Origin Notes and History:
Adopted 11 February 1936 on 92G/2, as long-identified on maps.
Source: BC place name cards, or correspondence to/from BC's Chief Geographer or BC Geographical Names Office
After Robert Burnaby, commission merchant, Victoria, one of the leading men of the city for many years, the firm being known under the name of Henderson & Burnaby, established 1858. Mr. Burnaby, through ill health retired to England in 1875 and died in Lincolnshire 1878.
Source: Walbran, John T; British Columbia Coast Names, 1592-1906: their origin and history; Ottawa, 1909 (republished for the Vancouver Public Library by J.J. Douglas Ltd, Vancouver, 1971)
"Locally the idea has long prevailed that the name was that of Colonel Fred Burnaby, whose "Ride to Khiva" made him famous. But he was not known to fame until long after the name had been given to the lake, which later gave the name to the municipality.
Mr. J.C. Brown, ex-MPP and others, remember that the name was applied to the lake at least as early as 1862. On the other hand it seemed improbable that New Westminster would have named so considerable a sheet of water at her very doors after a Victoria merchant in 1860 or thereabouts.
After much research, Judge Howay finds that the reason why the name was accepted was because Robert Burnaby, before he became a member of the firm at Victoria, had been secretary to Colonel Moody, RE, in his capacity of Commissioner of Lands and Works. In this capacity he drew up and sold the lots at Queensborough [New Westminster]. A second sale of lots took place at New Westminster later, but in the meanwhile, Burnaby had resigned his position as secretary to Moody and joined the commission house in Victoria. As early as January 20, 1860, we find Burnaby registering land in a private capaity. During 1859, in which he served as secretary, Burnaby was in charge of the surveying parties, being then engaged in setting out the lands adjacent to the new capital, and although in 1860 Burnaby had taken up his residence at Victoria, there can be no doubt that his name was attached to the lake with pleasure."
Source: Nelson, Denys; Place Names of the Delta of the Fraser River; 1927, unpublished manuscript held in the Provincial Archives
Robert Burnaby....son of Rev. Thomas Burnaby, Galby Rectory, Leicestershire, England. Came to British Columbia with letters of introduction from Edward Bulwer Lytton. The letter stated that he had been for 17 years in Comptrollers office of the Customs House; brother-in-law of Colonel Dickson, Adjutant General in Ireland. C.B.V.C. of Inkerman - that he was a nephew of Colonel Burnaby, RA - that he was going to Fraser River in partnership with a capitalist whose business he was to manage - that he was educated at St. Paul's - a good scholar, a literary man and a perfect gentleman. I image that he was some relation of the famous Fred Burnaby from the fact that both came from Leicestershire: his father Thomas Burnaby from Galby Rectory, and Fred Burnaby (son of Rev. Gustavus Andrew Burnaby) from Somersby Hall, Leicestershire - possibly a cousin. (1926 letter & notes from Provincial Archivist to Judge Howay)
Source: Provincial Archives of BC "Place Names File" compiled 1945-1950 by A.G. Harvey from various sources, with subsequent additions