Canada's First World War Internment Operations

Mara Lake

Internment in the Shuswap

Mara Lake has been the ancestral territory of the Secwépemc people for thousands of years. When Europeans arrived they were drawn to the lake's sandy beaches and the abundant reserves of timber in the area. The settlement of Sicamous was established at the lake's north end, and Mara at the south end. It was during the First World War that a road along the lake's edge was constructed to connect these two communities. It was built by forced labourers, men who had been interned as part of Canada's First World War Internment Operations. Today Mara Lake remains a popular destination for all sorts of summer recreation, and Sicamous advertises itself as the Houseboat Capital of Canada. <<>> *Video credit: Armistice Films*

This project has been made possible by a grant from the Endowment Council of the Canadian First World War Internment Recognition Fund.

We respectfully acknowledge that Mara Lake lies within the ancestral, traditional, and unceded territory of the Secwépemc First Nations.

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 Mara Lake

Then and Now Photos

Guards on the Ferry

Guards on the Ferry Guards on the Ferry

Enerdby & District Museum 4259


A collection of soldiers board the little ship used to ferry supplies between the two internment camps on Mara Lake.

Internment Camp Hut

Internment Camp Hut Internment Camp Hut

Library and Archives Canada 3550148

ca. 1915-1918

A building at one of the Mara Lake Internment Camps, likely used as an office or guard's quarters.

Aerial View of the Camp

Aerial View of the Camp Aerial View of the Camp

Vernon Museum & Archives 936

ca. 1915

An aerial view of 2 Mile Camp at Mara Lake during wintertime.

Building Sicamous Bridge

Building Sicamous Bridge Building Sicamous Bridge

Sicamous & District Museum 0461


A pile scow hammers down pilings during the construction of the first railway bridge across the Sicamous Narrows, part of the trans-Canada Canadian Pacific Railway.

Sicamous Flooded

Sicamous Flooded Sicamous Flooded

Sicamous & District Museum 0070


The Sicamous Narrows during a major flooding event, showing the bridge nearly engulfed by the rising waters.