Giant old growth red cedar arrives in Port Alberni

Denise Titian, March 13, 2019

Gord Dick runs to help lower a cedar log that was transported to the Port Alberni waterfront March 13. This spring and summer Dick will be working with artist Tim Paul to carve the log into a totem centrepiece for the University of Victoria. (Eric Plummer photo)

Port Alberni, BC — 

A giant red cedar log was trucked into Port Alberni today to the Port Authority waterfront lot where, over the next few months, it will be transformed into a magnificent totem pole.

The log is the product of a giant old-growth red cedar that fell in a windstorm about 50 to 70 years ago in Huu-ay-aht territory. Its estimated weight for transport is about 30,000 kilograms (66,000 pounds).

The pole will spend the summer on the waterfront on Harbour Road near Harbour Quay before it’s transported to the University of Victoria. According to a news release from the university, the pole will become a campus centerpiece that represents a significant point of reflection for UVic’s ongoing commitment to the work of decolonizing and Indigenizing the university.

Hesquiaht elder and master carver Tim Paul has taken on the task of transforming the ancient cedar into a work of art that will symbolize the importance of language and cultural teachings for Indigenous peoples.

Commissioned by the First Nations Education Foundation, the pole will be a celebration of the United Nations 2019 International Year of Indigenous Languages.