Looking Back


Here’s a look back on events, stories and news in September over the last 45 years in Canyon Lake.

45 Years Ago

In 1974, local residents were concerned over security in the campground and officials were planning to curtail issuance of keys to the north and east gates. A dune buggy was purchased in order to better patrol the perimeter of the fledgling gated community.

The POA Board passed resolutions barring the use of vehicles within Canyon Lake’s private streets unless the operator was properly licensed and qualified under the California Vehicle Code.

The moving of the main gate at Golden Gate Drive was complete and the structure was now to include a restroom and be air conditioned and repainted.

A permanent restroom and showers were among plans discussed for the stables, as well as the need for additional riding trails within the adjacent BLM property.

Canyon Lakers assembled for the Water Ski Tournament ‘74 on the lake.

Treasure Island condominium homes were limited to 36 owners, and already seven were sold during construction. Prices started at $66,000 with 30-year financing.

Meanwhile, at the Canyon Lake Motel on Railroad Canyon Road, “The most lavish condominiums in Canyon Lake,” were offered starting at $44,900.

40 Years Ago

In September 1979, it was announced Jim and Lorraine Bagwell were the new campground managers and that a POA Campground Committee was being formed. file Photo

Jack McLean was POA General Manager, Ben Price was POA President and Bill Haas headed the Home Owners Club. Lorraine and Jim Bagwell were the new managers of the campground, after having retired from their flower business in Long Beach. They succeeded Fred Dalby at the campground. A Campground Committee also was in the process of being formed.

Resident Chuck Bishop spent his vacation cruising around the Mediterranean Sea. One of his unusual experiences was to ride a camel in Egypt.

A new local club was being organized as the Canyon Lake Toastmasters.

Twenty-six members of the active Twirlers caravanned to San Diego to take part in a luau.

Howard Best, a retired employee of the California Department of Justice, was introduced to the community as the new Canyon Lake Chief of Security.

A three-bedroom, two-and-one-half bath home at 29740 Chaparral Way, with “custom workmanship throughout,” was offered at $124,500.

35 Years Ago

In 1984, a committee was forming for those who leased homes in the gated community to provide guidelines for lessors and their tenants.

A wine and cheese benefit was held at the lodge to assist the Canyon Lake Library with its anticipated move to larger quarters in the Towne Center.

A fire that started in the garage of a home on Vacation Drive caused damage estimated at $75,000 before volunteers of several nearby fire companies contained the blaze.

A new and improved telephone system was installed in the POA’s administrative offices, linking that facility with the campground, guard gates, stables and golf course.

The 35 men who made up the hard-working Tuesday Work Group were honored by the POA for their efforts in improving the golf course.

The Lions Club was planning to host its popular Breakfast at Indian Beach. For a donation of $2.50 residents and guests could enjoy ham, eggs, toast and coffee.
Don Thomas, the general manager of the local cable company, was scheduled to be the featured speaker at the monthly meeting of the active Home Owners Club.

Best-selling author, Leland Cooley, provided the program for the newly formed Friends of the Canyon Lake Public Library.

The POA advised members that the legal decision regarding what was well-known as the Castellano Lawsuit still had not been resolved, contrary to current rumors, and that resolution and the details of what would be fiscal demands by members had not been determined.

30 Years Ago

In 1989, as in past Septembers, buses of the Lake Elsinore Unified School District were again picking up local youngsters for delivery to LEUSD campuses. The possibility of Canyon Lake becoming a new Riverside County City was still on the drawing board.

The Sunday buffet at the lodge featured roast beef, fried chicken, seafood Creole, vegetables and salad bar for $7.95

Residents were told they would have to deal with only three centralized post office box locations since there were no plans at present to increase mail delivery options.

The Long Range Committee reported that more than 200 homeowners responded to its request for suggestions to be added to a “wishlist” for future needs for community growth. The number one request was to eliminate storage of the community’s “toys” in driveways.

As of Sept. 6, 1989, Canyon Lake was 77 percent built with 3,355 total residences. Of these, 2,361 were owner-occupied, 358 leased and another 105 rented on a month-to-month basis. There were 473 weekend homes and 58 spec houses. Vacant lots totaled 1,120, and there were 208 homes under construction.

The Home Owners Club expected at least 1,500 participants at its annual Oktoberfest at Indian Beach and was selling badges for limited entry. Members of the active group were pictured on The Friday Flyer’s front page, publicizing the yearly event.

The POA Board approved the purchase and installation of a new rental dock with slips that would accommodate up to 52 boats, replacing the one that was currently adjacent to the lodge. The aluminum docks would permit double the number of crafts stored there.

The ACC adopted new rules regulating garage sales within Canyon Lake’s gates.

25 Years Ago

In 1994, Labor Day at the lodge featured a DJ, games, a pie-eating contest, music, low-cost lunches and dinners.

Cora Sue Barrett was among those organizing a Bingo Blast at the lodge, with proceeds going to Fire Company 60 and Friends of the Library.

Canyon Lake Community Theatre put on a big fall production, “Peter Pan,” with a cast of resident thespians. Captain Hook was alternately played by Ron Myre and Don Vecchione, and a flying Peter Pan was alternately played by Tara Miller and Ilene Moore. Pat Train, who co-directed the play with Debbie Miller, was pleased with the capacity crowds attending the event at Indian Beach’s Moonlight Theatre.

The City Council began a program to license businesses in the community.

Both Gault Field and the busy equestrian center were going under renovation and improvement projects.

Canyon Lake’s Lindsay Trapp was awarded a trophy and named as the Nationals Championship Tournament’s 1994 United States Overall Champion for water-skiing skills in Florida.

The Architectural Control Committee reported that, as of Sept. 6, 1994, Canyon Lake was 81.5 percent built with 15 homes approved so far that year and 22 homes under construction. Of the 3,770 total residences, 2,701 were owner-occupied, 508 leased and another 42 rented on a month-to-month basis. In addition, there were 465 weekend homes and 54 spec houses. Vacant lots numbered 994.

The Third Marine Aircraft Wing Band, stationed at El Toro, was scheduled to present a concert at Indian Beach, sponsored by the Home Owners Club.

Improvement activity on Railroad Canyon Road was slowed due to problems regarding completion of the Eastern Municipal Water District’s pipelines.

Organizers Randy Harris, Dana Buckley and Ron Stack touted the success of the community’s first wakeboard tournament, which had 19 contestants.

The Canyon Lake Line Dancers competed in the 10th annual Oldlympics held in San Jacinto.

The POA Board recognized the accomplishments and dedicated community service of the late Shirley and Rudy Engler and named the lodge marine rental facility Engler’s Landing.

The POA Board was busily trying to renegotiate the lease with the Elsinore Valley Municipal Water District and was looking into developing a master plan to expand into the BLM’s Section 34. The POA Board also passed a resolution asking that members vote against the proposed casino within Canyon Lake’s boundaries on the upcoming November ballot.

The City Council honored Ken Wolfe for his winning design for a monument to be placed on Railroad Canyon Road at the new city’s western limits.

A high temperature of 107 degrees and a low of 53 degrees were Canyon Lake’s range of Sept. 28 temperatures.

20 Years Ago

In 1999, a new complex was completed in the Towne Center that would house the POA offices, along with the city’s corporate offices.

An infestation of red gum lerp psyllid beetles attacked eucalyptus trees at Indian Beach and caused much leaf damage. According to Director of Operations Paul Johnson, measures were being taken to lessen the damage.

As of Sept. 11, there were 3,978 residences in Canyon Lake and 3,123 were owner-occupied. There were 423 leased and another 23 rented on a month-to-month basis. There were also 135 spec houses and another 276 weekend homes. Vacant lots numbered 713 and a total of 61 homes were under construction.

The Bosom Buddies, Canyon Lake’s breast cancer support group, continued to underwrite free and low-cost mammograms for newly-diagnosed local women.

Plans were unveiled for a temporary site to house local junior high students while Elsinore Junior High School underwent reconstruction. One location that was being considered was at the intersection of Railroad Canyon Road and Cottonwood Canyon Road.

A major issue facing Canyon Lakers in 1999 was the proposed new lodge and the ballot measure to approve the expenditure of $3,214,157 to accomplish this project. Proponents pointed to the available funds in the POA’s reserve in excess of the projected cost.

After months of study by the Facilities Planning Committee, thousands of hours consulting with architects and designers, scores of meetings with local clubs and organizations, several community-wide forums and open houses, property owners voted “Yes,” and a new lodge was in the future.

The Canyon Lake Chamber of Commerce began planning for a gigantic millennium party to be held on the Towne Center parking lot, catered by Pepe’s, on New Year’s Eve, Dec. 31, 1999.

15 Years Ago

Fifteen years ago this month The Friday Flyer received a whole new look, and the Sept. 3, 2004 issue was the first to appear on the newspaper’s new website, thefridayflyer.com. All newspapers since then have been stored in the online archives.

At exactly 7:28 a.m. on Sept. 11, Fire Captain Brent Carter and several of the volunteer and full-time firefighters at Station 60 were joined by Canyon Lake resident John Williams and guest Dennis Hannafin for a moving tribute to Dennis’ brother, Thomas Hannafin, who died in the collapse of the World Trade Center on Sept. 11, 2001.

Spotlights shone at the lodge as the big white lights signaled the grand reopening of the Lighthouse Restaurant on Sept. 10. There was a new and brighter look, new uniforms for the staff, new artwork, a new menu and a new attitude, according to Food and Beverage Manager Tim Tait, who invited residents to stop by for the festive affair, with balloons welcoming everyone and appetizers served. The facility was to be open seven nights a week.

The City of Canyon Lake invited citizens to celebrate the completion of the Railroad Canyon Road Rehabilitation Project. The major renovation came in ahead of schedule.

Barton Account Manager Vince Schiavi reported a new patrol car had been purchased and three new officers were hired to combat speeding within the gates. A new laser radar gun, like those used by the Sheriff’s Department, would aid officers in this endeavor.

The real estate market was booming in Canyon Lake and moving vans were a common sight on the community’s streets as an average of 120 escrows were opened and closed each month.

A fundraiser was held in the Towne Center in memory of Brett Downey, the 11-year-old killed in a motocross accident a month earlier. Proceeds benefited the newly created Brett Downey Safety Foundation. Also in September, the Downeys were back at Glen Helen Raceway for the annual 125/250 MX Nationals Finals, where the owners of the track paid tribute to Brett’s memory by hosting a special jet flyover.

Canyon Laker Mary Tortomasi, marketing director for the Sky Venture Perris wind tunnel, was preparing to compete in the 2004 U.S. National Skydiving Championships to be held at Perris Valley Skydiving Center.

10 Years Ago

In 2009, recreational campers alerted the Riverside County Sheriff’s Department to a dead body in the waterway north of Canyon Lake over the Labor Day weekend. The discovery was made Sept. 5, with the department press release indicating that the deceased, identified as 49-year-old John Joseph Garcia of Wildomar, had gunshot wounds and was the apparent victim of a homicide.

It was announced that a group of three friends, Josh Ferguson, Ross Harrison and Dan Simon, had taken the reins at Lake House Tavern. The bar and restaurant opened at the former site of the Coyote Grill in 2004. The location is now the home of the Canyon Cowboy.

Golf Pro Dave Lindeman reported he had read the bylaws for the new Family Golf Club and the 9ers Golf Club and all looked to be in order. The Green Committee formed a subcommittee to meet with architectural companies to obtain proposals for a master plan of the golf course.

In September 2009, it was announced that a group of three friends, Josh Ferguson, Ross Harrison and Dan Simon, had taken the reins at Lake House Tavern. The bar and restaurant opened at the former site of the Coyote Grill in 2004. The location is now the home of the Canyon Cowboy. File Photo

The Elsinore Valley Municipal Water District began its Longhorn Drive Waterline Replacement Project with the aim of preventing damage to existing water lines during the upcoming POA Road Reconstruction and Repaving Project on Longhorn Drive, as well as help ensure that future interruptions of water service due to pipeline breakage would be minimized.

The Lake and Marina Committee, based on input from the State of California, the water district and other officials, concluded that the POA should act promptly to prevent the introduction of the mussels into Canyon Lake saying, “An effective quagga/zebra mussel regime will help avoid negative consequences that would result from a mussel infestation.”

The Canyon Lake City Council approved setting a $25 fee for processing special event permits. The permit, which previously had been issued free of charge, was required anytime a party or event planned for a residence in Canyon Lake or one of the community’s many parks was expected to include 30 people or more.

In September of 2009, Reel People Ron and Leigh Martel reviewed “The Final Destination,” “All About Steve,” “Whiteout” and “The Informant.”

5 Years Ago

In 2014, San Diego-based music ministry, “Go Project,” rocked the stage at Indian Beach. “Just like last year, they came, they played and won over the hearts of many Canyon Lakers,” says spokesperson Steve Martin. “They had kids dancing, jumping and trying their hand at moon-walking (or something close to it)!”

“The Fabulous Fifties” was the theme for the 2014 Miss Canyon Lake Scholarship Pageant, held on Sept. 13. A new Royal and Talent Court was crowned to serve as ambassadors at community events throughout the coming 2014-15 year: Miss Canyon Lake Sierra Macias, Ms. Canyon Lake Jennifer Ward, Mrs. Canyon Lake Donna Ritchie, Miss Teen Karina Bowen, Miss Pre-Teen Stacia Slezak, Junior Miss Sawyer Lanouette, Young Miss Siara Staggs and Little Miss Clarice Walsh.

Giving the thumbs-up, Pastor Kasey Crawford of Elevation Church stands with members of “Go Pro-ject” and some of the young people who attended the “Go Project” concert at Indian Beach on Sept. 3, 2014. Photo by Steve Martin

Seventeen members of the Garden Club paid a visit to Old Town Temecula, where they toured the Temecula Olive Oil Company, the Curry Vineyard and Winery, Tasting Room and the historic Palomar Inn Hotel. Afterward, they enjoyed lunch at the Public House on Main Street. The hostesses for this outing were Kathy Tisdale and Mabel Saldate.

The theme of the 4th annual Babes and Chicks Golf Tournament, hosted by the Women’s Golf Club and the 9ers Golf Club (women’s), was “Around the World in 9 Holes.” The four-person teams were made up of members from each club.

The candidates for two City Council seats began rounds of meetings and open houses to help voters get acquainted with them and their positions. The four candidates were Dawn Haggerty, Randy Bonner, John Zaitz and Vicki Warren.

Street Carts of Canyon Lake held a Drive-In Movie Night on Sept. 20 at Sierra Park. According to organizer Mike Shroyer, there were about 22 golf carts and 20 cars with families. Proceeds of the event were given to the Siroky family, whose son Sam died in a bicycling accident on Vacation Drive in July.

More than 30 residents participated in the first 30-Minute Beach Clean-Up, organized by Donna Ritchie, Mrs. Canyon Lake 2014-15. Volunteers of all ages retrieved approximately 10 bags full of glass, plastic, cans, debris and cigarette butts from Indian Beach. Some of the notable finds included socks, an old stuffed animal and the skeletons of a bird and large fish.

Reel People Ron and Leigh Martel celebrated their 10 year anniversary of writing weekly movie reviews for The Friday Flyer. The first movie they reviewed was “Cellular,” which came out in the Oct. 1, 2004 issue.