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Looking Down: Manhole Cover Art in Vancouver


Friday, October 17th, 2014 — 11:14am PDT
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Last week I was on a trip to the Okanagan where I snapped colourful landscape photos of views and vineyards as far as the eye could see. To my surprise, none has garnered as much attention as a photo of a manhole cover I took upon my return to Vancouver. Locals, as I have come to learn over the years, appreciate three things that made this photo a success: Coast Salish art, autumn in Vancouver, and finding art in unexpected places.

There are thousands of these creatively designed cast-iron covers all across the city and thanks to the Ironclad Art project, new contributions are added to the mix.

The particular cover that I captured was designed by master carver Susan Point, who has created a variety of public and fine art works including several at Vancouver International Airport such as Cedar Connection and the Salish Welcome posts in the international arrivals area.

This photo was taken in Coal Harbour but there is another manhole cover at First and Commercial designed by Susan Point and her daughter Kelly Cannell, and another similar cover in the Olympic Village. You can view a full gallery of these designs and others submitted to the Ironclad Art project online.

Sometimes we’re so busy looking up in Vancouver, at the mountains, rain clouds, and construction cranes building up our City of Glass that we tend to miss some of the beauty that’s right under our feet.

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