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Heritage Week: The connection between Crowston Lake and Angus Creek

The following article was sparked by a recent question from a researcher: “After whom Is Crowston Lake named?” Around 1903 or 1904, a young man came to B.C. from Ontario.
The Crowstons were instrumental in starting an art gallery in Sechelt and getting the Arts Centre built on Trail Avenue. Doris was president of the Arts Council and a director for a number of years.

The following article was sparked by a recent question from a researcher: “After whom Is Crowston Lake named?” 

Around 1903 or 1904, a young man came to B.C. from Ontario. He worked in North Vancouver on several subdivisions before coming to the Sunshine Coast, where he staked some mining claims in the Sechelt area. In 1911, he advertised his services as a prospector for “Lime, Coal, Oil, Copper and Gold” in the B.C. Saturday Sunset Newspaper. He bought District Lots 1471, 1509 and 1437 on the west side of Sechelt Inlet and planned a subdivision of five-acre blocks named “Crowston Heights.” On the east side of Porpoise Bay, in 1928, he bought a portion of DL 1557 for $780.12, now Porpoise Bay Provincial Park. The creek running through the park was officially named Angus Creek on July 31, 1945. 

This young man was Angus Crowston. He and his wife Annie eventually owned five lots on both sides of Sechelt Inlet. According to Arnold McQuarrie, Angus was “always immaculately dressed in a fancy vest with a watchchain across it and he carried a cane.” Angus and Annie had two sons who went to school in Vancouver but spent many happy holidays in Sechelt. 

Son Bruce particularly enjoyed coming to Sechelt and, after serving in the Royal Air Force during Second World War, he brought his bride Doris from Vancouver to live in Sechelt. They bought District Lot 1558, now East Porpoise Bay Estates, and built their home there. For many years Bruce ran a small sawmill and a campsite on the DL 1557 Lots he had purchased from his father’s estate. The campsite land was sold to the provincial government in 1965 and is now our very popular provincial park. The Crowston family sold DL 1558 to Porpoise Enterprises around 1980 and moved to Mason Road. Their company, Porpoise Bay Estates, was formed to develop a portion of DL 1473 (originally Angus’s “Crowston Heights”) as the “Blue Heron” subdivision, so named because there had been a large heronry on the property. 

The developers were “to leave the stumps and large cedars as natural attractions.” 

They sold the balance of the property and moved to Wilson Creek (now ts’ukw’um). 

Doris Crowston was involved in community organizations. She served on the SCRD Parks and Recreation Committee and was president of the Sunshine Arts Council when it leased Whitaker House for an Art Gallery. Doris was also an artist and exhibited her paintings there. She was very active in raising funds to build the present Arts Centre on Trail Avenue and husband Bruce donated the logs for the attractive building we enjoy today. 

According to a Jan. 9, 1979 letter from the director of Surveys and Mapping, “We have no record of the origin of this name (Crowston Lake). It was adopted on May 3rd 1951 and appears on an old (1938) edition of Provincial Map 2A.” Doris said Angus Creek was named after her father-in-law, Angus. We have two natural features to enjoy named after an early settler Sechelt family and, thanks to their foresight, a beautiful provincial park.