Perched alongside East Saanich a heron greets guests and residents to Saanichton Village.
Carved by Doug LaFortune, wife Kathy Horne and son Bear Horne, the 9-foot-high totem, crafted from Red Cedar with “Welcome to Saanichton Village” scribed onto yellow cedar was officially unveiled to the public at a ceremony welcoming the totem, that will in turn welcome people to Saanichton Village for years to come.
“I love having the family together with new friends we have made and the old family sharing their blessings,” Kathy Horne said. “I am very proud to have everyone enjoy our artwork and our heritage, which is also what we are sharing here.”
Showcasing a heron because Lafortune believed it was a strong representation of the area, the 40-year carver who also has art displayed at Uptown in Saanich, created the piece in part as a reflection on family and community, and is proud it has been embraced by a community he calls home.
“I like to have something in our community representing our people. The way they have embraced it is great. It gives a great message out that we are working together,” The Tsouwat resident said. “I consider myself a part of this community.”
Central Saanich resident Ryan Windsor has followed the project from it’s inception was impressed but Lafortune’s craftsmanship at the unveiling.
“I saw this partially completed and I was already taken aback by it then – and I am further taken aback by it here today,” he said. “It fits the character of the neighbourhood. It is simple, elegant and speaks volumes.”
It will soon be joined by four others, the next on the docket an Eagle that on the corner of East Saanich and Mt. Newton X road that is expected to be completed in three months.
“It does a lot to build community and welcome people to a village where they otherwise might not be aware [of],” Windsor said. “It reminds us there are communities around us and we need to be aware of all those communities and come together as one.”