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The Heritage Trails are presented courtesy of CKUA Radio Network and Cheryl Croucher

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Greek Names - Part III

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From the Rockies and across the Prairies, Alberta is filled with place names that pay homage to ancient Greece and Rome.

According to historian Merrily Aubrey, one example is Ricinus.

Ricinus, a locality south of Rocky Mountain House was named after the Latin term for the castor oil plant.
I guess at that time, when they wanted to open up the post office, this was considered to be a plant that was suitable for cultivation in the area.
The post office Ricinus opened up in 1913.

During the Dominion Land Survey in the late 1800s, surveyors often relied on their classical education for inspiration in naming geographical features.

When the Dominion Land Surveys compiled their township plans from the field notes that they would do out in the field, they were often faced with a number of unnamed lakes. In order to differentiate one lake from another on any given township plan, they would note them as Lake 1, Lake 2, and so on.
There was some divergence from this trend, and the following names could be found north and south of the Yellowhead highway around Edson. In this area you will find a series of lakes with the names of Greek letters.
There is Alpha, Beta, Delta, Gamma, Zeta, and Eta Lakes. These names have survived as formal names to this day, whereas the myriad lakes, One, Two, Three, and Four have not.
But this didn't only occur in Alberta. There are a number of features across the country that draw on the Greek alphabet for inspiration. There are eight Alphas, four Gammas, three Deltas, two Zetas, a Theta and a Lambda.

On the Heritage Trail,

I'm Cheryl Croucher.

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            For more on the history of settlement in Alberta, visit Peel’s Prairie Provinces.