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Chief Mathias Joe



In Make

By Admin

‘Storytelling’ installed!

On 02, Jun 2016 | In Make, Place, Project, Space | By Admin

Earlier this week our latest piece of public art, ‘Storytelling’ was installed!


IMu Chan inspecting the installation of ‘Storytelling’ at Chief Mathias Joe Park, North Vancouver, BC.

Rebecca Bayer of spacemakeplace design worked in collaboration with IMu Chan of FSOARK Architects, in close partnership with the City of North Vancouver and local Squamish Nation representatives on this project.  It is part of the soon-to-be-complete renovation of Chief Mathias Joe Park in North Vancouver, BC.


‘Storytelling’ as seen from the soon to be completed playground at Chief Mathias Joe Park.


‘Storytelling’ is inspired by a story about the ‘Twin Sisters’ who brought peace to the region and were transformed into Vancouver’s iconic peaks more commonly known today as the ‘The Lions’.

The Sisters can be appreciated from multiple angles.


Our special thanks to Toby’s Cycle Works, the metal fabricators and installers of ‘Storytelling’.  Thank you to the City of North Vancouver for making this project happen!


Toby and Tito from Toby’s Cycleworks making final adjustments to ‘Storytelling’

Stay tuned for official park opening date – coming soon.


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In Make

By Admin

STORYTELLING – getting ready for final production

On 01, Jun 2015 | In Make, News, Project | By Admin


Storytelling – Final Production Drawings

The final production drawings are ready.  Next step is the fabrication and preparation to install STORYTELLING this Fall at Chief Mathias Joe Park in North Vancouver, BC.

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In Make

By Admin

STORYTELLING – mini maquette looking good

On 30, Apr 2015 | In Make, News, Project | By Admin

IMG_0993 CMJ Storytelling 6x6_150dpi

IMu Chan holding the MDF Mini Maquette

Rebecca and IMu made this mini maquette of one of the “Two Sisters” before STORYTELLING goes to final production.  It is exciting to see a 3D preview!  The finished STORYTELLING sculptures will be 62″ tall and fabricated from cut aluminum.

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In Inspiration

By Admin

The Two Sisters

On 25, May 2014 | In Inspiration, Place, Research | By Admin


Chief Mathias Joe Capilano

Chief Mathias Joe (1854 – 1910) was a great Squamish chief who was known as a powerful orator and renowned storyteller who fought hard to defend the legacy of his people and culture.


Ch’ich’iyúy Elxwíkn’

Like many of his stories, the tale of ‘The Two Sisters’ is deeply rooted in the local land of North Vancouver and the Capliano area and has an important message of reconciliation, sharing and peace. ‘The Two Sisters’ tells of how the two iconic peaks, now known as ‘The Lions’ came to stand over the what has become Vancouver.


E. Pauline Johnson

Also known as Chief Joe and Capiliano Joe, this incredible man once travelled all the way to London, England to address King Edward directly about settling land claims in British Columbia.  It was while he was in England that he met the Canadian writer Pauline Johnson.  Johnson, of Mowhawk and English decent, spent her last years living in Vancouver and recording the amazing tales told by her friend Chief Mathias Joe.


Legends of Vancouver

In 1911 some of these stories, including ‘The Two Sisters’ were published in her book Legends of Vancouver. Johnson helped share these local legends with the English speaking public and now serve to remind Vancouver’s newer inhabitants of the area’s long and proud history.

OllalieBerries SalmonSkin

According to the legend, Vancouver’s twin peaks, now commonly known as ‘The Lions’ were originally named Ch’ich’iyúy Elxwíkn’ (the Twin Sisters) long ago by a very powerful man known as the Great Tyee of the Caplianos. The Great Tyee ruled over the Capilano Canyon area and was a formidable warrior leader who prided himself on always winning battles against the neighbouring tribes. He had two beautiful daughters who were reaching the age at which it was customary to hold a great celebration in honour of their womanhood. The Great Tyee loved his daughters very much and upon their birthday he told them they could have anything that they wished for. The girls gave the offer careful consideration and decided to ask their father to invite the all the tribes that he was presently at war with to attend the upcoming celebration as a gift of peace.  Because the Great Tyee was a man of his word he sent out an invitation across the land and sea to welcome all local tribes to a fabulous feast and joyous celebration. Vast quantities of salmon and olallieberries were served and there were many days and nights of happy singing and dancing.

140526 MountainsWithSilhouette

The Two Sisters

After the celebration was over, hostile war songs ceased and a great and lasting brotherhood was sealed between the warring tribes. The daughters brought long-lasting peace to the area and the Great Tyee made them immortal by setting their memory forever in a high place in the mountains to watch over the Pacific Coast and the Caplilano Canyon.

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