How Canyon Lake street names were chosen

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The tall sign was built to direct visitors to different sites within the newly development Canyon Lake community. It stood near the corner of Village Way Drive and the main causeway. Photo provided by Elinore Martin

Have you ever wondered how Canyon Lake streets were named or what they mean? Names like Canyon Lake Drive North, Boating Way, Cove View, Big Tee, Hiding Bass and Wood Duck make sense, but what about some of the other names?

Does Canyon Lake have its own Loch Ness monster? Did Wooly Mammoths once roam the plains and hillsides of what is now Riverside County? Was the T.V. series Bonanza filmed in Canyon Lake? Did the great Crusades really take place in Canyon Lake? Is there really buried treasure on Treasure Island?

What about the meaning of some of the street names? What do names like Caliente, Cinnamon Teal, Greenbriar, Sloop, Widgeon and Lupin mean? A quick Google search and it is easy to find that Caliente is the Spanish word for very hot and Cinnamon Teal is a type of duck. When you look up Greenbriar it is either a resort in the Allegheny Mountains or spelled Greenbrier it is a vine in the lily family of plants. Sloop is a one-masted sailboat and Widgeon is a type of common freshwater duck. Did you know a Lupin is a plant from the pea family that is toxic if not prepared properly?

So where did the street names come from and who decided which streets would be named what? According to Gordon Heath, former president of Corona Land Company and developer of Canyon Lake, “They were picked from a list I requested from an associate, Jack Frost, to prepare.” Yes, there really was a Jack Frost and he wasn’t the fictional cartoon character from “Frosty the Snowman. “I gave him a few limitations and preferred categories. There were to be no political people, government or controversial names,” Gordon said.

Gordon’s vision for Canyon Lake was, “A community where residents would relax, play and enjoy everything about it, including such mundane things as it’s street names. Categories were easy, such things as boating, water, lake equestrian, wildlife and waterfowl.”

Gordon believed names were important because, “Once given, they usually remain forever, so they should stand the test of time. Most people want to live on a street with a name they like, can pronounce and spell. With all this in mind, I did the normal thing of picking the names I liked. All this was done without computers, emails, committees or any real fanfare.”

There you have it, Canyon Lake street names were chosen by one man without the Internet, Google or a committee – imagine that!

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