Nicola River

Feature Type:River - Watercourse of variable size, which has tributaries and flows into a body of water or a larger watercourse.
Status:
Name Authority: BC Geographical Names Office
Relative Location: Flows W past Merritt then NW into Thompson River at Spences Bridge, Kamloops Division Yale Land District
Latitude-Longitude: 50°25'39''N, 121°18'58''W at the approximate mouth of this feature.
Datum: NAD83
NTS Map: 92I/6
Related Maps: 82L/4
92I/1
92I/2
92I/3
92I/6

Origin Notes and History:

Adopted in the 12th Report of the Geographic Board of Canada, 30 June 1913.

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

Adaption of the nickname of a famous Indian chief, grand uncle of the present chief at Douglas Lake (1915). His name was Nwistes-meekin, "walking grizzly bear", but the French-speaking fur traders nicknamed him "Nicolas" and spoke of the district and river as Nicolas' country. Lac de Nicolas and R. Nicholas [sic] are labelled on A.C. Anderson's 1849 manuscript map. The Indians pronounced the nickname N'kuala or Nkwala, and those spellings made their way into the records, eventually simplified to Nicola.

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

"Sometime in the 1780's on the banks of the biggest lake in the valley, there was born a boy who, when the time came for him to assume a name, was called "Hwistesmethpegan" (other spellings include Hwistesmelxquen and Nwistes-meekin) which means "walking grizzly bear". In 1812 the first trading posts was set up at Kamloops. When the Indians brought their furs in to trade, often their Indian names were replaced by English [names]. Walking Grizzly Bear was replaced by "Nicholas". The traders had had trouble pronouncing Hwistesmethpegan and now the natives had trouble pronouncing Nicholas, which soon became "Nkwala" and later "Nicola". On Alexander Caulfield Anderson's map of 1849, the lake and river are shown as "Lac de Nicolas" and "R. Nicolas". (Nicola Valley Historial Quarterly, Vol 1 No 1) [note: Anderson's map actually labels "Lac de Nicholas" and "Nicholas River".]

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

Headwaters at 50 07 - 119 45 on 82L/4.

Source: Canadian Geographical Names Database, Ottawa