A totem town

Joyce suggested we take a day-trip up the road to Duncan on Vancouver Island. Really? For starters, we had no idea where Duncan was or why we’d drive all the way up there. But Joyce and Jerry were visiting us for a few days on their whirlwind trip to the Pacific Northwest, and we decided if that’s what they want to do…

Who knew that Duncan’s streets are dotted with 40 totem poles? We started off with a helpful map provided by the Visitor’s Center.

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The Chief from the “Owl Spirit” Totem by Tom LaFortune of Coast Salish heritage

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The Owl (top, representing the artist’s grandmother) and the Human Spirit (below) also from the “Owl Spirit” Totem

The Thunderbird brings together both strength and supernatural in the “Sea and Sky” Totem by Harold Alfred of the Kwakwaka’wakw people

The Thunderbird brings together both strength and supernatural in the “Sea and Sky” Totem by Harold Alfred of the Kwakwaka’wakw people

The Eagle Spirit from the “Raven Stealing the Sun” Totem by Donald Smith of the Qw’umiyiqun and Quw’utsun’ Tribes

The Eagle Spirit from the “Raven Stealing the Sun” Totem by Donald Smith of the Qw’umiyiqun and Quw’utsun’ Tribes

The Maquinna Sun Mask, carved on feast bowls given to tribes when a fishing and hunting boundaries settlement was agreed, on the “Peaceful Boundaries” Totem by Norman John of Coast Salish heritage

The Maquinna Sun Mask, carved on feast bowls given to tribes when a fishing and hunting boundaries settlement was agreed, on the “Peaceful Boundaries” Totem by Norman John of Coast Salish heritage

 The Great Chief (represented as a killer whale) whose hand is protectively near the small Man (who represents the members of the artist’s tribe) from “Cedar Man Walking out of the Log” Totem by Richard Hunt of the Kwaguilth people

The Great Chief (represented as a killer whale) whose hand is protectively near the small Man (who represents the members of the artist’s tribe) from “Cedar Man Walking out of the Log” Totem by Richard Hunt of the Kwaguilth people

Some Totem Poles rose up from sidewalks. Others stood in a few small grassy areas. One purpose of the poles was to attract visitors to Duncan, so we imagine the city thought it important to place them right in the business district and not in a separate larger space away from the shops.

What a wonderful idea to walk through town and, at the same time, see the beautiful totem poles. Alas, the totem poles may have exceeded what the city and the Cowichan tribe had ever dreamed possible. The totem poles truly are wonderful pieces of art, but, in their confined spaces, we found it difficult to view and fully appreciate them.

That’s not to say we didn’t think it was worthwhile to visit wonderful little Duncan and see these amazing totem poles. We spent quite a long time visiting each and did a little shopping as well. Mission accomplished. When we finished, the lovely Hudson’s On First restaurant welcomed us, and we dined very well indeed. The combination of the Totem Poles and Hudson’s On First turned the trip to Duncan from worthwhile into truly memorable.

If we had ended our day then and there with Joyce and Jerry, we all would have been happy, but, we had planned one more stop to make on our drive back to Victoria, and we hoped our friends would enjoy it: 18 holes of miniature golf! One of us made par, 49, which means three of us didn’t, but we’re not naming names here. What a glorious day!

 

July 2015

 

About simpletravelourway

Beth and Joe enjoy simple travel.
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11 Responses to A totem town

  1. Thank you for the beautiful close-ups! I once read that the all too common expression about something or someone being the “bottom of the totem pole” gives a really inaccurate impression. That in fact, the most important figure was the one at the bottom. Did you hear or see anything to that effect? About the order of images, top to bottom?

  2. icelandpenny says:

    Oh I love all this. (I love that, when you and I travel through the same area, we are attracted to and celebrate many of the same things. No wonder I always enjoy your blog so much!)

  3. Totem poles and miniature golf do sort go together!

  4. Pat Bean says:

    This blog earned a Bean Pat as blog pick of the day. Check it out at: http://patbean.wordpress.com

  5. plaidcamper says:

    Lovely photographs – the colours!

  6. Bernice Rowe says:

    I have a tot

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