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Slocan Lake bay fit for a king

A series on West Kootenay/Boundary place names

Place Names is by Greg Nesteroff

Special to Black Press

Kootenay Lake has a Queens Bay and for a little while Slocan Lake had a King’s Bay.

This short-lived subdivision was first mentioned in the Nelson Daily News of July 3, 1911: “Slocan Fruit Lands Co. … owns 2,500 acres of splendid bench fruit land on Slocan lake, northwest from New Denver, on the opposite side of the water. [There are] 11 lots in a subdivision at this point, which has been named King’s Bay …”

The property was said to be six miles north of New Denver, which would put it near today’s Wragge Beach.

The Slocan Lake Fruit Lands Co.’s principals were Samuel Markham Brydges, George Petty, and sales manager William R. Haldane. They brought Nelson’s Allan Lean out to photograph the land as they prepared to put it on the market.

“The land requires little clearing and is similar in soil conditions to the famous Kootenay Lake soil, on which such splendid fruit and vegetables are grown,” the Daily News reported.

Putting his money where his mouth was, “Mr. Petty, who is an official of the Great West Life insurance company, was so impressed with the layout that he took a ten acre plot right off.”

But the development failed to take off – no references to King’s Bay have been discovered after 1911.

The namesake king would have been George V, who reigned from 1910 to 1936.

There was a connection between King’s Bay and Queens Bay: Brydges obtained a Crown grant for Lot 6899 at Queens Bay in April 1907.

KOOLAREE, LOURDES,

NICKAWA

In 1931, the United Church started a camp on the south shore of Kootenay lake’s West Arm, opposite McDonald’s Landing, which it named Koolaree — derived from Kootenay Lake Religious Education.

It’s pronounced either KOOL-a-ree and Koo-LAIR-ee, depending on who you ask. The camp is still in use.

Meanwhile, the Catholic Church established Camp Lourdes in 1935, opposite and a little east of Kokanee Creek Provincial Park, named after Our Lady of Lourdes, a title for the Virgin Mary. But it also might have been for a picnic spot of the same name on Skeneateles Lake in New York. Lourdes is now privately owned.

A third name is practically unknown today but has an interesting origin. Nickawa, 1.5 miles west of Camp Koolaree, was probably named by the Methodist Church after Frances Nickawa (1898-1928), a Cree performer and recitalist.

According to the Dictionary of Canadian Biography, at the church’s general conference in Winnipeg in 1902: “Frances read Psalm 2 to a large gathering in Grace Methodist Church and sang a hymn in Cree. Her self-possession and clear, ringing voice at age four much impressed the audience.”

She moved to BC at age 1915 and become a noted elocutionist. She toured Canada to great acclaim, and was dubbed “a second Pauline Johnson.”

Biographer Jennifer Brown notes “Like Johnson and other aboriginal performers of her day, Nickawa faced endless public demands for idealized Indians of yesteryear. She shunned commercialism, using the stage to support Methodist goals for Native missions and aid. Her early death was much mourned.”

Nickawa was a CPR flag stop by 1935. A late reference appeared in the July-September 1967 edition of World Scouting magazine: “We left Kolaree [sic] and headed down the lake again. We rowed the raft down to Nickawa beach where we were greeted by Mrs. T.J.S. Ferguson … Mrs. Ferguson showed us around Nicawa [sic] beach.”

None of these names are officially recognized by the BC Geographic Names office.

MANKINS

This stop on the Nelson and Fort Sheppard Railway was between Porto Rico and Hall Siding was named after the Mankin Lumber and Pole Co., which operated at Ymir and Hall Siding in the 1910s and ‘20s. It was referred to as Mankin Spur in the Nelson Daily News of June 2, 1920.

Telephony magazine reported on the company’s incorporation in its May 16, 1914 issue, noting Robert Mankin of Virginia was president, Crockett Mankin of Beckley, W. Va. was vice-president and Samuel Huddleston of Nelson was secretary/treasurer.

Crockett Mankin (1863-1943) was also Hall’s postmaster from 1919-25. The name is no longer in use.

MCCORMACK

This spot is on Lower Arrow Lake, 16.8 km west of Castlegar.

From 1897 to 1901, Henderson’s directories listed it as “A steamboat landing on Lower Arrow Lake, 8 miles from Robson” with no residents given. It was used as a temporary landing to support construction of the Columbia and Western Railway in 1898.

The namesake is unknown, but the name survives in McCormick Creek (which is the official spelling, although local spelling is McCormack). The bridge that crosses it is a highlight of the Columbia and Western trail.

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