The Totem Pole was a gift from the people of Canada to HM The Queen in June, 1958.
The Pole is 100 feet high, one foot for every year, and marks the centenary of British Columbia, which was named by Queen Victoria and proclaimed a Crown Colony on November 19th 1858. It is now the Pacific Coast Province of Canada.
Totem Poles are a characteristic feature of Pacific coast Indian Art. They have no religious significance, being more akin to a Family Tree, embodying legendary tribal history.
The Totem Pole is carved in the authentic style of the Kwakiutl, a federation of many tribes, and clans inhabiting the northern part of Vancouver Island and the opposite coastal mainland. The figures on the pole reading from the top are, Man with large hat, Beaver, Old Man, Thunderbird, Sea Otter, The Raven, The Whale, Double headed Snake, Halibut Man and Cedar Man. Each figure represents the mythical ancestor of a clan.
The designer and principal carver of the pole, Chief Mungo Martin of the Kwakiutl was a most famous craftsman of this ancient art.
The pole was carved from a single log of Western Red Cedar and weighs 27,000 pounds. It was cut from a tree 600 years old from the forests of the Queen Charlotte Islands, 500 miles north of Vancouver.
It was erected by the 3rd Field Squadron of the 22nd Field Engineer Regiment Royal Engineers for their Colonel in Chief, Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II in June 1958.
The Totem Pole also serves to symbolise the close association existing between British Columbia and the Corps of the Royal Engineers who, under Lt. Col. R C Moody RE, actively engaged in the development of the Colony in the years from 1858-1863.