Sproat Lake
Feature Type:Lake - Inland body of standing water.
Status: Official
Name Authority: BC Geographical Names Office
Relative Location: W of Port Alberni (city), S of Great Central Lake, Clayoquot Land District
Latitude-Longitude: 49°16'08"N, 125°03'34"W at the approximate centre of this feature.
Datum: WGS84
NTS Map: 92F/6
Related Maps:
Origin Notes and History:

Adopted 3 December 1946 on 92F/3, as labelled on Robert Brown's 1864 "Plan of the route...Vancouver Island Exploring Expedition", and on Trutch's 1871 map of British Columbia, and on BC map 2A, 1913, et seq; not Kleecoot Lake as labelled on British Admiralty Chart 584, 1861. Re-approved 13 March 1947 on 92F/2, and 8 July 1948 on C.3609.

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

This lake was known by its Indian name, Kleecoot (meaning "wide open") until 1864 when Dr. Robert Brown, commander of that years' Vancouver Island Exploring Expedition, renamed it after Gilbert Malcolm Sproat (1834-1913). Brown's "Plan of the route..." labels this "Kleecoot or Sproat's Lake".

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

...after Gilbert Malcolm Sproat, native of Galloway, Scotland. He arrived at Vancouver island in April 1860, and until 1865 was the resident manager of Anderson & Company, Victoria (successors to E. Stamp & Company), exporters of spars to Europe from Puget sound and Vancouver island, a business transferred to southern ports after the termination of the US Civil War. As Sproat was a frequent visitor to the west coast of Vancouver island in connection with his business, Governor Douglas appointed him principal customs officer, JP, coroner, etc, practically government agent, whose duties then included control of the Indians. Some of his experiences and observations are embodied in his very interesting and now scarce book "Scenes and Studies of Savage Life", London, 1868. Returned to England, 1865, and in 1871 revisited BC and the following year was appointed the first agent general for BC in Europe. Joint commissioner of the Dominion and the province, to adjust the Indian land question, 1876. Stipendiary magistrate and gold commission for West Kootenay, 1885-1890, when he retired. Author of several books and papers read before learned societies. Residing in Victoria, 1906.

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)

Sproat had arrived from England in 1860 with men and equipment to establish a sawmill at the head of Alberni Canal. An amateur anthropologist, he became keenly interested in the life of the Native population of Vancouver Island.... With his friend Farwell, he was active in the real estate business after his retirement from government service. He spent his final years in Victoria.

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

"....I say nothing against brussels sprouts, which I love to eat, but tell your typist that I was christened with an 'a' and not a 'u'....." (Sproat's 1908 letter to Mr. Gosnell, Provincial Archivist, evidently an attempt to clarify spelling and pronunciation of his family name; part of an article published in Victoria Times-Colonist newspaper, Islander section, 17 March 1991).

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