It is on the shores of Shuswap Lake, where the Salmon River empties into the Salmon Arm reach of the Lake. It is a tourist town in the summer, with many beaches, camping facilities and house boat rentals. Salmon Arm is home to the longest wooden wharf in North America.
The largest employer in the Salmon Arm area is the forest industry and related businesses; however, due to economic conditions, the former Federated Co-Op sawmill has been out of operation since 2008, although the co-located plywood production facility has generally remained operational. The city benefits from access to the mainline of the Canadian Pacific Railway, which passes through the city.
Many tourists come to Salmon Arm from Vancouver, Calgary and Asia. Most tourists arrive during the summer season, either stopping en route to other holiday destinations, or to visit Shuswap Lake, often via rental houseboats and which has recreation residential communities and campgrounds all around its shores.
Little is known about the history of Salmon Arm preceding the laying of the Canadian Pacific Railway in September 1885. While miners and settlers looked for gold in the surrounding areas, the beaches of Salmon Arm lay virtually untouched. By the end of the 1890s, the town had grown to include many new buildings such as two general stores, a school, and a hotel. The population had grown to over 200 people.
By 1904, Salmon Arm had acquired a reputation for having an excellent fruit harvest. The local businessmen grew fruit as a main export, sending it to the larger, more populated towns that surrounded it. The displays for their crops could be found in stores in Kamloops and New Westminster, and the Hudson's Bay Company in Vancouver often featured an entire local Salmon Arm display.
Salmon Arm is on Trans-Canada Highway 1, roughly halfway between Vancouver and Calgary. The nearest major cities are Kamloops, a little over an hour's drive west on Highway 1, and Kelowna, which is a little over an hour's drive southeast on Highway 97.
Greyhound Canada has announced that it will terminate all services in Western Canada and Northern Ontario at the end of October 2018.
Greyhound Canada offers daily bus service to Salmon Arm from other cities in British Columbia, including Vancouver (6-9 hours, depending on the number of stops, Kamloops (2 hours) and Kelowna (2 hours).
It is now possible to travel on BC Transit on Wednesdays all the way to or from Vernon, Kelowna, and Peachland. Although the trip is considerably longer than Greyhound, the total cost is only $4.25 from Kelowna or $4.75 back, for adults. The route is the following: from downtown Kelowna take an early morning #97 Express to UBCO, get a transfer ticket. Catch the noon (latest) #90 North Okanagan; in Vernon switch to the #60 Enderby, then in Enderby take the #11 Salmon Arm. The total trip takes approximately 3 hours, and is ONLY available on Wednesdays.
Salmon Arm has a basic public transit system that operates shuttle buses on half-hour or hour-long frequencies, during daytime hours. All lines converge downtown in front of Askew's supermarket, and the #3 Canoe bus will bring users to the main public beach. On Wednesdays the #11 Enderby leaves at 8 am and connects with a bus to Vernon, which is a cheap way to start moving further down the Okanagan valley.
- RJ Haney Heritage Village & Museum, 751 Highway 97B NE, ☎ , e-mail: email@example.com. 40-acre park with a museum on local history, heritage village, trails, a tea room and dinner theater in July and August.
- Wednesdays on the Wharf is a free concert featuring local artists playing a range of styles, on Wednesday evenings during the summer in a grassy area near the Salmon Arm Wharf.
- [dead link] SAGA Public Art Gallery (Hudson Ave at McLeod St). Tu-Su 11AM-4PM. New exhibition every month. By donation.
- With all the water around, there are a number of beach, boating and fishing options in the area. The most popular near the city at Canoe and Sandy Point, which are accessible by city bus, with the provincially-operated Heralds Park offering campsites too.
- There are houseboats from Waterway Vacations and other companies docked at the Salmon Arm Wharf, which require advance bookings, but are a good (if expensive) way of exploring the expanse of Shuswap Lake.
- Cross country skiing. At Larch Hills, 15 km east of town.
- Salmon Arm Roots & Blues Festival, Salmon Arm Fairgrounds (one block off the Trans-Canada highway in the center of town). Annual festival on the third weekend of August with folk, roots and blues music, that attracts up to 30,000 festival-goers every year.
There are a number of gift and clothing stores in the downtown area, centred on Alexander and Lakeshore.
Salmon Arm also has two malls, Centenoka and Picadilly, and a number of big-name stores.
Thanks to its location on the Trans-Canada Highway, Salmon Arm boasts a large number of fast-food and chain restaurants, with names including Boston Pizza, East Side Mario's, Home Restaurant, White Spot Triple O's, and others.
- Table 24, 1460 Trans-Canada (In the old courthouse at TCH and Shuswap), ☎ . Salmon Arm's high class dining. Rated one of the best restaurants in the interior. Approx $40 per person.
- Yan's Kitchen, 2880 21 St NE, ☎ . A popular buffet-style Chinese restaurant in the Hillcrest area. Less than $20.
- Mino's. A high-class Greek restaurant with authentic tzatziki, mildly overpriced but a good night out. Also on top of the hill. $20-40 per person.
- Setter's Neighbourhood Pub (behind Super 8 Motel uptown) is a slightly classier pub and restaurant that has decent pub fare.
- Outlaws Saloon (off highway 1 across the street from Shell) is a bar/nightclub on some nights has mechanical bull or strip shows.
- Best Western Salmon Arm Inn, 61 10th Street SW, ☎ , toll-free: . Check-in: 3PM, check-out: 11AM. Standard motel rooms with complimentary continental breakfast and indoor pool.
- [dead link] Holiday Inn Express Salmon Arm, 1090-22nd Street NE, ☎ , toll-free: . Newer hotel with pool, hot tub, gym and complimentary continental breakfast.
- [formerly dead link] Prestige Harbourfront Resort and Convention Centre, 251 Harbourfront Drive NE, ☎ . Luxury hotel on the lakefront with a number of themed suites. From $200 in high season, from $140 at other times of the year. A balcony or lakeside room will cost extra.
- Visitor infocenter, 751 Marine Park Dr, ☎ . M-Sa 8:30AM-5:30PM.
Going further up the Shuswap, to secluded beaches or popular tourist resorts, is possible with a private car or a boat. Check at the Visitor info centre for ideas of fun or relaxing stops on the Shuswap.
|Routes through Salmon Arm|
|Vancouver ← Kamloops ←||W E||→ Sicamous → Banff|
|END ←||N S||→ Jct N S → Vernon / Kelowna (via )|