How Canyon Lake became ‘A Bit of Paradise’


In the 70s, resident Dee Dee Davis used the word “Paradise” to describe Canyon Lake. It has since evolved into the informal slogan “A Little Bit of Paradise.” Photo provided by Dee Dee Davis

Canyon Lakers often use the phrase “A Bit of Paradise” when describing Canyon Lake but few know where the phrase actually came from.

In the 70s, resident Dee Dee Davis used the word “ Paradise” to describe Canyon Lake. It has since evolved into the informal slogan “A Bit of Paradise,” or as some like to call it, “A Little Bit of Paradise.”

Dee Dee and her husband Mike were drawn to Canyon Lake for its boating, waterskiing and equestrian center. They purchased a lot in 1968 and stayed at the campground on weekends until they built their waterfront home in near Happy Camp in 1976. Dee Dee loved Canyon Lake so much that she referred to it as “Paradise.” When Dee Dee became the social editor of the former Canyon Lake Chronicle in 1978, she ended her articles with “From Paradise.”

In 1985, Dee Dee was approached by Carolyn Knight, who was the executive editor of The Friday Flyer. According to Dee Dee, Carolyn asked her, out of respect, for permission to use the word “Paradise” in the newspaper. “Carolyn added ‘A Bit of’ to the phrase and ‘A bit of Paradise’ was born, said Dee Dee.

Passionate residents, such as former mayor Mary Craton, adopted “A Bit of Paradise” when referring to Canyon Lake. Years ago when the city was planning to add entryway monuments to Railroad Canyon Rd., Mary, who was mayor of the city at time, pushed to add “A Bit of Paradise” to the monuments. Lack of funding forced the city to postpone the monument project.

In 2016, the monument project was revisited when it was discovered that the city had a $36,000 grant available. Former mayor and longtime resident Nancy Horton suggested “A Bit of Paradise” be added to the monuments to honor three term-mayor Mary Craton’s request for the phrase to be added to the monuments years earlier. City council agreed and “A Little Bit of Paradise” was included on the city’s entryway monuments installed in January 2017 on Railroad Canyon Rd. at the western an eastern boundaries of Canyon Lake.

It’s not clear who added the word “Little” to the phrase. Nancy suggested that it could have come from any number of people, including members or someone at the POA or city hall. Nevertheless, “A Bit of Paradise” and “A Little Bit of Paradise” have become iconic terms used to describe Canyon Lake. The phrase is now used on everything from real estate advertising, apparel and license plate frames.


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