Totem Poles in Vancouver

The First Nations culture and heritage is very present in Vancouver and Victoria. Almost every where we went, we would be able to find totem poles. I think these structures are amazing and I’m always in awe of the work of these artists.

Bill Reid Gallery, Vancouver
Stanley Park, Vancouver
Granville Island, Vancouver
Museum of Anthropology, UBC
Museum of Anthropology, UBC
Butchart Gardens, Victoria
Capilano Suspension Bridge Park, North Vancouver

A few things I learned from our Victoria tour guide. (He was talking to us while he was driving! I have never had a tour guide who also drove the vehicle.)

  • Some are story poles; usually the story of the village or a great person.
  • Others are welcoming poles.
  • The top of the welcoming pole is usually a Thunderbird or a human with detachable wings/arms.
  • With arms, strangers are welcome to the village and will be greeted warmly.
  • Without arms, no one but those belonging to the village may enter as there may be ceremonial practices happening or the village may be in mourning.

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