Feature Type:Community - An unincorporated populated place, generally with a population of 50 or more, and having a recognized central area that might contain a post office, store and/or community hall, etc, intended for the use of the general public in the region.
Name Authority: BC Geographical Names Office
Pronounced: sell-ISTA
Relative Location: N side Shuswap Lake, Kamloops Division Yale Land District
Latitude-Longitude: 50°57'00''N, 119°21'00''W at the approximate population centre of this feature.
Datum: NAD27
NTS Map: 82L/14

Origin Notes and History:

Celista (Post Office & settlement) adopted in the 1930 Gazetteer, as labelled on BC map 1EM, 1915. Confirmed as Celista (Post Office) 3 November 1932 on 82 L/NW. Form of name changed to Celista (Community) 15 December 1982 on 82 L/14.

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

Celista Post Office opened 1 August 1908, John Riley Sr, postmaster. "Mr. Riley referred to a map and noticed that Celista Creek ran through what seemed to be the settlement, he sent the name 'Celista' to headquarters, and Celista it has remained." (Celista Pioneers, Kamloops Sentinel, 1943, p.4). See Celista Creek for additional origin information.

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

When a post office was to be established here in 1907 and the residents could not agree on a suitable name for it, the postal authorities suggested that it be named after Celesta Creek. Although this creek is many miles away, the name was adopted, but due to an error in reading handwriting, the name came out as "Celista". Celesta Creek is an anglicization of a well-known Shuswap ancestral name, Selesta, which appears on the 1877 Indian reserve census by George Blenkinsop, with people of this name noted as living at Little Shuswap, Neskainlith and Kamloops. Prominent among the bearers of this name was William Celesta (see Bouchard and Kennedy, Shuswap Stories, p.126), a 'doctor' who came from Salmon Arm, had land on a Neskainlith reserve west of Chase, and died in the late 1940's.

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

"The last of the Indian doctors, William Celesta of the Neskainlith Indian Reserve at Salmon Arm, died circa 1948 at the age of 100." (Photograph and caption in Shuswap Stories, edited by Randy Bouchard and Dorothy Kennedy, 1979, p.126).

Source: included with note