Adams River Sockeye Run, Shuswap Lake, Photo Destination BC Chin Lee
The small town of Scotch Creek is located on the north shore of Shuswap Lake on a scenic route that encompasses the communities of Lee Creek, Scotch Creek, Celista, Magna Bay, Anglemont, St. Ives and Seymour Arm. Shuswap Lake Provincial Park lies on the old delta of Scotch Creek and is a popular tourist destination with a long sandy beach, a large grass recreation area, a boat launch and a self-guiding nature trail. Best of all, the park includes Copper Island – which has its own hiking trail. Water skiing, kayaking and swimming are popular on the lake or you can take in a round of golf at a professionally designed golf course and hike one the nearby trails. Snowmobiling in the winter is a popular pastime.
Scotch Creek is located in BC’s Thompson Okanagan region on the northern shore of Shuswap Lake 28 km (17 mi) east of Chase via Hwy 1. Take the Squilax Bridge off Hwy 1 between Chase and Sorrento and follow the Squilax-Anglemont Highway along the lake.
Human history in the North Shuswap began thousands of years ago with the indigenous cultures. Before 1800, the lake supported over 2,000 natives.
In 1895, the first white settlers left Minnesota and traveled by CPR to Notch Hill. The Henry Bischoff family wheel-barrowed their belongings to Trappers Landing (now Sorrento) and then crossed the lake to Scotch Creek where they settled at what is now Captain’s Village Marina.
An insurgence of settlers followed. Many came from the mining town of Phoenix in southern BC, thanks to Dave Garland. The women were often city girls unsuspecting of the hard life of a pioneer. The newcomers squatted on property that appealed to them and it wasn’t until 1913 and after that these homesteaders had legal right to their property.
In early years, the only transportation was by water. Before 1914, Henry Bischoff used a rowboat and raft to transport people and supplies. Ferry service began in 1914 between Scotch Creek and Sorrento and continued until 1956.
The roads in the region began as small trails between homesteads and to the lake for mail. As the population increased, these trails were widened and eventually a gravel road was completed between Scotch Creek and Anglemont. This road was paved in the late 1960s.
When ferry service was curtailed, emphasis fell on improving the road between Scotch Creek and Squilax and a bridge was built in 1930 at Squilax. The settlers made their livelihood mainly from logging, fruit farming and trapping.
The first post office was a log cabin built in Celista in 1908. The mail came by train to Notch Hill where it was sorted, then hauled down to the boat at Blind Bay, and taken to the north side of the lake.
In 1910, a log schoolhouse was built in Celista. When the hydroelectric power lines stretched to North Shuswap in 1957, everyone happily tossed out their hissing gas lamps and coal oil lanterns.
Even with all of the work inherent in a pioneering lifestyle, the local inhabitants still made time for fun. The schoolhouses doubled as community centers. Christmas concerts, dances and fall fairs were held and also funerals.