Castlegar

Feature Type:City - A populated place with legally defined boundaries, incorporated as a city municipality under the provincial Municipal Act.
Status:
Name Authority: BC Geographical Names Office
Relative Location: S and W sides of Columbia River at junction with Kootenay River, SW of Nelson, Kootenay Land District
Latitude-Longitude: 49°19'28''N, 117°40'01''W at the approximate location of the Municipal Hall.
Datum: NAD83
NTS Map: 82F/5
Related Maps: 82F/4
82F/5

Origin Notes and History:

Castlegar incorporated as a Village Municipality 30 October 1946; Castlegar (Village) confirmed 6 December 1951 on Columbia River Basin manuscript 14. Re-incorporated as a Town Municipality 1 January 1966; Castlegar (Town) confirmed 26 July 1966 on 82SW. Amalgamated with Kinnaird (Town) and together re-incorporated as City of Castlegar, 1 January 1974. Castlegar (City) confirmed 15 December 1981.

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

Castlegar Post Office was opened 1 April 1902, W.J. Farmer, postmaster. "Castlegar was called into existence some 2 years ago by the CPR, who made a junction here, previous to which time there was no settlement here.... the name originated from some building which was erected at the time of railway construction, resembling in some way the structure called Castle Garden, where emigrants land in New York." (29 August 1905 letter from Postmaster W.J. Farmer to James White, Geographic Board of Canada).

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

"Named because of a castle-like rock across the river; 'gar' is Welsh for rock." (c1935 notation on BC name card)

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

"...Castlegar is a common place name in the west of Ireland, and possibly Castlegar BC is named after Castlegar near Galway." (29 September 1967 article in Castlegar News). [Note that the Celtic word 'gearr' means short.]

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

"It is now certain that the name originated in County Galway, Ireland where, in the Parish of Castlegar, there is a tiny village of the same name. Adjacent to the village is Castlegar Castle, now in ruin, built by the De Burges family. The name 'Castlegar' comes from the Celtic Irish 'An Caslean Gearr', which means 'The Short Castle,' since, as legend has it, no guest ever stayed there for more than one night." (City of Castlegar website.) See also the municipality's own website

Source: included with note

"Mrs. T.R. Bloomer has told of her arrival in Trail in 1901 and move to West Robson the following year. She has recounted how all the shacks of the town were dismantled and shifted to Castlegar when the CPR came through." (Nelson Daily News, 25 November 1952, citing 1st edition of Castlegar Historical Review)

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

The following information was located, compiled and provided by Castlegar historian Greg Nesteroff, February 2002: 1. Castlegar was surveyed under that name by Henry B. Smith and registered at Rossland on 15 Nov 1897 as DL 650. The townsite owner given on the 1897 plan is Edward Mahon. While Castlegar was never much of a mining town, the original survey shows streets named after minerals: Cobalt, Copper, Silver, Granite, Nickel, Quartz, Galena, Iron, Steel, and Platinum; 2. "Edward Mahon - born in Yorkshire England in 1862 - was the sixth son of Sir William V.R. Mahon of Castlegar county, Ireland. Edward Mahon and his brother Gilbert came to BC in 1889 and became interested in mining in the Slocan/Nelson area. They established a small camp called Castlegar after their Irish heritage. About the same time, another brother, John, came out to visit BC and foreseeing the potential for development of [Vancouver's north shore], he established the North Vancouver Land & Improvement Company Ltd. in 1891 and appointed his brother, Edward, as president, a position he held for 45 years." (excerpt from North Shore News story by Janell Hilton, 15 March 1999 (www.nsnews.com/issues99/w031599/mahon); 3. "In late August of 1891, 'Albert McCleary sold his ranch on the Columbia River, opposite Sproat, to E. Mahon of Vancouver, the purchase price being in the neighbourhood of $3,000. Of the 320 acres, 8 acres are ploughed and fenced and about 150 acres more are suitable for cultivation, the remainder being hilly grazing land. A house, barn, and root-house are the improvements. H. Selous negotiated the sale. Mr. Mahon is now a landowner, a town lot owner, and a mine owner in the West Kootenay district.'(Nelson Miner: 29 August 1891). Thus the first preemption in the Castlegar area passed into the hands of new owners. Edward Mahon in turn developed the property as a townsite which he called Castlegar after the place of his origin in Ireland." (from Sproat's Landing history by Walter Volovsek http://www.kootenay.org/history); 4. A separate source says Sir William Mahon was a primary landowner in one of the smaller Castlegars in Ireland; 5. Of all the local accounts I have collected regarding Castlegar's name, only one mentions Mahon, and even then it doesn't spell his name right. It appeared without byline in the Castlegar News centennial edition of 23 Sept 1971, under the headline "Was Castlegar really named by Irishman called Mahan?"; 6. There is still another theory, and it goes something like this: It was a typical day in the early 1880s and a typical mining party camped by a river in the vast and only partly explored wilderness of BC. The leader of the party with an understandable nostalgia for his native land, decided to name the camping spot after his beloved fields of Ireland. Pointing to the ground near where his tent had been erected, the leader of this party pronounced 'This place is Castlegar -- little Castle.' [note that this story is not necessarily at odds with the origin relayed in item # 2]; 7. A Robson resident, J. Heslop, made a trip to Castlegar, Ireland in 1967 - the castle which gave the Irish area its name is presently inhabited, Heslop reports, by George Mahan and his widowed sister, the Right Honorable Mrs. Crofton.

Source: included with note

The traditional name for this site is Kiksutuk, pronounced kik-see-thook. [meaning/significance not provided] (April 2006 advice from Janice Alpine, Ktunaxa Language Program)

Source: included with note