Looking Back


Here’s looking back on events, stories and news in February over the last 45 years in Canyon Lake.

45 years ago

In February 1973, the Water Ski Club held its annual Polar Bear Day. While most of the month was cold and wintery, the day of the event brought sunshine and 70 degree weather. In spite of very little advertising for the event, approximately 125 Canyon Lakers participated. The Water Ski Club also held its annual Installation of Officers Banquet at the lodge on a very rainy day the same month.

Young people of Canyon Lake were busy making posters for the annual Canyon Lake Woman’s Club Rummage Sale. The clubs Ways and Means Committee supplied the materials and paint for the posters and awards were given for Best Posters.

The Woman’s Club charter membership was at 91.

At the February POA Board Meeting, a prepared agreement from Elsinore Valley Municipal Water District (EVMWD) was presented for the POA Board to sign. The board decided it would study the agreement and make its own proposal to present to the EVMWD at the next meeting.

The annual POA dues for 1973/1974 was $160 per member.

A condominium on Canyon Club Dr. was listed at $37,000. A lot on Giant Fir Place near the north causeway was listed at $5,900. A two bedroom, two bath waterfront home was listed at $44,500.

Members of the ACC resigned after being accused of violating the POA’s recorded covenants, conditions and restrictions. Some ACC members said they were only following the deed procedures and By-Laws.

40 years ago

In February 1978, General Manager, Floyd Fidler, announced a community clean-up. Homeowners with trucks over ¾ tons, boats or boats on trailers sitting in front of homes or on vacant lots and homes being built with people living in trailers or mobile homes would be warned then cited by security for not following POA Rules and Regulations. Additionally, Mr. Fidler announced beginning April 1, 1978, all boats on the lake must be registered and safety inspected, checking proof of insurance, fire extinguishers, life jackets, flags, Coast Guard approval, etc. Boat inspections were held at the docks at the lodge.

Canyon Lake had 683 single family dwellings, 282 under construction, 106 mobile homes and 108 condominiums. A one bedroom unfurnished condominium with a boat slip at Eastport Villas was renting for $275 and a two bedroom, two bath furnished condominium with a boat slip was renting for $350.

A new Marine Patrol was set up separate from security. There were three patrol boats and one maintenance boat. The first head of Marine Patrol was Bob Roberts.

On the west side of the lake on Longhorn Dr., Harrelson Park was being developed as a memorial to Roy Harrelson, a young man who was killed in a skiing accident in 1977. Tax-deductible donations were being sought for the “worthy cause.”

Construction of new card-entry gates began at the end of the month and was expected to be completed in three weeks.

General Manager Floyd Fidler reported that the POA has always had to subsidize the lodge. Records showed that the POA subsidy in 1974/75 was $50,190. In 1975/76 it was $51,854. In 1976/77 it was $63,987. The loss for 1977/78 was expected to be $33,572.

The Canyon Lake Home Owners Club hosted a Sweetheart Dance in the Fireside Room at the lodge. Members and guests danced to the music of the Bob Anderson Combo. A drawing was held for a dinner for two at the lodge and the lucky winners were Lou and Tom Wilks.

Twenty-three families from the Roadrunners Club camped out at Oak Springs Ranch in Hemet. The caravan to Oak Springs Ranch was such a success the club had planned another trip in the near future.

Canyon Lake Community Church’s, Pastor Pete Van Dyke, wife Pat and daughters Alice and Mary celebrate their one year anniversary of moving to Canyon Lake.

Villa Properties announced they would be putting in a shopping complex with 15 stores on Goetz Rd. between Canyon Lake and Quail Valley.

A Beautification Program for the main east gates resulted in mounds with Canyon Lake spelled out using rocks for all to see.

35 years ago

In February 1983, Elsinore Valley Municipal Water District held a workshop for Canyon Lake property owners in the Fireside Room at the lodge regarding the proposed $7,000,000 wastewater treatment plant to be constructed in Railroad Canyon.

Canyon Lake Library celebrated its third year anniversary. At the time, the library had close to 5,000 volumes that filled the shelves, a microfiche machine and more than 150 records that included classical, pop, children’s music and rock and roll. Library staff also reported that more than 200 books were missing from the library, the majority of them children’s books, and encouraged parents to look through their bookcases and children’s toy boxes to see if they might have accidentally been placed there.

Remodeling of the lodge began, increasing the size by 1600 sq. ft.  The POA asked residents to “put their thinking caps on” and help name the new meeting and dining rooms. Some names that were suggested were Poolside View Room, North Lakeside Room, Lighthouse Room, Centerfold Room, Poolside Terrace Room,  Hideaway Room, and Paradise Room.

Property owners responded to a survey concerning a fireworks display on July 4 in the Community News publication with overwhelming opposition to the program if funded with POA monies. One family representative wrote in a letter expressing those that had been received since the survey began, “We are definitely opposed to the expenditure of POA funds for fireworks and feel such a show should be funded by clubs, businesses and individuals.” At the February Presidents’ Committee meeting, composed of leaders from Canyon Lake’s 28 clubs and organizations, chairman Pat Sullenger encouraged the presidents to return to their groups and solicit support for the community event. “If every club would donate $150, we’d be able to sponsor the entire program without financial help from the POA,” said Pat.

Local citizens were happy to hear that a new Mission Valley Medical Center (Now Inland Valley Medical Center) would be built in nearby Wildomar. The new facility would replace a facility that was inadequate to treat the growing population in the area.

Happy Camp increased rates to $5 per night for off-water spaces and $10 per night for waterfront spaces. The increased rates were due to increases of water, electricity, gas and sewer taxes.

The Home Owners Club donated and replanted trees throughout Canyon Lake that were destroyed by recent winter storms. Club President Harry Glover was seeking volunteers to serve on a work party to help plant approximately 20 more trees.

As the Equestrian Club prepares for its Feb. 13, 1988, Barn Sale, even the horses are getting into the act. Pictured with “Maxi” the horse are from left, Betty Scharf, Wendy Fowler and Marge Harris. File photo.30 years ago

In February 1988, security rules were strengthened at the community’s three entry gates. All guests would be required to show identification and all contractors, subcontractors and service personnel would be required to check in at the ACC office.

The Lions and Lioness Clubs sponsored a raffle to benefit residents Henry and Carolyn Jackson and their family. The Jacksons were the victims of the first murder in Canyon Lake  According to reports at the time, n December 1987, a gunman took the lives of two of their daughters while their third daughter, 15-year-old Davonna, was left in a coma. The raffle prize was a colorful painting of a Raiders and Seahawks game that was donated by Canyon Lake resident Lord Carlton. Raffle tickets were  $2 each and could be purchased at several local businesses in Canyon Lake and Lake Elsinore. Funds raised would help the family whose funeral and mounting medical expenses had swelled to more than $2,500.

The Equestrian Club held a Barn Sale rather than a traditional rummage or yard sale on Feb.13. Held the day before Valentine’s Day, the club also sold, “Delicious, delectable valentines cookies packed and decorated with loving care for that special person,” said club president Caroline Hougen. Profits from the sale were pledged to go toward improvements at the stables.

Donations were being sought for bleachers and player benches for the recently added second diamond at Gault Field. The expected purchase price was $1,125.

The Home Owners Club was in the process of developing Evans Park West. Almost $1,000 had been spent to finish rough grading of the area. The next step would be fine grading and installation of a sprinkler system.

Canyon Lake Fire Station 60 firemen model the “I survived the Canyon Lake flood, 1993,” shirts. File photo.

25 years ago

In February 1993, residents were reminded to complete the confirmation of their permanent guests registered on the Rolodex.

As of Feb. 2, Canyon Lake was 80 percent built. Of the 3,718 residences 2,574 were owner-occupied, 444 leased and 51 rented on a month-to-month basis. Weekend homes numbered 559 and spec homes 93. There were 1,008 vacant lots left in Canyon Lake and 35 homes were under construction.

The Jr. Women’s Club sponsored its annual night of gambling at Casino Night. For a $20 donation, property owners received $100 in chips to play blackjack or craps. Attendees were eligible for drawing prizes that included the top prize of a seven night, eight day vacation of the winner’s choice of Cancun, Honolulu, Maui, the Caribbean or the Bahamas.

A three bedroom, two bath waterfront home with a new dock was being offered for $329,000. A custom three bedroom, two bath with two fireplaces and 900 sq. ft. Of decking was being offered for $187,000.

Canyon Lake Fire Company 60 ordered an additional run of a popular t-shirt depicting the community’s recent floods. The front of the shirt had a rendition of the city logo complete with rain clouds, rain and read “I survived the Canyon Lake Flood, 1993.” On the back of the shirt was a map of the community showing the closures of the causeways and roads. The purchase price of the shirt was $15.

February storms caused the lake to be closed due to the unsafe amount of floating debris and possible flooding to shoreline facilities and private property. Additionally, water continued to flow over the dam at a level which made the lake unsafe for boating.

The Board of Directors voted 3 to 1 to cancel its contract with The Friday Flyer effective May 1993. The contract named The Friday Flyer as the POA’s corporate newsletter and the primary means of communicating POA business to property owners. Publisher Chuck Golding and Editor Carolyn Knight pledged to continue publication of the popular community newspaper.

20 years ago

In 1998, El Niño storms wreaked havoc on Canyon Lake and the surrounding communities. The only thing to remain on land at Diamond Point Park was the turtle. Tables and barbecues were under water. File photo.

As of Feb. 1, 1998, the ACC had approved five new homes for construction in Canyon Lake. Of the 3,874 total residences, 2,900 were owner-occupied, 505 were leased and 20 rented on a month-to-month basis. There were 312 weekend homes, 137 spec homes and 27 homes under construction. There were 874 vacant lots remaining.

More than 500 Canyon Lakers were treated to a sneak preview of Elinor’s at the Lodge new menu with a buffet available Wednesday through Saturday night.

A 2,400 sq. ft. custom home with a large master suite that included a fireplace and spa was being offered for $169,000. A four bedroom waterfront home with a three-car garage and dock was being offered for $449,000.

The theme “Happy Birthday” was announced for Fiesta Day’s upcoming anniversary.

The Jr. Women’s Club hosted a benefit Bunco Night at Village Cafe. The proceeds from the event benefited Kathryn Pipoly, a Lake Elsinore mother who had to have both legs amputated following the birth of her son a few months earlier.

El Niño storms wreaked havoc on Canyon Lake and surrounding communities. Flooding caused closures to the north causeway as well as areas on Railroad Canyon Rd., Newport Rd. and Goetz Rd. According to Mike Rucinski, weatherman for The Friday Flyer, 1.7 inches of rain fell in Canyon Lake the week ending Feb. 11. The season total was 8.79 inches. The Operations Department was busy unclogging drains and assisting property owners who experienced problems during the heavy rains. The department staff were also inspecting curbs and gutters for damage.

The Canyon Lake Chamber of Commerce announced its annual award winners: Jeff Butzlaff for Man of the Year, Cora Sue Barrett for Woman of the Year, Pack, Wrap and Post for Business of the Year and Canyon Lake Community Church for Organization of the Year.

15 years ago

In February 2003, the POA sponsored its fourth annual “Snow Days” at Holiday Harbor where families enjoyed building snowmen and careening down slopes in sleds.

As of February 4, Canyon Lake had a total of 4,201 residences. Of these, 3,367 were owner-occupied, 424 we’re leased and 20 on a month-to-month basis. There were 97 spec homes and 288 weekend homes. Fourteen homes had second lots with improvements. Thirty-six homes were under construction and 505 lots remained vacant.

Pool manager Diana Bright was taking applications for those seeking positions as Canyon Lake lifeguards during the spring and summer. Diana arranged for a Red Cross Lifeguard Training program to ensure the community would have a well trained and highly skilled staff.

A hilltop custom, lake view four/five bedroom, three and a half bath home was being offered at $579,000. A vacant lot on Vacation Dr. backing up to BLM land was being offered for $63,000. A three bedroom, two bath home on a corner lot was being listed at $279,000.

The Jr. Women’s Club held a second tile painting day at the city’s Multi-Purpose Room. The tiles were available for purchase for $25 and would later be installed at Sunset Beach.

The POA’s first phase of the Road Rehabilitation Project began. The $1,070,400 project was expected to last several months and included reconstruction of existing streets, slurry seal maintenance, removal and replacement of curbs, gutters and cross-gutters at selected locations and sign and striping improvements.

Blue Bird Hall, located on the corner of Canyon Lake Dr. South and Blue Bird Dr., became the new home for the Youth Center. The building had previously served many purposes including a sales office when Canyon Lake was first developed, a church and a post office and finally a meeting hall. Groups that would meet at Blue Bird Hall would now meet at the old Youth Center in Towne Center.

10 years ago

In February 2008, The Friday Flyer noted there would be five Friday’s in the month of February. A February with five Fridays only occurs every 28 years on a leap year. The last February with five Fridays was in 1980 and the next would be in 2036.

More than 130 Canyon Lakers as well as Police, Fire, city and county staff turned out for a citywide disaster drill. Residents volunteered their time to help canvas neighborhoods, man the Emergency Operations Center, Emergency Shelter and Field Treatment Center and played the roles of injured and homeless earthquake victims. Sixteen boys from Boy Scout Troup 604 volunteered to be made up with latex and fake blood and play the part of the homeless.

A 3,600 sq. ft. waterfront home with a lagoon pool and spa was being offered for $1,200,000. A custom built four bedroom, three bath home was being offered for $549,000. A main lake four bedroom, two bath home, fully furnished home with a dock that included a pontoon as well as a street cart was being offered for $899,000.

Growing pains of necessary upgrades to infrastructure were taking place throughout the community. One of the upgrades was the Canyon Lake’s sewer system. The Elsinore Valley Municipal Water District was in the process of building new lift stations off Lighthouse Dr., Longhorn Dr. and Continental Dr. as part of its $120 million dollar Capital Improvement Project.

5 years ago

In February 2013, the Canyon Lake Total Maximum Daily Load (TMDL) Task Force was awarded $500,000 from the California Department of Water Resources to begin treatment measures to reduce nitrogen and phosphorous in the main lake and east bay. High levels of nitrogen and phosphorous allows algae to grow.

A three bedroom, two bath, 3,141 sq. ft. waterfront home was being offered for $579,000. A five bedroom, four bath, 3,321 golf course home near the main gate was being offered for $459,000.

The POA Board of Directors approved the installation of three aerator units on a trial basis in Lucky Cove. The Lake and Marina Committee had been looking for affordable ways to improve the lake water quality. Sean McDonald, board liaison to the committee, did the research and presented the aerators to the committee. According to committee member Mike Wiley, the aerators cost under $1,000 each.

The Canyon Lake Woman’s Club began selling tickets for its annual Fashion Show. The theme for the 2013 Fashion Show was “Bridging the Generations.”  Models included members of the Woman’s Club with their children and grandchildren. The cost for a ticket was $45 which included lunch.

At the February POA Board meeting, Campground Committee Chair Alex Cook and the Operations Department made presentations regarding the need for electrical upgrades at Happy Camp. The Board of Directors approved the release of funds from the Repair and Replacement Reserve not to exceed $24,000 for Phase 1 Campground Redesign.

1 year ago

The lake was treated with alum the week of Feb. 6. The treatment was scheduled to begin in January but was delayed to due high water levels and flooding. Alum, a naturally occurring mineral, is used to help reduce algae blooms in the lake.

The Temescal Canyon Titans basketball team took the Sunbelt League championship title with a 72-45 win over the Tigers. It was the first title win for the Titans in 16 years.

The team of Brian Hohn and Joe Merrill took first place in the Bassmasters Club February Tournament.

Legendary country music artist John Anderson performed at the lodge.

The POA announced that plans for a new pickleball court at East Port Park and new main gate monuments were being reviewed.

Tom Nathan, Phil Hawgood, Paul Chenette and Michael Harris submitted Intent to Run papers to the POA and announced their candidacy for the POA Board of Directors.

The Canyon Art Association held a  Paint ‘n Wine Soirée Painting Fundraiser to raise funds for a student art contest for Canyon Lake high school students.

On Feb. 20, access control refinement construction began at the main gate. Refinements included relocating stop markings and two gate operators, converting the wall mounted control boxes to a flexible cord control, adding remote control functionality to the guest and decal lanes and replacing the RFID antenna with a smaller unit.

On Feb. 27, former lodge manager Mark Scheck and his family lost their home in Riverside when a small airplane crashed into it. Three of the four passengers in the plane perished. In typical Canyon Lake fashion, many residents donated money and items to assist the family.