Thursday, May 2, 2019

Island Carvings ~ Vancouver Island, BC

Vancouver Island is home to many carvings done over the years.  The totem poles are the most colorful, as a rule and there are so many of them in Duncan, but the Island also has different carvings in other towns so we will now have a tour of Island carvings.

City of Totems
Duncan is considered the City of Totems.  With the world’s largest outdoor collection, they have earned that name and within this small city there are plenty to enjoy seeing.  The big growth in totems began in 1985 and now allows carvers and their families to tell the story that the totem tells in dedicated signage.  Duncan also shows there is cultivated cross-cultural appreciation and co-operation as these communities come together.

The Feast
The Feast, which was carved in 1987 is 3.6m tall and tells a local Quw’utsun’ (Cowichan) legend.  The story says that the Killer Whale was eating all the salmon in the river so they called on the Thunderbird to help them.  The Thunderbird, Tzinquow, took the Killer Whale up to the top of the   mountain and ate him.  Spirit Helpers are also part of the carving.

Raven's Gift
Doug LaFortune, also known as William Horne, grew up in Duncan and began carving at the age of 19.  He is quoted as saying, “I strive to do better every time I do something”.  Doug with help from his brothers Perry, Howard and Aubrey carved this collection in Duncan, including the Raven’s Gift.  These ones are on display near the Cowichan Valley Museum.

Eagle carving
This may be one of my favorite carvings.  The bald headed eagle is such a majestic proud looking bird, and I love to see the real ones and this is a great replica and very lifelike.  We stayed at Seal Bay RV Park in Comox Valley, a privately owned park which is off the main roads and not on the Bay, a 30 minute walk from the park, but we sure did enjoy the park and all its’ many carvings. 

carvings at Seal Bay RV Park
I understand the owner of this great RV Park is the carver of all of these incredible works of art.  His talent is shown on carvings displayed around the park, and only a few are shown here.  The seals are the base of a large table dedicated to the carver’s son and also beautifully done.  There are many beautiful carvings, including the one of the eagle.

Campbell River pole climber
I must admit that when I first saw this pole climber, my quick glance led me to believe he was real.  Once the sun was no longer in my eyes, I could see he was not.  Quite a sight in downtown Campbell River, though.

Campbell River Shoreline Arts
The Campbell River Shoreline Arts Society has an annual chainsaw carving competition.  We were not there to see the carvings being done but saw the results of the 2018 competition, “Transformation on the Shore”.  The background is the Discovery Passage, the view couldn’t be better for this display.

Elk Falls - Campbell River
This lonely fellow was once part of the Campbell River Shoreline Arts competition but now stands at the entrance of Elk Falls, ready to pose for photos with the visitors to this area.  

Tyee Spit graveyard

This graveyard sits on the Tyee Spit at Campbell River and honors several with totem poles.  I wasn’t able to learn anything about this but the history could be very interesting to learn.  It appears to have been here for many years and has a very diverse selection of headstones. 

Needless to say, there are many talented carvers on Vancouver Island who share their talents for us to enjoy.  I hope these are enjoyed for many years to come. 

To see more of our visit to Vancouver Island, click here.


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