Mapping Legends of Vancouver

A tourist in my own city


I decided to do a digital map of Legends of Vancouver stories “Siwash Rock“, “Deadman’s Island“, and “The Lure in Stanley Park” co-written by Pauline Johnson and Chief Joe Capilano.

Here is the link to the Digital Map.

I chose to do the digital map format because I believe it excels at emphasizing the importance of place, a topic touched upon briefly in lecture but one that had a profound impact on my thinking about the story. Never had I felt so privileged to live in Vancouver than after having read some of the passages out of Legends of Vancouver. The unknown yet fascinating stories of some of Stanley Park’s most popular monuments and attractions gripped me from the get-go and inspired me to visualize how Johnson and Chief Joe Capilano must have explored it all together.

In an attempt to recreate their exploits on foot I plotted out a course from the Cathedral Trees (A), to Siwash Rock (B), concluding at Deadman’s Island (C).

Within each stop on the map I included several descriptive quotes which outline both the historical legends as well as the physical appearances of the landmarks. Contrasting Chief Capilano’s culture-infused historical recollections and Johnson’s grounded analyses of each area provides a mental image that pays respect to First Nation legend as well as provides scope to the larger than life monuments scattered throughout Stanley Park.

I also included with each landmark two images, the first for each being a black and white still from the late 1890’s/early 1990’s and the second being a fully coloured picture from present day. I did this to demonstrate the dramatic change that took place over 100 years, with new scenery and the addition of tourist-friendly paths and shops, but also to illustrate that each landmark has been shown the respect it deserves. Each have been relatively untouched in the commercialization of Stanley Park with the seawall riding the boundary of Siwash Rock and Deadman’s Island, and with the construction of a hiking trail from the seawall to the Cathedral Trees.

I feel incredibly privileged to live in Vancouver not simply because of how hard it is to find a home here, but because our land is so rich in culture and history. Looking back at my first impressions of these landmarks compared to how I see them now, I am blown away by how I could have gone this long without knowing of their legends. Upon reading Pauline Johnson’s and (uncredited) Chief Joe Capilano’s book Legends of Vancouver it is safe to say I feel like a tourist in my own city.

Works Cited

Johnson, E. Pauline. Legends of Vancouver. Toronto: McClelland & Stewart, 1913. Print.

Harvey, Al. Stanley Park Totem Poles. 2017. West Coast Sightseeing. Grayline. Web. 26 Mar. 2017.

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