Needles (British Columbia, Canada)

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Needles, British Columbia (coordinates: 49.873333, -118.100833 [49° 52′ 24″ N, 118° 6′ 3″ W]) is located on the Lower Arrow Lake, a widened portion of the Columbia River situated between the Selkirk Mountains to the east and the Monashee Mountains to the west. It is located approximately 70 km. north of Renata, the first Mennonite settlement in British Columbia, and approximately 60 km. south of Nakusp.

In 1911-12 a group of Mennonite families, primarily from Manitoba and Alberta (and most likely, all members of the Church of God in Christ, Mennonite) landed at Needles, British Columbia. A number were from Greenland, Manitoba. They purchased land in the Whatshan Valley and some built homes in the town site of Carstons. The first group arrived in October 1911, having arrived by boat from West Robson.

Land was purchased from real estate agents who had purchased it from the Columbia Valley Land Company. Most settlers purchased 10-acre lots for $1,500. Much of the land needed to be cleared of trees and brush before strawberries, gooseberries, and currants were planted. Nearby land was leased for crops for livestock grazing, and a saw mill was built so that logs did not have to be shipped to a mill in Castlegar.

Mennonites invested in the land because land agents had promised that a fruit canning factory and a hydroelectricity dam would transform the region into a rich fruit-growing area, thereby increasing the value of their land investment. Investors soon discovered, however, that the land promoters lacked clear title to the property, and when British financiers foreclosed on the property, the families lost their life earnings and were forced to leave the settlement. By 1917 the last of the Mennonite families had left the settlement.

The Mennonite congregation established a cemetery south of the post office, which remains to this day.


Loewen, Royden K. Family, Church and Market: Mennonites Communities in the Old and the New Worlds, 1850-1930. University of Toronto Press, 1993: 206.

Vernon & District Family History Society. "Whatshan Mennonite Cemetery." December 2011. Web. 8 August 2016.

Wiebe, Frank. "Mennonite Letters." January 1968. Web. 8 August 2016.

Author(s) Richard D Thiessen
Date Published March 2020

Cite This Article

MLA style

Thiessen, Richard D. "Needles (British Columbia, Canada)." Global Anabaptist Mennonite Encyclopedia Online. March 2020. Web. 27 Sep 2020.,_Canada)&oldid=168978.

APA style

Thiessen, Richard D. (March 2020). Needles (British Columbia, Canada). Global Anabaptist Mennonite Encyclopedia Online. Retrieved 27 September 2020, from,_Canada)&oldid=168978.

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