Incorporated on December 1, 1990, Canyon Lake became the 22nd city in Riverside County. The Canyon Lake Incorporation Committee set a record when it won approval from the Riverside Local Agency Formation Commission (LAFCO) in just three minutes and 22 seconds.
The members of Canyon Lake’s charter city council were Alfred “Bill” Trembly, Annabelle Bates, Gene Bourbonnais, John Giardinelli, and Jack Wamsley. Gathered around the flagpole at the country club, residents watched as the members of the new city’s first city council were sworn in by Congressman Al McCandless.
Fred Christensen, who guided Canyon Lake through its incorporation process and served as interim city manager, read a resolution from the council acknowledging Wamsley and the Incorporation Committee and Vick Knight and the Home Owners Club for their efforts.
The Home Owners Club was praised for its registration drive, which added 460 voters to Canyon Lake’s rolls, increasing the city’s annual tax base by more than $74,520 for the next eight years.
Riverside County Supervisor Norton Younglove presented the new city with a plaque commemorating the day, as well as with a POW/MIA flag and a small piece of the Berlin Wall that he had brought back from his trip to Germany.
Wamsley, who still resides in Canyon Lake, said it was a great day for him. “There are few times in life when we’re able to develop something we know will last for hundreds of years. I’m proud that I’ve had the opportunity to do that.”
During the first city council meeting, Trembly was appointed mayor, Bates was appointed mayor pro-tem, Christensen was formally appointed interim city manager, and Pat Wallace was appointed interim city clerk.
Additionally, the council authorized county ordinances to remain in effect as city ordinances, that a bank account be established for the new city, and that the Highway Patrol provides traffic enforcement. The council also agreed to apply for the city’s share of public funds from the state and to ban smoking during meetings.
City council meetings were scheduled to take place on the first and third Wednesdays of the month at 7 p.m at the country club until city offices could be acquired.
In May 1991, the city council appointed Jeff Butzlaff as Canyon Lake’s first permanent city manager. One of Butzlaff’s first tasks was to develop an annual budget for the city.
A contest was held inviting locals to design a logo for the new city. Seventy-three entries were submitted. The winner was commercial artist Carl Blomquist. At the time of the contest, Blomquist had been a resident of Canyon Lake for two years. James Cook of Moreno Valley won second place and Justin Spitz of Canyon Lake won third place. The new logo was unveiled during Fiesta Day on May 25, 1991.
Ten years after incorporation, on April 1, 2000, the city placed a time capsule in the cornerstone at the base of the flag pole in front of City Hall to help future generations understand and learn about the community.
Included in the time capsule is a history of Canyon Lake written by Canyon Lake pioneer Chuck Bishop, a tape of “Canyon Lake Then and Now” by Don and Elinor Martin, a list of the 2000 city council members and city staff, photographs of City Hall, a penny, dime, nickel and new golden dollar minted in 2000, an advertisement for the original Canyon Lake sub-division, and the front page of the first copy of The Friday Flyer printed in the new millennium.
The time capsule is scheduled to be opened in 2100, 100 years from the time it was laid in the ground.
In May 2016, nearly 26 years after Canyon Lake was incorporated, the “City Fathers” were honored as grand marshals of Canyon Lake’s iconic Fiesta Day Parade. With the theme “Flashback Fiesta,” the 2016 Fiesta Day celebrated the 50s, 60s, and 70s and recognized the formation of the city by honoring charter city council members Giardinelli and Wamsley and Incorporation Committee member Warren Kelsey. All three men also served on the POA Board and have been instrumental in the growth of Canyon Lake.
For information about Canyon Lake prior to incorporation, click here. To view birthday wishes from residents, click on the YouTube video below.
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