Wood Lake

Feature Type:Lake - Inland body of standing water.
Status:
Name Authority: BC Geographical Names Office
Relative Location: Just S of Kalamalka Lake on E side Okanagan Lake, S of Vernon, Osoyoos Division Yale Land District
Latitude-Longitude: 50°05'03''N, 119°23'18''W at the approximate centre of this feature.
Datum: NAD83
NTS Map: 82L/3

Origin Notes and History:

Long Lake adopted 11 January 1922, applying to two adjacent lakes as labelled on BC map 4J, 1921. Name changed to Wood Lake (referring to the southern of the two lakes) and Kalamalka Lake (referring to the northern lake) 7 February 1951 on 82L/SW, to conform to established, preferred local usage (June & July 1950 letters from Vernon and Coldstream municipalities, historian Frank Buckland, Okanagan Historical Society, Board of Trade, etc, file V.1.50).

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

Traditional name, Chelootsoos, meaning "long lake cut in the middle", referring to the 2 lakes now known as Kalamalka Lake and Wood Lake. Neither lake shown on Palliser's 1860 map of British North America. Both lakes shown but not named on 1862 map of British Columbia prepared by Capt. Parsons, RE, for Colonel Moody. Northern lake labelled "Long Lake", southern lake labelled "Prlmeewash Lake" [Pelmewash ?] and the strip of land between labelled "Railway" on Trutch's 1871 map of British Columbia. Both lakes collectively labelled "Long Lake" on G.E. Dawson's 1877 map of the Southern Interior of British Columbia, and on Dawson and Bowman's 1885 map of the Southern Interior of British Columbia, and on BC Lands 1888 map of Eastern British Columbia, and on BC Lands 1891 map of Osoyoos District, and on BC Lands 1895 map of British Columbia. Maps published after c1900 identify the northern lake (ie. today's Kalamalka Lake) as "Long Lake" and the southern lake is left unnamed. BC Lands map 4J, 1921, applies "Long Lake" across both water bodies, with "Wood Lake" added in brackets to the southern lake. "Long Lake (not Woods Lake)" identified in the 18th Report of the Geographic Board of Canada, 31 March 1924. "Long Lake (not Kalamalka Lake)" identified in the 1930 BC Gazetteer.

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

"I have been in Vernon now for over 42 years... me and the old timers knew of no other name[s] than Long Lake and Wood Lake. Up until 1908 Wood Lake was distinct as from Long Lake; during that year a channel (canal) was made connecting the two, but Wood Lake has never been confused with or known to be a part of Long Lake. Some years ago I worked with Leonard Norris (our founder) on place names, etc, and we always referred to Long Lake and Wood or Wood's Lake as being two distinct bodies of water." (June 1950 letter from F.G. Simms, President, Vernon branch Okanagan Historical Society, file V.1.50)

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

After Thomas Wood, who acquired a pre-emption record on April 14, 1871, for land at the southern extremity of Long Lake, then known as Woods Lake. Legends of the district are that he was in the valley as early as 1860.

Source: Laing, Frederick W; Geographical Naming Record, September 1938; unpublished manuscript held in the Provincial Archives

After Thomas Wood (1839 - 1931), stockraiser, whose ranch was located at the south end of the lake. "...Thomas Wood, son of a St. John's, Newfoundland, Anglican clergyman... arrived at Victoria in 1862, age 23. After a failed mining venture in the Stikine he hauled freight on the Cariboo road between Lytton and Quesnelmouth, later purchased a herd of cattle in California and had driven them as far north as Kamloops by the winter of 1865-66. With the Big Bend gold rush at its height in 1866, instead of continuing to the Cariboo gold fields, he drove the cattle to Little Shuswap Lake thence by HBC steamer to the head of Seymour Arm on Shuswap Lake; along the way Wood had formed a partnership with Cornelius O'Keefe and together they drove the cattle over the northern end of the Monashee Mountains to the Big Bend area. When they reached the Columbia River there were 2000 miners at the diggings and they found a ready market for their cattle, at a profitable figure. The two men want south to the Dalles, in Oregon, with the intention of purchasing another herd of cattle and driving them to the same market. On the return trip they fell in with Thomas Greenhow and the three of them came up the west side of Okanagan Lake, Thomas Wood as guide, having come that way on his previous drive. They camped at the head of Okanagan Lake 20 January 1867; instead of proceeding to the Thompson River to winter the cattle, they decided to stay and each eventually took up land on the northwest side of the lake, holding the 300 head of cattle in partnership until 1871. That year Wood sold his holdings to Tom Greenhow and established a new ranch at the foot of [what is now called Wood Lake]." (experts from 18 December 1967 article "Pioneer Rancher..." by Arthur Gray). Thomas Wood called his new ranch "Winfield"; original pre-emption 320 acres, registered 14 April 1871; certificate of improvement issued 31 July 1875. (from 1876 field notes, DL117). Wood was appointed Justice of the Peace per notice in the BC Gazette 29 June 1878; sold his property to N.H. Caesar in 1902. Rural mail delivery was inaugurated here in 1909 and Wood's Lake School district in the same year. (excerpt from An Historical Gazetteer of Okanagan-Similkameen, Okanagan Historical Society, 1958, p.157-158) (file V.1.50)

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