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Park Board accepts donation of unique public art dedicated to survivors

June 28 2016

Pigeon Park (Pioneer Place) will soon be home to a 27-foot Survivor’s Totem Pole dedicated to the dignity and strength of survivors of all forms of injustice.

Survivor Pole

The Vancouver Park Board accepted the public art installation at a Board meeting last night.

Read the staff report "“Survivor’s Pole” Community Public Art - Pigeon Park" PDF file (230 KB)

The pole will be raised during a celebration event on November 5, as part of the annual Heart of the City Festival.

The Park Board also approved a contribution of up to $50,000 toward the installation of the Survivor’s Pole in Pigeon Park. 

Advancing work of Truth and Reconciliation Commission

"The Park Board is honoured to have the Survivor's Pole installed in one of our downtown parks as it provides an opportunity to 'walk together' with Musqueam, Squamish, and Tsleil-Waututh First Nations and the urban indigenous community on a path that supports our commitment to the Truth and Reconciliation Commission Calls to Action," said Vancouver Park Board Chair Sarah Kirby-Yung.

Last January, the Board endorsed 11 strategies to advance the historic work of the Commission in its programs and facilities.  

“This totem pole provides an opportunity for the long-time residents to express the importance of honouring the many people who have arrived and lived in this community as survivors, and also allows newcomers to reflect on the beauty and poignancy of that survival,” said Haida and Coast Salish Nations master carver Skundaal (Bernie Williams), the lead artist.

Skundaal is a long-time downtown eastside resident and the only female apprentice of the late master Haida carver Bill Reid. 

Youth from the downtown eastside will be involved in the completion of the carving. Representatives from heritage communities (Japanese, Chinese and First Nations amongst others) will help paint the pole.