Walking Tour of Downtown Duncan Totem Poles – Tour 1
We have included two separate tours of the downtown Duncan Totem Poles. This tour, Tour 1, is the way we typically do it. Tour 2 is the route laid out by the City of Duncan, which you can do by following the yellow feet painted on the sidewalks. Your choice.
The City of Duncan’s totem pole display in downtown Duncan can be easily and comfortably seen on foot. It is displayed within a three block area bordered by Kenneth Street and Station Street on the north and south and Canada Avenue and Government Street on the east and west.
The Cowichan Valley Museum in the former E&N Railway Station offers a free guided tour of the downtown Duncan totem poles. If you’d like a guided tour, ask about it at the Cowichan Valley Museum front desk.
If you’d like to explore Duncan’s downtown totem pole collection by yourself, here is one of our our suggested walking tours of the totem poles in downtown Duncan. Here is a digital map of the downtown totem poles, which we have also included on its own separate page so you can keep it open in a separate window while your doing the walking tour.
The Centennial Pole was carved and erected in 2012, making it the most recent pole in the City of Duncan’s collection. It stands 10.4 m (34′) in height and is displayed in Charles Hoey Park near the intersection of Canada Avenue and Station Street in downtown Duncan. The Centennial Pole was carved by Calvin Hunt.
It was commissioned in honour of the 100th anniversary, or Centennial, of the City of Duncan, which was incorporated in 1912. Read More…..
The Kwagu’l Bear Holding A Seal was carved in 1987 by Richard Hunt, the uncle of Calvin Hunt, carver of the Centennial Pole. It depicts three figures: the Frog, the Kwagu’l Bear and the Seal. It stands 3.6m (11’9″) in height and is displayed in Charles Hoey Park, on Canada Avenue, near the Station Street intersection and the E&N Railway Station. Read More….
The Owl Pole was carved in 1987 by Francis Horne, Sr. It stands 3.7m (12′) in height and is displayed in Charles Hoey Park on Canada Avenue near the Station Street intersection and the E&N Railway Station. Read More….
The Friendship Pole was carved in 1987 by local carver Cicero August. It stands 3.8m (12’6″) in height and is placed in Charles Hoey Park, on Canada Avenue near the Station Street intersection and the E&N Railway station. Read More…
The Transformation In Life totem pole was carved in 1987 by Harvey Alphonse and Nelson Canute of the Cowichan Tribes. It stands 3.9m (12’11”) in height and is placed in Charles Hoey Park on Canada Avenue near the E&N Railway Station and the Station Street intersection. Read More…
Next to the display of Kwagu’l Bear Holding A Seal, Owl Pole, Friendship Pole and Transformation In Life, you’ll see the former E&N Railway Station, now home to the Cowichan Valley Museum. If you go north on Canada Avenue to the other end of the E&N Railway Station building, you’ll find another display of four totem poles: Pole of Wealth, Raven’s Gift, Transformation and The Feast. We suggest leaving those for the end of the tour.
From the former E&N Railway Station, continue the Totem Pole Walking Tour from the south side of the E&N Railway Station building by crossing Canada Avenue at Station Street (there’s a pedestrian crosswalk there).
Now continue the Totem Pole Walking Tour by going west on Station Street.
At the south west corner of the intersection of Canada Avenue and Station Street, the Raven Stealing the Sun totem pole is usually displayed. Raven Stealing The Sun was placed back on public display in July 2016 after having been removed from public display for several months while undergoing maintenance.
The Bringing Light To The World totem pole was carved in 1994 by Richard Krentz. It stands 6.1m (20′) in height and is displayed on the south side of Station Street outside the Judy Hill Gallery at 22 Station Street. It depicts three figures: the Raven, the Killer Whale and the Bear. Read More…
There are two more totem poles in this block of Station Street between Canada Avenue and Craig Street: Wind Spirit and Transition. They are on opposite sides of Station Street and there is a pedestrian crosswalk across Station Street between them.
Continue west on Station Street for half a block until you come to the intersection of Craig Street and Station Street. There are three more totem poles at this intersection: Thunderbird With Dzunuk’wa and Scudder Pole are in a small park at the north east corner of the Station Street and Craig Street intersection; Harvest Time is displayed on the south west corner in front of the CIBC bank.
While you’re at Owl Spirit, you might also want to check out the historical exhibit on Duncan’s former Chinatown, on display in the lane directly behind Owl Spirit. Duncan’s former Chinatown (demolished in 1970) stood where the Provincial Courthouse stands now. You’ll be going there shortly to see four totem poles on Government Street.
Cross Government Street (there’s a pedestrian crosswalk at Government Street and Station Street near Joe’s Tire Hospital) and you’ll find a collection of four totem poles: Eagle Raven Bear, Cedar Man Walking Out of the Log, Gwa’yasdams Flood Story and Peaceful Boundaries.
Government Street at E.J. Hughes Place
Cedar Woman and Man, Pole of Wealth, Transformation of Man.
Cross Government Street (there are pedestrian crosswalks at Jubilee Street and Boundary Street), turn left and continue to the intersection of Government Street and Kenneth Street, where you’ll find a display of three totem poles: The Guardians, Chief’s Pole and Dzunuk’wa.
Dzunuk’wa was carved in 1989 by Oscar Matilpi. It is one of two totem poles in the City of Duncan collection featuring the Dzunk’wa figure; the other is Thunderbird With Dzunuk’wa on Station Street and Craig Street…..Read More…
The Family was carved in 1993 by Francis Horne Sr., who also carved the Chief’s Pole and The Guardians, on display one block east of Jubilee Street at the intersection of Kenneth Street and Government Street…..Read More…
Continue half a block east on Kenneth Street and you’ll find the Family Pole outside the Sassy Lion Thrift Store at 164 Kenneth Street.
Mortuary Pole was carved by Simon Charlie and was donated by the Cowichan Valley Museum. It is displayed in Duncan City Hall and is only available for viewing during regular City Hall hours…..Read More….
Turn left on Craig Street and walk north on Craig Street for half a block into City Square to the Mother and Child sculpture in front of the Adelborg Building, which contains Studio One at 161 Craig Street and Saltspring Soap Works at 169 Craig Street.
The Mother and Child sculpture was carved 1991 by Cowichan Valley artist Glen Spicer as part of an exchange with Duncan’s sister city of Montmagny, Quebec. There is an identical copy of Mother and Child displayed in Montmagny. Read More….
The next totem pole on the tour is Eagle Pole, which is located in Lois Lane near Canada Avenue. The Mother and Child sculpture faces Lois Lane, a pedestrian walkway which is located on the opposite side of City Square. You’ll see it if you look between between the City Square bandstand and the the Belongings store at 55 Lois Lane.
On the north side of the E&N Railway Station you’ll find the last display of totem poles on our Walking Tour.
Canada Avenue between Kenneth Street and Station Street
Pole of Wealth was carved in 1988 by master carver Simon Charlie, who has carved Simon Charlie‘s trademark technique of leaving textured surfaces on his animal figures in clearly visible on Pole of Wealth …..Read More…..
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