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Travelling to the coast from Port Alberni, you pass the oddly-named Lost Shoe Creek twice before you get to “The Junction” (left to Ucluelet, right to Tofino). En route to Tofino, you cross it another time as well. (And perhaps more; I’m not sure of all its tributaries.) The creek got its name in a very literal way, which is recounted here by William Sutton, from the February 15, 1903 edition of the British Colonist. (Sutton and his brother James established Sutton Lumber and Trading in Ucluelet in the late 1880s. William also worked as a metallurgist for Robert Dunsmuir, the mining “magnate” of Vancouver Island.) This is from a lecture by Sutton, Vancouver Island Its Resources.

…I might state another experience I had on the West Coast in the neighbourhood of Wreck Bay, where black sand containing gold occurs. My brother had been interested down there and they had taken out in the neighbourhood of $20,000 in gold. I named it Lost Shoe Creek, because I lost my shoe there. The sallal [sic] was so thick that I had to roll over it, instead of forcing through it. That is the only way I could get through the thicket, so I rolled down to Wreck Bay, and when I reached Lost Shoe Creek I had to ford it. In crossing I lost one of my shoes, which was carried away by the current. They say necessity is the mother of invention, and so I made a pair of moccasins by tearing off a piece of my trousers, and I started off down Wreck Bay as far as Ucluelet. …

Of course, Lost Shoe Creek must have had a perfectly good Nuu-chah-nulth name before it got a new one. Unfortunately, I don’t know it. Would love to hear if you know!

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