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Heritage Square, Chemainus, B.C., Canada, 2017[open in full screen]  

 
 

Chemainus is a lovely little /4500 people/ oceanside town in British Columbia. The name "Chemainus" comes from the native shaman and prophet "Tsa-meeun-is" (Broken Chest). Legend says that the man survived a massive wound in his chest to become a powerful chief. His people took his name to identify their community, Chemainus First Nation. The port of this city was one of the first developed in Pacific Northwest, since city was founded as a logging town in 1858 was the site of one of BC's oldest lumber mills. After over 100 years of being a mill town, the mill was closed in the early 1980s.

To provide jobs and to attract tourists, the town invited artists to create murals on every paintable building. The town is now famous for its 39 outdoor murals. This outdoor gallery has given birth to 300 businesses.

  The tourist industry stemming from the murals saved the town after its mill closed, and became known as "The Little Town That Did".

Two of the most interesting murals are located on this very interesting Square. "Native Heritage", with portraits of 19th-century Coast Salish people and "Arrival of H.M.S. Reindeer at Chemainus in 1869" on the first sight are celebrating indigenous culture. Carefully observing statues and fountain, intricately recreated creek, at Heritage Square, with its forlorn statues and the tale of elusive Snipes with stories implied or recounted, are changing the angle of the intention, probably to bridge the differences. Plate on the wall is saying: "Meeting place for all people".

The story about creating this installation goes like this:""On a summer night in 1913 two strangers found their way into Chemainus.

  While socializing with the locals they were told of the elusive snipes hiding in the forest. They were shown the secret place in the woods and instructed to hold a lit lantern in front of an open sack into which the locals acting as beaters would drive the snipes. After hours of waiting the pair realized they had been innocent victims of a mischief and returned to the village to join the others and share a good laugh." Why there is only one of these two figures remaining here today is beyond understanding. I know for sure that in 2007 both figures were present.

Something else is also quite obvious here as anywhere else in the city, after 4:30 city is dead, all of the stores and restaurants are closed, there are no people on the streets, hardly anybody to ask about directions. Even, just few steps away, very cute little railway stop, is totally deserted. Very clean public bathroom, nearby, is the only place always open.

Next Centennial Park, Ganges, Saltsrig Island, BC

 
           
   
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Last time updated on August 11, 2017 17:20