Since time immemorial, the site where Waterwheel Park is today was the original location of the Penelakut Village.
Chemainus has long been known for its extensive outdoor murals, which since the pandemic, have drawn far fewer visitors than usual. As part of the Community Placemaking’s goal of driving vitality back into our communities’ downtown cores, Main Streets and town centres, the Coast Salish Welcome Arch project will be a huge draw for visitors and a source of pride for locals.
This new and permanent piece of outdoor public art, designed by Penelakut artist Maynard Johnny Jr, will consist of five-meter cylindrical supporting posts incorporating a salmon theme, with a horizontal arch across the theme of a Great Blue heron, regarded as the ‘sentinel of the coast’. The inside of the plastic tubing will be illuminated by LED lights.
The project is significant for its more accurate representation of the community of Chemainus, as well as its collaborative nature as it marks an important direction and new partnership with the Penelakut Tribe.