St. Catharines mayor gets sneak peak at totem pole restoration


Published August 3, 2022 at 12:29 pm

St Catharines residents are welcome to Rex Stimers Arena located at 8 Gale Cres. between 4 pm and 7 pm tonight (August 3) to see the restoration work on the 55-year-old totem pole that was removed from Richard Pierpoint Park and talk to the artists involved.

Mayor Walter Sendzik got a sneak peek at their efforts last night and came away with the work that’s been done.

Three Indigenous artists, Bruce Alfred, Cole Speck and Dominique Wells, were enlisted to do the restoration of the pole, originally donated to the city in 1967.

“We are happy to be able to give the public this opportunity to speak to the amazing artists and ask them questions about the restoration and history of our totem pole,” said Lori Mambella, manager of programs and culture services at the City, last week.

“We feel very honoured that an apprentice (Bruce Alfred) of the original artist from over 50 years ago was willing and able to lend his fine skills to our city for this meaningful project.”

Now… and then. The restoration work shown here makes the totem pole look brand new.

The totem pole was originally commissioned by the city in 1966 to the late Kwakwa̱ka̱ʼwakw artist, Doug Cranmer from Alert Bay, B.C. who was renowned for his unique style of west coast Indigenous art.

The city installed the 40-foot totem pole the following year in celebration of Canada’s centennial. However, due to weather and seasonal effects, the natural materials of the totem pole were showing signs of stress after being on display for over 50 years.

The totem pole was carefully removed from the park in 2019 and brought indoors until it could be brought back to life.

Here, Mayor Sendzik opens the doors to the public tonight.