Thunderbird Park, Victoria

(4.2/5 based on 130+ 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
  • Fascinating history, legends, folk tales, not to mention the views and the artistry of days gone by. Even a demonstration of how these colossal figures were (and still are) carved from wood.!! 
  • If you're nearby (and you almost certainly will be) stop in for a 15 minute look. It's too small to be a destination unless you have a special interest in totem poles. 
  • Just look at whats there ! All the fresh air open space was great reminder How Beautiful BC really Is ! 
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.