Tammy Myles, child care centre project manager, and Carson Burlock, of Gateway Timberframe Construction, stand in the gallery of the new Tillicum Lelum Childcare Centre where a protection totem pole was erected Monday. CHRIS BUSH/The News Bulletin

Totem pole will watch over child care centre

Totem pole represents qualities important to child development at Tillicum Lelum Childcare Centre

A totem pole will be watching over children when the new Tillicum Lelum Childcare Centre opens.

Completion of the centre, located on Tenth Street in south Nanaimo, is still months away, but construction reached a point Monday to where work crews could install a totem pole in what will be the centre’s gallery.

The totem pole is a protection pole. Its original design was conceived by master carver Richard Carlton who started carving the pole in 2013 from a 370-year-old yellow cedar log donated by Coastal Woodlands. Carlton included students in the work through the Aboriginal Outreach alternative learning program hosted at Tillicum Lelum Aboriginal Friendship Centre.

After Carlton died in December, the carving was completed by William and Joel Good.

The totem pole was blessed in a ceremony Monday morning and installed that afternoon with help from Island Timberframe, Gateway Timberframe Construction and Built Contracting.

Elements of the totem pole include a human atop a thunderbird, a bear holding a salmon, a wolf, and frogs on the thunderbird’s wings.

“The main animal is the thunderbird. It’s a supernatural being. It’s about our connection to the universe and everything in the universe. It’s the most powerful animal symbol,” said Tammie Myles, childcare centre project manager.

Myles went on to explain the small human on the thunderbird’s back represents how mankind is supported by the universe and all the creatures in it. The frogs represent new beginnings and transformations and the bear and wolf stand for loyalty and strength in family. The fish represents sustenance. All elements, she said, that are important to the early development of a child.

In an interview in 2013, Carlton explained the thunderbird’s wings folding around the other elements in the design were meant to symbolize protection.

The totem pole stands facing inward to watch over the children and activities of the centre.

Myles said construction of the centre is scheduled to be completed in October and that she hopes a building occupancy permit will be approved in November.

photos@nanaimobulletin.com

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

Designs come in for proposed student housing across from NDSS

City of Nanaimo reviewing development permit application for 160-unit Wakesiah complex

Nanaimo cat with a disability can still teach foster kittens ‘how to cat’

Life goes from sour to sweet for Lemon, an adopted cat from B.C. SPCA Nanaimo

Protesters in Nanaimo call for greater protection of old-growth forests

Extinction Rebellion organized rally at Maffeo Sutton Park on Saturday afternoon

Nanaimo River Road ‘hotspot’ for theft from vehicles, says RCMP

Over dozen reports of theft in past month, say Nanaimo RCMP, many victims were headed to backcountry

Neighbours try to clean up around nuisance drug house on Milton Street in Nanaimo

560 Milton St. was declared a nuisance property last month

Nanaimo cat with a disability can still teach foster kittens ‘how to cat’

Life goes from sour to sweet for Lemon, an adopted cat from B.C. SPCA Nanaimo

NHL playoffs: Canucks to meet St. Louis Blues in Round 1

Vancouver takes on defending champs beginning Wednesday

Vancouver Island team takes on wacky challenges of world’s largest scavenger hunt

Greatest International Scavenger Hunt taking place Aug. 1-8

Vancouver Island films sought for One Minute Mobile Movie Challenge

All entries to be screened online in virtual film festival

Drive-in movie screenings next week will benefit Nanaimo food bank

Fortis B.C. and Fresh Air Cinema holding fundraisers at Woodgrove Centre

City to begin Metral Drive ‘complete street’ roadwork in August

Phase 1 includes seven raised intersections, sidewalks, cycle track

Nanaimo RCMP’s space needs prompt city to assess its properties in that area

Council approves $120,000 to develop real estate strategy for ‘civic precinct’ in the Old City Quarter

Simon Cowell breaks his back falling from electric bike

Incident happened at his home in California

Unofficial holidays: the weird and wonderful things people celebrate around the world

On any given day of the year, there are several strange, silly or serious holidays to observe

Most Read