Category Archives: Place Names

Zeidler Drive

Feature type: road
Province: British Columbia
Location: Forks N off Hwy 16, W of McBride

W.R. Zeidler (d. 1973) founded Zeidler Forest Industries in 1934 with a small one-man millwork plant in Edmonton, manufacturing windows, sash and frames. Born in Cologne, Germany, Zeidler came to Edmonton in 1928. As a result of his humanitarian concerns, Zeidler received the Alberta Government Achievement Award. In 1984, Zeidler Forest Industries employed almost 500 people in plywood and lumber plants in McBride, Slave Lake, Barhead, and Edmonton, Alberta. Margaret Zeidler served as president of the company from the death of her husband until her retirement in 1984.


  • Robson Valley Courier. Weekly newspaper published by Pyramid Press of Jasper from1969–88.

Yellowhead Pass

Feature type: Pass (2)
Province: British Columbia
Location: Alta-BC boundary, NE of Yellowhead Lake
Latitude: 52°53’33”
Longitude: 118°27’50”
NTS map: 83D/16
Official name listed at BC Geographical Names

This pass is named for “Tête Jaune,” Pierre Bostonais (d. 1827), an Iroquois Indian who worked for the North West and Hudson’s Bay fur-trading companies. In 1825, he guided the first party recorded to cross the pass. From 1826 until the 1850s, the pass was occasionally used by the Hudson’s Bay Company to transport leather from the Saskatchewan District to New Caledonia. Despite its low elevation — at 1130 m second only to the Monkman Pass in the Canadian Rockies — and its mildly inclined approaches, it was used only sporadically during the fur trade.The route over the Yellowhead Pass stretched, without intervening posts, for more than 650 km between Jasper House, on the Athabasca River, to Fort George, on the Fraser. “The lengthy and uninterrupted isolation imposed on the brigades along the route, the unreliable navigability of the Athabasca and Fraser rivers, and the unpredictable weather of the usual mid-autumn journey presented problems,” according to historian David Smythe.

The fur traders who used this pass in the first half of the nineteenth century never called it, or any other mountain pass, a pass. They called it a portage. Infrequently called the New Caledonia portage in the letters and journals of the period, the Yellowhead Pass was almost exclusively referred to as the route or portage via Tête Jaune Cache. On a few occasions in the 1820s, the officer in charge of New Caledonia referred to the route as “the Leather track,” encompassing the entire distance between Fort George and Jasper House. After 1860, the pass was also briefly known as the Cowdung Pass, after an early name of Yellowhead Lake. It was also referred to at various times as Leatherhead Pass, Jasper and Jasper House Pass, Tête Jaune and Tête Jaune Cache Pass, Myette Pass and even the Rocky Mountain Pass. The actual English name “Yellowhead” appears to have first been used on an 1859 Arrowsmith map.

Sandford Fleming failed in the 1880s to persuade the Canadian Pacific Railway to follow the route of the Yellowhead Pass, but it was ultimately chosen by both the Grand Trunk Pacific and the Canadian Northern Railway Companies. These were united in the 1920s into the Canadian National Railways, which has continued to use the pass as its main freight route to the Pacific coast. It is also used by Via Rail for passenger traffic between Vancouver, Edmonton, and Winnipeg. As well, the pass is the route of the Yellowhead Highway, which follows the same general route – Winnipeg, Saskatoon, Edmonton, Jasper, and on to the coast.


  • Smyth, David. “Some fur trade place names of the Yellowhead Pass: west of the summit to Tête Jaune Cache.” Canoma (journal of the Canadian Permanent Committee on Geographical Names) Vol. 11, No. 2 (1985).

Yellowhead Mountain

Feature type: Mountain
Province: British Columbia
Location: Alta-BC boundary, N of Yellowhead Lake
Latitude: 52°53’00”
Longitude: 118°36’00”
NTS map: 83D/15
Official name listed at BC Geographical Names

J. Norman Collie reported that Avery Mumm and Swiss guide Moritz Inderbinen, during their 1910 visit to the area, climbed “the Yellow Head Mountain. This mountain was probably the one ascended by McEvoy.”

James McEvoy studied the geology of the area in 1898.


  • Collie, J. Norman. “On the Canadian Rocky Mountains north of the Yellowhead Pass.” Alpine Journal 26 (1912).
Also see:

Yellowhead Lake

Feature type: Lake
Province: British Columbia
Location: Expansion of Yellowhead Creek, near headwaters of Fraser River
Latitude: 52°52’00”
Longitude: 118°32’00”
NTS map: 83D/15
Official name listed at BC Geographical Names

This lake near the Yellowhead Pass has been known by several names. In 1824, Hudson’s Bay Company governor George Simpson, heading for the Athabasca Pass, noted, “the track for Cranberry Lake takes a Northerly direction by Cow Dung River.” The Cow Dung River was the Miette River and Simpson’s Cranberry Lake may have been the current Yellowhead Lake. In 1862, when the Overlander gold seekers crossed Yellowhead Pass (which they called Leather Pass) they camped on Cow Dung Lake. A year later, the lake was known to Milton and Cheadle as Buffalo Dung Lake. In 1872 George Grant suggested its present name, recalling the namesake of the pass.

“It is a very charming litle sheet of water,” wrote Arthur Wheeler, “four miles long, with a greatest width of half a mile. There are several narrows, and the irregularities of its form are by no means the least part of its charm. For the most part it is surrounded by green forest and is distinctly one of the most beautiful lakes in the district. In colour the waters are a creamy sap green.”


  • MacGregor, James Grierson, 1905-1989. Overland by the Yellowhead. Saskatoon: Western Producer, 1974
  • Milton, William Fitzwilliam and Cheadle, Walter B. The North-West Passage by Land. Being the narrative of an expedition from the Atlantic to the Pacific, undertaken with the view of exploring a route across the continent to British Columbia through British territory, by one of the northern passes in the Rocky Mountains. London: Cassell, Petter and Galpin, 1865
  • Wheeler, Arthur Oliver 1860-1945 . “The mountains of the Yellowhead Pass.” Alpine Journal 26, no.198 (1912).