A True Name Map of the West Kootenay/Boundary

You may recall from 2008 the wonderfully whimsical Atlas of True Names project from the German firm Kalimedia, in which maps of Great Britain and Ireland, Europe, the United States, and the world were redrawn using the etymological roots of place names (i.e. their original meanings) rather than the current actual place name. London became ‘Unfordable River Town’ (or ‘Hillfort’, using the first edition); New York became ‘New Yew Tree Village’, Costa Rica became ‘Rich Coast’ (alright, boring example), Philadelphia became ‘Sibling Love’, and Ho Chi Minh City became ‘City of the One Who Seeks Enlightenment’.

While researching another post, I happened to stumble upon it again after a couple of years, and got lost in the maps once again just like the first time. Naturally, my small corner of the globe didn’t exactly feature prominently on the world map, which immediately set me to thinking about what a true name map of my West Kootenay/Boundary region of British Columbia might look like. Normally, a map of the area might look like this:


To make my true names map, I needed to find out the meanings of various surnames for those landmarks named after people, which were relatively easy to find with Google searches on various genealogy websites. For other names, I used a number of sources, including the BC Geographical Names database, Kootenay-Lake.ca’s toponymy page, and the great armchair reference book British Columbia Place NamesBelow is the final result, which quite openly sacrifices any sense of aesthetics in favour of information (I whipped this off in an afternoon in GIMP; had I prepared more instead of making this on a whim, I would have at least doubled the map area, and tried to throw some river names as well). Still, my officemates (the ones in the non-basement office) seemed to enjoy it, so I present it here:


Scale: 1 cm = 1 km (1: 1 000 000).

Well, I already knew my hometown was ‘closed in’ (Nakusp), but it’s quite hilarious to see one of its rural satellites is actually called ‘Worker at the Brewhouse’ (Brouse). And wouldn’t you love to live and fish on ‘Pierce the Head Lake’ (Slocan Lake; the term is derived from the practice of striking captured fish on the head)? Some names are wonderfully tautological: Rossland becomes ‘Headland Land’, and Johnson’s Landing becomes the rather garbled ‘Landing of the Son of the One God Favoured with a Son’. David Cameron probably wouldn’t be too happy in Winlaw; that is to say, ‘Rule of Labour’). Those who enjoy living on the edge would probably enjoy ‘Reckless Settlement’ (Boswell), while the quiet village of Thrums becomes even quieter once translated as ‘Short Pieces of Rope Yarn’.

I shan’t ruin the rest of it for you: explore the map and see if you can match the locales to their proper names, or simply cheat by perusing the list below.

Anaconda: Anaconda

Angel Falls: Angel Falls

Apple Grove: Applegrove

Apple Valley: Appledale

Arrow Park: Arrow Park

Bay of the Crow’s Crossing: Crawford Bay

Bay View: Bayview

Beaver Falls: Beaver Falls

Bench of the Learned: Shutty Bench

Bent Grass Clearing: Beasley

Black Hawthorn: Kaslo

Boundary Falls: Boundary Falls

Brilliant: Brilliant

Broom Hill: Brandon

Brown Warrior Lake: Duncan Lake

Burned Area: Waneta

Canyon: Canyon

Cascade: Cascade

Casino: Casino

Closed In: Nakusp

Crescent Bay: Crescent Bay

Crescent Valley: Crescent Valley

Crest Town: Creston

Cross the Marsh: Passmore

Deer Park: Deer Park

Dove Land Gardens: Columbia Gardens

Dweller at the Settlement: Bonnington

Edge of the Forest: Edgewood

End of the Lake: Kuskanook

Exalted Settlement: Bridesville

Fair View: Fairview

Fat Prospect: Lardeau

Fortified Town: Burton

Fruit Valley: Fruitvale

Galena Bay: Galena Bay

Glade: Glade

Glen on the Bank: Glenbank

Grand River Junction: Grand Forks

Green Forest: Greenwood

Grey Creek: Gray Creek

Grove: Eholt

Hall Siding: Hall Siding

Hardy Spear: Gerrard

Hare Valley: Harrop

Headland Land: Rossland

Headland Siding: Ross Siding

High Forehead People: Retallack

Hot Springs of the Owned Homestead: Ainsworth Hot Springs

House in the Woods: Woodbury

Innkeeper: Howser

Kettle Valley: Kettle Valley

Ktunaxa Bay: Kootenay Bay

Lake of the Follower of the Anointed One: Christina Lake

Landing of the One on the Hill: Hills

Landing of the Son of the One God Favoured with a Son: Johnsons Landing

Leader: Sirdar

Lemon Creek: Lemon Creek

Little Blue: Blewett

Little Shield Beaver: Beaverdell

Long Beach: Longbeach

Long Tail: Erie

Lower Arrow Lake: Lower Arrow Lake

Marble Outcrop: Marblehead

Meadow Creek: Meadow Creek

Meadows: Meadows

Metal Barrel Maker Creek: Cooper Creek

Midway: Midway

Mirror Lake: Mirror Lake

Mower: Fauquier

New Dane Ford: New Denver

New Settlement: New Settlement

Oasis: Oasis

On the Way to the Son of the Champion: Nelway

Park Siding: Park Siding

Pass Creek: Pass Creek

Pasture Village: Balfour

People’s Army Creek: Fletcher Creek

Pear Tree Siding: Perry Siding

Phoenix: Phoenix

Pierce the Head: Slocan

Pierce the Head Lake: Slocan Lake

Pierce the Head Park: Slocan Park

Place of the Cross: Krestova

Poplar Creek: Poplar Creek

Powerful Ruler’s Place: Rykerts

Powerful People’s Siding: Tarrys

Procurator: Procter

Raspberry: Raspberry

Reborn: Renata

Reckless Settlement: Boswell

Rice Land Creek: China Creek

Rich Port: Porto Rico

River Valley: Rivervale

Rock Creek: Rock Creek

Rose Mountain: Montrose

Roseberry: Rosebery

Round: Riondel

Rule of Labour: Winlaw

Queen’s Bay: Queens Bay

Salmon: Salmo

Sand Hill: Sandon

Shingle: Lebahdo

Shore Acres: Shoreacres

Shore Island: Shoreholme

Short Pieces of Rope Yarn: Thrums

Silver: Argenta

Silver Town: Silverton

Six: Taghum

Small Castle: Castlegar

Son of a Noble Father: Paterson

Son of One Rich in Land: Beaton

Son of the Champion: Nelson

Son of the King: Erickson

Son of the Marsh Dwellers: Carson

Son of the Renowned Famous One: Robson

Son of the Vigourous Forceful Man: Ferguson

South Pierce the Head: South Slocan

Standing Arrow: Sanca

Summit Lake: Summit Lake

Textile Dyer: Lister

Three River Junction: Three Forks

Trail: Trail

Tranquil Hot Springs: Halcyon Hot Springs

Trout Lake: Trout Lake

Twin: Ymir

Upper Arrow Lake: Upper Arrow Lake

Valley of Consolation: Ootischenia

Valley of the Follower of the Anointed One: Christian Valley

Valley Settlement: Vallican

Vine: Carmi

West Bridge: Westbridge

Willow Point: Willow Point

Wine Valley: Wynndel

Worker at the Brewhouse: Brouse

Wren Field: Warfield

Further Reading

Akrigg, G.P.V. and H. Akrigg (1997). British Columbia Place Names, 3rd ed. Vancouver: UBC Press.

Fraser, A.B. and G. Nesteroff (n.d.) Toponymy. Kootenay Lake. Available at http://kootenay-lake.ca/geography/toponymy/. Accessed 4 January 2011.

Jacobs, F. (2008). 334 – The Atlas of True Names. Strange Maps, 7 December 2008. Available at http://bigthink.com/ideas/21387. Accessed 4 January 2011.

Kalimedia (2010). Atlas of True Names. Preview at http://www.kalimedia.com/Atlas_of_True_Names.html. Accessed 4 January 2011.

Province of British Columbia (2011). GeoBC: BC Geographical Names. Available at http://archive.ilmb.gov.bc.ca/bcnames/. Accessed 4 January 2011.

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