A series on West Kootenay/Boundary place names
By Greg Nesteroff
Special to Black Press
Destiny Bay is on the East Shore of Kootenay Lake, near the mouth of Akokli Creek (which is the Ktunaxa word for horn or antler).
In Tom’s Gray Creek, Part II, p. 47, Tom Lymbery explains: “In 1929 Lil West and her husband, Donald, had started Destiny Bay at Boswell and came up with the name Destiny Bay Tourist Court. After opening a store, they allowed those escaping the dust and Depression from the Prairies to build cottages on their property, on condition that if they left, their cottages became the Wests’ property.”
The earliest known contemporary references are in the Creston Review of Aug. 18, 1933: “Mrs. Kemp and Miss Betty Kemp are spending the week at Destiny Bay near Boswell, on a camping holiday … Mrs. W.E. and Miss Kate Payne are spending a holiday in camp with friends at Destiny Bay, near Boswell.”
The Wests sold the resort in 1936. Destiny Bay showed up in the 1953 BC Gazetteer and was officially adopted in 1963.
The Florence mine was one of the biggest producers of the Ainsworth mining camp. It was above Princess Creek, five kilometers north of the Ainsworth townsite, but it’s unclear who Florence was.
The earliest mention of the company that owned the claim is in the Phoenix Pioneer of Aug. 10, 1912: “The Hope mine is being operated by the Florence Silver Mining Co. of Spokane, of which F.R. Wolfe [sic] is general manager.”
Ferdinand Ralph Wolfle (1882-1952) obtained a Crown grant for the Florence fraction in 1917, but that doesn’t necessarily mean he originally staked it. Was there a Florence in his family? Not that we’ve been able to discover.
The mine shipped its first ore in 1912, but didn’t become a going concern until about 1915. As Ted Affleck writes in High Grade and Hot Springs, p. 62: “For several years the population at the site was sufficiently large to support a school, which opened on the main bench in 1918-19 under the tutelage of Miss Helen Giegerich. The sale of the mine in 1923 to a group of Detroit capitalists raised great hopes which were never realized. Reorganized in the late 1920s as the Kootenay Florence, and later the Western, the mine has been an intermittent shipper since.”
The townsite — interchangeably known as Florence and Princess Creek — also included miners’ residences and a manager’s home. The latter and the schoolhouse still stand.
This spot on Kootenay Lake’s north shore was opposite Harrop. It was was named for the Fox brothers, George Oscar Montague (1870-1929) and Beaufoy Howard (1874-1927), who ranched there and founded the Kootenay Jam Co.
The brothers came to Canada from Middlesex, England in 1907 and probably knew a lot more about machines than growing fruit — Beaufoy was a mechanical engineer and George a mechanical draftsman. We can speculate they were enticed by sales pitches about how easy and profitable it was to be an orchardist in BC. The first sign of them in the area is in the Nelson Daily Canadian of April 9, 1908, which described the founding of the jam company and plans for a factory on their property.
Their namesake landing was first mentioned in the Nelson Daily News that June: “The Kootenay Jam Company of Harrop announce that they are now ready to receive consignments of fruit, and are requesting local ranchers to advise them as to the quantities they will be in a position to ship to the factory this season. All berries should be addressed to the company at Fox Landing.”
They quickly outgrew their modest premises and announced plans to build a factory at 601 Front Streeet in Nelson. Local architect Alex Carrie designed it and contractor John Burns built it. Premier Richard McBride presided over the grand opening on June 23, 1909. Despite a further endorsement from Gov.-Gen. Earl Grey, the operation was not a great success and in the spring of 1911, the Kootenay Jam Co. moved to Mission, citing an insufficient supply of local fruit. The factory was sold to the community Doukhobors, who renamed it the Kootenay Columbia Preserving Works and operated it until opening a much larger factory in Brilliant in 1915. Today the building is the Front Street Emporium.
The change of scenery did not help the Kootenay Jam Co., which also failed at Mission. The Fox brothers moved to Massachusetts for a few years, then returned to England, where both died before they were 60. Beaufoy was survived by a wife and son.
This obscure place was a proposed grape growing area on the south shore of Kootenay Lake, about two miles west of Procter. It was mentioned for the first and only time in the Nelson Daily News in April 1908: “The new settlement will be called Peas [sic] Valley or Friedensthal and will be composed of 345 acres … The men and their families now on their way here come from Germany chiefly, though there are Russians and Hungarians in the lot. They are all used to grape culture and come from vineyards.”