Feedback needed on Centennial Gardens Totem Pole

From City Hall today:

June 5, 2018 – A series of community consultations is being held to learn the public’s vision for the future of the Centennial Gardens Totem Pole. The Centennial Gardens Totem Pole, a piece of art installed in 1967 in celebration of Canada’s centennial, is showing signs of stress after being on display for 50 years. As with any object fabricated from natural materials, the totem pole has been subject to the effects of the changing Canadian seasons and the wood which comprises the Totem Pole has begun to deteriorate.

City staff is inviting the community to give feedback on what they would like to see happen with the Totem Pole as it enters the end of its lifespan in its current form and location. An Indigenous community consultation is scheduled for Wednesday, June 13 at 5:30 p.m. at the Niagara Regional Native Centre, located at 382 Airport Rd. in Niagara-on-the-Lake. Consultations are also set for Thursday, June 14 at 4 p.m. and Friday, June 15 at 7 p.m. at the Atrium inside St. Catharines City Hall. The public is invited to all three consultations. No RSVP required. An online form is also available at www.stcatharines.ca/TotemPole where residents can submit their vision for the totem pole. The online form is available until June 30.

The Centennial Gardens Totem Pole was designed and created by the late Douglas Cranmer, a Kwakwaka’wakw artist from Alert Bay, B.C., renowned for his unique style of west coast indigenous art.

Bruce Alfred, an expert in totem poles who apprenticed under Cranmer, is coming to the city to perform a visual assessment of the Centennial Gardens Totem Pole and meet with the community to discuss the creation of totem poles, the difference between sacred and decorative totem poles and options for the Centennial Gardens totem pole.

Preliminary options include removing the Totem Pole and returning it to the Earth in a traditional manner; restoring the Totem Pole and relocating it inside a facility; or relocation without restoration. The Centennial Gardens Totem Pole likely cannot be re-installed in its current location due to the challenges associated with maintaining totem poles. If the totem pole is restored to its original state it will need to be placed indoors in order to ensure its long-term health and viability.

**FOLLOW-UP: St. Catharines Standard article about the Totem Pole.