (b 31 Dec 1931, Vancouver). After graduating from UBC law school he was called to the bar in 1961 and practised law in Vancouver and Kamloops from 1961 to 1975. He entered politics as a Kamloops alderman in 1973 and in 1975 won election to the provincial legislature as a Social Credit Party member for that city. He held 3 posts in Premier Bill Bennett’s Cabinet. During much of this period he also handled the constitutional portfolio for the province. In 1981 he retired from politics to become host of his own radio talk show on CJOR in Vancouver. In 1984 he switched to CKNW, where he emerged as one of the liveliest, most outspoken broadcasters in Canada. His show became the highest rated single-market talk show in the country, and he was credited with influencing opinion on major public issues. (from B.C. Encyclopedia)
Len was a scientist, politician (b 16 Nov 1933, Vernon). A graduate of UBC (1959) and the University of Idaho (1964), he was an agricultural research scientist at the Kamloops Research Station from 1960 to 1965. He worked as special assistant to 2 federal cabinet ministers in Ottawa, then was elected Liberal MP for Kamloops-Cariboo in 1968-the first Aboriginal elected to Parliament since Louis Riel. In 1976 he became the first Aboriginal to serve in the federal cabinet when he was named minister of state for small business by Prime Minister Pierre Trudeau. After his defeat in the 1979 election, Marchand became administrator for the Nicola Valley Indian Administration in Merritt. He was named to the Senate in 1984, the same year he became honorary chief of the Okanagan Nation, and served until retiring in 1997. In 1999 he was named to the Order of Canada. (from B.C. Encyclopedia)
The “King of Kamloops” was a Kamloops entrepreneur (b 1842, Ottawa; d 23 June 1901, Kamloops). He came west to BC in 1862 and tried his luck at gold mining in the Cariboo and on Vancouver Island, then moved to Kamloops in 1864. In partnership with William Fortune he built a flour mill and sawmill at Tranquille, then became part of a partnership that built the Shuswap Milling Co. on the Kamloops waterfront in 1877. Over the next several years there was hardly a development in town in which McIntosh was not involved, including the waterworks, the electric light company and the first hospital. As a result he became known as the “King of Kamloops.” (from B.C. Encyclopedia)
Don was a fur trader (b 1805, Tobermory, Scotland; d 17 July 1864 near Chilko Lake). He joined the HBC in 1833 and served in the Oregon Territory until he transferred to Fort Alexandria on the upper Fraser River in 1842. For the next 18 years he rose through the ranks, serving at different posts in New Caledonia until he was put in charge of Fort Kamloops in 1855. He was an effective trader known for harsh treatment of his First Nations clients. In 1860 he resigned from the HBC rather than accept a transfer out of BC. With his family he settled at Hat Creek south of Clinton, where he farmed, raised livestock and ran a stopping place on the Cariboo Wagon Road. In 1864, during the so-called Chilcotin War, he joined the pursuit of the fugitive Tsilhqot’in and was shot and killed by one of them. His sons were members of the notorious Mclean Gang of outlaws. (from B.C. Encyclopedia)
Arthur William was a fishing guide (b 29 June 1881, Bristol, England; d Oct 1940, Kamloops). He is considered the dean of sport fishing guides from the early days of angling in the BC Interior. After immigrating to the province as a young man, he settled in the Kamloops area and worked mainly out of Echo Lodge on Paul Lake. He invented a series of classic fly patterns, and his knowledge of the Kamloops Trout and its habitat was unequalled. In the last week of his life he was still guiding anglers. (from B.C. Encyclopedia)