Clayoquot Sound
Feature Type:Sound (1) - Large body of water from which two or more inlets, arms or channels branch off.
Status: Official
Name Authority: BC Geographical Names Office
Pronounced: CLAH kwat
Relative Location: W side of Vancouver Island, between Barkley Sound and Nootka Sound, Clayoquot Land District
Latitude-Longitude: 49°13'59"N, 126°02'40"W at the approximate centre of this feature.
Datum: WGS84
NTS Map: 92E/1
Related Maps:
Origin Notes and History:

Adopted in the 10th Report of the Geographic Board of Canada, 30 June 1911, as labelled on charts from 1791 onwards.

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

"Port Cox" labelled midway between "Nootka or King George's Sound" and "Berkley Sound" on Arrowsmith's 1790 "Chart of the World on Mercator's projection, exhibiting all the new discoveries..." "Plano del Archipelago de Clayocuat..." drawn May 1791 by Juan Pantoja, Eliza's pilot on the San Carlos. Spelled "Archipelago de Claucuad" on Galiano's 1792 chart. Spelled "Clayoquot" on Vancouver's 1792 chart et seq....

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

Named after the Clayoquot First Nations who were the "strange or foreign people. A Nootka name." (information from George Clutesi, Sr. 26 July 1960).

Source: Provincial Archives of BC "Place Names File" compiled 1945-1950 by A.G. Harvey from various sources, with subsequent additions

The name of this sound is derived from the tribe residing there, and was spelt by the early traders, dating from 1785, Clioquatt, Clayocuat, Klaooquat and Klahoquaht. In 1787 Captain Barkley, of the Imperial Eagle, named it Wickaninnish's sound, from the hereditary name of the principal chief residing here. Captain Meares spells this name Wicananish, and in his book gives a graphic account of a visit he paid this potentate on 14 June 1788. (Meares 4º, pp.139-140.) Meares named the portion of the sound near the chief's village, Port Cox, and in the book mentioned above (p.143) is given a plan of the harbour. The number of [Indigenous People] residing in the sound in 1788 is estimated at 4000; their present number (census, 1904) is about 500, divided about equally between the villages of Clayoquot and Ahousat. At the closed of 1791 the American vessel Columbia, Captain Gray, wintered in Clayoquot sound, where the crew erected a fort in which they resided, and also built a small schooner named the Adventure (only the second vessel constructed on this coast, the first being the Northwest America, built at Nootka in 1788). In the spring of 1792, Gray proceeded southward in the Columbia and discovered the large river which he named after his ship. From this river he returned to Nootka. The Adventure went from Clayoquot to the Queen Charlotte islands... The name Clayoquot is derived from "Tla-o" or "Cla-o" meaning another, or different; "aht" means people or village, hence "Cla-o-quaht" means people different from what they used to be. There is a tradition to the effect that the inhabitants here were originally quiet and peaceful, later they became quarrelsome and treacherous; hence they were called by their neighbours "Cla-o-quaht." (Rev. A.J. Brabant.)

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)

"Named after the [Clayoquot First Nations] whose name has been given a remarkable range of translations. G.M. Sproat said that it meant 'another [ie. different] people,' while Dr. Brown thought that it meant 'other or strange house.' A modern linguist, John A. Thomas of the Nitinahts, says that it means 'people of the place where it becomes the same even when disturbed.' John Jewitt, at the beginning of the nineteenth century, described the Klaa-oo-quates as 'fierce, bold and enterprising.' Clayoquot was first known to white men as Port Cox, after John Henry Cox of Canton, who backed several fur-trade ships sent to this area [in 1787]."

Source: Akrigg, Helen B. and Akrigg, G.P.V; 1001 British Columbia Place Names; Discovery Press, Vancouver 1969, 1970, 1973.