Greek Names: Part II
Once rail travel was established through the Rockies, a flurry of mountain climbing activity was launched. Because many of these recreational climbers had studied the classics, they often gave the peaks they'd conquered names of Greek or Roman origin.
According to historian Merrily Aubrey, one example is a series of peaks 20 km southwest of Jasper.
In a valley known as the Forum, you will find Curia Mountain. And this, to its namer, Mr. M.P. Bridgeland, resembled a Roman senate house, or curia.
The Roman tradition states that Romulus divided the people into three political tribes, each with its families, or curiae. One of the principal buildings of ancient Rome was the curia, and along with the basilica and the rostrum, the religious, political, and judicial lives of the people were overseen. If you go into this group of mountains you will also find Basilica Mountain and Rostrum Hill. These can all be found in the Forum.
Greek and Roman names are not unique to the Rockies. Dominion Land Surveyors also drew upon Greek and Roman heritage to name different features throughout Alberta.
The village of Acme, near Drumheller, was originally established as a CPR station around 1910. It was the most northerly point at that time, or top of the branch line. And in Greek, "acme" means summit or highest point.
Phidias, 65 kilometers southeast of Calgary, was a short-lived CPR station. It ran only from about 1912 to 1915, and was named for a famous ancient Greek sculptor.
A popular summer resort in central Alberta also owes its name to Latin.
The euphonious Sylvan Lake, takes its name from the Latin word "sylvanus", meaning of, or having to do with, or characteristic of, the woods.
This is a much nicer name than the earlier appellation, which, when translated from the Aboriginal tongue, meant Snake Lake.
Other names for that lake have included Methe, which refers to a type of fish. That name was recorded by David Thompson on his 1814 map.
Palliser referred to it as Swan Lake in 1859, and that explains the name of the nearby smaller feature called Cygnus Lake.
In Latin that means baby swan.
On the Heritage Trail,
I'm Cheryl Croucher.