Canoe River

River. British Columbia: Flows E into Kinbasket Lake near Valemount
52°47’00” N 119°10’00” W — Map 83D/14 — Google
Earliest known reference to this name is 1811 (David Thompson).
Name officially adopted in 1930. Official in BCCanada

In 1811, at this river’s confluence with the Columbia River, North West Company explorer David Thompson and his men built the canoe in which they voyaged to the mouth of the Columbia.

Our residence was near the junction of two Rivers from the Mountains with the Columbia: the upper Stream which forms the defile by which we came to the Columbia, I named the Flat Heart, from the Men being dispirited ; it had nothing particular. The other was the Canoe River ; which ran through a bold rude valley, of a steady descent, which gave to this River a very rapid descent without any falls…

Birch trees grew in the vicinity, but because of the mild climate, according to Thompson, the bark was too thin to use. So his men “split out thin boards of Cedar wood of about six inches in breadth and builded a Canoe of twenty-five feet by fifty inches in breadth, of the same form of a common canoe, using cedar boards instead of Birch Rind, which proved to be equally light and much stronger than Birch Rind, the greatest difficulty which we had was sewing the boards to each other round the timbers. As we had no nails we had to make use of the fine Roots of the Pine which we split.”

The name appears on B.C. Surveyor General Joseph William Trutch’s 1871 “Map of British Columbia to the 56th Parallel North Latitude.”

References:

  • Thompson, David [1770–1857]. David Thompson’s Narrative of His Explorations in Western America, 1784-1812. Toronto: Champlain Society, 1916. p. 451. University of British Columbia
  • Trutch, Joseph William [1826–1904]. Map of British Columbia to the 56th Parallel North Latitude. Victoria, B.C.: Lands and Works Office, 1871. University of Victoria

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