Thunderbird Park, Victoria

4.1
#9 of 15 in Parks in Victoria
Thunderbird Park is a park in Victoria, British Columbia next to the Royal British Columbia Museum. The park is home to many totem poles (mostly Gitxsan, Haida, and Kwakwaka'wakw) and other First Nation monuments. The park takes its name from the mythological Thunderbird of Indigenous North American cultures which is depicted on many totem poles.Also in the park are St. Anne's Schoolhouse (built 1844), Helmcken House (built in 1852 by Dr. John Helmcken), and Mungo Martin House (Wawadit'la), a traditional Kwakwaka'wakw "big house" built in 1953 by Kwakwaka'wakw Chief Mungo Martin. The park is part of the Royal BC Museum Cultural Precinct, an area around the museum that contains a number of historical sites and monuments.HistoryTotem poles were first erected on the site in 1940 as part of a conservation effort to preserve some of the region's rapidly deteriorating Aboriginal art. The site was opened as Thunderbird Park in 1941. By 1951, many of the poles had greatly decayed, and in 1952 the Royal BC Museum began a restoration program with Chief Martin as its head carver. Martin died in 1962 and was succeeded by renowned carver Henry Hunt. Other artists who have worked as part of the program include Henry Hunt's sons Richard Hunt and Tony Hunt, Tim Paul, Lawrence Bell, David Gladstone, David Martin, and Bill Reid. All of the original poles were replaced with new versions by 1992, and some of the originals are now preserved within the museum.
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Thunderbird Park Reviews
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4.1
TripAdvisor
  • October 3, 2017
    In this park a set of totems some very colorful, other colors are a bit past but nevertheless interesting.
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  • October 2, 2017
    What a treat to see such a variety of totem poles from different coastal cultures all in such a small area. The park is well worth a half hour of your time to view and study the poles. Even my three-y...  more »
  • September 25, 2017
    Thunderbird Park is not very big, but it has a lot of totem poles. If you are interested in First Nations art and want to learn more about it, you should plan to visit Royal BC Museum since the poles ...  more »
Google
  • April 8, 2017
    This place always makes me realize why the west coast is my home...... so happy I was born in Victoria's simply two blocks away from this Gem of a park
  • October 3, 2016
    Beautiful 1st Nation Totem Pole exhibit close to Victoria's inner harbor. Unfortunately visited too late in the day to do or see more than the Totem Poles, but glad we did.
  • February 17, 2017
    Not as big as I expected.
  • July 31, 2016
    Take a trip back to old Victoria with these inspiring native masterpieces.
  • April 14, 2016
    Great history, and a fun geocaching challenge if you know where to look!

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Where to stay in Victoria

The curling waterfront Wharf Street, which becomes Store Street, offers the best selection of lodgings in the city center, although you can expect to pay extra for the trademark views. Many travelers opt to stay in the neighborhood of James Bay, where Belleville Street and surrounds provide comfortable and even luxurious options. For something more relaxed and closer to nature, look south to the expansive Beacon Hill Park.
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