Before the navigation canal was built in 1908, a creek drained Wood Lake into Long (Kalamalka) Lake.  Wood Lake was initially four feet higher than Kalamalka, perhaps five or six feet higher during the spring freshet. In some years the water gushed down the creek making passage across the isthmus exceedingly dangerous. Two news items in the Vernon News illustrate:

“There came near a drowning accident last week at the creek between Wood’s Lake and Long Lake, at the place known as the “railway.” J. Shore attempted to ford the creek, which is much swollen, and his horses were swept off their feet, and he was carried down for some distance by the stream, getting out with much difficulty. A road and bridge is badly needed by the settlers of that vicinity, and we trust that it will be among the first work of its kind after this year.” 1902-06-05

Two weeks later the newspaper reported another incident. “A. Cary had a narrow escape last week from losing a valuable horse in the creek at the “railroad,” between Long Lake and Wood’s Lake….” 1902-06-05

Oyama isthmus

Oyama isthmus between Wood Lake and Long (Kalamalka) Lake

 The accompanying photograph (click to enlarge), taken by George Goulding in 1907 shows the location of the creek as it enters Kalamalka Lake. Notice also the scant settlement along the Vernon to Mission Road.


  1. harvey

    why was it called the railway.


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