Highway 97 being converted to four lanes in April 1990. This photo taken in Lake Country. (Greater Vernon Museum and Archives Photo #14025)

Highway 97 being converted to four lanes in April 1990. This photo taken in Lake Country. (Greater Vernon Museum and Archives Photo #14025)

HISTORY: How the old Highway 97 in Lake Country got new name

Pelmewash Parkway recognizes the First Nations history in Lake Country

Highway 97 between Vernon and Lake Country has had its share of changes.

Black Press has run a photo from the Greater Vernon Museum and ARchives circa 1925 showing ice on Wood Lake and an old automobile precariously making its way along an ice-covered roadway.

The picture with this story shows the highway being four-laned 31 years ago in 1990.

And, in 2013, the stretch of the old highway along Wood Lake was replaced by building upon the hillside. A six-lane portion at the north end that becomes four lanes at the top of the summit and remains that way into Winfield.

The old highway was renamed the Pelmewash Parkway in a unanimous vote by Lake Country council in late 2012. Pelmewash was the first name of Wood Lake and recognizes the First Nations history of the area.

Archaeological work as part of the new highway construction revealed numerous aboriginal artifacts near Wood Lake.

Council had narrowed the name choices down from 160 submissions to a short-list of three based on public feedback, historical naming by aboriginal inhabitants of the area, a corridor theme for future parks, and naming conflict with other jurisdictions.

The other names in the running were Lake Country Parkway and Wood Lake Parkway.

READ MORE: New name sought for old Highway 97


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