Have you seen Ogopogo? City of Penticton would like to hear from you | iNFOnews | Thompson-Okanagan's News Source

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Have you seen Ogopogo? City of Penticton would like to hear from you

The iconic Ogopogo statue on Kelowna's waterfront is pictured in this March 15, 2016 file photo. The City of Penticton would like to hear from you if you spot Okanagan Lake's most elusive creature.
July 23, 2020 - 7:00 AM

If you saw what you think is Ogopogo in Okanagan Lake, the City of Penticton wants to know about it.

The City wants to collect 'sightings' and plans to add them to a map on its new website.

The Ogopogo sightings page has been up since March, and shows three ’sightings’ but they're all tests from the city.

City communications manager Phillip Cooper says because people were reporting Ogopogo sightings from time to time off the shores of Penticton, it seemed like creating the page was appropriate. Ogopogo is also featured on the City’s coat of arms.

“Ogopogo is known for behaviour that models extreme social distancing, so with the arrival of COVID-19, sightings in 2020 may be extra scarce,” Cooper said.

Any sightings that do get logged on the City’s web page will be reviewed by the website administrator prior to being posted to an online map located on the Ogopogo sightings page.

Cooper says the idea for the listings actually came out as part of a ‘content review’ of the website before it relaunched earlier this year.

"Periodic correspondence received by the City asking for information on where to report Ogopogo sightings suggested there was demand for information on this topic, so the decision was made to add a sighting page to the City’s website,” Cooper said in an email.

The mythical creature of Okanagan Lake’s legend dates back thousands of years to include First Nation accounts of N’ha-a-itk, the spirit of the lake. The stories of the lake spirit changed into a snake-like lake monster with the arrival of European settlers who named the apparition Ogopogo.

According to UBC Okanagan professor Robert Young, roughly 1,000 lakes around the world have reported sightings of lake monsters, 34 of which are in British Columbia.

He attributes modern sightings of Ogopogo to wave action on the lake.

There is no conclusive evidence of the existence of Ogopogo, however, residents and tourists who think they’ve seen the elusive creature now have someone to tell about it. 

To contact a reporter for this story, email Steve Arstad or call 250-488-3065 or email the editor. You can also submit photos, videos or news tips to tips@infonews.ca and be entered to win a monthly prize draw.

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