You’ve heard of Big Foot/Sasquatch, but British Columbia (BC) is home to several other monsters you may not have heard of as well. One of the biggest Kelowna myths is that of the Ogopogo. The South Okanagan isn’t exempt of creatures either and is said to be home to the Shuswaggi.
Admittedly, neither sound terribly intimidating.
This lines up with their myths since neither have had reported “attacks” or deaths attributed to them. However, that hasn’t stopped them from being “spotted” over the years. We explore how these monsters came to be and how the myths around them were born.
Kelowna Myths: The Legend of the Ogopogo
Out of the monsters BC is said to be home to, the Ogopogo is one of the most well-known locally. Resembling that of a large water snake, the water-dwelling creature is said to be roughly 25 meters long, and with a reptilian head that lives in Okanagan Lake.
Legends of the Ogopogo were first mentioned thousands of years ago from Salish First Nation people, who spoke of “N’ha-a-itk”, or “the Spirit of the Lake.” European white settlers transformed this into stories of a large creature which later became referred to as the “Ogopogo.”
Although there have been many photos and videos allegedly shot of the creature, none have proven to be conclusive and the legend continues to this day.
The “Water Bear” or Shuswaggi Myth
Not too far from Okanagan Lake, another monster is said to live in Shuswap Lake: the Shuswaggi.
This water creature doesn’t have a consistent appearance to it where some describe it as a large, furry mammal, whereas others describe it as more of grey back, eel-like creature.
The earliest sighting dates back to 1904 when a Secwepemc First Nations hunter claimed to have killed one and brought its hide to a trading post. Reported sightings, photos, and recordings continued to pop up over the years with the most recent in 2018.
BC is clearly home to many myths that have become a part of the culture and even a sort of mascot for cities in some cases. Maybe one day we’ll know for sure if these creatures actually exist, but for now, they remain as interesting legends anyone could be the first to prove true.