Lost Landings

The topical discussion, which normally appears here, is below the interactive map. Be patient as the map loads. Click on a tag in the map or on a name in the side bar. Click and drag the map. Some magnifications do not work in hybrid mode and you will have to switch to map mode. There were a few dozen landings, so the items on this map will grow.


There was a time when the primary way to reach settlements around the Lake was by water. Sternwheelers carried people and goods from Kootenay Landing and Kuskanook, in the south, to Lardeau and Argenta, in the north, and Nelson, in the west, stopping along the way at myriad landings. (A 1925 map notes that the daily boat from Kuskanook to Balfour and Nelson takes 4 hours). Most of these landings were named for a local settler; a few after the mines they served; others for some local feature or business.

Now, long after 1957 when the last sternwheeler ceased running, most landings have receded from our consciousness. A few of the names remain—Johnston’s Landing (North Arm), McDonald’s Landing (West Arm)—but, in many cases the word, landing, is gone and if the settler’s name survives, it now loosely denotes a few hectares of land, or in one case, Fraser Narrows, of water.

Today, as I wander the Lake, among the modern structures, I see old landings with decaying pilings and dilapidated rock jetties. Some are easily seen from the road, some mainly from the water. What were their names and stories, and how were they used? I recognize only a handful of these landings, indeed, often the adjacent home owners have no clue as to their origins. The history of European settlement around Kootenay Lake is not long, and yet in the space of a few generations, landings have been forgotten. I am curious.

Maybe that curiosity is sparked by some pilings I remember from the 1940s along the east side of the mouth of Shannon Creek. They were cut down but their stumps can still be seen each March at low water. Was this the landing for a local park? Between 1906 and 1914, the waterfront land on the west side of the creek was styled Ferndale Park. With its own open-air dance pavilion, the park became a centre of entertainment on the North Shore. Clubs, lodges and picnickers would come the four miles from Nelson by sternwheeler. Were these pilings where they tied up?

Fraser tartan