Downtown Victoria Tour
Belleville Street / Douglas Street
Thunderbird Park, on the B.C. Provincial Museum grounds at the intersection of Douglas Street and Belleville Street, was established in 1941 when a display of totem poles from the B.C. Provincial Museum collection was set up here.
In 1952 the B.C. Provincial Museum’s Anthropology Curator, Wilson Duff, hired Kwakwaka’wakw master carver Mungo Martin (1879-1962) as chief carver for Thunderbird Park. Mungo Martin started a carving program which still continues in Thunderbird Park.
The original totem poles placed in Thunderbird Park in 1941 were gradually moved to inside storage as Mungo Martin, and carvers working under his direction, carved replicas of the original poles.
All of the totem poles currently displayed in Thunderbird Park were carved in the Carving Shed on site.
The most prominent features of Thunderbird Park are the Wawadit’la, or Mungo Martin House, and the Kwakwaka’walw Heraldic Pole. Both of these features was placed here in 1953.
Here is a map showing the location of Thunderbird Park at the south west corner of Belleville Street and Douglas Street:
Here is a Google Street View image of Thunderbird Park:
Wawadit’la, also known as Mungo Martin House (photo below), was built on this site in 1953. The Kwakwaka’walw Heraldic Pole in front of the building was also carved in 1953.
The photo below shows the Kwakwaka’walw Heraldic Pole (left) was carved in 1953. The Kwakwaka’walw Pole (right) was carved in 1954.
Thunderbird Park is also the site of Helmcken House, the home of pioneer physician and politician Dr. John Sebastian Helmcken, which has stood on this site since the 1860’s. Helmcken House was converted into a museum display when Thunderbird Park was created in 1941.
The photo below shows the south side of Helmcken House and the statue of Dr. John Sebastian Helmcken in Thunderbird Park.
Some Additional Information About Thunderbird Park
Here are links to Royal B.C. Museum webpages showing the development of Thunderbird Park:
- Prior to 1939, showing Helmcken House on this site.
Here are links to more Royal B.C. Museum pages about Thunderbird Park:
Here are links to some historic photos of Thunderbird Park:
- BC Archives photo I-26987 – 1954. Mungo Martin carving in Thunderbird Park.
- BC Archives photo I-26992 – 1954. Mungo Martin carving in Thunderbird Park.
- BC Archives photo I-26993 – 1954. Mungo Martin carving in Thunderbird Park.
- BC Archives photo I-26994 – 1954. Mungo Martin carving in Thunderbird Park.
- BC Archives photo I-26995 – 1954. Mungo Martin carving in Thunderbird Park.
Would you like to leave a comment or question about anything on this page?