In a recent public appearance Ian Campbell, the Chief of the Squamish First Nation, suggested that Stanley Park return to its original name, Xwayxway (pronounced “kwhy-kway”). This has caused quite a stir locally with the thought of the international impact among other concerns.
A Squamish elder raised the idea at the opening Wednesday of Klahowya Village and the Spirit Catcher Train in Stanley Park. Xwayxway was the name of a permanent aboriginal village located where Lumberman’s Arch is today. The name refers to a ceremonial mask. [The Province]
Campbell made the suggestion at the opening of a native exhibit at the park, which includes a First Nations village. B.C. Tourism Minister Kevin Kreuger, who attended the ceremonial opening of the village, said he “would happily carry forth a proposal to change the name of the park. Vancouver Coun. Ellen Woodsworth said she thought the change to Xwayxway was an “excellent suggestion” and said First Nations should make a formal proposal. [CBC]
Originally named by the City of Vancouver in 1888 after Lord Stanley (the same man for which the NHL trophy is named), it has been Vancouver’s crown jewel for over a hundred years.
Stanley Park is near and dear to my heart and I believe that its magic would be the same no matter what the signs on Georgia Street or Google Maps read. That being said this is a fairly sticky subject… where do the traditions and history begin and end? There could also be a combination of the two, perhaps a certain area or section called “Xwayxway at Stanley Park” or vice versa.
I’d love to know what you think about the talk of a name change (please keep in mind that this is not a formal proposal yet by any means).
Update According to News1130 B.C.’s tourism minister says name of Vancouver’s Stanley Park won’t be changed, but a second name might be added.
However the Vancouver Sun is now reporting that Tourism Vancouver is all for the name change:
While public reaction to changing the name of the cityâ€™s iconic park has been mostly negative, Tourism Vancouver president Rick Antonson said heâ€™s in favour of the idea.
â€œI think it is a wonderful name, and the opportunity to be a part of taking that name internationally to help introduce it would be just a wonderful, though challenging, opportunity,â€ he said. â€œThere is nothing to lose by doing this and much to be gained.”
Update The Globe and Mail reports that according to the Federal Government, a name change is out of the question (while an addition isn’t).
â€œStanley Park is a park thatâ€™s rich in history, and rich in heritage,â€ said Mr. Day, adding that the park was known and loved to people from B.C. and around the world.
â€œIt was designated as a park well over a hundred years ago by the governor-general of the day, Lord Stanley. And it is our intention to maintain the name as Stanley Park, respecting and reflecting on a wonderful heritage going back for hundreds and hundreds of years â€“ our aboriginal peoples and those immigrants who settled here later and have continued to enjoy the park.â€
Related posts: Top Five for Stanley Park, History Tidbits: Stanley Park, History Tidbits: Pauline Johnson’s Legends of Vancouver, Read all posts in my Stanley Park category since 2004.