Valhalla Ranges

Feature Type:Ranges - Group or chain of mountains or hills. Plural of Range (2).
Name Authority: BC Geographical Names Office
Relative Location: Between Lower Arrow Lake and Slocan River, Kootenay Land District
Latitude-Longitude: 49°47'00''N, 117°43'00''W at the approximate centre of this feature.
Datum: NAD27
NTS Map: 82F/13
Related Maps:
82E/16 82E/8 82E/9 82F/11
82F/12 82F/13 82F/5 82K/3

Origin Notes and History:

Valhalla Mountains adopted 7 May 1900, as labelled on G.M. Dawson's map Portion of the West Kootenai District, 1890; not "Val Halla Mountains" as spelled elsewhere (Ottawa file 1171). Form of name changed to Valhalla Range 6 October 1955 on 82/SW. Form of name changed to Valhalla Ranges 9 June 1960 on 82E/8.

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

Almost certainly named by George Dawson, Geological Survey of Canada. The name "Valhalla Mountains" is mentioned for the first time in Dawson's 1889 "Report on a portion of the West Kootenai District" and labelled on his accompanying "Reconnaissance Map of a portion of the West Kootenai District" published in 1890. Slocan-area historian Innes Cooper maintains that Dawson probably never saw or explored the Valhalla mountains from the Slocan valley, but perhaps named them after observing their distant peaks while travelling down the Arrow Lakes. In Norse mythology, Valhalla is the home of the gods, and the hall where Odin receives and feasts the souls of heroes who had fallen in battle. [Note that Dawson was an acknowledged buff of Wagnerian opera, wherein Norse mythology was a continuing theme. Dawson states in his 1889 report (ibid) that he gave the names Balder, Odin, Loki and Thor to individual mountains within the range, but does not state that he gave the name "Valhalla Mountains" to the encompassing terrain; his compatriot Amos Bowman had made a '..somewhat hurried traverse of the Columbia River and Arrow Lakes in the autumn of 1884... his sketch remained unpublished and even the principal geographical features of the region are laid down on the published maps in an extremely imperfect and sketchy manner...' (ibid, p.6B).]

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

"Dr. Dawson, of the Geological Survey of Canada, has applied names derived from Scandinavian mythology to several of the mountain ranges and peaks in Southern Kootenay. Where no cogent reasons exist for giving other names it might be well to follow the lead given and designate the principal peaks by Scandinavian names. The Valhalla Mountains, west of Slocan Lake, form a magnificent mass of lofty rugged peaks rising from great ice fields and glaciers, which somehow convey an impression to the beholder that they can be surmounted only by giant effort, and that if once a mortal becomes involved in their labyrinths he vanishes for ever from mortal ken." (Photo-topographical Survey of West Kootenay by W.S. Drewry, land surveyor, published in British Columbia's Crown Land Surveys Report 1894, p 786...).

Source: included with note