Crumbling Kitsilano totem pole to undergo restoration work

Courier Staff - Vancouver Courier

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Photo Vancouver Park Board

The City of Vancouver is starting the process of restoring the Centennial Totem Pole.
The pole, which is located in front of the Maritime Museum in Hadden Park, was carved by Mungo Martin in 1958. It is one of two identical poles commissioned by the provincial government to commemorate B.C.’s colonial history to that date. Its sister pole was presented to Queen Elizabeth and stands in Windsor Great Park in Berkshire, England.

The pole will be removed and assessed to develop a comprehensive approach to conserve it. The decision to remove the pole was made after an assessment determined that the base is decaying and it could be at risk of toppling in exceptionally high winds.

The restoration work will be done in partnership with Martin’s Kwakwaka’wakw descendants, many of whom are renowned carvers.

The city has informed the Musqueam, Squamish and Tsleil-Waututh Nations, on whose unceded territory the pole is currently located, of the planned work and will work with them throughout the restoration process.

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Before the pole can be removed, the integrity of the wood underground has to be tested, which requires excavating a small section of the concrete foundation that houses the base of the pole.
The work to test, excavate and remove the pole is expected to begin early this month and should take four to six weeks.

This isn’t the first time the Centennial Pole has undergone restoration. In 2008 the pole’s hat was removed due to deterioration, and in 2014 a support system was installed for public safety and stability.

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