Nicola Lake

Feature Type:Lake - Inland body of standing water.
Status:
Name Authority: BC Geographical Names Office
Relative Location: Expansion of Nicola River, NE of Merritt, Kamloops Division Yale Land District
Latitude-Longitude: 50°10'25''N, 120°31'05''W at the approximate centre of this feature.
Datum: NAD83
NTS Map: 92I/2
Related Maps: 92I/1
92I/2

Origin Notes and History:

Adopted in the 12th Report of the Geographic Board of Canada, 30 June 1913.

Source: BC place name cards, or correspondence to/from BC's Chief Geographer or BC Geographical Names Office

Adaption of the nickname of a famous Indian chief, grand uncle of the present chief at Douglas Lake (1915). His name was Nwistes-meekin, "walking grizzly bear", but the French-speaking fur traders nicknamed him "Nicolas" and spoke of the district and river as Nicolas' country. Lac de Nicolas and R. Nicholas [sic] are labelled on A.C. Anderson's 1849 manuscript map. The Indians pronounced the nickname N'kuala or Nkwala, and those spellings made their way into the records, eventually simplified to Nicola.

Source: BC place name cards, or correspondence to/from BC's Chief Geographer or BC Geographical Names Office

"Sometime in the 1780's on the banks of the biggest lake in the valley, there was born a boy who, when the time came for him to assume a name, was called "Hwistesmethpegan" (other spellings include Hwistesmelxquen and Nwistes-meekin) which means "walking grizzly bear". In 1812 the first trading posts was set up at Kamloops. When the Indians brought their furs in to trade, often their Indian names were replaced by English [nick]names. Walking Grizzly Bear was replaced by "Nicholas". The traders had had trouble pronouncing Hwistesmethpegan and now the natives had trouble pronouncing Nicholas, which soon became "Nkwala" and later "Nicola". On Alexander Caulfield Anderson's map of 1849, the lake and river are shown as "Lac de Nicolas" and "R.Nicolas"." (Nicola Valley Historial Quarterly, Vol 1 No 1)

Source: included with note

John Tod, the old Hudson Bay Company trader, dryly notes in his memoirs that Nicholas or Nicola was "a very great chieftain and a bold man, for he had 17 wives."

Source: Akrigg, Helen B. and Akrigg, G.P.V; British Columbia Place Names; Sono Nis Press, Victoria 1986 /or University of British Columbia Press 1997

Traditional name of Nicola Lake was Smuhaatlon or Smechaatlon (Nicola Valley Historical Quarterly, Vol.2, no.4)

Source: included with note