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April 12,2016 Tri City News

First Nations canoe built by Centennial students years ago and restored for new Moody Centre Evergreen Line station in Port Moody

Diane Strandberg / Tri City News
April 12, 2016 01:53 PM

Commuters using the new Moody Centre Evergreen Line station to access West Coast Express commuter trains are experiencing ancient and modern modes of transportation when they pass underneath a traditional First Nations canoe hanging above the escalator.

The elegant red canoe was carved out of a cedar log about 15 years ago by Centennial secondary students and was pulled out of storage and restored by Suwa'lkh School students as an art project to bring some focus to aboriginal culture of the region.

Malcolm Key, School District 43 aboriginal co-ordinator, said the canoe had been kept in storage in recent years at Winslow Centre and it came to mind when he was approached for an idea about First Nations artwork for the new Port Moody station.

"It just dawned on me we've got this canoe, it's a beautiful piece of work and it's not being utilized as it should," he told The Tri-City News. "It seemed like a perfect art piece showing this old ancient mode of transport in a place built for modern transport."

Originally, the canoe was built for use in local waters but it fell out of use and was drying out. Key said students restored and repainted the canoe, including an ancient design of the two-headed serpent Sisiuti.

"This is an opportunity for it to remain a lasting legacy for 100 years or for however long it will be, and from that perspective, I think it's a very positive thing."

The depiction of Sisiuti is also perfect for use in one of six stations being built for the $1.4-billion Burnaby-to-Coquitlam rapid transit line, noted Key.

This transformer can change itself into a magic war canoe, protecting those within it. We hope that its spirit will protect those who will ride on this new modern 'serpent.'"

Meanwhile, a ceremony is being considered to mark the canoe's restoration and installation; students who helped carve it during 1997 and 1998 are encouraged to contact Key at mkey@sd43.bc.ca.


Copyright 2016 Tri-City News
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