Photo By Peter Watts
Totem Poles in Stanley Park

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Totem Poles in Stanley Park - PHOTOGRAPHER COMMENT

Panorama showing the totem poles in Stanley Park, Vancouver. These form one of the attractions with in the park, popular with visitors. Signs explain each of the emblems on the totem poles. Virtual tour taken June 2012.

Totem Poles in Stanley Park - FURTHER INFORMATION

Totem Poles in Stanley Park - Vancouver visitor guide showing a virtual tour of 'Totem Poles in Stanley Park' linked to an interactive map with local and travel information. 360° panoramas from British Columbia.

The Totem Poles are part of the First Nations art on display in Stanley Park in Vancouver. These poles, standing near to Brockton Point, all date from around 1986-92. Poles that had stood prior to this date, which had been carved as early as the 1880's had naturally decayed and were removed from the site. Currently there are 8 totem poles on the site.

From right to left these totem poles are:

  • Chief Skedans Mortuary Pole - an older version of this pole was raised in Skidegate in about 1870. It depicts the Chief of Skedans hereditary crests at the top followed by a mountain goat, grizzly bear and whale. The two tiny figures in the ears of the bear are the chiefs daughter and son-in-law. The pole was carved by Bill Reid and Werner True in 1964.
  • Ga'akstalas Pole - carved in 1991 the pole represents many important figures in Kwakwa̱ka̱'wakw people who lived mostly on Vancouver Island. The pole shows the legendary Quolos Bird, the Ceder Man who survived the great flood and gave his people the canoe, Sisiyutl (a double headed serpent), the hero Siwidi riding an Orca, Raven, Grizzly bear over a man's head and finally the Giantess Dzunukwa who brings magic and wealth to her people.
  • Thunderbird House Post - these posts usually form support columns supporting the massive lintel beams in First Nations ceder houses. This current post dates from 1987 and replaces an earlier post carved by Kwakwa̱ka̱'wakw artists. The post shows the Thunderbird and Grizzly Bear holding a human.
  • Sky Chief Pole - this pole shows the Sky Chief holding the moon, a Kingfisher, Thunderbird, Whale, Lightning Snake, Wolf and Man of Knowledge holding topati. It was carved in 1988 showing important characters in Nuu-chah-nulth history.
  • Kaka'solas Totem Pole - carved by Kwakwaka'wakw carver Ellen Neel (1916-1966), the first female Northwest Coast carver, and her uncle Mungo Martin in 1955 it shows a Thunderbird, a Seabird holding a Killer Whale, Man, Frog, Bak'was (wild man of the woods), Giantess Dzunukwa and a Raven.
  • Chief Wakas Pole - in Kwakwa̱ka̱'wakw (Kwakiutl) ceremonies, carved staffs called talking sticks are held by those making speeches as the chief's representative. This totem pole represents figures from the Owikeno story of Chief Wakas. This pole was carved in 1987 and shows a Thunderbird, Killer Whale, Wolf, Wise One, Huxhukw (a mystic bird), Bear and Raven.
  • Oscar Maltipi Totem Pole - carved by Kwakwa̱ka̱'wakw Oscar Maltipi in 1968 this totem pole shows a Thunderbird and Killer Whale, two creatures that feature in First Nation origin stories.
  • Bever Crest Pole - carved in 1987 by Nasga'a artists the pole tells how the Tait family Eagle Clan adopted the Bever as their crest and how the eagle and raven met to share the sky.


Bus: W Georgia St FS Gilford St (019, 240, 241, 242, 246, 247, 250, 251, 252, 253, 254, N24), Denman St (005, 006, N6).
Skytrain: Burrard St (996, 999) then bus down W Georgia St.

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