Stanley Park Totem Pole Area Expansion Proposal

Comments 5 by Rebecca Bollwitt

Update: The Vancouver Park Board has voted unanimously for a 1,900 square foot addition to the Brockton Totem Pole Interpretive Centre. [News1130]

It’s one of the first stops all the tour buses make as they cruise around our city’s beloved Stanley Park and recently there’s been a proposal to expand the totem pole visitor centre to accommodate all of its visitors.

“The argument is we need to provide a washroom, bigger washroom, for the tour buses and the tourists that come through there because it can get congested at the busiest times. So, it’s a big project. They also want to expand the gift shop by about 1,400 square feet.” [News1130]

“The totem pole display area at Brockton Point is the most visited tourist attraction in all of British Columbia and it has an interesting history,” and contrary to popular belief, they were not native to the park. They were purchased and placed by the parks board over the last century [VPB].

Photo credit: David Drucker on Flickr

If you’ve been a reader of mine for a while, you’ll know I’m never really a fan of more paving, building, and demolishing nature for the sake of “tourism” in the park, and this is no exception.

I love the totem poles in the park, however if you would like to learn more about the history, culture and traditions behind them, I also recommend the Museum of Anthropology at UBC or the Royal BC Museum in Victoria.

I believe Stanley Park should be enjoyed as a park in all its natural beauty. I like that it’s a city park with amenities but when they start ripping up the entire reason we were drawn to the spot in the first place, it seems a bit silly.

Luckily there are some Parks Board members like Spencer Herbert who feel the same way: “My main concern is green space in the park,” Herbert told the Straight. “Stanley Park isn’t expanding but buildings in the park are.”

Running through the park this morning we saw tents and makeshift campsites all over the place. It sure would be nice to find homes for these people before we build another washroom with handsfree faucets for the next busload of tourists.

5 Comments  —  Comments Are Closed

  1. RaulMonday, September 15th, 2008 — 9:25am PDT

    Via one of my friends I learned that the Museum of Anthropology is going to be closed for a full academic year, Sep 2008 to Apr 2009. That is awful 🙁 I will miss my visits there!

    Concur with your post wholeheartedly. And I like Spencer. He seems smart.

  2. Robert FinlaysonMonday, September 15th, 2008 — 9:38am PDT

    May Brown (elected to the parks board and council as part of the TEAM ticket in the 70s) elegantly stated in the recent “Paradise Makers” SFU City Program interview series:

    “But it is always a challenge for a park commissioner to hang on to open space. Some people see parks, others just see open space they want to build on”

  3. Jennie C.Monday, September 15th, 2008 — 12:43pm PDT

    Perhaps it’s a good idea to do the expansion in that it keeps the tourists focused in this particularly touristy areas and leaves the other, lesser known areas for us locals.

  4. Keira-AnneMonday, September 15th, 2008 — 2:59pm PDT

    As much as I completely adore First Nations art, and as much as the totem poles in Stanley Park are one of my favourite features of the park, I absolutely agree with you in this regard. It would be unfortunate to knock out more nature to entice yet more tourists to an already overcrowded city attraction.

  5. Spencer HerbertTuesday, September 16th, 2008 — 2:18pm PDT

    Hello Miss 604,

    I’ve been a reader on and off over the years. Thanks for bringing this issue to light.
    I’m happy to report that through the road re-alignment at Prospect Point we have actually gained 20,000 sq feet of greenspace in the park. It still looks bad up there – but what looks like a bigger parking lot right now will actually decrease the amount of concrete in the park by almost half an acre when we tear up the old road/parking lot. This is new information hot off the presses.
    It’s also a real victory as it’s been years of growing buildings and shrinking green space in the Park.
    Thanks for the forum, and for blogging,


    Spencer Herbert
    Park Commissioner
    Vancouver Board of Parks and Recreation
    [email protected]

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