I recently spent a day with IndigenousTourism BC and some of its stakeholders/partners to share unique local opportunities that help you experience your own city like never before. This is the first post in a three part series.
Talaysay Tours with Indigenous Tourism BC
“When I was growing up, three of my closest friends were three cedar trees,” said Candace of Talaysay Tours with a smile as we entered Stanley Park (Xwáýxway). She continued down the path and patted the thick bark of a Douglas Fir, “This is why I call this the ‘Talking Trees Tour‘. It’s about being in balance with nature and enriching our relationship with plants and trees.”
Candace has been running Talaysay Tours with her brother Jonathan for the last 11 years, offering kayaking and hiking tours locally and on the Sunshine Coast between May and early September. The family is Shíshálh Coast Salish and Blackfoot First Nation members with English and Scottish ancestry. Raised Sechelt (Shíshálh), more specifically Porpoise Bay, the two siblings are members of the xenichen Wolf Clan.
Specializing in linking adventure elements to nature, Candace hosts her Talking Trees Tour in Smuggler’s Cove, Porpoise Bay, on the North Shore and in Stanley Park (by request) — which is where I came in. I have walked the trails of Stanley Park hundreds of times but I have never truly seen them as I did with Candace and her relative Jessica who was on the tour with us. With every step, I learned something new about a plant or tree that I had walked by so many times before.
Line baskets with the leaves of a Thimbleberry, use Cedar bows for open baskets in which to put fresh clams, get the best heat for a fire using Douglas Fir bark, and the Elderberry can be used as a laxative. Use the leaves of Skunk Cabbage (Swamp Lanterns) to wrap and steam food, and make a tonic with Cascara Bark to relieve constipation. Huckleberries, Salmonberries, Salal Berries. What is good to eat on the spot, what is good for treating ailments, and what will keep through winter.
The tour was absolutely fascinating. Aside from the practical uses for these plants and trees, Candace shared the cultural history of each of these resources — like why the Western Hemlock seems to hang its head in shame when you spot it in a grove with other trees. You will learn about the ecology of the forest and hear tales and traditions passed on from ancestors who lived in this area centuries ago. Every bit of the forest that you may have previously dismissed is explained, appreciated, and serves a purpose.
Adventures Offered by Talaysay Tours
Sea Kayaking Day Tours and Multi-Day Trips, Hiking & Walking, Paddleboarding, and Snow Shoe. The walking tours are usually about 3 hours long.
Learn more by visiting the Talaysay Tours website and also the Talaysay Tours listing on the Indigenous Tourism BC website. There is also information available at Klahowya Village in Stanley Park which is open every day until September around the Miniature Railway area.