Stanley Park provides a great many things to discover on 1,000 acres (that’s roughly 4 square kilometres)! One of its biggest attractions visited by thousands of tourists every year are the totem poles at Brockton Point.
The original totem poles were brought in from Vancouver Island and the Queen Charlotte Islands in British Columbia and dated back to the 1880s. They were subsequently taken to museums and replaced by new totem poles that were made in the late 20th century. Nonetheless, they are elaborate and colourful pieces of First Nations art in British Columbia.
The nine totem poles in Stanley Park consist of authentic replicas of the original poles and newly carved poles that were made by various artists in the 1980s and 1990s. They all represent real or mythical stories from First Nations peoples or symbolise a crest telling their family or tribe’s history. The Chief Skedans Mortuary Pole on the far right of the above picture was carved in 1964 by Haida artist Bill Reid and his assistant Werner True and honours the Raven Chief of Skedans.
The latest totem pole to join the Stanley Park site is an unpainted pole. It was added in 2009 and carved by Robert Yelton of the Squamish Nation. The pole represents a tribute to the artist’s mother Rose, who was one of the last residents of Stanley Park.
These totem poles are apparently the most visited tourist attraction of British Columbia. This may sound like a turn-off for some travellers looking for off the beaten path experiences, but you’ll find Stanley Park’s totem poles a worthy sight to explore in Vancouver. These fantastic works of art with their unique meanings, stories and myths can be integrated perfectly into a bike ride around Stanley Park’s seawall but are also easily reachable by foot if you prefer to take a walk around the park.
Have you visited Stanley Park’s totem poles? What other First Nations historic sites and works of art can you recommend?