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Vancouver Island
City of Totems
The Pole of Wealth
Raven's Gift
Transformation, The Feast, Pictures for Pam

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Duncan, the City of Totems! (+13 insets)

Duncan, the City of Totems! (+13 insets)
(+13 insets) (please scroll down for information about the insets!)

Trip Talk: Moving North to the Fabulous Hub Area of Nanaimo!
The second location of our Vancouver Island trip at Living Forest took us 50 miles (80km) north from our first site at Malahat Mountain. We'd been through Nanaimo during the motorcycle trip we'd been on some years before but only had an hour or two to visit. How excited we were to spend a whole week in the area! The Living Forest campground might not have been ideal but the location was fantastic and perfect for our upcoming adventures.

Duncan, the City of Totems!
The day after we arrived at Nanaimo, we headed off to Duncan, known for its seemingly countless totems erected in the heart of town. In fact, there is a walking tour, complete with green footsteps to show the way. I was a happy little kid with my camera as we made our way from totem to totem, stopping at each placard to read about each carved and painted statue.

The indigenous population is proud and thriving on Vancouver Island and wherever they can, local tribes call attention to their history and importance to the community. Duncan's totems are almost all located on the traditional lands of the Cowichan people (Quw'utson), the most populous group in British Columbia. The city began back in 1887, sharing space with the Cowichan tribes. Today both communities are so intertwined that all decisions are made together, taking care to respect everyone's wishes.

Each of the symbol-laden totems represent aspects of history, heritage and mythical legend; many are meant to represent a single house with its stories, passed down through the generations. Duncan began its collection of totems in 1985 and is one of the world's largest, currently at 44 as of 2018. It is meant to share this sacred tradition of the Cowichan people and is also a wonderful way to attract visitors.

Duncan's Shops Were Fun Too
As Steve and I wandered along the meandering trail of green footprints, we stopped here and there at various little shops, including "The Olive Station." Steve was initially excited because the name sounded like a tasting bar for olives--something that he adores. Instead, it was filled with an equally delightful bounty--countless kinds of flavor-infused olive oils and balsamic vinegars. (Be sure to click on the link above to see pictures of this cool store!) We spent nearly an hour there as we chatted with the owner and tasted the dizzying varieties. Although it was really hard to make final decisions, we left with two bottles of olive oil in White Truffle and Tuscan Herb and a Balsamic vinegar in Cara Cara Orange-Vanilla. These lovely gourmet treats are something we've savored for special salads and we only wish they were affordable so we could order them nonstop!

Not Just Totem Poles!
There were other wonderful artistic sights to discover too. Murals, bronzes, traditional-styled artwork and tattoo-like touches painted on walls were really fun to discover--even the graffiti was sometimes photo-worthy! Walking through a square, I noticed a striking Asian sculpture that immediately made me think of Confucius. What do you know? That's what it was, and this one had historical meaning, left on a tasteful plaque that I'm including:

Confucius Statue
This statue of Confucius was donated by the Wah Sing Chow Family. It is dedicated to the Chinese pioneers who, from the early 1890s, established a Chinatown in the heart of Duncan that stood here for nearly 70 years. The Chinese community continues to make a unique contribution to Duncan's heritage. Wah Sing Chow (b. 1898) arrived in Duncan in 1908. After graduating from high school he studied law and became a human rights activist. He advocated for Chinese immigrants to be treated equally and was a respected community leader until his death in 1962.

Cowichan Valley Museum
Although we don't generally visit museums, the charming building which housed the Cowichan Valley Museum basically sucked us inside, and what a treat it was! Nearly an hour we spent there, gob-smacked by the eyefuls everywhere we turned our heads. Historical items were placed on every available surface, adorning the walls and ceilings, the floors were covered with historical rugs, and there was even a room set up to show what an old store looked like so many years ago. And every single thing came with its own description of what it was. Truly mind-boggling, Steve and I would move a few steps and just stare, looking from one item to the next and appreciating everything. The sheer amount of time that went into the displays, the information provided, it just completely and utterly blew us away. When we finally left, we both agreed that this particular museum was one of the very best we've ever visited! (Please be sure to visit the link above to see some pictures of the museum so you get an idea of what we saw!)

Today's Pictures
I am posting a selection of totems that we saw, but have decided not to include the placard descriptions for every one because I think it's just too much. Instead, I've included text for the totems in the main image as insets placed on each totem. (If you are interested in knowing more about all of the totems, there is a complete listing on Duncan's Walking Tour of Totems )

In addition to the totem poles, I have included murals, graffiti and artwork we found around town.

Pam, I hope that you had a peaceful, joyful Christmas. You've been in my thoughts and I'm hoping for the best in the coming days for your procedure! *BIG HUGS from southern Oregon*

Explored on 12/30/19; highest placement #3.

diedje, Special K, Murray Leshner (Murrayatuptown), appo-fam and 51 other people have particularly liked this photo

40 comments - The latest ones
 Malik Raoulda
Malik Raoulda club
Absolument magnifique .
Bonne et heureuse fin d’année.
7 months ago.
 Dominique 60
Dominique 60 club
des images de toute beauté janet !!
7 months ago.
 William Sutherland
William Sutherland club
Phenomenal shots!

Admired in:
7 months ago.
 Horizon 36
Horizon 36 club
Beautiful capture, well done Janet.
7 months ago.
 Thorsten (T.S-B.)
Thorsten (T.S-B.) club
a great series!
7 months ago.
 Sami Serola
Sami Serola club
Wonderful series! =O
7 months ago.
 Pam J
Pam J club

7 months ago.
 Jaap van 't Veen
Jaap van 't Veen club
Beautifully captured and presented Janet.
Stunning series of images.
7 months ago.
uwschu club
sehr schöne und interessante Serie, noch nie in dieser Form bei uns gesehen
7 months ago.
 Trudy Tuinstra
Trudy Tuinstra club
what a fabulous serie. Have a healthy and Lucky new year
7 months ago.
 Richard Nuttall
Richard Nuttall club
Brilliant as ever great series, I do ike the colour mono main image too, its very striking
7 months ago.
 * ઇઉ *
* ઇઉ * club
This is a great documentary in words and pictures, Janet!
Thank you for sharing and have a Happy New Year!
7 months ago.
 Amelia Heath
Amelia Heath club
I really like the way you have highlighted the totem poles and left the background in neutral tones of beige. A fascinating place.
7 months ago.
Léopold club
When wagons and totems match together.
7 months ago.
niraK68 club
interessante Sammlung
7 months ago.
 Mario Vargas
Mario Vargas club
What a marvelous colection of shots Janet, congrats, love all, this totems are marvelous, but most important how much symbolism they represent, all a culture that we unknow, thanks for share in this fantastic wave
7 months ago.
RHH club
Wow! What a collection of art and a variety. Stanley Park in Vancouver has a collection of totems, too, but these are more varied and IMO more beautiful. Like the other art as well especially the Mother and Child sculpture. Your main photo is my favorite, though, and the treatment is superb with the background grayed out. Perfect! You just re-convinced me that we need to visit the island again.

We had a place similar to the Olive Station in Lynden for a number of years. I can't remember what it was called but we used to get olive oil and balsamic vinegar there. They had hundreds of flavors and it was a delight to go in there and sample, which they allowed. They also served great sandwiches and we ate there on occasion. It didn't last, though, and is now replaced by something else, I don't remember what.

Your goose sounds marvelous and now I feel all the more that I have to try a duck or a goose. We had Mexican for Christmas day, fajitas, enchiladas with all the extras and i made sopapillas which the kids loved (the adults did too). We are enjoying the time with Jennifer, but some of the family have been sick with flu. The illness at Christmas has become a kind of tradition in its own right, though not one we enjoy.

Everything gets back to normal in a few days. Jen leaves Wednesday and the kids go back to school, so it will be life as normal for a little while. They we leave for Edmonton and will spend several weeks there. Rose will be having her baby and we'll help out. Not my favorite place in the winter but it will be good to see the baby and the rest of the family there. We have other friends there as well.

Guess that's it for now.
7 months ago.
 Blue rubber octopus
Blue rubber octopus club
Nice caboose.
7 months ago.
Nouchetdu38 club
Stunning and interesting series!*******
7 months ago.
neira-Dan club
wow !! c'est fantastique !! Je trouve ces oeuvres fascinantes
7 months ago.
 Jenny McIntyre
Jenny McIntyre club
Those graffiti walls are exceptional. So talented and so colourful. I just love totem poles. Of course we don't have anything like that over here, so to see yours here is fantastic. Thank you for explaining to us what each totem pole is representing, Duncan does sound a fabulous place to visit, and to have loads of cash, if you find the Olive Station!!!!
7 months ago.
 Ulrich John
Ulrich John club
Another great series, Janet ! I wish you a Happy New Year and all the best for 2020 !
7 months ago.
cammino club
Impressive series, wonderful Indian artwork!
7 months ago.
Reyk club
Beeindruckende Serie mit vielen kleinen Details
Ich wünsche dir und deiner Familie ein glückliches neues Jahr.
7 months ago.
 Nicole Merdrignac
Nicole Merdrignac club
Superbes photos et notes. Nicole. Joyeuses fêtes. Nicole.
7 months ago.
 José Manuel Polo
José Manuel Polo club
Fabuloso trabajo. No hay palabras para tanto merecimiento. Fascinante. Gracias, Janet, por tu labor al dedicarnos tanto saber y tiempo. Enhorabuena.
7 months ago.
Ruesterstaude club
Welch interessante und schöne Reiseberichte mit noch viel schöneren Bildern, Janet! Du begeisterst wieder.
Aus Mülheim in Old Germany ganz herzliche Grüße und Wünsche für das Neue Jahr - und mach weiter so,
7 months ago.
Leon_Vienna club
Happy New Year Janet!
7 months ago.
 Josiane Dirickx
Josiane Dirickx club
Un très beau partage et les Pip sont tous très beaux ! Tous mes meilleurs voeux pour l'année nouvelle pour toi et toute ta famille amitiés Josiane
7 months ago.
Kawasirius club
Bonne et heureuse année, Janet !!
Formidable série !
7 months ago.
╰☆☆June☆☆╮ club
Beautiful capture...
Happy New Year to you and yours
7 months ago.
trester88 club
Eine großartige Serie, Janet!
Ein gesundes und glückliches neues Jahr!
7 months ago.
 Marta Wojtkowska
Marta Wojtkowska club
Lovely totems and beautiful presentation!
7 months ago.
Peter_Private_Box club
Hi Janet

I really like this interpretation

Great composition

Best Wishes, and a very Happy New Year!
7 months ago.
 Citoyen du Monde
Citoyen du Monde club
superbe !
7 months ago.
 Peggy C
Peggy C club
To this I shall return ... so much to take in ! Beautifully presented and history noted.
7 months ago.
 Ghislaine Girardot
Ghislaine Girardot club
Magnifiques !!
7 months ago.
Ruesterstaude club
Tolle Sammlung - und was für Mühe du dir wieder gemacht hast!
6 months ago.
 Andreas Müller
Andreas Müller club
Sehr schön und wunderbar!!
6 months ago.
trester88 club
Tolle Serie, Janet! Großartige Arbeit!
6 months ago.

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