Thunderbird Park (Victoria, British Columbia)

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Thunderbird Park

Wawadit'la(Mungo Martin House) a Kwakwaka'wakw big house.jpg

Thunderbird Park
Type Public park
Location Victoria, British Columbia, Canada

Thunderbird Park is a park in Victoria, British Columbia next to the Royal British Columbia Museum. The park is home to many totem poles (mostly Gitxsan, Haida, and Kwakwaka'wakw) and other First Nation monuments. The park takes its name from the mythological Thunderbird of Indigenous North American cultures which is depicted on many totem poles.

Park area of open space used for recreation or conservation

A park is an area of natural, semi-natural or planted space set aside for human enjoyment and recreation or for the protection of wildlife or natural habitats. Urban parks are green spaces set aside for recreation inside towns and cities. National parks and Country parks are green spaces used for recreation in the countryside. State parks and Provincial parks are administered by sub-national government states and agencies. Parks may consist of grassy areas, rocks, soil and trees, but may also contain buildings and other artifacts such as monuments, fountains or playground structures. Many parks have fields for playing sports such as soccer, baseball and football, and paved areas for games such as basketball. Many parks have trails for walking, biking and other activities. Some parks are built adjacent to bodies of water or watercourses and may comprise a beach or boat dock area. Urban parks often have benches for sitting and may contain picnic tables and barbecue grills.

Victoria, British Columbia Provincial capital city in British Columbia, Canada

Victoria is the capital city of the Canadian province of British Columbia, located on the southern tip of Vancouver Island off Canada's Pacific coast. The city has a population of 85,792, while the metropolitan area of Greater Victoria has a population of 367,770, making it the 15th most populous Canadian metropolitan area. Victoria is the 7th most densely populated city in Canada with 4,405.8 people per square kilometre, which is a greater population density than Toronto.

Royal British Columbia Museum Provincial history museum and archives in Victoria, British Columbia

Founded in 1886, the Royal British Columbia Museum consists of The Province of British Columbia's natural and human history museum as well as the British Columbia Provincial Archives. The museum is located in Victoria, British Columbia, Canada. The "Royal" title was approved by Queen Elizabeth II and bestowed by HRH Prince Philip in 1987, to coincide with a Royal tour of that year. The museum merged with the British Columbia Provincial Archives in 2003.

Also in the park are St. Anne's Schoolhouse (built 1844), Helmcken House (built in 1852 by Dr. John Helmcken), and Mungo Martin House (Wawadit'la), a traditional Kwakwaka'wakw "big house" built in 1953 by Kwakwaka'wakw Chief Mungo Martin. The park is part of the Royal BC Museum Cultural Precinct, an area around the museum that contains a number of historical sites and monuments.

Helmcken House historic house museum in British Columbia Canada, located in Thunderbird Park.

Helmcken House is a museum in Victoria, British Columbia, located in Thunderbird Park. It was built by Dr. John Sebastian Helmcken, the first doctor in Victoria, in 1852, a surgeon with the Hudson's Bay Company. It is one of the oldest houses in British Columbia. Some interesting items on display include his medical kit.

John Sebastian Helmcken Canadian politician and physician

John Sebastian Helmcken was a British Columbia physician who played a prominent role in bringing the province into Canadian Confederation. He was also the founding president of the British Columbia Medical Association.


Totem poles were first erected on the site in 1940 as part of a conservation effort to preserve some of the region's rapidly deteriorating Aboriginal art. The site was opened as Thunderbird Park in 1941. By 1951, many of the poles had greatly decayed, and in 1952 the Royal BC Museum began a restoration program with Chief Martin as its head carver. Martin died in 1962 and was succeeded by renowned carver Henry Hunt. Other artists who have worked as part of the program include Henry Hunt's sons Richard Hunt and Tony Hunt, Tim Paul, Lawrence Bell, David Gladstone, David Martin, and Bill Reid. All of the original poles were replaced with new versions by 1992, and some of the originals are now preserved within the museum.

Mungo Martin Canadian artist

Chief Mungo Martin or Nakapenkem, Datsa, was an important figure in Northwest Coast style art, specifically that of the Kwakwaka'wakw Aboriginal people who live in the area of British Columbia and Vancouver Island. He was a major contributor to Kwakwaka'wakw art, especially in the realm of wood sculpture and painting. He was also known as a singer and songwriter.

Henry Hunt (artist) Canadian woodcarver, artist

Henry Hunt was a First Nations woodcarver and artist from the Kwakwaka'wakw people of coastal British Columbia.

Richard Hunt (artist) Canadian artist

Richard Hunt is a Canadian First Nations artist from coastal British Columbia.

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Coordinates: 48°25′12″N123°21′59″W / 48.4200°N 123.3665°W / 48.4200; -123.3665

Geographic coordinate system Coordinate system

A geographic coordinate system is a coordinate system that enables every location on Earth to be specified by a set of numbers, letters or symbols. The coordinates are often chosen such that one of the numbers represents a vertical position and two or three of the numbers represent a horizontal position; alternatively, a geographic position may be expressed in a combined three-dimensional Cartesian vector. A common choice of coordinates is latitude, longitude and elevation. To specify a location on a plane requires a map projection.