Playground of the Gods on Burnaby Mountain
Poised at the top of the mountain, overlooking the region, is “Kamui Mintara” or “The Playground of the Gods”, built to commemorate the Sister City relationship between Burnaby and Kushiro, Japan.
The wooden totems bear a striking resemblance to First Nations pieces, but their actual origins lay on the opposite side of the Pacific Ocean.
The Ainu are an indigenous people native to northern Japan (as well as Sakhalin and the Kuril Islands, both part of Russia). At the heart of their traditional territory is the Japanese island of Hokkaido; on the southeastern coast of Hokkaido is the city of Kushiro, home of Toko Nuburi and sister city to Burnaby, British Columbia.
Toko — already an internationally renowned artist, with commissioned works around the world — visited Burnaby as part of a special delegation from Kushiro in 1985. During the visit, he happened upon a mountaintop visit that inspired him. After successfully pitching his idea for a large wooden sculpture, Toko and his son Shusei began work on the project in 1989, using facilities and logs provided by the city of Burnaby. Playground of the Gods (or Kamui Mintara, in Japanese) was completed and unveiled in 1990, to celebrate the 25th anniversary of the special relationship between the two cities.- Atlas Obscura.
More than a dozen carved wooden poles are quite the sight to behold, etched against the sky with the glistening glass towers of Downtown Vancouver off in the distance.
Other Vancouver Icons posts: Photo Session Statues, City Hall History, BC Sugar, Dr. Sun Yat-Sen Classical Chinese Garden, Museum of Anthropology, Fort Langley Community Hall, Christ Church Cathedral, Waterfront Station, Pacific Central Station, Randall Building Mural, East Van Cross, Robert Burns Statue in Stanley Park, Vancouver Maritime Museum, Flack Block, The Drop, Prospect Point Lighthouse, Engagement, Ovaltine Cafe, The English Bay Slide, Freezing Water #7, Cleveland Dam, Heritage Hall, School of Theology Building at UBC, Gate to the Northwest Passage, St Paul’s Hospital, Capilano Lake, Stawamus Chief, Nine O’Clock Gun, Malkin Bowl, Search, Vancouver Rowing Club, Echoes, Point Atkinson Lighthouse, English Bay Inukshuk, Hollow Tree, Hotel Europe, Lions Gate Bridge Lions, LightShed, Granville Bridge, 217.5 Arc x 13′, Canoe Bridge, Vancouver Block, Bloedel Conservatory, Centennial Rocket, Canada Place, Old Courthouse/Vancouver Art Gallery, Dominion Building, Science World, Gastown Steam Clock, SFU Burnaby, Commodore Lanes, Siwash Rock, Kitsilano Pool, White Rock Pier, Main Post Office, Planetarium Building, Lord Stanley Statue, Vancouver Library Central Branch, Victory Square, Digital Orca, The Crab Sculpture, Girl in Wetsuit, The Sun Tower, The Hotel Vancouver, The Gassy Jack Statue, The Marine Building, and The Angel of Victory. Should you have a suggestion for the Vancouver Icons series please feel free to leave a note in the comments. It should be a thing, statue, or place that is very visible and recognizable to the public.