Five totems planned for Central Saanich

Saanichton Village adds a new totem to their Welcoming Totem project

Doug LaFortune and Doug ‘Bear’ Horne LaFortune stand with a totem they carved for the Saanichton Village Association. The totem stands on East Saanich Road welcoming residents and visitors to the village.

SAANICHTON — Since 2006, a group of residents in Central Saanich have been on a mission to create a village feel for the community of Saanichton, with local residents and businesses undertaking a number of local initiatives to enhance the look and feel of the village.

The most important project to date has been rooted in a close relationship with well-known local First Nations artist Doug LaFortune, his wife Kathy and son Bear with what has come to be known as the ‘Welcoming Totem’ project.

The Saanichton Village Association (SVA) is pleased to announce the addition of the second Welcoming Totem in a series of five totems planned for the roadways leading to the Saanichton Village.

“We wanted residents and visitors to be more aware of their community and the core as they entered the village,” said Jan Carroll, president of the SVA.

The first totem in the series was erected last spring on East Saanich Road, north of Wallace Drive and showcases a heron as the focal point.

The second and latest totem will be unveiled Saturday April 6 at 2 p.m. The chosen location for the second totem will be on East Saanich Road, a few yards south of the Veyaness Road intersection.

“The Saanichton Village is more than just the core retail areas, and our idea was to create a sense of inclusion by placing these majestic west coast symbols in a way that embraced more of the local area,” added Carroll.

Each totem in the series showcases a different symbol.

“They all have their role in the First Nations culture, with each representing an important core value for our people,” said carver Doug LaFortune.

“My son Bear and I are excited to be able to work together on the Totem project and share the stories with the community.”

The Totem project has received some significant donations from the Municipality of Central Saanich and local residents and businesses with just over $12,000 being raised towards the total project goal of $18,000.

“We are over half way there thanks to Katherine Nutt, Spelt Enterprises, Seafirst Insurance, Saanichton and the District of Central Saanich. We hope to have others from the local community come forward with donations to help us complete this important project,” said Carroll.

Donations to the Welcoming Totem project can be made by contacting the SVA through their website at

— Submitted by the SVA