The community adopted the name of its local First Nations people. To the Whonnock people, the name meant “place of the hump-back salmon.”
In 1860 a young Scot named Robert Robertson, a former Hudsons Bay Company labourer, became the first European settler of this community but it only came alive when it was selected for a railway station at the birth of the transcontinental railroad.
A post office, general store and school were established around the same time as the railway station. Church buildings followed. Whonnock became the heart of the Stave River area, including Ruskin and Glen Valley across the river. An energetic contingency of Norwegian settlers added spice to what was mostly a British settlement. The Ladies Club built in 1912 by the women of Whonnock was the centre for social life in the area that lasted many decades.
Between the two World Wars Japanese farmers brought fruit growing in the area to an unprecedented height.
View archival photos of Whonnock at our Flickr site.
Follow the links for numerous “Looking Back” articles on the history of Whonnock written by Fred Braches for the NEWS newspaper and many more in his “Whonnock Notes” series. All are available for download.
Also see Whonnock on Wikipedia.