A series on West Kootenay/Boundary place names
Unlike many other places, we know when, why, and by whom Syringa Creek was named. This spot on Lower Arrow Lake is home to lilacs, the common name for syringa, the flowering woody plant. David Loughnan (1883-1952) and Robert Russell Rose (1887-1968) chose the name around 1903.
Loughnan was born in Worthing, Sussex, England and began apprenticing as a printer at age 12. In 1903, he and Rose were hired by a lord or earl named Fitzpatrick and sent to Canada to clear land by hand.
The two young men spent several months camped on the lake and Loughnan celebrated his 21st birthday there. They took a raft to the nearest sternwheeler landing for mail and hiked out for groceries. They named their campsite Syringa, which the Geographic Board of Canada officially adopted on June 30, 1904.
Loughnan and Rose returned to England, but came back to Canada in 1906 and possibly returned to Syringa before moving to Vancouver, where they roomed together and worked as printers — Loughnan for the Vancouver News Advertiser and Rose for R.P. Latta &Co.
On Sept. 23, 1914, Loughnan enlisted with the Canadian Expeditionary Force and was sent overseas with the 16th Battalion. He was promoted to corporal, but reverted to private at his own request. In 1915, during the Second Battle of Ypres at Langemark, Belgium, he suffered a gunshot wound to his abdomen and spent several months in hospital. Declared medically unfit to continue service, he received his military discharge in November and returned to Canada — with his new bride.
She was Daisy Rose, Russell’s sister, whom Loughnan married in Northampton on Oct. 7, 1915. They had three children, including David Jr., who served with the Royal Canadian Signal Corps during the Second World War and was killed in action near Moyland Wood, Germany.
David Sr. worked for customs for a while and later as a journalist and copy writer. He wrote for the Vancouver Province and spent 23 years in the advertising department at Eaton’s. He was also president of the BC branch of the Great War Veterans Association, editorial director of British Columbia Digest, and an amateur photographer who took many pictures of the construction of the Lions Gate bridge.
Loughman’s granddaughter, Glyn Violini of Balfour, provided the pictures seen here.
Russell Rose married Grace Stapleton in England in 1914. They returned to North Vancouver where Rose continued to work as a printer until 1956. He returned to visit Syringa the following year.
A post office operated at Syringa from 1911 to 1966. Syringa Creek Provincial Park was established on Nov. 19, 1968, following the construction of the Hugh Keenlyside dam and relocation of residents. The name was changed to Syringa Park and the area expanded in 1995.