The man who led the city during the 1990s is now inching his way toward age 90 at his home in Brocklehurst, surrounded by three generation.
Cliff Branchflower was mayor of Kamloops from 1991 to 1999.
During that time, he recalled excitement in the city amidst major events, such as the Canada Summer Games and the World Fly Fishing Championships.
“I think that helped bring the city together,” Branchflower told KTW. “Volunteers came out in the hundreds to work on all of those various events.”
Today, the 1993 Canada Summer Games is often referred to when people talk about the volunteer spirit of Kamloops, with the event bolstering the Tournament Capital of Canada brand.
Until the national and global events arrived, Branchflower noted the city had played host to provincial championships.
Branchflower recalled warm-up events leading up to the festivities. At one, he met a young man from Newfoundland, who informed Branchflower he was the mayor of his town.
The East Coast mayor was 19 and served a community with a population of 31.
Branchflower was 60 years of age at the time.
That was more than a quarter-century ago and Kamloops has since played host to many more national and international sporting events, including the Brier and the IIHF World Women’s Championships.
Branchflower pays attention.
He’s sharp and healthy — “pretty good for 87,” he said.
The former mayor survived cancer about a decade ago and a heart attack about 15 years ago.
He is grateful for help from family, good neighbours and friends. He said he gets up to “very little” because he can no longer drive and relies on family to get him from point A to point B.
Fortunately, much of his family lives in Kamloops.
Branchflower lives at home on Tranquille Road with his wife of 64 years and enjoys spending time with grandkids, of which he has nine.
He is looking forward to meeting his first great-grandchild in the new year, a baby girl named Olivia, who lives in the United States. He also spends a good chunk of time researching family history on his computer for the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints.
All the while, he takes note of city decisions with which he disagrees — just don’t ask him to weigh in.
“I try to keep my nose out of it,” Branchflower said.
Municipal politics, sure, he’ll stay out. But ask about provincial, national and international politics — and he’s got an opinion.
We live in “interesting times,” he said.
“All my life, I tried to stay away from partisan politics,” Branchflower said.
“I voted across the voting spectrum and tried to concentrate on the individual, rather than the party. Unfortunately, when people get elected, the party whip comes into effect. The local member, the MP, MLA, whatever the case. When the whip says, ‘Jump,’ all you’ve got to ask is, ‘How high?’”
Still, Branchflower said, he lives in the best country in the world, especially when looking south at the United States under President Donald Trump.
Branchflower said he did not watch the impeachment hearings because he did not have the stomach for it.
The last time the U.S. impeached a president was in 1998 — around the time Branchflower was wrapping up his career in politics.