The stories behind the buildings of Tranquille

I love a good story.

Tim McLeod, development manager of Tranquille Farm Fresh, tells one. Or two.

As a pickup truck pulled our wagon around the old streets of the Tranquille settlement, McLeod took the scattered threads of the area’s history and wove them into a colourful quilt.

There’s the one about how Tranquille got its name. (Fur traders gave Shuswap Chief Pacamoos the nickname for his tranquil nature.)

And the one about Lady Jane, wife of homesteader William Fortune, beating up the fellows who dared piss her off as she tended to the Tranquille Farm.

Or the Fortunes and the Cooneys taking in tuberculosis patients, well before the provincial Board of Health funded the construction of a sanatorium in 1909.

The buildings of the old tuberculosis sanatorium are boarded up — protected from curious eyes and spray-paint carrying graffiti artists — and some falling in their disrepair.

Like the doctor’s house, a beautiful century-old home that sticks out among the surrounding bungalows.

abandoned house

The whispers of the souls who passed their lives here ring loud in McLeod’s stories.

Like the single men who lived in this dormitory:

abandoned tuberculosis residence

The sanatorium administration separated the dorm from the single women’s residence by a field to prevent any shenanigans. But that didn’t stop anyone as many a young adult was seen traipsing through the field for some late-night lovin’.

Once Tranquille Farm Fresh community market opened last summer, the stories have been coming out of the woodwork. People approach Tim all the time with their stories of the Tranquille Farm and Medical Training Institution.

Like former residents, nurses and the women who drove the laundry and food carts in the tunnels below the city.

He’s enlisted the help of the Kamloops Heritage Society to record these stories.

And he wonders how to preserve and respect the rich history of the land as Tranquille Farm Fresh redevelops the property that once was the primary supplier of food to 1,000 people and many others off site.

He wonders how to rebuild and revive the activity at the farm’s piggery, cannery, abattoir, dairy, gardens, orchards and beef testing station, all silent since the government closed the farm in 1985.

There’s a vision to recreate the farm, the working waterfront and a sustainable community, centring the downtown around the old fire hall.

Old fire hall

And Tim and his staff are forging strong relationships with community groups to bring the area back to life. Like the local vintage car club, which rents storage space and has found a home for the original and restored Tranquille Farm pump truck.

old fire truck

He’s working with McElhanney engineers to determine which buildings can be saved. For instance, the Main’s middle section can be preserved but the wings will likely have to be reconstructed.

But theĀ piece de resistance, the Greaves, built in 1927, is too far gone. When the A-Team movie filmed there a few years ago, the crew had to build an alternate roof for the helicopter-landing scenes.

“We’re thinking through what we can and can’t do to protect the history,” Tim says.

The underlying question he always asks is ‘how do you take history and built on it and respect it.

And that’s why the stories of the past are so important to Tim and the rest of the crew at Tranquille Farm Fresh.

“Kamloops owns this property emotionally,” he says. “We need to tap into what the people want and build on it.”

If you’re interested in learning more, Tranquille Farm Fresh offers guided tours throughout the summer on Saturdays, Sundays and long weekend Mondays.

A Heritage Tour
Unpack 6,000 years of fascinating history

Wildlife Watching Tours
Two hours of observing and photographing the birds and wildlife of Tranquille

Walking Photography Tour
A two-hour journey around mountain vistas, Kamloops Lake, heritage buildings and architectural elements

Eco Tour
Two hours of hiking through the Tranquille landscape

Gold Panning Tour
Seach for gold in the waters of the Tranquille River

You can reserve your spot on the tours by emailing or calling 250-434-9690.

And don’t forget to visit the weekend market on Saturdays and Sundays to pick up fresh seasonal fruit and vegetables. The six-acre corn maze celebrates its grand opening on Aug. 3.

See more pictures on our Facebook page. (And like us there, too!)

1 comment

  1. Hi –

    I’m not sure who to contact or how to reach Tim McLeod but I was wondering if I could set up (& pay) for a private tour? My nephews are out to visit me in Kamloops & would LOVE to have a private tour of your building. They both suffer from a genetic disorder that limits their life span, cystic fibrosis and it would be a dream come true if we could have a private viewing. They were out 3 years ago to visit and were so intrequed with the old buildings and history.

    Please let me know if this is possible, or who to contact.

    Thank you in advance,
    Cheryl Grady

Leave a comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *