Klahowya Village 2011 Spirit-Catcher Train – Raven Steals the Sun First Nations Storytelling at Aboriginal Tourism

One of the highlights of Vancouver’s Aboriginal Tourism (AtBC) Klahowya Village is a miniature train ride on the Spirit Catcher Train. The 18-minute train ride around the Douglas tree-lined forest features the telling of a popular Coast Salish First Nations story – Raven Steals The Sun. Aided by an onboard voice-over, live actor performances, native songs and aboriginal props along the way, this ancient tale ignites the senses and sparks the imagination of the of the children and parents who enjoyed the locomotive ride. A perfect way for a whole family to spend a perfect summer afternoon in the city’s world-famous Stanley Park.

The Klahowya Village at Stanley Park will stay open until Sep. 11, 2011. Tickets for the Spirit Catcher Train Ride are Adult $10, Senior/Child $8 and free for children under 2 and include Gate Admission to the ground which otherwise would be Adult $5 and Senior/Child $3.

VIDEO – Spirit Catcher Train at Klahowya Village in Stanley Park

Klahowya Village, 1000 Pipeline Road, Vancouver BC

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Vancouver Easter Eggs Hunt 2011 Stanley Park Miniature Train Ride. All Aboard at Klahowya Village!

The Easter Holiday in Vancouver is a fun-filled long weekend for kids and adults alike. In 2011, the railway at the Stanley Park Miniature Train Ride is once again back in service and each year, thousands are eager to get onboard. The festivities begin on Good Friday (April 22, 2011) and end on Good Monday (April 25, 2011). The aboriginal Klahowya Village opens from 11AM-4PM. Entrance to the park is free while the train ticket is $6.50 each and includes entry to the Easter Bunny and Chicken Farmyard. Bring your own basket for some free Easter eggs. All aboard!

VIDEO – Easter 2011 & Stanley Park Miniature Train in Vancouver

Stanley Park Miniature Railway, 611 Pipeline Road.

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Four Host First Nations Fashion Showcase During Vancouver 2010 Near Aboriginal Pavilion

As we approach the first anniversary of the Vancouver 2010 Olympics and Paralympic Winter Games, I like to recall a wonderful journey that lead me to the discovery of some of Canada’s premier First Nations fashion designers.

A temporary cedar wood structure occupying the Queen Elizabeth Theatre plaza in downtown Vancouver was designated as the Aboriginal Pavilion during the 2010 Games. It was the place to be for visitors to learn about the Four Host First Nations (FHFN) arts and culture. Each day, thousands of tourists and locals alike lined up for a chance to cram into the small domed theatre (about 60’ in diameter) to enjoy a multimedia show about Canada’s aboriginal population and in particular the FHFN which was the full partner of Vancouver 2010. In fact, the 2010 Games operated on grounds that had been the traditional land of the Four Host First Nations (Lil’wat, Musqueam, Squamish and Tsleil-Waututh) for at least thousands of years.

What many people overlooked was the five-day long (Feb 12-16, 2010) aboriginal fashion showcase that was held off site at the Vancouver Community College campus in downtown Vancouver just a couple of blocks away from the aboriginal pavilion.

The Aboriginal Fashion Showcase featured the work of a number of established and emerging native designers from across Canada. On Feb. 13, 2010, I attended a runway show that highlighted a group of younger designers – Kim Picard, Tammy Beauvais, Louie Gong, and Tracy Toulouse.

These aboriginal artists and stylists drew on the rich history of the Haida, Inuit, Metis and various First Nations tribes to incorporate traditional native arts and designs into contemporary-styled clothing.

A common denominator among many of today’s fashion designers is the diversity of background. While different cultures and upbringings provide the vitality that makes their works interesting, too exotic an approach could alienate the audience. Sometimes in an effort to be distinctive and separate themselves from the crowd, these fashionistas create work that failed to connect with the public. It is indeed difficult to find the right balance. Designers everywhere wrestle with this same problem. The First Nations designers of Canada are no exception either.

That said, I enjoyed the runway show at the Aboriginal Fashion Showcase tremendously. Part of the reason is that like many in the fashion industry, I have not been exposed to First Nations fashion designs much. In all, I find the designs to be both original and authentic. It is a new fashion statement and a welcome addition to the Canadian mainstream fashion scene. Sexy and exciting? Oh yeah, that too. In fact, this fashion event became one of the highlights of my very own experience of the Vancouver 2010 Games.

Best wishes for all the First Nations fashion designers to have a bright future and hope to see a bigger presence for Canada’s aboriginal stylists at the Vancouver fashion scene too.

I also like to mention DJ Kwe who provided the music that I used in this video. Bravo to DJ Kwe for a job well done! Kwe is First Nations herself and (for full disclosure) a dear Facebook friend of me as well. :)

VIDEO – FHFN Aboriginal Fashion Showcase During Vancouver 2010

VCC Downtown Campus 250 West Pender Street, Vancouver, BC

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Klahowya Village Turns Into Year Round Playground for Fun City Vancouver

Vancouver is having more fun these days. I guess you could say that it is all part of the 2010 Olympic legacy. Not just in the summer months immediately after the sporting events were over when Granville Mall was still closed off to traffic to enable all sorts of street entertainment, cultural activities, community events and mobile food cart services to take place.

From July to September, Tourism BC launched the Klahowya Village in Stanley Park, an aboriginal tourism package that attracted both tourists and locals alike to a unique First Nations experience as offered by artisans, guides, storytellers, elders, musicians and dancers from the native communities around British Columbia.

Children dressed in Halloween costume at the Klahowya stage waiting to catch the Stanley Park Ghost Train
Children at the Klahowya Village stage waiting to catch Stanley Park Ghost Train 2010 Alice in Nightmareland Halloween Ride

And when all the leaves are brown and the sky is…well, let’s just say silvery :) , the Klahowya stage where the First Nations dance groups once performed daily may be empty, the village is teeming with life. Children and their parents come to visit the Haunted Farmyard and catch a Halloween ride on the Stanley Park Ghost Train to watch Alice in Nightmare and see how the fairytale princess fights her way through the forest inhibited with wicked witches, voodoo deities, zombies, body-snatchers and the like. The Stanley Park Ecology Society also set up camps to bring visitors on a Creatures of The Night Theatrical Walks journey.

Soon the Christmas spirit will be upon us. The miniature train will once again carry passengers through a journey of lighted trees of red, green, yellow and blue. Wanted to see some white stuff and play in it? Skiing in the city of Vancouver is not unheard of, but go a little higher at Grouse, Seymour, you are more than likely able to do that in the first few months of the year. If not, venture a little further up the Sea-to-Sky Highway to Whistler and you can slide the same slopes where the 2010 Olympic gold, silver and bronze medalists were born.

The Klahowya Village is conveniently located in the same area as the Vancouver Aquarium where Haida artist Bill Reid’s Killer Whale sculpture still stands. Nearby are the Rose Garden, Malkin Bowl, Lumberman’s Arch and even Brockton Oval which is within a short walking distance away where the picturesque totem poles have kept up with the time and recently received a make-over. Work is on-going to improve the century-old Stanley Park even further.

Before long, the cherry bloosom season in Vancouver would attract thousands of Asian tourists to town, making you realize that the city itself is really a fine jewel in the Pacific. Before you know it, summer would return and so will the First Nations drumming and dancing at Klahowya Village to complete the eternal circle again.
Stanley Park Klahowya Village & Miniature Train, Vancouver BC

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Klahowya Village Stanley Park Git Hayetsk Sang of NorthWind Blessing

At the Aboriginal Tourism BC (atBC) Klahowya Village in Vancouver’s Stanley Park, Git Hayetsk performed one of their signature songs and a visually intrinsic dance number. And that’s the NorthWind Song. According to Mike Dangeli, the lead singer of the group, the Northwind Song is a ceremonial song that is sung to gather strength from the Great Creator. Dangeli related the story of his father and uncle’s passing in a boating accident. As Dangeli sang the NorthWind Song at the funeral, the stronger his voice, the harder the wind blew, and when he stopped, the wind subsided also. It was then that he realized that the Great Creator had abided by him on his side for his father’s last journey. The NorthWind Song and Dance incorporates costumes and masks that represent supernatural beings in the spirit world. Git Hayetsk also sang the Victory Song to wrap up the performance on August 11, 2010 at the Klahowya Village.

VIDEO – Git Hayetsk NorthWind Blessing Song

Klahowya Village, Stanley Park, Vancouver BC

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Klahowya Village Stanley Park Git Hayetsk Eagle Clan Songs of Victory and Peace

At the Klahowya Village in Vancouver’s Stanley Park, Git Hayetsk is one of the groups of First Nations dancers invited to perform native songs and dances for the public and tourists as an introduction to arts and culture of the indigenous people of British Columbia and aboriginal tourism in BC (atBC.) In this video, Git Hayetsk did a number of songs and dances that paid tribute to the eagle clan and raven. Also, a peace and victory song at the end. Masks and costumes were used throughout. Recorded on Aug 11, 2010 at the Klahowya Village. [Produced by Ray Van Eng] http://www.vancouver21.com

VIDEO – Git Hayetsk Eagle Clan Songs

Klahowya Village, Stanley Park, Vancouver BC

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Le La La Dancers First Nations Aboriginal Tourism at Klahowya Village in Stanley Park

The Klahowya Village at Stanley Park is a Vancouver-based aboriginal tourism package to introduce to the public and tourists the appeal of the First Nations culture and native art. During the summer months of July and August 2010, the Le La La Dancers from Alert Bay, BC and other groups such as Alex Wells, Eagle Song Dancers, Git Hayetsk etc. performed various traditional dances involving a number of animals native to the land including a killer whale (orca), bear and raven at Klahowya Village to the delight of the crowd. Many visitors also caught a ride on the Spirit Train, a miniature train services that was also part of the Klahowya Village.

George Taylor, the lead singer and dancer of Le La La Dancers, acknowledged himself to be part of the first nations tradition and a continuation of the way his ancestors had taught him. He sung the songs and did the dances he had learned from the potlatch ceremonies in the native village years ago when he was just a young boy living in Alert Bay, BC, in the northern part of Vancouver Island. Though the native language and potlatch gatherings were banned by the Canadian government at one point, it was through the perseverance of the First Nations people that the indigenous culture of Canada had survived to this day. The potlatch ban was repealed in 1951.

VIDEO – Le La La Dancers at Klahowya Village on August 10, 2010

Klahowya Village, Stanley Park, Vancouver BC

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Klahowya Village First Nations Spirit Train at Stanley Park in Vancouver

FREE event. 10am – 6pm every day. Opens from July 01—Sep 06, 2010. Tickets for the Spirit Trail and Children’s Farmyard are area adults $11 and children $7.

The Klahowya Village is located at the miniature railway plaza in Stanley Park . Events are organized by the Aoriginal Tourism Association of BC. Klahowya is a word derived from the Chinook language meaning ‘Welcome’. It was a widely used word in the Pacific Northwest region for more than 200 years since the 1800s when European traders and First Nations people met and conduct fur trade and businesses.

The former miniature train has been renamed “The Spirit Train” and will take you and your family on a kids-friendly journey that conjure the animals and spirits of the forest. First nations dance performance 3 times everyday in the afternoon with a Children’s Farmyard and a petting zoo nearby.

Best way to get there is by Bus #19 Stanley Park goes right to the entrance of the Klahowya Village. Paid car parking also.

Klahowya Village First nations Culture, Dance and Tourism at Stanley Park in Vancouver
Klahowya Village, Children’s Farmyard and Miniature Railway, 611 Pipeline Road, Stanley Park, Vancouver BC

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