The History of Canim Lake

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The area of Canim Lake has long been the home to the Indigenous people, particularly the Shuswap people. Archeological evidence found in 1995 has shown that the Indigenous have occupied the area for at least 4,500 years, verified through carbon dating.

At the lake, ancient pit houses have been found and Indigenous pictographs have also been discovered.

In fact, the name itself, Canim, means large canoe in the local Chinook language. Those canoes were used on the lake for thousands of years, and the lake itself looks similar to the shape of a canoe.

The Canim Lake Indian Reserve continues to exist nearby.

The lake itself is a pebble beach remnant of the glacial age, left over from the great ice sheets that once dominated the landscape. Today, it is one of the largest lakes in the Cariboo Region.

One of the most beautiful parts of the lake are Canim Falls, located on the east end of the lake. These falls are described as magnificent and well worth any visit to the region.

In 1892, Ben and Lester McNeil were the first settlers to the region.

Prior to 1895 the village itself was located on the eastern end of the lake at the site of the McNeil Ranch.

As time went on, the village moved in 1896 during a time when the lake had 64 people. At the time, the village consisted of a church and a few buildings.

For three decades, the only transportation route in the area was the lake itself.

Eventually, a government road was built but it took many decades to make that happen.

In 1929, Canim Lake Lodge was built by Davie Lewell and became a centre piece of the community. Rumour has it that US President Herbert Hoover stayed at the lodge during its heyday and Hoover Bay is apparently named for him.

Sadly, the lodge burned to the ground in the late 1950s.

By the 1960s, residents of Canim Lake were asking that electric power be provided to the community from Williams Lake. The cost was $34,800 to make this happen, which amounts to about $333,000 today.

Each potential customer who wanted power would be required to put up $80 in cash or labour to be connected to electric power.

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