Today we are sharing a little bit of background on one of Vancouver’s most iconic and recognizable art pieces, the Inukshuk, located along the seawall at English Bay.

Inukshuk was created by Alvin Kanak and is a symbol of welcome in the north. This piece is built of stacked granite blocks in a human form, weighs over 31,500 kg and stands 6 meters high. Artist Kanak said, “By a lake an Inukshuk means lots of fish.” The figure is a “reminder of the ingenuity of my people in addressing transportation and communications challenges prior to the introduction of modern technology.”

A plaque near the work reads: “This ancient symbol of the Inuit culture is traditionally used as a landmark and navigational aid and also represents northern hospitality and friendship. Constructed of grey granite by Alvin Kanak of Rankin Inlet, this monument was commissioned by the Government of the Northwest Territories for its Pavilion at EXPO ’86 and later given to the city of Vancouver. In 1987 the Inukshuk was moved to this site and sponsored as a gift to the City by Coast Hotels & Resorts through the Vancouver Legacies program.”

This piece is on unceded Indigenous land belonging to the Coast Salish peoples, including the territories of the xʷməθkʷəy̓əm (Musqueam), Sḵwx̱wú7mesh (Squamish), and Sel̓íl̓witulh (Tsleil-Waututh) Nations. We are grateful and stand in solidarity with First Nations people.

Information for this blog sourced from:

City of Vancouver Public Art Registry: