Okanagan Lake
Okanagan Lake is a large, deep lake in the Okanagan Valley of British Columbia's interior. The lake is 135 km long and 5 km wide. Vernon, Penticton, Kelowna, Peachland, and Summerland all border the lake.
At least 47 variant spellings of Okanagan have been found, beginning with Lewis and Clark's “Otchenaukane” in 1805 and David Thompson's “Ookanawgan” in 1811.1 The word “okanagan” is believed to be Salish for seeing the top of the head, which likely refers to Okanagan Lake as the “head” of the river.2
In this 1858 despatch, Douglas mentions that an HBC officer has discovered [gold] on the banks of the great Okanagan Lake. Shortly after, a large prospecting population was drawn to the area, which led to the Fraser Canyon Gold Rush of 1858-1859, and the later Cariboo Gold Rush.3 During the gold rushes, miners often came into conflict with the Indigenous people of the Okanagan River region.4
A small number of people in the region have claimed that Okanagan Lake is the home of the Ogopogo lake monster, or the Naltaka, which is the Salish word for lake demon.5
  • 1. G. P. V. Akrigg and H. B. Akrigg, British Columbia Place Names (Vancouver: UBC Press, 1997), 196.
  • 2. Ibid.
  • 3. The Colonial Period, Royal BC Museum.
  • 4. Ibid.
  • 5. Ogopogo, British Columbia Scientific Cryptozoology Club.
Mentions of this place in the documents