Surrey Columbian Centennial Totem Pole
14245 56th Avenue, Surrey, British Columbia, V3X, Canada
Links and documents
Listed on the Canadian Register:
Statement of Significance
Description of Historic Place
The Surrey Columbian Centennial Totem Pole is a finely carved twelve metre tall, four-figure wooden pole carved in the Kwakwaka'wakw tradition of North West Coast First Nations art, situated on the Surrey Municipal Centre Grounds.
The Surrey Columbian Centennial Totem Pole is valued as a demonstration of community-driven initiatives, of the changing attitudes of the public towards a more inclusive vision for their community, for its association with its carver, John Edward "Ted" Neel, and as a well executed example of Kwakwaka'wakw monumental art.
The Surrey Columbian Centennial Totem Pole is one of four poles raised by readers of the Columbian chain of local newspapers as tribute to the local First Nations during Canada's centennial in 1967. The pole, and the three other such poles in Coquitlam, Burnaby and New Westminster, is valued as an example of a community-generated commemorative project. An indication of the changing attitudes towards First Nations people, the pole was erected "to preserve the art and legends of the Salish Indians." While this may have been the goal, Salish art at this time was less developed than other North West Coastal art traditions; the pole was carved by a Kwakwaka'wakw carver in the tradition of his people. The carver, John Edward "Ted" Neel, is the son of the well-known woman carver, Ellen Neel. The finely carved pole contains four figures, from top to bottom: Eagle, Bear, Beaver and Frog. The colours used to decorate the carving are distinctly Kwakwaka'wakw, employing bright "paintbox" colours as well as the traditional red, black, and teal colours.
Source: Heritage Planning Files, City of Surrey
Key elements that define the heritage character of the Surrey Columbian Centennial Totem Pole include its:
- form and scale, as expressed in its unbroken twelve metre height;
- use of traditional Kwakwa'wakw colours and stylistic features;
- four figures, from top to bottom, Eagle, Bear, Beaver and Frog; and
- park setting, providing a complementary setting and foreground for viewing the pole.
Local Governments (BC)
Local Government Act, s.954
Community Heritage Register
Theme - Category and Type
Function - Category and Type
- Commemorative Monument
Architect / Designer
John Edward (Ted) Neel
Location of Supporting Documentation
Heritage Planning Files, City of Surrey
Cross-Reference to Collection