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Canada Day History TidBit #6-'The Spirit Of Lekwammen' Still Lives On

Yes we all wish we could afford to live in British Columbia. 

 

This province is full of vibrancy, breathtaking views of the mountains and water, and art and culture. One interesting fact is that Canada had the world's largest totem pole back was finished on August 4th,  1994 and was first raised in Victoria, B.C.  First Nation artists from British Columbia gave it to our country as a gift, in recognition of the 15th Commonwealth Games and to represent the three major Native languages of Vancouver Island.

 

The totem pole, named 'The Spirit Of Lekwammen' was 180 feet and 3 inches tall (54.94 meters). The Spirit Of Lekwammen was carved out of one red cedar tree that was more than 500 years old, took roughly 3 1/2 months to complete, and was worked on by 11 artists to complete this beautiful masterpiece. 

 

On August 26th, 1997 the totem pole, due to safety reasons, was dismantled into 4 positions. Two of the portions were placed at the Songhees Reserve, where the Songhees Nation named the project 'The Spirit of Nations' to represent friendship and unification between the Songhees and visiting Nations to the Lekwungen Territory. The other two positions of the totem pole remained at Pallastsis Point, which remains a sacred meeting place for Nations to unite. 

 

However based on what you are gathering from the use of my 'past tense' as the totem pole 'use to be the world's tallest' and 'was 180ft', it is sadly clear that the totem pole is no longer this tall, so is no longer the world's largest totem pole. The Spirit Of Lekwammen was further trimmed down to now stand at 40 feet as there was protests of the cables that held it up, as this blocked waterfront views from residents. Other local authorities thought the totem pole could be an air traffic hazard, so this furthered the case to trim down the totem pole. 

 

The good news is that now matter how many times the totem pole got trimmed down, no one could trim down the spirit that is 'The Spirit Of Lekwammen' or take away the fact that the worlds largest totem pole use to be in Canada. 

 

Facts taken from waymarking.com

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