Aboriginal Tourism BC presents Klahowya Village in Stanley Park until September 12, 2010.
Occupying the space around the miniature railway and children’s farmyard, Klahowya Village involves artisans (wood carving, weaving, bark biting), interpretive tours, activities, food, crafts, entertainment, and the Spirit Catcher Train.
One of the artisans on site is Todd DeVries who does cedar bark weaving. His pieces are for sale and you’ll see him working on elaborate hats and baskets at behind his display. Along another path you can spot birch bark biting by Pat Bruderer. This is an ancient and now rare technique of creating art and telling stories by biting designs into thing strips of birch bark.
If you head to the village before August 24th (when the piece is being installed in the lagoon) you can catch Master Carver Richard Krentz working on a raven carving. Decorated with giant mussel shells, and abalone shells yet to be added, this piece represents transformation. Later this month it will be installed permanently in the lagoon near the children’s farmyard for all to enjoy.
For kids there’s a storytelling circle, crafts, and of course the miniature railway that has been transformed into the Spirit Catch Train. Train rides (that last just under 15 minutes and have a narration) are $7.50 for adults and $5 for kids and seniors.
Kids can also grab a “passport” at the entrance to the village so that they can visit locations throughout and collect stamps.
Cultural tours run on the hour from 11:00am until 5:00pm and there are dance performances every day at 12:00pm, 2:00pm and 4:00pm. Mike led my tour this morning and he was so friendly and helpful. He shared stories and explained the significance of common natural elements in the park — from ferns to giant cedars.
All of the wood used in the village is from the storm of 2006 that wiped out tens of thousands of trees in Stanley Park. The fallen trees and debris has been re-purposed as material for carvings, artwork, and display/way-finding signage.
Admission to the village is entirely free but you’ll want to bring some cash to purchase treats from the Feast House including bannock (savory or sweet), buffalo chili, and aboriginal tacos (bannock with buffalo chili). I had some bannock this morning and it was delightfully tasty. The aroma wafted from the Feast House, across the village, and mixed with that of fresh cedar carvings.
It’s such a great way to spend an afternoon in Stanley Park — learning about local and natural history from a culture that is over 800 generations strong. Klahowya Village is open daily from 10:00am until 6:00pm until September.
If you would like to win tickets to ride the Spirit Catcher Train please leave a comment on this post. I’ll draw one winner Wednesday August 18th, and another Wednesday August 25th. Each will receive a family pack (which is 4 tickets).
Update The winner August 18th is Janet. I’ll draw another from all entries next week.
Update The second winner is cindy quach.
Update The completed raven statue is being unveiled Friday August 27th at 12:30pm.
Update May, 2011: The village and Spirit Catcher Train have returned for 2011.
May 16 to September 11, 2011
Open daily from 10am to 6pm
Senior/Child $3 per person
Free for Children under 2 years of age
Combo Price (Village & Train):
Adults $14 ($1 discount)
Senior/Child $10 ($1 discount)
Free for children under 2 years of age
Family Pack for 4 or more:
20% overall discount on the above options