When looking for information about Spuzzum, I ran across this photo of the sign for the Scuzzy Creek Forest Service Road in British Columbia.
Photo by Robert Park
Scuzzy Creek is a creek in British Columbia that joins the Fraser River just upstream of Hell’s Gate. From some extensive Googling, and from its general location, it appears that Scuzzy Creek was panned for gold during the Fraser Canyon Gold Rush.
I have found two very different versions of the origins of the name Scuzzy Creek. This web page says that Scuzzy, (or the word it may come from, Scaucy – also the name of the Indian Reserve right beside Scuzzy Creek), means jump or jumping, so Scuzzy Creek is probably named after its waterfalls. However, it may also be that Scuzzy Creek was named after the sternwheeler Skuzzy, the first steamwheeler to successfully navigate through Hells Gate.
I guy I know used to have a T-shirt that said “Where the heck is Spuzzum?” I think the lettering was done in brown velour. So, where is Spuzzum? What is Spuzzum? It is a small town in British Columbia, Canada, not far from the town of Hope.
So, what kind of a name is Spuzzum? Well, we’re not sure. We think that is’s a word in the language of one of the local First Nations, or at least a word in a very localized dialect of the language of one of the local First Nations. It either is a version of the word “spatsum,” which is the reed used to weave baskets in the area, or it means “little flat.”
Many years ago Spuzzum was a large-ish place. The railway goes through the town, and there used to be a ferry crossing the river there as well. Spuzzum is also on the Trans-Canada highway. Spuzzum is very small. I only drove through it once that I remember, sometime in the nineties. There was a sign saying that we were in Spuzzum, but I’m not sure if the gas station/general store/post office was still standing, (it burned down sometime in the nineties). The Spuzzum First Nation has its offices there, and there is a picturesque bridge there as well that appears to have once been part of the Trans-Canada, (now there’s a newer, larger, bridge).