Informant AJ is a freshman at a university in the Canadian province of British Columbia whose family lives in San Jose, California. AJ moved to BC for the first time in August of 2022 to begin university.
“It’s a little unfamiliar to me but I’ve heard a few people talk about it here and there and seeing the statue posted downtown. It seems to be a creature in the Okanagan Lake just a few miles down south of the university. And there’s some sea creature that does something, I’m not very sure. I would say it looks like a sea dragon, kind of like a snake.”
“We have a little statue of it downtown and some people will take pictures of that and ride it for fun. I heard somebody mention it and they were like, ‘You’ve never heard of Ogopogo?!’ The lake is one of the biggest attractions here in Kelowna, so I’m sure that’s a fun story that people who live here can tell visitors.”
Because the Ogopogo has a statue in downtown Kelowna, the legend of the Ogopogo has taken on an aspect of capitalist appeal as the city utilizes the legend as a tourist attraction, representing an example of folklorismus. However, the Ogopogo traces its roots to stories from the Interior Salish First Nation people of a lake spirit known as the N’ha-a-itk. In this sense, the Ogopogo also carries a mythic nature, but as the story passed through the generations and through the colonization of North America, monetary interests grabbed hold of this myth and transformed it into the tourist attraction AJ knows it as. When he first moved to Kelowna, BC, there was a big reaction when AJ announced that he wasn’t aware of the Ogopogo, indicating its strong public appeal. Yet, the manner in which he learned about the Ogopogo, through visits to the statue in downtown Kelowna, indicate the weakening of the traditional myth of the Ogopogo.