Thunderbird Park, Victoria

(150+ reviews on the web)
Nature / Park
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
  • This park is small in stature, and can easily be seen in 5-15 minutes. Building painting is only detail that you can see, as building is locked with no entry or description. Totems are nice, with addi...  more »
  • This is a lovely little park located downtown next to the BC Museum. Few benches around, so that you can enjoy a light picnic lunch. Love the historic totem poles, which are located throughout the par...  more »
  • Some nice totems to view, so definitely stop if it is on your way coming or going, but I would not go to far out of my way for this one.  more »
Google
  • 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
  • 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.
  • Not as big as I expected.
  • 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!