A sculpture reflecting the Coast Salish history of Stanley Park and the Portuguese presence on the West Coast is now on display near Brockton Point.
The Shore to Shore monument was created by master carver Ts’uts’umutl Luke Marston as a tribute to his great-great grandfather known as Portuguese Joe Silvey, who came to B.C. around 1858 from the Azores, his first wife Khaltinaht, who died at a young age of tuberculosis, and his second wife Kwatleematt, Marston's great-great grandmother.
The bronze sculpture was revealed during a ceremony in Stanley Park Saturday (April 25), attended by members of the Musqueam, Squamish, and Tsleil-Waututh First Nations, Portuguese community members, Marston's extended family, and various government officials and dignitaries.
Squamish chief Ian Campbell said the three people depicted in the structure represent "a chapter in our history".
"Everywhere you go in this great city is laden with mythology, with place names," he said. "All the way around what is now Stanley Park in Vancouver is rich with history, and we want you to know that our history is your history."
Musqueam councillor Howard Grant noted his ancestors considered the location a very sacred place.
"Many of our spiritual and cultural belongings were born from here," he said.
Tsleil-Waututh councillor Deanna George said the installation honours First Nations women, and represents "difficult times, and the strength of these women in those days."
"No matter what government rules, regulations, laws were forced upon us, we survived," she said.
"For too long, our stories have been silenced," she continued. "For too long, we have been invisible in our own lands and waters. This sculpture represents the importance of making sure our stories are told."
Consul General of Portugal Maria João Boavida described the tribute as "a very important moment" for the Portuguese community in B.C.
"For the first time in Western Canada, the presence of Portuguese and their contribution to the development of this region is being publicly acknowledged," she said.
Marston spent five years creating the sculpture, which is surrounded by a mosaic of black and white stones from Portugal.