Slocan | The Canadian Encyclopedia



Slocan, British Columbia, incorporated as a village in 1958, population 272 (2016 census), 296 (2011 census). The village of Slocan is located 70 km by road northwest of Nelson, at the south end of Slocan Lake. Slocan is an Okanagan word meaning “pierce or strike on the head,” referring to the salmon-fishing practice of the Okanagan (see Interior Salish). The community was also known as Slocan City when it was an incorporated city (1901-1958).

Settlement and Development

Slocan was founded in 1892 by Frank Fletcher to service the Slocan Valley galena-mining boom. In 1897, when the railway from Nelson arrived, it became a transportation centre at the foot of the lake. Incorporated as a city in 1901, it declined rapidly with the demise of the Slocan-area mines. During the Second World War, Japanese Canadians were interned here and at Lemon Creek, 10 km to the south.


Logging and sawmilling have historically been at the forefront of Slocan's economy. While still important, the economy is diversifying. Tourism is a growing industry, with Valhalla Provincial Park located to the northwest.