Thunderbird Park, Victoria

(4.2/5 based on 140 reviews on the web)
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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Reviews
TripAdvisor
  • Small park with some examples of native totem poles and a longhouse. Longhouse is brightly painted with native art so good for photos . Has ramps so accessible to wheelchairs . Give a small look at na...  more »
  • Located behind the Royal BC Museum, Thunderbird Park is a collection of nearly two dozen totems scattered in a small park where you can walk around and be amazed and mystified by the beauty of these w...  more »
  • Yes, this park is open to the public during all hours of the day or nighttime! Nice to see the artistic totem poles. During the day take time to enjoy a picnic with your family or friends!  more »
Google
  • 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.
  • Take a trip back to old Victoria with these inspiring native masterpieces.
  • Great history, and a fun geocaching challenge if you know where to look!
  • Very interesting park.
  • An impressive collection of totem poles. No description of what they mean but it make a great photo stop an the way to the museum.