A Mountain By Any Other Name ...
Official Canadian place names are approved by the Geographical Names Board of Canada, but many of our mountain monikers were suggested by the mountaineers who first climbed them or the geological surveyors inspired by their summits. Here are some of the interesting themes found among our country's peaks.
· Mount Moriah is named for the biblical mountain where Abraham made preparations to sacrifice his son.
· Devil's Thumb is a mountain near Lake Louise.
· Mount Cain and Mount Abel on Vancouver Island are named for the unfortunate Biblical brothers, and are ironically adjacent to Eden Mountain.
· The province also has a number of references to the Devil, including Devil's Claw Mountain and Devils Club Mountain. An area of the Coast Mountains known as the 'White Inferno' contains mountains named for the mythical chief lords of Satan - Beelzebub, Azazel, Belial, Dagon, Moloch, and Rimmon; Mount Satan is also in this group. B.C. is also home to Lucifer Peak.
· High above the timberline is Ark Mountain, named by local natives after they discovered the remains of an old log cabin of prospectors. With only missionary education and no obvious reason for the logs to be carried so far and high, they assumed it to be the remnants of Noah's Ark. The Yukon is also home to Mount Jesus.
Shakespearean Mountain Names
· On Vancouver Island, 70 km northwest of Campbell River, two adjacent mountains were named Mount Romeo and Mount Juliet for the pair of star-crossed lovers. They are separated by Montague Creek (from Romeo's surname) which has Capulet Creek as a tributary (Juliet's surname).
· Garibaldi National Park is home to Angelo Peak, named for the naval officer in Othello. The park also includes Mount Iago (Othello), Mount Benvolio (Romeo and Juliet), and Mount Macbeth (Macbeth), which were all named in honour of Shakespeare's 400th birthday.
· In the Coast Mountains north of Vancouver, the peaks of Mount Eurydice and Mount Orpheus are separated by the Styx Glacier. This is in reference to the Greek myth in which the lovers Orpheus and Eurydice are eternally separated by the River Styx.
· Another legendary pair of Greek lovers is immortalized in Mount Ulysses and Mount Penelope in the northern Rockies of northeastern B.C.
Christmas In Canada
· In 1964, Arthur Wightmann, then New Brunswick's member on the Canadian Permanent Committee on Geographical Names, dubbed a 210-metre hill North Pole Mountain in honour of Santa Claus' mythical home. He named an adjoining peak Mount St. Nicholas, and eight nearby peaks Mount Dasher, Mount Dancer, Mount Prancer, Mount Vixen, Mount Comet, Mount Cupid, Mount Donder [sic] and Mount Blitzen after Santa's faithful reindeer. It was later suggested that Rudolph be added, but the idea was rejected, deemed to be too commercial.
· On the provincial boundary, about 25 km north of Kicking Horse Pass, is St. Nicholas Peak, named by a topographical surveyor in 1908 for one side of the mountain's resemblance to Santa Claus' profile.
SOURCE: Canadian Geographic