May 28, 2016

2578 CANADA (British Columbia) - The Totem Poles in Stanley Park in Vancouver

Stanley Park borders the downtown of Vancouver, and is almost entirely surrounded by waters of Vancouver Harbour and English Bay. It has a long history and was one of the first areas to be explored in the city. The land was originally used by indigenous peoples for thousands of years before British Columbia was colonized by the British during the 1858 Fraser Canyon Gold Rush. For many years after colonization, the future park with its abundant resources would also be home to nonaboriginal settlers.

The land was later turned into Vancouver's first park when the city incorporated in 1886, and named after Lord Stanley, a British politician who had been appointed governor general. Unlike other large urban parks, Stanley Park is not the creation of a landscape architect, but rather the evolution of a forest and urban space over many years. Brockton Point is a point and attached peninsula in park, home to a 100-year-old lighthouse and several hand-carved totem poles made in British Columbia.

One of the province's most popular attractions is a group of ten totem poles. Four totem poles were originally brought from Alert Bay and placed at Lumbermen’s Arch in 1924. Some had been carved back in the late 1880s. More totem poles were purchased in the 1920s and 1930s, this time originating from the Queen Charlotte Islands and Rivers Inlet. All of the totem poles were moved to Brockton Point in 1962 to allow the construction of an overhead road at Lumberman's Arch. 

Many of them have been replaced with replicas, with the originals now kept in museums for preservation. The most recent addition, erected in 2009, was carved by a member of the Squamish Nation whose mother was born in Stanley Park. Totem poles are monumental sculptures, with symbols or figures made from large trees, mostly western red cedar, by indigenous peoples of the Pacific Northwest coast of North America. The word totem derives from the Algonquian (most likely Ojibwe) word odoodem, "his kinship group".

The carvings may symbolize or commemorate cultural beliefs that recount familiar legends, clan lineages, or notable events. The poles may also serve as functional architectural features, welcome signs for village visitors, mortuary vessels for the remains of deceased ancestors, or as a means to publicly ridicule someone. Given the complexity and symbolic meanings of totem pole carvings, their placement and importance lies in the observer's knowledge and connection to the meanings of the figures.

Stanley Park - Wikipedia 
Brockton Point - Wikipedia
Totem pole - Wikipedia

Sender: Florin Ursu
Sent from Toronto (Ontario / Canada), on 10.05.2016 

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