Kootenay River waterfall named for Scottish counterpart
Eighteenth in a mainly alphabetical series on West Kootenay/Boundary place names
Bonnington, or Bonnington Falls, was named by Sir Charles Ross (1872-1942), first president of West Kootenay Power and Light after Bonnington Linn, a waterfall along the River Clyde in Lanarkshire, Scotland.
The name was applied to the falls themselves, the upper and lower dams developed on them, and the community that grew up around them.
The earliest mention is in an ad in the Nelson Tribune of July 17, 1897 for the West Kootenay Power and Light Co. at “Bonnington Falls, Kootenay River, Nelson.” (A week earlier the ad in the same space had been for the Bonnington Power Co.) The Lower Bonnington dam was built that year.
Ross similarly named the other Kootenay River falls Corra Linn and Stonebyers, although the latter is no longer widely used.
These names replaced an earlier set recorded by George M. Dawson in his 1889 Report on a Portion of the West Kootanie [sic] District, British Columbia. He called the falls St. Agnes, Pillar, and Geyser, but evidently those names didn’t stick.
Ethnographer James Teit also recorded a Sinixt name for Bonnington Falls, ntsa’kutawi’txu, which he translated as “portage or carrying place for canoes.”
The Bonnington Falls post office opened August 1, 1911 and closed August 31, 1964.
Blueberry, or Blueberry Creek, is one of three fruit-themed Castlegar suburbs. (The others are Raspberry and Strawberry, although the latter is no longer in common use.)
The creek was so named by January 1, 1897 when it was mentioned in the Trail Creek News. The Blueberry railway siding was named on a Columbia and Western Railway schedule dated November 21, 1897 and published in the Slocan Pioneer of December 11, 1897.
For a while around 1910-11, the community — or at least a portion of it — was known as Bruce Gardens, despite the fact the post office opened on May 1, 1910 as Blueberry Creek.
Bruce Gardens is mentioned in the Nelson Daily News of December 15 and 22, 1910 and January 7, 1911. One headline read “Water system for Bruce Gardens,” yet the story itself said “All together Blueberry creek looks forward to a prosperous future.”
Who was Bruce? It’s an unsolved mystery. No one by that name was listed there in the 1910 Henderson directory for BC, which included the notation “See also Blueberry Creek” and erroneously stated Bruce Gardens was on Okanagan Lake, eight miles south of Okanagan Landing. (The confusion was with Bruce’s Landing, which was in fact on Okanagan Lake.)
The same directory also erroneously stated Blueberry Creek was “a settlement in Kootenay district situated two miles north of Moberly.”
Bruce Gardens was never mentioned in the directories again.
The Blueberry Creek post office closed on May 12, 1973. Blueberry, which is home to a community school, amalgamated with Castlegar in 2004.
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