Hats Off

totemThe beautiful Kwakwaka’wakw Centennial Pole in Hadden Park, Kitsilano Beach in front of the Maritime Museum is in need of support. Artist Mungo Martin carved the pole with his nephew Henry Hunt and his son David Martin back in 1958. The ten figures on the pole represent the ten Kwakwaka’wakw clans. This pole is an exact duplicate of the commissioned totem that was presented to Queen Elizabeth to mark our centennial. That 100 ft (30 m) pole, which was carved from a 600-year old cedar from Haida Gwaii, was placed in Windsor Great Park in England. The Kits pole is deteriorating – its “hat” was taken off in 2009 for safety reasons. The pole has been stabilized while the City assesses it for potential restoration and conservation in consultation with the artist’s descendants. Totems are usually left to rot in place, but hats off to the city for taking measures to save this weather worn treasure.

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