Kenna Cartwright leaves sports legacy

There was a fascinating woman named Kenna Cartwright that I had the privilege of knowing. At every opportunity we would discuss the basics of social science or rather the collective of community, and she was very clear at what her vision was.

I knew then she was the real thing.

At the time I was a director of the Indian Friendship Centre and we had a plan for developing a First Nations housing project within the city. What I also knew at the time was that Kenna had been promoting Kamloops as a central point for sports. She, of course, named us the tournament capital of British Columbia, which turned into the Tournament Capital of Canada.

Kenna was a visionary of our time. During the '80s Kamloops was depressed as a result of the economic downturn worldwide. I would go to meetings at the chamber of commerce and finally came to the conclusion that we needed new money in our community to rely on any further growth. Everybody at the time was trying new ideas to attract new business.

Kenna, her dear heart, wouldn't let up on the idea of bringing sports events to Kamloops. Kenna was proposing that we as a community would bring in new revenue as a result of our activities and competitive sports programs (hockey, baseball, rodeo, golfing, just to name a few).

I don't want to sound like I'm capitalizing on this concept but as a student in the '70s we brought high school rodeo to Kamloops and made it the centre for high school rodeo at that time. It, too, brought revenue into our community from all over the province. These were some of the discussions that Kenna and I had, and some of the ideas that she brought forth as a councillor here in Kamloops.

Kenna is the reason why we have the wonderful athletic facilities such as TCC and the now new fields coming on board at Rayleigh here in Kamloops that we enjoy and capitalize on financially and welcome our visitors and new found friends.

She is my muse.



Editor's note: While the late Mayor Cartwright was indeed, a champion of the concept of tournaments, the idea of calling Kamloops the Tournament Capital of B.C. came from a local resident who proposed it to her. She then took the idea to City council. The Tournament Capital of Canada label is credited to Dave Gracey, who served on City council from 1999 to 2003. The Tournament Capital Centre and the upgraded McArthur Island facilities were approved in a subsequent referendum.

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