PLACE NAMES: Procter, Part 2

Procter was named for entrepreneur Thomas Gregg Procter (1862-1913), but his name was often misspelled Proctor.

This remarkable envelope

One-hundred fifty-seventh in an alphabetical series on West Kootenay/Boundary place names

Last week we saw that Procter was named for entrepreneur Thomas Gregg Procter (1862-1913), who settled there in 1891. But his name was often misspelled Proctor, and so was the community.

The late Ted Affleck had a theory about this, which he explained in an unpublished manuscript held by the Touchstones Nelson archives. When the CPR built a spur line along the West Arm from Five Mile Point, the engineer in charge was Alexander Forbes Proctor (1865-1960).

“Throughout the summer and fall of 1900 the Nelson Tribune published a series of news releases about progress on the railway construction which might more fittingly have described a project of the magnitude of the Trans-Siberian railroad,” Affleck wrote.

He believes Proctor cheekily used the spelling of his name, and “in short order, Proctor began to appear on timetables and maps … A.F. Proctor has long passed from the scene but perhaps we should afford him some long delayed and grudging recognition for his deft exercise in public relations which seems to have resulted in the name Proctor being applied erroneously for so many years.”

A tugboat named after the community was erroneously called the Proctor, the railway station bore the sign Proctor, and from about 1913 to 1919 the Nelson Daily News consistently spelled it -OR — much to the dismay of residents who preferred -ER.

Noelle Thompson wrote in Kootenay Outlet Reflections that during Hilda Ogden’s childhood, school custodian Grant McKean “lectured her long and hard on the proper spelling of ‘Procter.’ At that time it was being spelled ‘Proctor’ and Hilda has never forgotten the incident, though she never had the courage to correct the teacher.”

Elsewhere in the book Affleck confirmed McKean’s “usual unruffled demeanor was considerably ruffled when the CPR put up a sign at the railway station spelling the name of the station as PROCTOR. McKean never lost an opportunity of exhorting school children to use the proper spelling of PROCTER. After a considerable lapse of time, the CPR gave in on the spelling.”

In 1949, A.G. Harvey asked the CPR about the name, stating that it was either after T.G. Procter “or the wife of G.M. Bosworth, CPR freight traffic manager in the late 1890s, whose maiden name was Proctor … This station has given me a good deal of trouble and I am having to pass a little of it on to you before I can decide whom it is named after.”

The CPR replied that it couldn’t find any record of an employee named Proctor or Procter, which is baffling given that we know about A.F. Proctor as well John Eber Proctor (1878-1949), a Nelson ticket agent from 1902-06.

Denise Renard wrote in the Summer 1977 edition of Canada West that “In recent years efforts have been made to restore the original spelling, and the sign on the post office proclaims it with a capitalized E, but controversy over the correct spelling still rages heatedly at times.”

When Kootenay Outlet Reflections was written in 1985, the argument flared up again, so Paul Munch sent another letter to the CPR inquiring about the discrepancy. They replied: “Procter has always been spelled with an E. If the station doesn’t agree, someone made an error.”

Affleck lamented: “So much for the integrity of decades of CPR signs and publications!”

Like the CPR, the Procter post office — which opened in 1906 with Thomas Procter as founding postmaster — used both spellings.

The confusion persists in some modern sources. In the third edition of British Columbia Place Names, G.P.V. and Helen Akrigg say Procter was “Originally Proctor, after T. Proctor, who had a ranch here. It became Procter later due to confusion with T.G. Procter, a Nelson real estate man.” In fact, they were one and the same. The Encyclopedia of British Columbia repeats the error.

Thomas Procter is also remembered in Procter Creek, while elsewhere in BC there’s a Procter Lake, Mount Procter, Proctor Creek, and Proctor Lake.

A note about an image included with last week’s installment: a poster of Tom Procter was drawn by Gord Reid, co-founder of the Kootenay Storytelling Festival.

Previous installments in this series





Annable, Apex, and Arrow Park

Annable, revisited


Applegrove, Appleby, and Appledale revisited

Argenta and Arrowhead


Bakers, Birds, and Bosun Landing


Bannock City, Basin City, and Bear Lake City



Bealby Point

Bealby Point (aka Florence Park) revisited

Belford and Blewett

Beaverdell and Billings

Birchbank and Birchdale

Blueberry and Bonnington

Boswell, Bosworth, Boulder Mill, and Broadwater



Brooklyn, Brouse, and Burnt Flat


Camborne, Cariboo City, and Carrolls Landing

Carmi, Cedar Point, Circle City, and Clark’s Camp

Carson, Carstens, and Cascade City

Casino and Champion Creek

Castlegar, Part 1

Castlegar, Part 2

Castlegar, Part 3

Christina Lake

Christina City and Christian Valley

Clubb Landing and Coltern

Cody and Champion Creek revisited

Champion Creek revisited, again


Columbia City, Columbia Gardens, and Columbia Park


Cooper Creek and Corra Linn

Crawford Bay and Comaplix revisited

Crescent Valley and Craigtown


Dawson, Deadwood, and Deanshaven

Deer Park

East Arrow Park and Edgewood


English Cove and English Point



Evans Creek and Evansport

Falls City




Ferguson, revisited


Forslund, Fosthall, and Fairview

Fort Shepherd vs. Fort Sheppard, Part 1

Fort Shepherd vs. Fort Sheppard, Part 2

Fort Sheppard, revisited

Fraser’s Landing and Franklin


Fruitvale and Fraine

Galena Bay



Gilpin and Glade

Gladstone and Gerrard, revisited

Glendevon and Graham Landing

Gloster City

Goldfields and Gold Hill

Grand Forks, Part 1

Grand Forks, Part 2

Granite Siding and Granite City

Gray Creek, Part 1

Gray Creek, Part 2

Gray Creek, revisited

Green City


Halcyon Hot Springs

Hall Siding and Healy’s Landing


Hartford Junction


Howser, Part 1

Howser, Part 2

Howser, Part 3

Howser, Part 4

Hudu Valley, Huntingtdon, and Healy’s Landing revisited

Inonoaklin Valley (aka Fire Valley)

Jersey, Johnsons Landing, and Jubilee Point

Kaslo, Part 1

Kaslo, Part 2

Kaslo, Part 3

Kaslo, Part 4

Kettle River, Part 1

Kettle River, Part 2

Kinnaird, Part 1

Kinnaird, Part 2

Kitto Landing

Koch Siding and Keen


Kootenay Bay, Kraft, and Krestova

Kuskonook, Part 1

Kuskonook, Part 2

Kuskonook (and Kuskanax), Part 3

Labarthe, Lafferty, and Longbeach

Lardeau, Part 1

Lardeau, Part 2

Lardeau, Part 3

Lardeau, Part 4


Lemon Creek, Part 1

Lemon Creek, Part 2

Lemon Creek, Part 3

Makinsons Landing and Marblehead

McDonalds Landing, McGuigan, and Meadow Creek

Meadows, Melville, and Miles’ Ferry


Mineral City and Minton

Mirror Lake and Molly Gibson Landing

Montgomery and Monte Carlo, Part 1

Montgomery and Monte Carlo, Part 2

Montrose and Myncaster

Nakusp, Part 1

Nakusp, Part 2



Nelson, Part 1

Nelson, Part 2

Nelson, Part 3

Nelson, Part 4

Nelson, Wash.

Nelway and New Galway

New Denver, Part 1

New Denver, Part 2


Oasis and Oatescott



Park Siding and Pass Creek




Perry Siding


Pilot Bay


Playmor Junction

Poplar and Porcupine

Porto Rico and Pottersville

Poupore, Powder Point, and Power’s Camp

Procter, Part 1

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