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The Totem Pole

Windsor Great Park

 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.

Totem Pole

  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.
  The Totem Pole is signposted from the Wick Lane gate to the Park, or by foot from the parking area for the Valley Gardens.

On 1st June 2014 we were delighted to welcome Sam Haydahl and his wife to see the Totem Pole. Sam was the lumberjack who felled the original tree, and another just like it, from which an identical pair of Totem Poles was carved. One arrived here in the Great Park and the other remains in Vancouver.

Sam's visit to Windsor Great Park was the first time he had seen the Totem Pole since he felled it in 1957. Thanks are due to Nick Day and the Crown Estate team as well as other Windsorians who made this visit very special indeed.


Ttem Pole CU

Josi and Sam Haydahl, 1 June 2014


Additional pictures of this event are included here:

Totem Pole Forum thread

In 2005 we received the following link for which we are grateful:

Greetings from Canada

Reference Richard Moody and the Royal Engineers in British Columbia (1858 - 1863), I am involved in a group that researches and re-enacts the people and the times - please see our website at:

In October 2007 we received the following email:

Historical Photo found of Mungo Totem Pole

Hello. My name is Ed Barnes. I live in London, Ontario, Canada.  I recently found an old photo that had fallen out of a book I purchased at a church bazaar sale. The photo was stamped and dated Nov. 1958. At first, I was unsure what the image could be, until I started a web search using the date and the photo studio stamping. I found out the photo studio did exist in Vancouver, British Columbia, Canada. So I combined the date with the city name Vancouver, and found that in 1958, three native indians (one being Mungo Martin) had completed a 100 foot totem pole, which was to be presented to Queen Elizabeth the second, as part of British Columbia's centennial celebrations. I later came across the Thamesweb website about Windsor and the Great Park and found to my disbelief, pictures of what seems to be the very same totem pole that now stands in Windsor great Park. Imagine that.

I have included the photograph below. Please do not hesitate to share this interesting find with others.

Have a great day.

Ed Barnes
The Barnes Bunch
London, Ontario

Carving the top of the Totem Pole

Our thanks to Ed Barnes for this picture of the Totem Pole as it was being made in Canada in 1957-1958

In April 2008 we received the following:

Hello. My name is David Whitaker. I was born in Coventry, Warwickshire but am now a resident of Surrey, British Columbia in Canada. Recently I met up with an old shipmate, Peter Savage, who I had not seen in 50 years and that meeting prompted some reminiscing including the Totem Pole at Virginia Water.
  In 1954, after two years on the training ship, HMS Conway, I went to sea on the ships of Furness Withy & Co. In 1958 I was sailing as Third Mate on board the ship, 'Pacific Unity. We were a part of a fleet of that company's ships that carried cargo between Britain and the West Coast of North America. At that time Peter Savage was a Cadet on the ship.
  In April 1958, after loading various commodities (pigs of lead, slabs of zinc, lumber, bales of woodpulp, rolls of newsprint, cartons of chilled apples & canned salmon) in Vancouver and New Westminster we moved to Ogden Point in Victoria where we loaded the Totem Pole.   The drawing below shows the Pole being loaded aboard the ship.

Totem Pole on deck

This drawing appeared on a page of the Canadian Stevedoring Company calendar for 1959. The Pole was placed on cradles sitting on lumber that had been stowed on the starboard side of the foredeck. Afterwards, more lumber was stowed around and on top of the Pole to protect it during the voyage. The chains you see on the bulwarks were used to lash the finished stow to the deck.
  After Victoria, the ship loaded more cargo at Seattle in Washington State, Portland in Oregon then Oakland & Los Angeles in California before travelling via the Panama Canal and across the Atlantic to Antwerp, Rotterdam and London. The Pole was discharged to a lighter in Surrey Commercial Docks before being towed up the Thames to its final destination.
  You will know that the Pole wears a top hat. That was crated and was stowed elsewhere on the ship. A similar Pole can be found close beside the Maritime Museum in Vanier Park, Vancouver.

If anyone has any other pictures or stories about the Totem Pole in Windsor Great Park, please contribute to our Totem Pole Discussion area here or email the editor here.

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