Kalamalka Lake

Feature Type:Lake - Inland body of standing water.
Name Authority: BC Geographical Names Office
Relative Location: E of Okanagan Lake, S of Vernon, Osoyoos Division Yale Land District
Latitude-Longitude: 50°10'25''N, 119°19'48''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 Kalamalka Lake (referring to the northern of the two lakes) and Wood Lake (referring to the southern 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 "Primeewash Lake" 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. Gazetted boundary description of the Corporation of the District of Coldstream, 1923, identifies the northern lake as "Long or Kalamalka Lake". "Long Lake (not Woods)" identified in the 18th Report of the Geographic Board of Canada, 31 March 1924. "Long Lake (not Kalamalka)" identified in the 1930 BC Gazetteer.

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

"After a well-known Indian who lived at the head of the lake called after him..... In his old age (in the 1880's ?) in order to obtain baptism he got his four wives to renounce their status, taking in their place a comely young maiden. A hotel in Vernon adopted his name in 1892; the station was named c1926." (12th Report of the Okanagan Historical Society, 1948, p.207)

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

"When I came here in 1884 the range lying between Vernon and the Coldstream at the head of Long Lake was known as the Tanamalka Range and there was an old Indian Chief living at the head of Long Lake who was known as Tanamalka. I do not know whether the Chief was called after the range or the range after the Chief... When the big hotel was built in Vernon it was called the Kalemalka Hotel. This was afterwards changed to Kalamalka Hotel. Isaac Harris of Armstrong says this word Kalamalka is composed of two words - one a Shuswap Indian word and one an Okanagan Indian word and that one word means water and the other means soothing or healing. The Indian name for Long Lake is Chelootsoos." (8 October 1928 letter from L. Norris, Okanagan Historical and Natural History Society, file L.1.28); "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. In the early 20's some of the bigwigs started a campaign to rename Long Lake as 'Kalamalka' as such sounded less commonplace. My late brother Chas. D. Simms came here in April 1887 & died in the late 30's - I had never known him to mention the name Kalamalka. However, more and more people are now using the name Kalamalka as our local radio station appears to insist on using such and the people are naturally following suit." (June 1950 letter from F.G. Simms, President, Vernon branch Okanagan Historical Society, file V.1.50); "In the early 1920's it was suggested that Long Lake be renamed Kalamalka Lake. Kalamalka is the name in general use today." (June 1950 letter from historian Frank M. Buckland, file V.1.50).

Source: included with note

The Okanagan Indian word chelootsoos (meaning ' long lake cut in the middle' ) was applied specfically to the narrow strip of land separating Kalamalka Lake from Wood Lake to the south. This strip was sometimes called the Railway because it resembled a railway embankment, while Kalamalka lake was formerly known as Long Lake. Kalamalka was a well-known old Indian who once lived at the head of this lake... The word kalamalka can be identified as an Okanagan Indian man's name, making very suspect a theory that it is a Hawaiian name brought into this country by one of the Kanakas employed by the HBC.

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